We hear musings that some leading Democrats would like to see the president drop Joe Biden and pick Hillary Clinton to be his running mate in 2012. For the president, this would be a great choice to energize his party and reach out to swing voters looking for a grownup voice in Washington. If Obama is truly intent on switching Veeps, Clinton is really his only choice – can you imagine the anger of Hillary’s supporters if she gets passed over again? But assuming nothing moves until everyone is in agreement, we just don’t see this dream getting to inception.
There’s not much upside for Clinton to hitch her wagon even closer to the president during a second term. The vice presidency carries a nominal promotion, but a smaller portfolio and a bigger risk of becoming stale for Clinton. Six years from now, Hillary Clinton, if she stays put, would still be a viable candidate for the top job, and with more experience, too. In 2016, Clinton could claim the Oval Office as the most battle-tested Democrat available on both domestic and foreign issues. Staying at State gives her the option to distance herself (or jump early) if a second Obama term heads south. If Team Obama doesn’t make it past 2012, being the V.P. candidate would be a glaring eyesore on Clinton’s campaign resume.
Then there’s always the question that seems to be prompting all these folks to chirp about changing the ticket in the first place: If the president is asking about rearranging the chairs, Clinton should consider that the voters might like an entirely new ship come 2012.
Ford O’Connell and Steve Pearson are the co-founders of CivicForumPAC.