Duty calls us. We love to speculate. Political gambling comes with citizenship.
Now that the verbal jibes and donkey kicks of the primary campaign have ended up in file folders for future reference, it's time to take one last look at Hillary Clinton as Obama's potential running mate. Imagine not a dream ticket, but one that promises accountability and dependability to change politics in Washington.
Here are reasons why an Obama-Clinton ticket may be the best we can hope for at this time in our history:
1. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton became linked at the hip in the democratic primary, and it was their battle against each other that regenerated voting participation and hope in the American voter. The battle created the magic that we saw or felt during the primary. It was the battle itself that promised to fix America after Bush. The country needs that magic intensified to turn the corner in Washington politics, so Washington can put an end to opportunistic and band-aid solutions.
2. Is Hillary the only candidate who can help Obama turn the corner? Not at all. But who else on the shortlist is better? Picking a candidate to win a state belongs to the old way of doing politics. Choosing a candidate that deflates or challenges the platform of change seems regressive. Candidates such as Daschle, Nunn, Bayh, Kaine and even Biden and Sebelius have not excited the ticket. In the course of her primary campaign, Hillary Clinton transformed into a better politician, a woman who seemed to grow a small third ear that heard the needs of the average American, especially of women. Her problem was reaching that stage too late.
3. Are there other choices? Better choices? Sure. But most of them haven't emerged as possible candidates. Some risks are better left for brighter days. Two mainstream politicians, however, do come to mind: Barbara Boxer and Bill Richardson. Both seem realistic choices able to generate excitement because of their potential to embrace the kinds of starter changes America needs and Obama promises. Either of these two might surpass Clinton's appeal.
4. Secondary reasons for an Obama-Clinton ticket include dramatically decreases the "I told you so" finger pointing should Obama's administration fail to make good on its promises to the voters. In addition, Clinton has inside information that could prove useful in cleaning up Washington. Finally, although I don't agree with Clinton supporters who argue that the Democrats can win if and only if Obama chooses Clinton as his running mate, I do think choosing Clinton will give groups such as PUMA incentive to campaign for Obama in the general election.
Obama is about to make his first crucial political decision that applies to his upcoming administration, that of picking his running mate. We may all be surprised by his final choice. And I hope he does surprise us by picking someone who can help fix an America that wobbles dazed and confused after its work-over by the Bush administration. This time we can't afford to settle for just a new bunch of political managers running around trying to satisfy either small groups of lobbyists or all political sides. We need a team willing to turn Washington upside down for repair and updating. If anything needs scrutiny and surveillance right now, it's the political machine in Washington and not ordinary citizens. The running mate should re-enforce Obama's vision and be willing and able to apply it and continue it under ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.
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