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Look At It This Way

James takes a whack at my critique of the anti-unity ticket argument:

The issue from which we can run but not hide is that Hillary Clinton is unsuitable — as a matter of judgment about her personality, her being, her character, her selfhood, her identity, her her — for high office.

Well, okay, but if we started excluding people from consideration for VP just because they are unsuitable for high office, we would rapidly run out of options.  But James really starts undermining his cause when he paints scenarios such as this one:

She is almost ideally suited to the attack robot role as well. During a Vice Presidential debate, no doubt, large long green claw-tipped tentacles would emerge from somewhere behind Clinton’s podium, curl around poor Mitt Romney with a sickening shlurrrp,and guide his dazed, poison-paralyzed body toward the huge bristling maw of teeth that viewers would suddenly discover had displaced Clinton’s human body onstage.

Is this supposed to discourage the idea of selecting Clinton for VP?  Not only would it liven up those Vice Presidential debates, but I think Clinton’s public image might really improve if people began to think of her as a bristling maw of teeth instead of the calculating wife of a former President that they take her to be right now.  Her supporters often say that the public doesn’t know the real Hillary–this would be their chance to get to know her.  James says that it would show sound judgement if Obama chose Clinton, “assuming that politics is a filthy sinkhole into which anyone with the thinnest hope of serving their country must hurl themselves with maximum passion and in which they must wallow about with minimum compunction.”  Yet that is more or less what politics is, and I must say that James has defined it very thoroughly.

James keeps going:

But it seems to me quite plain that caving in to a Clinton on his ticket would reveal a fatal weakness in Obama’s whole rationale as a candidate.  Actually, let me strengthen that point: it would be anegation of his purpose on planet Earth.

Again with the language of capitulation and surrender!  Why is it “caving” when he brings his rival into the fold?  Isn’t that a demonstration of control, strength, and command?  To use a pop culture reference that I’m sure James can appreciate: he is Roslin; she is Zarek.  There’s simply no way to look at such an alliance and see it as a concession on his part to include her.  Think of it, Clinton-haters: she will become his lackey, his gofer to be sent on trivial tasks to the Senate and forced to linger at second-rate diplomatic venues and assigned some symbolic but ultimately meaningless “task force” or “council” where she will take soundings and brings reports back to him that he will ignore as he crafts his agenda with Secretaries Lugar and Hagel and cuts her out of the loop again and again.  Just imagine–the Vice Presidency once more reduced to its laughable shadow of real power, an office fit only for mockery and electoral runners-up. 

Besides, is Obama’s “new politics” really so fragile, so orchid-like that it cannot withstand the harsh climatic conditions of the pestilential fog that is our political atmosphere?  Is the rationale for his candidacy so wafer-thin that it cannot endure a tactical alliance with That Woman?  Would he, in fact, poof out of existence if he were to choose her as his running mate?  If there is anything worth supporting in Obama’s “new politics,” it seems to me that the answers to all of these questions must be no.

James entitled his post, “Bury Hillary,” but, as James understands only too well given his evident familiarity with the lore of the undead, burying the creature simply delays the inevitable until it re-emerges and works its revenge in the sequel.  In that light, it may be best not to make her  angry.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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