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Amitai Etzioni's Original Post from February 14, 2008:
Amitai Etzioni and Hillary Clinton.
Rahm Emanuel, where are you when we need you? It is time for the elders of the Democratic Party, especially those not committed to either Clinton or Obama, to get off their duff (while staying on the fence) to figure out the best way to end the intra-Democratic contest. Even if Obama continues to garner a majority of the delegates, Clinton will be left with a substantial number of delegates committed to her. Such situations tend to lead to prolonged and bitter conflicts. As the Republicans are unifying around their candidate, it is time to float ideas to end the Democratic contest.
If Hillary does somehow manage to marshal a solid majority, without such a tricky and unsavory maneuver as relying on the disqualified delegates of Florida and Michigan, she can offer Obama the vice presidency. He is young enough (and would benefit from even more seasoning) to be able to plan to run another day on his own. In contrast, given that she is much closer to the end of her political career, and that this job is often largely ceremonial, it is hard to imagine that Hillary would agree to serve as Obama's VP.
Instead, Hillary would make a fine secretary of state -- a very important and powerful job. Moreover, making a clear commitment to choose her for this position would add much to Obama's appeal, given that his experience in foreign policy is particularly short. (The main difficulty is how to make such a commitment in a way that it cannot be revoked. Since Obama would hardly be inclined to start his term by violating a commitment he made on national TV and during the nominating convention, such a commitment could be taken as an almost sure thing.)
Most important, it is best for the Democrats, and ultimately for the country as a whole, that the intra-Democratic contest not be dragged-out and further embitter whole segments of the voters. The time is now for floating ideas about the best ways to end the contest so that when the time is ripe, the candidate with the highest number of delegates can find ways -- which have been previously aired -- to unify the party and to focus for on the real showdown.
Amitai Etzioni is the founder and director of the Communitarian Network and author of The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in a Democratic Society (Basic Books, 1996).