This was a poignant moment in 2008. Just before the Februrary Wisconsin primary, Hillary Clinton was making an election eve appearance. The nomination was already getting away from her and T and I were starting to switch to Barack Obama in our minds, though we would vote for her the next day out of lingering loyalty, knowing it wouldn't make much of a difference. On a cold, nasty night we turned out with thousands of other people at the Monona Terrace to hear her speak. She was electrifying.
Hillary has now been the most admired American woman for a total of 16 years, more than Eleanor Roosevelt, who led the list for 13. Will she add her unique excitement to the Democratic ticket in 2012 as a vice presidential candidate? Robert Reich thinks she will, writing on his website My Political Prediction for 2012: It’s Obama-Clinton.
My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.I think it's potentially a great idea, although it doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense today, but I could see it happening before or at the convention.
So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.
Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.
Today Obama looks pretty secure and the Republican field looks like a collection of fools. But if there's anything recent events have shown, today's reality is not likely to be tomorrow's. There's still a good chance that economy will tank dramatically, the Iran situation could blow up, oil prices could spike, China's economic woes could have major impact on the world economy -- in short, there could be a lot of bad stuff out there completely out of President Obama's control that could affect his electability. At the same time, whatever Biden brought to the ticket in the past wouldn't help much in this scenario.
In a choice between what might then be an unpopular incumbent through little fault of his own and a lousy Republican alternative, the opportunity to elect the first woman VP might tip the balance. If so, this would show up in polling at the time, and that might encourage Obama to take this step. It's not as if changing the VP is unheard of for Democrats. FDR did it twice.
Hillary may well want to retire from politics after the 2012 election, as she's said. That doesn't mean she wouldn't accept if asked for the good of the ticket. And, yes, it would give her a good shot at 2016. And 12 years of Democratic incumbency would give us a chance to fix SCOTUS and a lot of other things.
On the other hand, if the economy and world situation improve, rather than getting worse, there's little need for this to happen and it probably won't.