THE BLOG
09/17/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dear Barack: The Veep Choice That Could Shock the World

Dear Barack,

If you truly want to electrify the country with your Vice Presidential choice, I've got two words for you: Choose Hillary.
I realize you're never going to do this, because it runs contrary to your play-it-safe nature, overdetermined nature, but let me offer my rationale.
1. It's a Display of Strength
As a political gesture, it's essentially Lincolnian in nature. You're saying to the world: I'm secure enough to make my central rival into my partner -- my junior partner. It's a way of co-opting her, rather than allowing her (and her husband) to be perceived as waiting in the wings for your failure. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, capiche?
It also shows that you have the courage to take a chance, to ignore the droning pundits. Oddly enough, it would be so surprising as to make you look like a maverick.
2. It Makes Sense Strategically
On a practical level, nominating her will insure the fierce loyalty of the 18 million folks who voted for her. It's the surest way to harness the massive potential energy of her partisans. And to appeal to the millions of "undecideds" who remember the Clinton era as one of peace and prosperity.
3. She (and Bill) Will Make Incredible Attack Dogs
None of this John Edwards French poodle stuff. They'll tear the stuffing out of McCain and his second-ran. And give you the space to set out your positive agenda.
4. She Is Ready to Lead
In announcing her as your choice, you should stress one point: she is the most qualified candidate you could find. Not only will this make you look upright and gallant, but it addresses the underlying concern about your inexperience. Whatever might be said about Hillary, it's accepted that she's a pro.
5. Catharsis
Hillary may have gotten hammered for saying so out loud, but she's right. Her true believers want catharsis. They want a sense that her historic candidacy has been validated. And that the two of you have made up, and joined forces. The pundits will mutter complaints, but because this option has been virtually eliminated in people's minds, the overall reaction will be ecstatic. Hillary's presence at the convention will be triumphant, rather than aggrieved.

My advice would to withhold naming a VP selection until the convention itself, and to nominate her on live TV, during primetime. Can you imagine how insane the energy will be if you show the guts to do this? To stand on-stage and tell the nation, "I have thought long and hard about who the most qualified candidate for Vice President is, and there is no question in my mind that her name is Hillary Rodham Clinton." As a piece of theater - and the political conventions are nothing but, at this point - it can't be topped.

Hoping you'll ditch the script & write your own ticket,
Steve