Monday, January 09, 2012


In The New York Times today, Bill Keller takes more than thirteen hundred words to say something you could text to a friend at a red light, if you and your friend were both idiots: swap Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. It's a dumb idea, it's not remotely original -- and, beyond that, Keller's reasons range from the arguable to (mostly) the incontrovertibly wrong:

... the arguments in favor are as simple as one-two-three. One: it does more to guarantee Obama's re-election than anything else the Democrats can do. Two: it improves the chances that, come next January, he will not be a lame duck with a gridlocked Congress but a rejuvenated president with a mandate and a Congress that may be a little less forbidding. Three: it makes Hillary the party's heir apparent in 2016. If she sits out politics for the next four years, other Democrats (yes, Governor Cuomo, we see your hand up) will fill the void.

Let's take #2 first. Why would he be rejuvenated by having his first decision as the 2008 nominee second-guessed for years until pressure from the media led him to reverse it? And how does he get a "mandate" out of this? We all know what qualifies a president for a mandate in the eyes of Republicans: an "(R)" after one's name. These people wouldn't hesitate to block everything Obama wanted if he won 49 states -- and yet their last president, George W. Bush, governed as if he had a mandate even after losing the popular vote by half a million votes and needing the Supreme Court and Brooks Brothers rioters to secure his victory. Really? The next Congress is going to be "less forbidding"? Because Hillary's on the ticket? Is Keller forgetting that Republicans hated Hillary from 1992 until the moment in 2008 when it became clear that touting her might be the best way to throw sand in the Obama gears?

That gets us to #1. Right-wingers stopped attacking Hillary four years ago (after years of vitriol, and after ganging up to attack her in the late-2007 debates) because she became useful as a stick to beat Obama with; to some extent, she still serves that purpose. If she's on his ticket, that ends overnight. She's going to become another America-hating, sixties-linked socialist peacenik who doesn't put America first. Do you think they can't re-tarnish her? They have about 15 years' worth of material. Why assume they couldn't get some of it to stick yet again?

And as for #3: Assuming she still wants to be president, why would she want to be Nixon in 1960 when she could be Nixon in 1968? Sure, being VP makes you the preemptive front-runner for the nomination, but it also makes you a likely loser (Nixon '60, Humphrey '68, Gore '00) -- whereas being out of government service for a while worked out quite well for a lot of recent aspirants (Eisenhower '52, Nixon '68, Carter '76, Reagan '80). So she may as well write a book and chill than spend four years butting heads with Republican congressional sociopaths, which is probably harder than dealing with Ahmedinejad and Daddy and Junior Kim.


Betty Cracker said...

Correct on all counts. I've seen this sad trial balloon floated all over the place. Why? Maybe they just miss the 2008 drama since the 2012 GOP clown FAIL parade is so tedious...

Tom Hilton said...

The whole idea is crazy, except from the perspective of journalists who wish there were some drama on the Democratic side.

c u n d gulag said...

Bill Keller just likes to show that he can be just as tone-deaf and insipid as any other punTWIT.

And we wonder how the NY Times got David Brooks, Ross Douthat, and, for an interminable year, Bill Kristol?

Does he actually write this shit, read it, and go, "Yeah, THAT sounds smart, insightful, and witty!"?


BH said...

This BS also assumes that Joe Biden is merely a pawn, to be shuffled around at will. That may be, but I doubt it. I have the notion that O relies on him more than may be apparent.