Thursday, May 8, 2008

More on the "Unity Ticket" at TNR

It looks like The Stump at The New Republic is putting up the opinions of various writers on the idea of a Obama-Clinton ticket... the first two, Alan Wolfe and Ed Kilgore, are pretty compelling.

None of this ought to be said if Obama chose Clinton only because he is black and she is a woman. But these are the two most talented politicians the Democrats have, one, as it happens, adept at the high road, the other at the low. It is also the case that both have genuine leadership abilities. The Democrats could use identity politics to move beyond identity politics. The country would be better off for it.

Symbolism aside, Hillary Clinton would bring some tangible political assets to the Democratic ticket. Even if you dismiss her relative strength in the primaries among white working-class voters, older voters, Appalachians, or Catholics as ephemeral or irrelevant to a general election campaign, there is simply no denying her personal and positive appeal to professional women and Latinos, with whom she has generated as much excitement as Obama has among younger voters and African-Americans. She would also bring some national security street cred to the ticket, which is an Obama vulnerability that I suspect is being underappreciated at the moment.

If the unity ticket is going to happen, it ought to happen as early as possible. We need to put the nomination contest behind us, and get on with the task of ending the Bush Era once and for all.

I've never been convinced of the prospects of working class whites voting en masse for HRC in the fall, as they've not been strong Democratic supporters for a while... but I certainly have been concerned about older women, and how much resentment they might harbor for Obama... but Kilgore also brings up a good point about Hispanics. Those are two groups we need to be healed and brought back into the fold and it's worth considering a Hillary Clinton vice presidency as the proper means to accomplish that.

Of course, for this to be remotely plausible Hillary Clinton is going to have to start backing off... which it's not entirely clear she is going to do.

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