Never have I been more relieved to be proven wrong (except when my son arrived and destroyed my previous notion that I was good for nothing). In my last post on Obama – I had predicted he would not secure the democratic nomination. It is old news now – but he made it. And in time too…cos he and Hillary were going all guns blazing at each other, resulting in a very nervous Dem party HQ. As is so easily accepted in politics – almost overnight, after Hillary conceded victory to Obama, they became best friends. Apart from the “fist pump” (which I think he reserves for his wife) they hugged and kissed and made up (not ‘out’…thankfully). He called her an “amazing woman” and she called him a “great leader”. Naturally this camaraderie set tongues wagging about the most logical future for this partnership. Faster than one could say “Running Mate” – Hillary was announced as the best possible candidate for the post of the “Veep”.
He didn’t deny it outright – nor did she rule out the fact that she could be working under her former adversary. People loved it… for obvious reasons. Their fan clubs were mutually exclusive – with Obama appealing to people of color and the young – while older women and blue collar workers preffered Hillary. This alliance would get both of these factions together – “doubling” Obama’s chances of becoming president. I have to admit that they also look “good” together…both with easy effectual personalities – quick with a smile or a smart remark. They would be like Bonnie & Clyde or Moulder & Scully…just imagine the sensationalist tabloids going overboard with the sexual tension…my my – the White House would look more and more like a Hollywood ensemble…as it really is. On a more practical front Hillary would bring the “grey hair” and the practicality – which Obama purportedly lacks. The Vice President has been historically chosen as someone who “completes” the president. (If that is true the Dick Cheney must be Superman…) So Hillary fits the Bill perfectly. (No pun)
So the public is salivating with expectation, starry-eyed newspaper editors are glued to their seats with one finger hovering over the “Send” button. But – no announcement. Instead there is some migraine inducing talk about Virginia gov Tim Kaine and Joe Biden (isn’t he tired of losing?) and even magnate, NYC mayor and ex-Republican (?) Michael Bloomberg as potential candidates for Vice President. I was watching Anderson 360 this morning – and there was only one topic of discussion. Why in the blazes are they not announcing Hillary as the running mate for Obama? After all she comes with a free ex-president in tow. And I believe therein lies the problem.
Billary is probably the most famous couple after Brangelina (and Dictoria). The world watched with amazement as Hillary forgave her husband for his very public indiscretions…and continued to “stand by him”. Their story is one of courage and sacrifice – and has enabled both to sell books worth millions. The other day Bill was asked by some intrepid reporter “When you look back at Hillary’s campaign – do you feel any regret or realize that you could have supported her differently?” Bill replies in his trademark cool school teacher way “…there are more important issues to focus on right now…but let me tell you that I am not a racist and have made no racist comments about anyone.” – an obvious remark about the dirty fight between Obama and Hillary. But what is more interesting is the amount of screen time and mindshare that this small remark got from the media, analysts and the newspapers. Billary is probably more loved by the media than Obama. If Hillary becomes running mate for Obama – though it would look good on paper – she and her husband will “suck out all the oxygen” from the race – leaving Obama gasping for breath. They are just too visible – too high profile.
Obama is the star. And he needs to maintain that visibility he has worked so hard for. I don’t see him jeopardizing that for an excellent running mate like Hillary. To put it in other words – the Democrats need just one star to guide them to victory…another brighter one would just confuse everyone. Obama will be better off choosing someone with a low profile – but with the experience to further silence the sceptics.
Does this mean Hillary will have no more a role to play in the Democratic campaign for presidency? Of course not! She can still support Obama – continue hugging and kissing him and calling him a “Great Leader” – people love her, and will continue to do so even if she is not Veep. Barrack Obama has gained tremendous mileage in a very short time – and is converting sceptics every day. But the race is far from over. The last poll pegged his popularity only 3 percentage points higher than McCain – and the new Republican TV ads which compare Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are actually working (trust Americans to make that association with ease!). He can do with all the help he can get – and what better help than Billary as his supporters. As long as they let him hog the limelight.
P.S.: Hope I am proven wrong again!