Let me be clear, there will be no change to the 2012 Obama-Biden ticket unless polls in July show that the president has lost significant strength in 13 swing states.
Those swing states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin -- all considered too close to call for the November election. (Several the above states are not listed as "toss ups" at the Huffington Post 2012 Dashboard, including Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.)
Obama has already lost strength in one key swing state -- Florida. A recent Quinnipiac University poll released showed Romney now besting Obama 47 percent to 41 percent among likely Florida voters.
So it's time to ask why would President Obama ask Hillary Clinton to be his vice presidential running mate, and transfer Joe Biden to Secretary of State. I suggest 10 reasons:
1. "The Agony of Defeat." Barack Obama won't accept being the first African American to win the presidency and to lose re-election. He's a cautious and deliberate political practitioner. While a risk taker, he won't risk a loss in November. It's out of the question. Hillary Clinton's stratospheric favorability ratings (65 percent versus Joe Biden's 41 percent) and her core following guarantees an emboldened campaign, unlimited funds, an army of volunteers, and in Obama's mind, an insured victory.
2. "War on Women II." The carefully choreographed "War on Women" that hovered over the GOP primary season can be brought back in full force. In April, Obama held a 49 percent share among women, with Romney at 43 percent. The latest CBS/New York Times poll shows Romney leads with 46 percent, and Obama trailing at 44 percent. Hillary Clinton restores Obama's core constituency and enables a renewed negative campaign against Romney focused on women's issues.
3. "Occupy Supreme Court." With the likely rebuke by the Supreme Court of Obamacare, and dozens of other key decisions that have enraged Obama and the Democrats, the President wants control of the Supreme Court. One more justice with the ideological slant of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, and Obama will move the Court for a generation to his side on prime social issues. By setting the stage for Hillary Clinton's presumed run for the presidency in 2016, he increases the odds that, together, they'll determine the next two to three Supreme Court justices.
4. "Progressive Succession -- Pass the Baton." In the later part of the last century the "feminist revolution" followed the rise of "Black Power." Obama understands history. It would be appropriate that the first black president would create the political environment for the first woman president in U.S. history -- a natural historical succession.
5. "Memories, Previous Prosperity." Hillary Clinton would provide the incumbent president cover for a sluggish, lethargic economy and monstrous deficits. Former President Bill Clinton is associated with several years of a booming economy and, several balanced budgets that yielded surpluses.
6. "Divert Attention Overseas." President Obama's war on terrorists has been robust and relentless. Drones patrol over Asia and Africa. He 'terminated' Osama Bin Laden. He withdrew U.S. combat troops from Iraq. Unlike the economy, he knows these are his tangible victories. She has served as his Secretary of State, and symbolizes his overseas achievements.
7. "Wag the Tail 2012." We should expect an international crisis or two before Election Day. It could be Israel taking threatening military steps against Iran. Having the former Secretary of State as a running mate would ease the stress of a worried electorate. Especially if Mitt Romney chooses a vice presidential candidate with strong fiscal credentials and little foreign policy experience.
8. "Trending, Women Presidents." Obama wants to be on the side of history, part of his legacy. There's a worldwide phenomena of women winning national leadership -- in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Europe. Women hold top leadership positions in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, India, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, and Thailand. Hillary Clinton would be America's first woman vice president.
9. "Rock Star Ticket." With her loyal following, high favorability ratings, and a former president husband stumping on the campaign trail, the media would devour the dream ticket for the final three months remaining in the 2012 presidential campaign. Matched with negative ads against the GOP ticket, an Obama-Clinton ticket would dominate the media. The vice presidential debate would be as anticipated as the first Obama-Romney televised debate. Romney's would be media challenged.
10. "Lame Duck Legacy". Finally, if he wins, Barack Obama's inauguration will be his last. He's a lame duck president almost immediately. But the programs and policies he's instituted in his first term -- especially health care reform, even if rejected by the Supreme Court -- will survive if he empowers his successor. It won't be 'four more years'. It could be 12 more years, if Hillary Clinton manages to win two terms as president. That's domination, and that's legacy.
So, the scenario is set. President Obama will avoid replacing his vice president at all costs. If he must, he'll spin it as an appropriate switch, giving Joe Biden a post he's always wanted, and rewarding Hillary Clinton for service as Secretary of State.
Watch the polls in those 13 states.
For all political candidates, there is indeed no substitute for victory. Obama will do what's necessary to win
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