Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 9, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

DEBT RELIEF....The latest rumor making the rounds is that maybe Barack Obama will pay off Hillary's $11 million loan to her campaign if she quits the race. I suppose that makes some kind of sense — and it would be a gracious and unifying gesture from Obama — but I'm not sure why Hillary would really be moved by this. She and Bill have earned over $100 million in the past few years and Bill obviously has tremendous earning capacity in the future. $11 million just isn't a big deal to them.

Or shouldn't be, anyway. But I suppose that kind of casual attitude toward money is one of the reasons I'm not rich.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, I want go on the record as being pretty unenthusiastic about an Obama/Clinton "dream ticket." It reminds me of the fabled Reagan/Ford dream ticket of 1980, and I'd say Reagan (and Ford) were smart to kill that idea. A strong vice president is one thing, but if you choose Hillary as a running mate you get the whole Clinton family in the bargain, and having Bill Clinton as a de facto part of the White House staff just smells like big trouble. That aside, the bigger issue is that picking Hillary would be a sign of weakness from Obama, and a completely unnecessary one. Obama certainly ought to reach out to Hillary once the primaries are over, but he can win in November on his own, and there are plenty of good, solid VP choices out there that would nonetheless make it crystal clear that an Obama White House would be an Obama White House.

What's more, Hillary can probably do more good in the Senate than she can from the veep's chair. I'd rather have her there anyway.

Kevin Drum 12:54 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (80)

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Comments

Podium!!

er oops wrong blog...

Posted by: Cipo on May 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I happen to like the Clintons okay, even after all of this stuff, but Obama would be crazy to make her the VP. The Clintons have better DC connections that he does, and the last thing you want as President is for there to be a second center of power or go-to people when someone needs to get something done in Washington. That's what he'd get with the Clintons. Not because they're evil, but because that's just how power works.

Posted by: crabgrass on May 9, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

put her on the scotus. or appoint her to the cabinet.

but veep? bad idea.

Posted by: Ara Rubyan on May 9, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose that kind of casual attitude toward money is one of the reasons I'm not rich.

Spot on. If you ever wondered why CEOs making 30 million a year have contracts that include their dry cleaning paid for by the company, that's it!

Posted by: Greg in FL on May 9, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

What's more, Hillary can probably do more good in the Senate than she can from the veep's chair. I'd rather have her there anyway.

Kevin, where have you been the past 7+ years? A vice president with a strong beliefs and drive can do amazing things with the office!

Snark aside, though, HRC seems like she might be happier in a Senate leadership position than as second fiddle.

Posted by: MaryCh on May 9, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Obama should (quietly, to avoid wingnut eruption) promise Hillary that he'll nominate her for the Supreme Court when a vacancy opens up.

That ought to trump even a Senate leadership position.

Posted by: dm on May 9, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

jim webb. not wes clark- he's too 90s/old school. webb has the reagan cred, brings VA for sure, and maybe those states where all the hard-working white people live.

hrc on the supreme court? yes. first female chief justice would work. just imagine: a scalia of our own!

Posted by: white harding work person on May 9, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

As the campaign wore on, I begrudgingly thought an Obama/Clinton ticket would be the sure-fire way to capture in those demographics that locked with Hillary, whom she would use as a bargaining ploy to claw her way back to the Presidency.

But, thankfully, after the last primaries, Obama doesn't need her: her arguments have sputtered like her campaign. And Obama would be better for it. Can you imagine an Obama Presidency with a VP who required you to hire a professional taster?

At this point, I say the election is over: we've had so much old in the past eight years, the new is guaranteed a win. Of course, don't take things for granted, and fight like crazy in the campaign, but Democrats should have a higher confidence level this time around. Barack Obama just defeated the Clinton machine and the manufactured media onslaught of the past few weeks, and if that doesn't hearten you as to the power of democracy in this day and age, then you're too cynical.

Sure, Obama is a politician, but he's got more realistic life experiences and authenticity to allow us the benefit of the doubt, and that is background that will stick in the voters head throughout, in addition to the "new" factor. Republicans know this, and many far-seers know they are screwed. Go ahead and try to paint the media as biased (though McCain was favored), and try to sucker the reader by playing victim, it's not going to work anymore. George W. Bush has eight years that go against McCain, and that's an association that will not be divorced from him.

The old political machines of the Clintons and the Bush's (in the guise of the compromised maverick McCain) will die a welcome death, and many in the Democratic Party are energized by this power vacuum. It's going to be a new day, finally.

Posted by: Boorring on May 9, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Obama should (quietly, to avoid wingnut eruption) promise Hillary that he'll nominate her for the Supreme Court when a vacancy opens up.

Well, shouldn't she actually be appointed to a lower court first to see whether she even has the proper temperament to be a judge. There are plenty of other, more qualified people for that job than Hillary. Those appointments shouldn't be used in that way.

But if we're playing that game, I say appoint Al Gore, and give him the seat next to Scalia.

Posted by: crabgrass on May 9, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Before I want Hillary Clinton to be on the ticket, I'd want to see her do something she hasn't done this campaign: run against a Republican. This is something she'll have the opportunity to do before the campaign gives up the ghost, so we'll have a chance to see whether she's good at it.

Posted by: EB on May 9, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

In the long run, HRC could be a very powerful and influential senator, and could probably do more from that position than as president or vp. Though I suppose she didn't become a senator to actually be a senator. And she might not be there long enough to get significant seniority.

Posted by: kis on May 9, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you about Obama/Clinton as a ticket; the power dynamics would be royally screwed up. About the $11 million loan payback, can we just call it a massive bribe? Or a regressive tax that funnels the small contributions of thousands of supporters into the pocket of a wealthy family? Either way, it is the sort of thing we'd expect from Republicans. I hope Obama doesn't go there.

Posted by: Matthew K on May 9, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's right about the Democratic ticket. People who talk about a dream ticket are thinking of how it would look, on television or on the cover of Time magazine, not of whether it would be any good. The likelihood that Sen. Clinton, and her husband, and their respective entourages would complicate rather than help Obama in the fall campaign is high. If Obama became President, they'd be a lot more trouble than that.

A casual attitude toward money may be part of the story with respect to Sen. Clinton's campaign debt. It's also a peculiar attitude. Perhaps I just missed the story about how Republicans are trying to unify the party by paying off Mitt Romney's campaign debt -- and in fairness to Romney, his fortune wasn't made by cashing in on his public office.

Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this is peculiar, but I'd have thought the fact that both Clintons had barely left the White House before they started organizing ghostwriters for their memoirs (and his speeches) would have been a bigger story than it was. Frankly, I think the Clintons thought this too, otherwise they wouldn't have stalled on releasing their tax returns until after they thought Sen. Clinton would have salted away the nomination. I guess I can see why private gain from public office is not a big deal to the electronic media -- to your typical television reporter it must look a lot like cashing in on personal celebrity, and this is something most television journalists and commentators aspire to do themselves. Besides, lots of politicians do this kind of thing. Which, as we know, makes it OK.

To me, cashing in on public service like this just about defines the concept of unseemliness, especially for a former President. This is clearly a minority opinion. Even outside the media, most people's attitude seems to be that raking in the big bucks is what big men (and their wives) are entitled to do. Maybe they'd feel differently if instead of pocketing huge advances for books thrown together mostly by other people or giving paid speeches in private to organized interest groups Bill Clinton were endorsing Campbell's Chunky Soup or Ford Trucks, or if Hillary Clinton had passed on putting her name on an indescribably boring memoir and tried her hand instead at recording an CD covering old Tammy Wynette tunes.

But maybe not. Politicians may have a greater sense of entitlement as far as what they think public service should mean to their bank accounts, but they wouldn't get away with it if the public didn't let them. And right now, the public is inclined to do just that. I guess that's globalization for you. Politicians in Nigeria, Russia, and various countries in Latin American, the Middle East and Central Asia have always thought that public office ought to result in private wealth; maybe we're just being more diverse and open-minded, adopting the world's standards as our own.

Posted by: Zathras on May 9, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

My dream scenario: Obama prez. Hillary Senate majority leader, Pelosi Speaker of the House - and then we all tune in to Faux News and watch the heads explode!

Posted by: dcsusie on May 9, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're somewhere between 40 and 65, so it's probably not outrageous to assume you have about $1 million in investments (retirement funds, savings/brokerage, home equity), so would you "be moved by" losing $100,000 of it in some venture? (You don't have to confirm or deny your net worth, just making an argument based on a hypothetical)

In any case, investing in your own political career is a hugely risky gamble, you'd think people would have valued that risk accordingly.

And that's why politicians prefer to gamble with other people's money.

Posted by: anonymous on May 9, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Obama supporters have been going on the assumption that he really does have some independence from the old politics, including its corrupting influences. To make HRC the VP nominee would be to undercut that whole narrative, because it would look like (and be) the old politics of cutting deals in the back room. This is just one more reason for Obama not to ruin his chances; the rest of the story has already been told many times: Obama would seriously weaken his November campaign by handing the right wing an issue to run on. Better to leave the opposition in its current splintered, ennervated state.

Posted by: Bob G on May 9, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who thinks that it's unseemly for the Clintons to take any money from Obama and pay themselves back first, when the NY Times has been telling me that they owe caterers, motels, printers, donut stores, and other "hardworking Americans" for months for goods and services supplied to the campaign?

Posted by: Southpaw on May 9, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Rubyan--promise her anything except the VP slot.

In addition to the reasons Kevin cites, Clinton and Obama are both saddled with very high negative opinion poll ratings. I believe these negatives would be accumulative come November.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 9, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that $11 million is unimportant to the Clintons is silly. Their after-tax earnings were likely in the $55 million range and they lead an expensive high-profile lifestyle, so their "savings" are like nothing near that amount. That said, their ability to raise money to pay off this debt is certainly sufficient and is likely greater than any other candidate.

Posted by: Mark on May 9, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Obama (or rather his small-donor supporters) paying off Clinton's debt is the taxpayer bailout for Bear Sterns all over again. Clinton's path to the nomination has been dead for months, but she insisted on keeping her campaign going out of personal desire, so now we have to assume the cost for her bad decisions? Yeah that's a great idea.

Posted by: kidkostar on May 9, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I am with kid and others. HRC chose to prolong the campaign so she gets to be accountable for those decisions.

And...

Why the hell should a family of multimillionaires be bailed out by students and hard working families of all colors?

F*ck no!

Posted by: keith g on May 9, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see Obama pick Jim Webb for VP. Webb is a war hero as well as a strong and early opponent of the Iraq War. He's the kind of guy who gets instant respect from the blue collar white Dems who've been going for Hillary Clinton, and he's a tough political fighter who'll take the battle to McCain. And he's a Republican-turned-Democrat who knows how to appeal to the large numbers of independents who, in the past, supported Republicans and are now disillusioned. He can speak their language.

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 9, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

No, Kev, the rumor is, that's what Clinton wants. No rumor that I know of that he'll actually pay anything beyond her campaign debt.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 9, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I would have called it "an illegal bribe" rather than "a gracious gesture" but I suppose my lack of such a casual attitude about ethics is why I'm not a politician.

Posted by: coyote on May 9, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I say pay them back.

I think that the racial slander perpetuated by Obama and his supporters against the Clintons will make it hard for them to continue the good work of their foundation or make much money at all from now on. Obama supporters have successfully turned two good Democrats into racist bigots in the minds of the media and the public. Way to go.

As far as the Clintons making money after the White House, they went into the White House making about 250K a year unlike the Obamas who will go in as millionaires. Neither Bill nor Hillary has any kind of family money like McCain.

Posted by: anon on May 9, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Being the senator from New York isnt the same as being president, but if the White House and Congress are in your own party's hands, then being senator from one of the biggest states is cherry. If HRC wants to participate in the leadership of the USA, she will be in a better position as NY senator than nearly any other elected official. Id guess that being Obama's Veep would give HRC *less* autonomy in policymaking. So why should she want to be Veep rather than Senator?

There is a lot of stuff to be done. Lets all start playing nicer so that we can start doing it.

Posted by: troglodyte on May 9, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't agree with you more, Mr. Drum, on the ridiculous "dream ticket" idea, which long ago was rendered to cliche status.

I agree with the poster above that Senator Clinton would make a great Justice of the Supreme Court, where a life time appointment would enable her to shed her propensity toward political calculation and to wield her considerable intellect. And removing a senator from NY, for such an appointment, would not put the demo majority at risk.

Posted by: Chris Brown on May 9, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Crabgrass,

Earl Warren never sat as a judge before his appointment as Chief Justice.

Posted by: Chris Brown on May 9, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why should my $25 donation to the Barack Obama Campaign be used to benefit the person I didn't support? Especially since Bill and herself have made a cool $100,000,000.00 in the last decade or so.

Posted by: jack fate on May 9, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

I leaned more toward Clark for VP, but Joe Buck at 1:52 makes a good case for Webb.

I don't see many good choices, politically speaking, other than Clark or Webb.

Posted by: thersites on May 9, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

What's more, Hillary can probably do more good in the Senate than she can from the veep's chair. I'd rather have her there anyway.

Let's get something straight about Hillary. Besides supporting a flag burning amendment and voting for Iraq, she has done nothing. Nor did she provide leadership against Bush during those eight years.

As for her vaunted experience, as I recall she screwed up healthcare reform for a generation; provoked a political backlash that lead to the Republican takeover; then quit.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on May 9, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

There is a good argument for making Hillary a Supreme Court justice ----- I like that idea agreat deal. But between now and then, let's make her the Senate majority leader and then insist that she stand up against the GOP. I have had about enough of Harry Reid. Decent (enough) guy but lacks the will to really stick it to the Repubs.

Posted by: Stacy on May 9, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Lemme get this straight. Hillary expects Obama to pay her back for money she loaned herself to fight him? Using money that people donated to him so he could fight her?? I'd be pretty ticked off if I were his donors.

Posted by: Big House on May 9, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Disagree with you about the dream ticket. If she can rein her embarassing behavior in, there is a good case to be made that she would be a strong asset- to take one thing, while Obama has at least trended or averaged as leading her for a long while, the lead in terms of poluar supprt has been narrow, when you think about it. That spells popularity. Hillary has been fighting Obama tooth-and-nail all the way, not fading like a lot of other competitors in both nomination races.

It's really anyone's guess how she'd turn out as a running-mate and vp.

Posted by: Swan on May 9, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Can't HRC just raise money in her Senate re-election campaign and transfer that money to pay off her Presidential campaign debt? Money for federal offices can be transfered, correct?

And Obama should select Bill Richardson as his VP.

Posted by: Expat Teacher on May 9, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Obama needs to try to unify the party, but he doesn't need to charm Hillary to do that -- he just needs to charm the base that was motivated by Hillary. Find a woman governor from a flyover state. (Too bad Granholm can't run.)

Posted by: dbomp on May 9, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

VP Bill Richardson would make me comfortable

Posted by: Matt on May 9, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

When Did BRIBERY become Legal? Imagine Huckabee paying John McCain to drop out of the race...

Posted by: Tim on May 9, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

We need a third party of non-evangelical, non-latte sipping, working class people (whio can be college educated as long as they don't take themselves too seriously) over fifty with an inclination toward thinking for themselves, as opposed to being part of a movement. I hate movements, and I certainly don't want to be part of one filled with so much ignorant hate for people who actually did live through the nineties.

Posted by: rbe1 on May 9, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

David Gergen said the other night that if Obama picks Hillary as his running mate, he better have someone to test his food - implying Hillary would poison him. While I dismiss the right-wing fables about Vince Foster's demise, etc. as the rantings of the pathologically loony, If I were Obama I sure as hell wouldn't have this harpie in the office down the hall.

Gen. Wesley Clark and Joe Biden are the only two Dems who make any sense as running mates...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 9, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Tim: When Did BRIBERY become Legal? Imagine Huckabee paying John McCain to drop out of the race...
----------------------

McCain is helping Rudy pay off his campaign debts. Bill helped Ted Kennedy pay off his debts.

This is the thing that I hate about Obama supporters. They are so damn naive about how politics works.

Posted by: Anonymous on May 9, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Paying Hillary's loans/debts would be an awful idea. It would be a betrayal of the donors, and the equivalent of a huge earmark to an oil company, with no benefit as a result. If you want to be my president, you have to be responsible with my money!

Posted by: danp on May 9, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Telling Hillary he'll nominate her to SCOTUS would be like handing her a loaded gun. She'd love to sink him and run again in 2012, but knows she can only do so if she's regarded as utterly blameless.

If Obama does the *wink, wink, nod, nod* she just has to let it slip out and the right will impale him with it.

No. No deals with the Clintons on anything. Play nice, but trust them with NOTHING. It's the political version of "The Scorpion and The Fox."

Posted by: Orange Crush on May 9, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

"first female chief justice would work."

Sorry, but we're stuck with Roberts for decades, unless God decides to call him home.

Although I think SCOTUS might be an OK place for Hillary, as a former lawyer, I would like to see it have the best legal minds in the country. Bill actually did appoint a couple of them. Bush the Lesser AND Bush the Elder apparently didn't really care WHO they put there, so I'll just be happy that they wrecked the chances of the Golden Boy Bush ever becoming Preznit (even tho Flowida does have an unseemly ability to choose who gets the Oval Office.)

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 9, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's common wisdom that Clinton will be "great in the senate" - I don't understand why. She's been there for 8 years now, and hasn't been great. If she were great she would have created real opposition to GW Bush - but she did exactly the opposite.

I'm not trying to be snarky - I'm really curious why folks think she'll be great there.

And on the SCOTUS ?

oh no ... she's way too much of a political operative, I can't see her turning it off... she can't right now ...

A writer to Sullivan wrote about her as president, but I'd extend it to any other office at this point:

Hillary's hanging on to the contest dramatically proves to me that she is unfit to be our president. It is so Bush-like, is it not? It's her Iraq. She has obviously failed, yet she keeps on just to prove she's not a quitter. Where have we heard that lately? How can we depend on her? Like Bush, she cannot admit a mistake. She can't admit failure. She is not rational. She'll take us down with her.

We need a rational president so badly. One who makes decisions based on careful consideration of all the facts and understands the real risks and likelihood of success. Hillary is running her campaign into the ground financially. Is that what we want in a president? Someone who uses fear and divisiveness to appeal to people?

Her campaign alone is a reason to vote against her.

Posted by: jackifus on May 9, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

The thing I like about Hillary on the SCOTUS is the same thing I liked about her (at one time inevitable) candidacy - that it would drive the wingnuts totally around the bend.

However, as with the presidency (spite aside), I think I'd prefer well-qualified nominees to the high court, and not just political hacks. Hillary's behavior over the past couple of months has me not terribly confident in her ability to honestly interpret anything.

Also, she's kind of old, at least for a starting SCOTUS justice. Put somebody young in there so we won't be playing russian roulette in a few years risking having a gooper president nominating a successor.

Posted by: jimBOB on May 9, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

I would not want Hillary anywhere near the SCOTUS. That's the wrong position from which to enact major policy initiatives. And frankly, I'd prefer to see someone with much more libertarian views on presidential power and Bill of Rights issues, especially given the need to counterbalance Alito/Roberts (and Scalia/Thomas, but occasionally they surprise me).

I do, however, think she'd be a much better majority leader than Reid - and I suspect she would have no problem getting the job. I've wondered for a while why the party doesn't just offer it to her in exchange for dropping out.

Posted by: Nat on May 9, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Man, some Democrats have contempt for people who have money. Maybe this may be part of the reason we can't get much traction as a party

Posted by: Darsan54 on May 9, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

how about HRC as McCain's VP?

Posted by: saxonslug on May 9, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I think the two places for Hillary are the Senate or the New York governorship. I think Bill needs to go back to his foundation, and he can do that better if he is not connected to the Executive Branch. I also think the choice of HRC as VP could make Obama look weak and produce a vehicle for undermining the way he want to run his Presidency.

I don't think she has the legal credentials for the Supreme Court -- no time as a judge or in the Justice Department, or in prosecution. Just the Rose Law Firm, which does not impress. If she is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, she's low profile, and as far as I know she has not taught law like her husband or Obama.

I also think it is bad form for a Supreme Court justice to have a husband who voluntarily gave up his law license and right to practice before the Supreme Court as a sanction for false testimony.

Another thing: I am not sure you want to go with someone of her age (61 or older next year) when you can go younger and get a longer term on the Court. She would start out older than Roberts or Alito and likely be gone before they are. Who is to tell where her replacement would stand?

The Senate may be a better fit for her nature, and she could find a long-term role to play like many of the other Democratic lions of the Senate.

New York seems like an option, as Patterson does not look like a long-term answer with his dirty laundry, and it does offer an executive level challenge.

Posted by: Threegoal on May 9, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sort of sad, now that we are watching from a "safe distance". This candidate kept themselves under tight control in order to appeal to everyone, had to compromise them self in order to be a viable candidate in the general election, yet had to ditch any pretense of principle in order to get there. Now, after all that work, after faking themselves all this way, after making all the "right friends"...John McCain will not get to be President.

Posted by: Boorring on May 9, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Really, the best choice for Barack right now is to go with someone who is even safer than Hillary- like John Kerry or Al Gore.

And we've got to remember the recent stuff Begala and Stephanopoulos have done. None of the old assumptions apply anymore.

Whoever Obama picks, he's got to take them aside and say to them, "We've got to be in this campaign to win it now. I don't care who comes to you, and what threats they make or what claims they make- we've got to be in it to win it, and not let anybody else who we don't necessarily know what their agenda is have any input on what we're going to say as part of our campaign. If anyone has said anything to you before about harming you or harming your family, you have to be ready to stand up to it now and tell them 'The answer is "no,"' no matter what kind of threats they try to pull on you, or no matter how they claim it's connected to the war on terrorism, or whatever."

Posted by: Swan on May 9, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Let's get back to the concept of Obama paying back the Clinton's the money they loaned Hillary's campaign.

Doesn't anybody smell the stink of this? Where would Obama be getting the money? From small donors sending in 25, 50 or 100 dollars to assist the dream of a new way of doing business. And he is supposed to just take those donations and use them instead to line the pockets of the Clintons? Disgusting.

Besides which, I think there is a statutory limit on how much a campaign with outstanding debts can repay loans from the candidate.

Posted by: anoregonreader on May 9, 2008 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think I'd care to have my contributions to Obama used to pay off Mrs. Clinton's extortion demands.

Posted by: Helena Montana on May 9, 2008 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary can make the money up easily in a $10 million dollar book deal. One that talks about the campaign and even scores with the press and her peers. It would make money, her first one did and she would have nothing to loose. Can someone tell me why the looser in the Democratic race still gets more press coverage than the presumptive nominee?

Posted by: aline on May 9, 2008 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't think I'd care to have my contributions to Obama used to pay off Mrs. Clinton's extortion demands."

Well, on the one hand it ain't extortion if it is offered first. That's a bribe.

On the other hand, what makes you think you have one thing to say about what your donation is really used for?

You don't. If you believe you do, you are very, very naive.

Posted by: vanderleun on May 9, 2008 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

When the primaries first began and I was about a decade younger, I thought that if Sen. Clinton got the nomination the best choise of VP would be Sen. Obama since Edwards already had had his chance. I can't see the roles reversed because there could only be two outcomes, neither good: either Sen. Clinton is given some important role in the administration and becomes a second power center or she is limited to the VP's traditional duties and her talents (and present Senate seat) are thereby completely wasted (see LBJ's or John Nance Garner's remarks about the traditional VP role!).
I think that between Clark and Webb, Clark might be the better choice as there's no sense risking any more Democratic Senate seats than need be. Are there any nonpolitical (ie, not elected) people who could add to the ticket?
And, no, Sen. Obama shouldn't pay her campaign debt. It might take a few years, but she should be able to manage it.

Posted by: Doug on May 9, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

It is so weird how democrats talk about the VP without ever mentioning the issue of who would be the best president.

My guess is that Hillary muscles her way into the VP slot and that Obama is not strong enough to say no.

Posted by: on May 9, 2008 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

I think what's interesting about the $10 million is how it ends up being used toawrds the general. If Barack pays Hillary, then he has $10 less for the general (Republicans are happy) and Hillary quits the race (again, Republicans are happy, since they are more threatened by her than him- remember all that bad media about her, and how they went after Bill during his presidency with all the investigations?). The best result if Hillary is the best choice to be the veep candidate is for her to tell Barack to keep the money and use it toward the general and for the veep offer to be inducement enough alone for her to quit her primary race now.

Posted by: Swan on May 9, 2008 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

White Harding Work person

How do you remove Roberts to make Hillary Chief Justice?

Just wondering.

Posted by: Rick B on May 9, 2008 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

I'd rather have her there anyway.

There are many Democrats in New York far more deserving of being Senate than Hillary. Nita Lowey comes to mind immediately. I'd rather have another Democrat in office than either her or Schumer for that matter.

Posted by: Randy Paul on May 9, 2008 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK
Can't HRC just raise money in her Senate re-election campaign and transfer that money to pay off her Presidential campaign debt? Money for federal offices can be transfered, correct?
As I recall, Hillary started her run for President with close to $10,000,000 that she collected for her Senate run.

Why should it be so difficult for a powerful sitting Senator to get contributions to pay herself back for her run for President? $11,500,000 is chicken feed. She's done it before.

She should run for Senate Majority leader. As I understand it, Harry Reid is not wild about holding the job. She is fully qualified for the job.

Posted by: Rick B on May 9, 2008 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

JimBOB

When you ask for someone "qualified" and "not a political hack" on the Supreme Court, remember that Earl Warren was the classic political hack. That's why he could be confirmed by the Senate.

Roberts and Scalia are eminently "qualified" to be Supreme Court Justices. The position of Supreme Court Justice is supremely political and anyone who ignores that deserves what they get.

Posted by: Rick B on May 9, 2008 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Darsan54

Crap. It isn't money that is the problem. It is conservatives who defend inherited, unearned wealth because of the power it gives them.

Individuals who inherit wealth rarely learn to create wealth. In stead the use the political power that their wealth gives them to defend that wealth, even when it means they are relegating others to personal destruction.

Such centers of inherited wealth oppose the very actions that create new wealth. That is the clear definition of conservatism.

Money itself isn't the problem. The problem is the power of inherited wealth to prevent competitors from growing up and destroying the pockets of inherited wealth. Unfortunately, that is what the economist schumpter called "Creative Destruction" and is the essence of the ability of Capitalism to create new wealth and adapt to new circumstances.

Money is not the problem. The power that inherited wealth gives old families to defend their power position is the problem.

Posted by: Rick B on May 9, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

I could go along with idea of a Clinton VP if she were given the portfolio of dismantling government support of the right wing. Put her in charge of finding all the government programs that fund right wing interest groups, industries, think tanks and systematically shut them down.

Perhaps that would interest her ... and Bill.

Posted by: Mike H. on May 9, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Rick B.

One could make the argument that Earl Warren's strident political orientation as Chief Justice laid the ground for the rightwing backlash which followed. I'm not sure whether this is a good argument, but it's not a ridiculous one.

Be that as it may, I think you and I have different notions in mind when we use the word "qualified." I'm thinking less about the the Curriculum Vitae entries and more about the ability to exercise judgment on the one hand, and the ability to sway the other justices to build winning coalitions on the other.

Judgment is something Hillary Clinton hasn't shown a great knack for, what with AUMF, keeping on Mark Penn, and going Republican as her presidential bid soured. As for persuading colleagues, I haven't seen a lot of that from her either. Justice Brennan famously used to tell his clerks that the most important thing a Supreme Court justice could keep in mind was counting to five; it takes five votes to make a SCOTUS opinion relevant to anything. Could Hillary do this? Hard to say; however her disastrous failure with the first Clinton Health Care plan doesn't bode well.

Posted by: jimBOB on May 9, 2008 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Put her in charge of finding all the government programs that fund right wing interest groups, industries, think tanks and systematically shut them down.

We are talking about the same Hillary Clinton, aren't we? I'm thinking of the one who pals around with Rupert Murdoch, had a love-in with Richard Mellon Scaife, and who is currently benefiting from an Indiana win courtesy of Rush Limbaugh. So you think she would be a good choice for shutting down the rightwing's noise machine?

Posted by: jimBOB on May 9, 2008 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

No way man, Jerry Brown in black face is going to lead us to greatness ! There's nothing left to quibble about

Posted by: jestsaynsall on May 10, 2008 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

I HAVE A MUCH BETTER IDEA – HRC, THE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE.

Based on the latest Bloomberg/LATimes national poll of all voters –taken 5/01-08 -- that has just been released, Hillary beats out both Obama and McCain. Therefore, if she does not get the Democratic Party nomination, she should RUN AS AN INDEPENDENT! And, the great thing is that, unlike "third-way" candidates of the past, she will not need to form a third party to do so as she is already the best-known candidate with a complete and well-developed platform together with an experienced campaign organization and very loyal followers and supporters. Moreover, an "independent" President who is beholden to neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party (and can therefore more easily rise above the political bickering) may just be exactly the CHANGE the country is looking for. Given, McCain has his supporters, who would crush Hillary, in the Republican Midwest. The fact is, these Republican voters would not vote for Obama either. If you have three candidates of approximately even strength, the one that ends up with the largest third wins. I'm betting that that would be Hillary as she has already demonstrated that she can win in the large blue states. If it's a three-way contest, Obama will not carry the large blue states. He might however take some of the Southern red states away from McCain with his appeal to the AA vote. Obama might also carry the elitist yuppie states --but those are small with few electoral votes. I am not politically informed enough to know what would happen if no candidate in the GE wins a majority of the electoral votes -- but I'm convinced that Hillary has the best shot at it.

Posted by: Erika S on May 10, 2008 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

I HAVE A MUCH BETTER IDEA – HRC, THE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE.

Based on the latest Bloomberg/LATimes national poll of all voters –taken 5/01-08 -- that has just been released, Hillary beats out both Obama and McCain. Therefore, if she does not get the Democratic Party nomination, she should RUN AS AN INDEPENDENT! And, the great thing is that, unlike "third-way" candidates of the past, she will not need to form a third party to do so as she is already the best-known candidate with a complete and well-developed platform together with an experienced campaign organization and very loyal followers and supporters. Moreover, an "independent" President who is beholden to neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party (and can therefore more easily rise above the political bickering) may just be exactly the CHANGE the country is looking for. Given, McCain has his supporters, who would crush Hillary, in the Republican Midwest. The fact is, these Republican voters would not vote for Obama either. If you have three candidates of approximately even strength, the one that ends up with the largest third wins. I'm betting that that would be Hillary as she has already demonstrated that she can win in the large blue states. If it's a three-way contest, Obama will not carry the large blue states. He might however take some of the Southern red states away from McCain with his appeal to the AA vote. Obama might also carry the elitist yuppie states --but those are small with few electoral votes. I am not politically informed enough to know what would happen if no candidate in the GE wins a majority of the electoral votes -- but I'm convinced that Hillary has the best shot at it.

Posted by: Erika S on May 10, 2008 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

Several comments/questions generated by this post and comment section:

Hold your friends close and your enemies closer: why do you think Obama being alpha dog to Bill and Hillary would diminish his stature in the WH? He could take credit for having Bill's errand boy projects on diplomatic missions while still having enough separation for any skirt chasing problems, and Hillary could be delegated enough makework to keep her mouth shut.

Who are these good, solid VP choices out there that would bring more to the ticket than Hillary? I don't know who they are, and it seems to me the first requirement of an administration is to get itself elected with as solid a mandate as possible.

I strongly agree with Zathras upthread [as I almost always do} about the unseemliness of the money grubbing by a former President. In recent memory Newt Gingrich was forced to give back a $4 million advance on a real book, as opposed to Hillary's cut and paste projects, and even Saint Ronald was strongly criticised for taking $$$millions for speeches rather than laundering it through some high falutin foundation... Maybe there ought to be a windfall profits tax to discourage the practice. Barack could make VP Hillary the pointman on the project.

Posted by: loki the michief maker on May 10, 2008 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

One of my profound points got deleted from my last entry: Hillary wants Obama to help retire her debt, not forward the $25 contributions from college students. A couple of cocktail parties on K Street between now and Inauguration Day would get the job done.

Posted by: loki on May 10, 2008 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

TIME ran a cover early in 1968 touting a GOP dream ticket of Rockefeller and Reagan. Talk about politics and strange bedfellows...

I'm personally favor Webb or Clark, but one dark horse guy who's interesting is Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. There's a 2006 NYTimes online article available, plus a 2004 David Sirota article from Washington Monthly.

Posted by: bluestatedon on May 10, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I think I agree with your analysis about picking Clinton as VP being a sign of weakness.

After all, if Obama can't handle Hillary Clinton, how can he handle (insert scary foreign bogeyman here)?

Posted by: Jim D on May 10, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Obama-Richardson looks awfully good to me -- as does Hillary on the Supreme Court.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on May 10, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

I know: Obama should announce that he's recruited Howard Dean to select a running mate.

Then Howard Dean should come back in a week and say:"I pick me!"

Posted by: Joey Giraud on May 10, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the supreme court, I hope everybody can keep their eyes on the ball and make sure that the democratic nominee get elected.

Posted by: little old jim on May 10, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: xanax on May 11, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's perffect VP is Al Gore. He has gravitas, He's done the job before, has experence reorganizing government,was right on Iraq and the internet, has demonstrated an ability to make gobs of money in the private sector, has a solo issue he feels passionate about and has very little moral baggage. Sounds like a perfect fit to me.

Posted by: aline on May 11, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Once upon a time I believed in the political system and had great excitement of the prospects of Hillary Clinton being the next president. After my votes were stolen in Florida and the press hounded Hillary to quit week after week, I finally gave up. It will be a snowy day in Florida before I ever vote for Osama Obama, the clueless. We can't handle another four years of another idiot president. Between Howard Dean, the fools in Tallahassee and Obama, I'm going Independent as are most of my friends. Obama wont get my vote or anyone else I know. Lets see him smooth talk himself into the White House. God help us all. I'd rather see McCain in the White House first.

Posted by: exdemo on June 14, 2008 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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