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1964 Race Illuminates Clinton-Obama One


Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy.

By Dan Balz
"One would have to probe deep into the nature of two enormously sensitive [people] to savor the exquisite drama that [will be] enacted between them. What [is] at stake [is] the vice presidency of the United States."

Those words -- the verb tense slightly altered here to reflect current and not past history -- were written more than four decades ago by the chronicler of presidential campaigns, Theodore H. White, to describe the tensions, jealousies and machinations that led Lyndon Johnson not to offer the vice presidency to Robert F. Kennedy in 1964.

Today they fit the unfolding drama as Barack Obama considers, under growing pressure, whether he should offer that prize to Hillary Clinton. "I understand," Clinton said Tuesday night, "that a lot of people are asking, 'What does Hillary want?'"

Only she may know the answer to that question. But what Obama wants is equally unknown -- and equally consequential for the Democrats.

For much of the campaign, Obama has played the role of Kennedy to Clinton's Johnson. Obama became Kennedy not only because he won the endorsement of Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy, but also because his campaign embodied the kind of freshness and generational change that Robert and John Kennedy's did. Clinton ran as Johnson not only because she often cited his ability to master the machinery of government but also because, like LBJ in 1960, she often seemed baffled that a younger and less experienced rival was actually winning.

Now, however, the tables are turned. Obama who finds himself in the role of Johnson, leader of the Democratic Party -- but obliged to acknowledge that Clinton, like Kennedy in 1964, represents her own constituency, her own family's political legacy and her own power base within the party.

Clinton left little doubt that she regards herself as such when she spoke to he supporters in New York Tuesday night. No one who knew her expected her to concede to Obama on the final night of the primaries, but her speech was replete with evidence that, even in her pledge to help unify the party, Clinton expects to be treated with the kind of deference accorded to a politician with unique stature and her own distinctive following.

Here is how White described Kennedy's feelings in 1964. "The Kennedy loyalists were a permanent force or element in the politics of America. Robert F. Kennedy would not mobilize them -- nor would he repudiate them. The vice presidential nomination must be offered him by the president of the United States -- and at that point, it if were offered, they could discuss the terms of their partnership."

With a nod from Clinton on Tuesday, the Clinton loyalists swung into action. Lanny Davis, the ever-present advocate, announced a petition drive to put her on the ticket. Robert L. Johnson, the billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television who was forced to apologize for a tawdry reference to Obama in South Carolina, sent a letter to Rep. James Clyburn on Wednesday morning calling on him to encourage Obama to put Clinton on the ticket.

That the Clinton constituency is, for now, a separate force within the party is without question -- as she made clear on Tuesday night. Many are women but others are part of the network that Hillary and Bill Clinton have seeded and watered and nurtured for decades. Obama now must court them, delicately, as he turns his attention to the general election.

And Obama must feel the same way Johnson did in 1964. This is how White described it: "A president must be president in his own right.... To attach a Kennedy name to his own name would mean forever sharing the title of the presidency with a ghost of the past.... If Johnson were to prove himself in a campaign for the presidency, he must prove himself alone."

Obama may never be free of the Clintons. Certainly he will not be if he selects her as his vice president. That may seem an unlikely pairing, given what appears to be a chilly personal relationship and the enormous problem of what to do about Bill Clinton. But is it any more unlikely that Jack Kennedy selecting Johnson in 1960? And, can he risk spurning her if she genuinely wants to be vice president?

Even if the so-called dream ticket never materializes, Obama and his team will be dealing with the Clintons. Will the Clintons ever give Obama the respect and deference owed the leader of the party, or will resentments at having lost the nomination to him color their attitudes and control their actions?

The former president, whose reputation has been hurt by this campaign, will have ambitions to restore his prestige. Hillary Clinton may have failed in this attempt to win the presidency, but that does not mean her ambitions to win the office have disappeared. Those factors must be in Obama's mind as he begins seriously to weigh the vice presidency.

What to do about Hillary Clinton becomes one of the first major tests for presumptive nominee Barack Obama. Johnson, in 1964, eventually called Kennedy in and told him that, while he had not made a decision about whom to select, he had decided he would not pick Kennedy. (Whether Kennedy really wanted it is a matter of dispute.)

If Obama similarly concludes he does not want Clinton, he will have to do so knowing he will disappoint may in the Clinton constituency, even if it is not clear that she wants the post. But that may be only the first of many such instances in which the sensibilities of Clinton's world collide with Obama's desires and decisions.

Obama has pulled off one of the great upsets in political history. Defeating the Clintons would never be easy, not for an established and experienced candidate and certainly not for one who first came on the national stage less than four years ago. But having done so, he will be reminded again and again of their power, their ambitions, their priorities, their disappointments.

Clinton may soon end her candidacy. But leaving the stage is not in the offing.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 4, 2008; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  Dan Balz's Take  
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Comments

People, people, people. All politicians want to get their way, and many of the strongest will stop at nothing to succeed if they think they can. This is why there's a lot of snarling between opponents in primaries. Once the primary is settled, then it becomes more about political positions and the party itself. Thus, you saw McCain's foes turn friendly and you're likely to see Obama's foes turn friendly as well.

Posted by: Jani | June 6, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I think Preston's suggestion (reproduced below) is the best. This would lead to sure reconciliation in the Democrat camp and the fall of Bushism.
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How's this? When Obama announces his running mate, he simultaneously announces that it is his strong desire that HRC will agree to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services. That way, she could have purview over health insurance and other social issues about which she feels passionately. She would be able to be far more useful to Obama and to the country than she could as VP, and it would largely finesse any real concern about Bill's potentially over-sized role in an Obama White House.

Posted by: Ernst Price | June 5, 2008 3:07 AM | Report abuse

America's so caught up in this "black president" concept. That's the only reason Obama won the primary. He's lucky to be doing the right thing at the right time. If he had run 4 or 8 years ago he'd not have even lasted for 2 months.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Funny, I can't see why Sen. Clinton would want to be the VP. If the race were lost, it would permanently finish any hope of being President for her. She'd be more powerful and influential, for longer, as Leader of the Senate for example.

Posted by: Karl | June 5, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Hillary has been nothing but a spoiler. History will record her as such. Obama's winning the 2118 delegate count to clench the nomination is a historic event given the racial divide this country has faced for the past 200+ years. Instead of letting people rejoice that moment, Hillary is giving a speach as if she is going to watch over Obama's shoulder to make sure he takes care of the 18 million people who voted for her. That is pretty pathetic. Instead she could have assured that 18 million voters that she has faith in Obama as a fellow democrat and that he will take care of them. She is 60 years old. From all her experience of 35 years she hasn't learned how to exit gracefully. The media should have been given the chance to concentrate and report on Obama's historic victory. Instead the media was forced to sympathize with Hillary.

This afternoon Hillary's camp said she will concede on Friday. This evening that changed to Saturday. Now what is she going to accomplish by postponing it for another day? I can't stand the Clinton's any more.

Posted by: Osborn | June 4, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I find this whole thing about Hillary pretty disgusting. Here we have a presidential race, a battle, which was won fair and square by Obama. Hillary is acting like a 5 year old who is unwilling to see the outcome as is. Even after it is very clear to every democrat in this country as to who won the race, Hillary is still taking the limelight. It is all about what she wants. It is not about what this country wants. She has stabbed Obama from all directions during the campaign. Her surrogates were each given a task to attack Obama's race, religion, upbringing, and just about everything one could think off. On top of that, Hillary herself gave the reason why she is sticking onto the race by giving the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. Now she is waiting for the V.P. post to be handed to her on a golden platter by Obama. She called him an elitist. How can she and her finger waging husband who stirred up unnecessary controversies of race relations look straight in the eyes of Obama and say, 'forget all that, pick Hillary as your veep'.

I think it is time for the Clinton's to vanish from the political scene until after the November elections. There is really nothing Hillary can do to help Obama. There are so many other women in Obama's camp who can rally in the women voters. There are so many supporters of Obama who can go after the voters in Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and pennsylvania.

Bye Bye Hillary.

Posted by: Gayle | June 4, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating piece, Dan. In addition to the potential problems you pose, another concern has to be the "vettability" of Senator Clinton. It's hard to believe that further exposure and public discussion of Bill Clinton's ethically ambiguous entanglements would be beneficial to the Obama campaign or to Hillary herself. Bill Clinton's issues are reason enough to pass over Hillary Clinton for the vice-president role.

Posted by: sgrAstar | June 4, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dan. An insightful and intelligent article.

And I sincerely hope that the Obama campaign reads it.

LBJ did not need RFK on the ticket to win in 1964. He figured that he needed to win on his own to have his own presidency, without the Kennedys presence taking away from it.

Similarly, BHO does not HRC to win this year. And he too needs to win on his own to have his won presidency.

And throw in the Goldwater/McCain parallels and well, you get the idea . . .

Posted by: CB | June 4, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Claiming that Obama would be replacing one novice with another makes one think the commentors either don't know the basic characteristics of either person or have a cursory grip on reality. W cannot speak intelligently, doesn't read (Tom Clancy novels aside) and is a "decider" based on his delusions of divine inspiration to his gut rather than fact. The policies resulting from these divine inspirations are the ones McCain is running to continue. If the HRC supporters believe continuing to follow W's gut is preferable to someone who shares HRC politics, one wonders to what end so many iron-jawed angels put their lives on the line. One hopes the intervening four months will allow cooler heads to prevail.

Posted by: Letice B. Senn-Syble | June 4, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

The idea of HHS secretary is laughable. She can do a whole lot more than in that position. Only Obama people are floating that idea. It'd be like LBJ giving RFK Secretary of VA or something. Ridiculous. I am a Clinton supporter, and I will support her in any decision. Obama will need to pay attention to us voters too.

Posted by: Regina | June 4, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

How's this? When Obama announces his running mate, he simultaneously announces that it is his strong desire that HRC will agree to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services. That way, she could have purview over health insurance and other social issues about which she feels passionately. She would be able to be far more useful to Obama and to the country than she could as VP, and it would largely finesse any real concern about Bill's potentially over-sized role in an Obama White House.

Posted by: Preston | June 4, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama has already proven himself. The fact that Clinton supporters don't realize this is because they do not realize that Clinton was the cause of her own loss. Not the press, not Bill Clinton and not Mark Penn. She chose to listen to Penn and her husband and she was unaccomodating to the press prior to Iowa.

Sen Obama has beaten the harder candidate of the two candidates. She started out with the political organization and the financial advantage. Obama starts out against McCain with the better campaign organization and the financial advantage. The country is in the mood for change and if all things are equal between the candidates in the minds of voters, Obama has the advantage of being a Democrat. This means there will be at least a change of the party in power. Clinton supporters who are intensely loyal may not realize what a change in Obama has occurred as a result of running against Sen Clinton. She was a tough opponent.

Dan Balz has stated the reason that Obama can not offer the VP. Her response to that snub may be to use that as an excuse to some how subvert his campaign. Although Obama needs Clinton more than Clinton needs Obama, she will not be advantaged for 2012 if she is seen as a poor loser and a cause of the defeat. Unfortunately Clinton has behaved so far the way her husband did, which means acting only in her own best interest. The question is will she ever realize that it is in her best interest to change that impression that the party does not matter and only she is important.

Posted by: Gator-ron | June 4, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I predict many of Hilary supporters(women or not)and voters who place a premium on "experience" will end up voting for McCain not because they want to sabotage the Obama campaign but because McCain,to them, is the next best thing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Why on earth would someone campaign for a candidate that was liberal and stood for ideas such as liberal Supreme Court justices, an immediate end to the Iraq War, governemnt sponsored health care, etc. All major issues that McCain has totally opposite views on.

If anyone actually does this then it would confirm they really don't have a clue what either candidate would bring to the White House.

Absolutely incredible!!

Posted by: Bob | June 4, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jacksmith | June 4, 2008 4:09 PM
p.s. I really liked Sen. Barack Obama's speech in Minnesota. I think he just maybe ready now for the Bush Republican attack machine, dirty tricks, and vote fraud machine. :-)

Does this mean YOU might be an idiot now?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

There are so many things wrong with the speech that Hillary R. Clinton gave last night. Again it is all about her. If anyone wants her to be on the same ticket, will have to accept the way she is and how she run the business and there is no other ways around. She will not forget to remind other that it is not her he is dealing with but it is her 18 million voters. What is hers remains to be hers and what is his also belong to hers. don't ever forget that. Furthermore if he wants her to be veep, he must beg her to join. Will Obama takes Clinton with those conditions. I think not. clinton may have 18 million voters but there are others that can get not 18 millions but as close to 15 or 16 millions which together will allow Obama to tackle Mc.Cain as well.

Posted by: BenOrange | June 4, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is STUNNING!!!

You have just witnessed the greatest political campaign fight in American history. One for the textbooks, and the history books. Hillary Clinton fought her heart out against all odds to win for all of the American people.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ya'll need to someday, hopefully soon, come to the bitter realization this really isn't true. If it were, she would be the nominee. She finished first on the loser's list.

She had the strong lead going into the fight. She had to fire some staff. She ran out of money. She campaigned in states that brought her fewer delegates as the winner. Obama's staff utilized a better organized and smarter strategic race. He came from way behind and beat her fair and square. Regardless of the sideshow of racism and sexism.

She lost, not as a woman, but as a candidate, to a stronger candidate. No more excuses, no more rationalizations, no more blaming anyone else. She campaigned well but was beaten. Someone loses in every election.

Why you Clinton finatics who don't want to accept this reality should have considered this before it all began. She needs to give up her fantasies of entitlement and drop her narcistic toying of the heart strings of her loyal followers. She is hardly the first candidate to lose and drop out. Its what happens to every candidate save for one. And she is the latest name to be added to that list. Nothing to be ashamed of. But we're all moving on.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Remember Joe Lieberman.He is still a Senator.
The "Ultra" left democrats decided he would be the lightening rod in Connecticut for the support given to President Bush to enter the war in Iraq. He lost the democratic nomination because the of the activities of the internet savy younger base of the democratic party(Obama was able to raise as much money as he did because of this same base.He is the first candidate to harness the power of the internet financially towards fundraising).
Eventually,Mr Lierberman won as an independent because a state-wide election is different from intra-party elections.
I predict many of Hilary supporters(women or not)and voters who place a premium on "experience" will end up voting for McCain not because they want to sabotage the Obama campaign but because McCain,to them, is the next best thing.
As some other commentator on this website stated using different language,Obama is essentially replacing a novice with another novice.
November is round the corner.

Posted by: AK | June 4, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The June Vanity Fair issue reveals that Bill Clinton is perhaps not dealing with a full deck. You really should read this piece written by the husband of former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers.

The long article is breathtaking in it's scope.

Obama cannot afford the overweight baggage that the Clintons bring to a campaign. They're poison. He must choose another person for vice president, perhaps an honorable person.

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Take a look on the newsstands later this week. The June issue of Vanity Fair magazine will feature a lengthy article by the husband of former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers.

The article reveals a whole new season of Bimbo eruptions in Los Angeles and Europe by Bill Clinton. Apparently old Bill has been quite busy in the last year, while his wife has been running for president.

Obama cannot afford this sordid couple of lawyers on his team. Drop the Clintons and do it quickly.

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

There is no doubt in my mind that Obama should NOT consider Hillary Rodham Clinton as a running mate.

The Clintons (two for the price of one) are both backstabbers and liars. They will sabotage Obama, showing once and for all that change is only a few coins in your pocket. That is all the change we'll see if the Clintons are picked as a running mate.

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Some of Hilary's looser women may go howling into the wilderness to vote for McCain. But, the vast majority of them will lift their skirts for Obama the same way they would for Billary - regardless of Barrack's V.P. choice.

Posted by: jdennis | June 4, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, now we have Caroline Kennedy and a couple of men, trying to sort out the mess that has arisen over who should be Obama's running mate.

I hope they'll take into consideration the arrogance of the Clintons, especially her graceless speech last night.

The right of entitlement that the Clintons feel is a slap in the face to every one of us.

I would warm Obama to Move On, and drop these two troublemakers.

A few days ago, she said she could not get out of the race, because, after all, Bobby Kennedy was killed in June. Now, it would appear she can't get out of the race because John Kennedy was killed in November.

I mean, just how arrogant and offensive can a couple of lawyers be?

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is STUNNING!!!

You have just witnessed the greatest political campaign fight in American history. One for the textbooks, and the history books. Hillary Clinton fought her heart out against all odds to win for all of the American people . While at the same time doing her best to prepare Sen. Barack Obama to win in November if he was the nominee. STUNNING!!! WELL DONE HILLARY CLINTON. WELL DONE! Your AMAZING! :-)

Sen. Obama could not have had a better opponent than Hillary Clinton. Nor could he have had a better opponent to prepare him for the battle royal to come against John McCain and the Republicans ahead of the November elections. Hillary Clinton was like a big Mama cat determined to teach her kitten how to hunt, and hang with the big dogs for the fights ahead.

And how about Bill Clinton, Chelsea, and th whole Clinton team. They were magnificent. They really showed their metal. BRAVO! TEAM CLINTON... BRAVO!

And how about YOU! my fellow Americans. I'm so proud of you. And proud to be one of you. You showed what you are made of. And what makes America so great. You never gave up on your Champion Hillary Clinton. Time, and time again you eagerly waited your turn to vote for Hillary Clinton. To pick her up and pass her along down the line to the rest of your fellow Americans.

You never gave up on her. Just as Hillary Clinton never gave up on you. No matter how many times they counted her out. No matter how many times they brutally knocked her down. You knew she would get back up. And you were ready to support her when she did. AMERICA LOVES A FIGHTER. AMERICA UNDERSTANDS A FIGHTER. AMERICA IS A FIGHTER. I'M PROUD OF YOU AMERICA!

Hillary said she would accept the VP spot on the ticket if ask. And I am thrilled to hear that. I think it would be crazy not to take her up on that offer. You could not have a better VP than Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is Sen. Obama's best chance of winning the Whitehouse in November. And it is essential that the democrats take back the Whitehouse.

The American people are in a very desperate condition now. George Bush has wrecked America, and much of the world.


YOU MADE US VERY PROUD HILLARY CLINTON! :-)

WE LOVE YOU...


jacksmith... Working Class :-)


p.s. I really liked Sen. Barack Obama's speech in Minnesota. I think he just maybe ready now for the Bush Republican attack machine, dirty tricks, and vote fraud machine. :-)

Posted by: jacksmith | June 4, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

What about John Edwards as a VP choice?

Posted by: DP | June 4, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Hillary should not accept the VP position, even if offered. She will be a work horse and will be blamed for all that goes wrong. Now is the time for Obama to prove himself, to show that despite no real decision making and leadership record he has what it takes and does know who he is. He will now need to debate and answer questions directly. He can not show impatience at the impertinence of the media to question his values, his plans,and how he will bring real change to DC.

Posted by: Lizfi | June 4, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

This may not seem too important today, but I have noticed that several people have eluded that the Democrat party is split in half. In reality, I think it is worse than that (for Obama).

Haven't I read some where that only the most activist voters get involved in primary elections? If so, there are a lot of Democrats who will vote in the General election that have not voted in the primaries. That said, usually the ones who vote in the primaries are more liberal, and that is why Democrats usually run closer to the center in the general. If so, Obama may have a real problem on his hands

I am not trying to pick a fight here, just food for thought. I think Obama needs Hillary on the ticket more than the Obama supporters believe.

Posted by: Bud Curtis | June 4, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

To: Mikey ("Hillary brings nothing to the ticket"
To: Adnora ("he can win without her"
To:Tony ("what does Hillary want? Who gives a flip")
To: easyenuf ("good by(sp?)and good riddance")
To: Jim in Miami ("drop the Clintons")
To: lin ("be vigilant against the Clinton spoilers")
To: JB ("Clinton supporters are fools")

In your euphoria of your man becoming the candidate, you seem to have overlooked a huge fact: You need us Clinton supporters to win. You dismiss us and you/we lose. Most of us will vote for Obama but we will do so without joy or passion. We no more get rid of one president with no experience in leadership and we turn around and put another one in. Yikes.

Posted by: nancy2222c | June 4, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

This piece is right on the money, the difference in political stature between obama now and LBJ then not withstanding,

you can add a former rival to your ticket if for the most part you disagreed on ideas , approaches e.t.c
but if they constantly questioned your very competency as leader ,questioned your abilities ,then adding them to your ticket ,is not being smart or being the bigger person,
it is not a sign of self confidence but a sign of lack of it , the only message that comes through is that yes i agree am not good enough, you should have won.

lets face it there better people out there who can do a better job of running this this country than either Hillary or obama, there is always a better person,so why should obama pick HRC and he is the one who will be on the hot seat if he wins?

is she the best or the best at playing second fiddle? no ,the answer is simply to placate her supporters.

my 2 cents is that HRC supporters should rightly vent all they want but if come november they vote for mccain then i cannot resist but categorise them as follows :

1. grudge keeping person with long memory(i would hate to offend then on a one to one personal basis)

2.childish person who after for a 200 years of a democracy is politically immature, cannot distinguish between personality and party policy/institutions

3. seriously racist person

4. a combination of the above

5.a genuinely independent or defector whose maturity of thinking between now and then has led them to the conclusion that on the balance their core values ,ideals (including choice of supreme court justices who outlast most presidents)ambitions, economic outlay e.t.c are best represented by McCain.

6. i don't know i am not a psychologist

the same applies to all obama supporters blacks included , if HRC had won it and they then end up voting for mccain .
Of course point number 3 would in such scenario stand for seriously sexist person

lets all agree whether you are an obama or hrc supporter or even a republican that "leader of the free world", the most powerful person in the world should not be someone who easily yields to ransom

if obama is for real the way he claims to be ,he should rather loose as his own man than win on someone else's name.

infact the more HRC insists to be running mate the easier it should be for obama to decline .but do it with class and firmness like lbj , leadership is not for wimps , otherwise we would all be leaders.

he has trounced one giant, surely he can do it again especially under the circumstances(Iraq,economy )

the presidency is about the presidency not not the vice presidency


Posted by: solmag | June 4, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

In 1980, Jerry Ford wanted to be Ronald Reagan's "co-president." This didn't happen, but one imagines Hillary Clinton will want the same from a Barack Obama presidency. Obama needs to reject this, put the Clintons behind him, nominate Jim Webb (Va.) and get on with defeating John McCain in November.

Posted by: biograph1985 | June 4, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Are the Clintons Sore-Losers? Having rarely, if ever lost, lost in the past do they not know how to act now?

The moving hand writes and having writ moves on.

The Clintons need to see that their time is over, their day in the sun has set.

If they fail to support, and I mean whole-heartily support, party's nominee their reputation(s) will tarnished beyond anything the GOP has tried. They will indeed be Sore-Losers!

Posted by: Roofelstoon | June 4, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

It isn't about who republicans or independents will vote for, this is about who democrats will vote for and what will bring them out in record numbers to seal the presidency for the Dems. Mr. Obama, pick the candidate for your democratic party and it's constituents and their interests not for what's across party lines!

Posted by: Kim K | June 4, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his team will make the right choice. I'm sure no one knows who it will be as of today.

Suprisingly, major media and internet commenters hardly ever get the story right on the first go-around.

Posted by: T | June 4, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh. My.

I forgot one more thing.

Last night, in the comfort of my home, watching CNN, I was hoping against hope that Hillary would take the high road and take the first shot at being a Democratic Party (and by extension This Great Nation) "uniter" and ask her supporters to join her in endorsing Barack Obama.

Didn't happen.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | June 4, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I trust the article is not serious about Hillary becoming Obama's VP. Bringing in the two Clintons would drag all the old-time politics back into the White House, completely defeating Obama's message of "change", alienating all voters who nominated him.

Obviously no Republican or Independent would vote for such a ticket, either, and no radical feminist or racist Clinton voter would vote for a male Black President anyway. The Democrats would deliver the Presidency to McCain's doorstep; he doesn't even have to campaign.

Posted by: Bodo | June 4, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

To Hillary and all the turncoat dems who would turn neocon and vote McInsane, I say:
"Nah, nah, nah, nah...nah, nah, nah, nah.. Hey -a-a-a-,
Good by...
and good riddance

Posted by: easyenough | June 4, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse


I try to imagine if HRC would pick Obama if the tables were turned.

The answer is no. So the other answer is no as well. For whatever reasons.

Someone pointed out Barack would be stuck with 2 vice presidents. That's just too much of a burden. You know, criticize Barack all you want, but he's been able to assemble a remarkable team for all 54 primaries and caucuses. If he's got the smarts to surround himself with people like that as a campaigner, I must say I feel pretty good about him as Commander in Chief, minus the Clintons.

What does Hillary want? Who gives a flip.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | June 4, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Aspergirl,
I have no idea what your background is but your posts are very insightful and interesting.

Posted by: chase123 | June 4, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse


just ask hillary about betty currie's hostile workplace/sexual harrassment nightmare, and you'll get hillary to back off and fade away quietly.

Posted by: KenFromCalifornia | June 4, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Can someone with an iota of intelligence and a whit of common sense explain why anyone supporting the Clinton platform would trash their own deep personal beliefs to vote for a Neo-Con? Did I miss the day Clinton renounced liberal politics? Platitudes on the net effect of revenge and hate come to mind. Let not your personal theme song for the next four years be "Who's Sorry Now."

Posted by: Letice B. Senn-Syble | June 4, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Even with Hillary on the ticket Obama will tank in Novemeber.

He has already gone against everything he said. He is just a con man hypocrite selling snake oil.

Tank, tank, tank...!

Posted by: William Phillips | June 4, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I can hear the grief and the upsetting comments after the election 08, just like in Nov 04. The wrong candidate was chosen again... and it also wasn't Hillary.

JRR

Posted by: JRR08 | June 4, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Obama had better pick Hillary as vp and fast. I don't think that Obama can win a general election without her."

That may be true but Obama's the kind of guy that everyone respects but who is dominated by a woman. Clinton would psychologically dominate Obama and Michelle can't have that.

Also, Obama doesn't really have a clue what his beautiful rhetoric means in terms of specifics and implementation details, like Bush going in to the Iraq War. Obama wouldn't be able to understand most of what Clinton would try to do, if she tried to do anything, and he'd lack intelligent control over her. The inexperienced who get power too early have to keep careful control over those around him who they give power to, especially if they're professional competitors whose functional, technical know-how blows away their own.

You don't have to be a student of Machiavelli to realize that Obama has no plan and no clue how to implement the vague words of his rhetoric of change and good government, and so having Clinton around would undermine him and set him up for being seen as a weak tool of a strong lieutenant, like Bush and Cheney. The "Protean" narrative of his historic legacy would drain away with Clinton doing all the actual work and barely consulting with him and showing him up. To secure his place in history with the narrative he wants, he has to surround himself with sycophants and servants of his central place in the story.

Meanwhile, Pelosi and Reid will be running the country with a Democratically-controlled Congress, while Obama gives the beautiful speeches and the appearance of vision. But the Pelosi and Reid-run country setup won't work with a wonky, interfering and micromanaging VP thrusting herself into the picture endlessly.

Even if they work out the political details, the fundamentals of who Obama is as a politician, his psychological vulnerability to dominating women, and the whole setup that makes his role as an inspiring face man toeing the party line, is unworkable with a Hillary Clinton on the scene. A man like Obama can't have a woman like Clinton as a VP.

Posted by: AsperGirl | June 4, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama will make a wise decision and not be strong armed by the Clintons. He can win without her, and he might be a far more independent and effective leader without her.
The comparison to LBJ back when I was a youngster does bring back memories.

Posted by: Adnora | June 4, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The only way Obama could be an effective president with Hillary as VP is if he makes it clear she'll be at arms length -- her main office would need to be her Senate president's office, not in the White House or EOB, and Bill would need to have no more access to the white house than any other senate spouse.

But even that is scary and unworkable. Better that he make a deal with her now that gives her a position of responsibility outside the White House (AG?, HHS Secretary?). Then he can choose a VP like Nunn, Bayh, or Webb who brings along the same missing constituencies without the baggage.

Posted by: Novanglus | June 4, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary wants to be VP, then Obama is going to have to pick her. Obama already has a tough sell job to 1/2 of the democrats in America. He can smooth it over by choosing her, or he can tell her to go to hell and get trounced in the general election.

Who knows maybe she will force him to pick her and then she will decline, that would be hilarious.

Posted by: DCDave | June 4, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The true test of a leader is to surround himself with people with skills that s/he does not have, so the team can be as best as it can be. Just to surround yourself with people you are comfortable with then it is the beginning of a 'yes, sir' and run the risk of having a mediocre team.

Personally, I would rather see her run as an Independent or registered legally in all states so that her supporters can write her in. Even if she does an excellent job for Obama, she still runs a high risk of not be appreciated or rewarded fairly as proven by her party, the media and his supporters throughout this election.

Posted by: vote4thebest | June 4, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I has been well documented that while JFK offered the VP slot to Johnson he never expected him to accept it and was totally surprised when he did.

Obama has a challenge. If he offers the VP slot to Clinton and she accepts then how does he manage her (and Bill) so his Presidency is truely HIS Presidency. The best Obama can hope for is that he offers it and she turns it down. Remember, John Garner (32nd VP) was most noted for saying the vice presidency wasn't worth "a warm bucket of spit," although reporters allegedly changed the spelling of the last word for print.

Posted by: Tom 95134 | June 4, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I hope Obama extends Senator Clinton the invitation for the VP slot - and I hope she declines. She is far too smart, has too much to offer to play second fiddle to the orator with no substance.

She can serve the country much better by continuing in the Senate.

Posted by: Karol | June 4, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The last thing President Obama will need is a Dick Cheney type VP. With Hillary he'll get two.

Posted by: Caspar Fomalhaut | June 4, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The olive branch has been offered. Obama can end the drama with one phone call. As much as his half of the party might like to think so, it's not all about him. He can unite the party, or he can ignore 18 million voters in major states and roll the dice on his own reputation (or ego). The test of leadership is whether one can accomplish things with people one doesn't always agree with. If he can't unite the Democratic Party, he might get elected President by some tiny margin, but he won't be getting much done with Congress next year.

If the voters wanted Hillary Clinton gone, they could have turned against her. They didn't. It's up to Obama as to whether he wants to listen to the people. Obama and Clinton together would easily trounce the Republicans and bring significant majorities on their coattails in both houses of Congress that could usher in a new era of change. Without her, slim majorities will get tangled in issue-by-issue obstacles and endless local pleading.

Obama can make one phone call, or he can spend the summer phoning superdelegates over and over and hoping no scandal, misstatement, or other random variable doesn't push superdelegates in a different direction. The ball's in his court. Odds are he will be president in January; the question outstanding is what kind of president he will be and whether he will be able to accomplish anything meaningful when he is in office.

Posted by: Lart from Above | June 4, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Hilary Clinton would make an extraordinary Vice President, if she chose to. Alternatively, she could be a terrible thorn in Obama's side, and disserve the President, the party, the country, and the world. It's unclear to me which she would choose. Al Gore always said that he saw the job as helping Bill Clinton be the best President he could be, and turned what had been considered a lousy position into the influential one (too influential in the current case) it is today. I hope Hilary will make it clear that she would see the job the same way, and that Obama will step up to the extraordinary service she can provide to the nation.

Posted by: DC Exile | June 4, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Fraudbama is not electable without Clinton--and probably isn't even electable with her. The "Democratic" superdelegates just handed the presidency over to McCain.

Posted by: Bob S4 | June 4, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to raise the '64 election. The conventional wisdom is that Republicans only win elections through fear-mongering. Perhaps the most famous and fear-inspiring political commercial in American history came out that year: the little girl in the field with the flower who got blown up by a Goldwater nuclear bomb. That commercial set a standard we're all still suffering through today.

Posted by: Remember64 | June 4, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

16 years of the Clinton lies and deceit is enough. Drive a stake through them and rebirth the party.

No one needs the Clinton's for anything anymore. Barack's people took over the DNC last Saturday and they control all the levers now.

Hillary brings in no state....brings nothing to the ticket except a sexually predatory husband.

Biden is a logical choice. Authored Violence Against Women Act and is FP pro. Want a woman? McCasskill or Sebelous would do just fine.

Posted by: Mikey | June 4, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

He's talking about RFK in '64, not JFK in '60.

Posted by: READ-Phil | June 4, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

There seem to be a lot of sore winners supporting Obama. What gives? Our guy won.

Thanks to Hillary for having some backbone. She has not given up - a valuable lesson learned from Gore 00 and Kerry 04 there. We need Dem's who won't roll over when faced with adversity. People respect that.

Get 'em together to fight McCain in November, I say. And stop crying when our guy won already. Go team.

Posted by: a team dem | June 4, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Note to Senator Obama: JUST SAY NO.

Posted by: Captain John | June 4, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The talk, the pressure, that Obama must pick Hillary as his running mate or otherwise he will lose the general election, is exactly why the US is losing respect in the world. Electing a president should not be a matter of personal charm, or emotion. The voting public should judge the candidates on their own policy stands. The joke "would you rather have Al Gore in your living room or George Bush in the White House" exemplified the personalization of our presidential election. So we are stuck with the "one-of-us-guys" W for eight years and our country has lost respect all over the world. Not to mention the lives, the debt.

Let us not repeat that this time around. Whatever Hillary's personal ambition may be, let us hope that for the sake of our country, she can put it aside and help elect Obama instead of helping to hand the presidency to McCain W-3.

Posted by: Steve Chan, Los Altos Hills | June 4, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

To the Clintons supporters who are thinking about voting for McCain or sitting this one out:

1) Think about the Supreme Court nominees that McCain would likely appoint. Think about the right to choose. And remember, Supreme Count selections are for a lifetime. You might be able to kick out McCain in 2012, and replace him with Clinton, but his justices could be there for a very long time.

2) Think about the chances of getting comprehensive health care reform.

3) Think about Iraq, and how McCain wants us to stay for however long is necessary, regardless of the cost in blood and treasure, until a war, which probably can never be won, is won.

I understand that you are disappointed. But, the time has come to put party and country ahead of your dream of another Clinton or female as President. Obama goals are essentially the same as your candidate's. McCain's are not.

The time has come to set aside the hurt, and bitter feelings, and do what is right, and best for a country that desperately needs change. And, I will hope and pray each day that you will do just that.

Posted by: George John | June 4, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Kennedy dead in 1964?

Posted by: Phil | June 4, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I think this comparison is as tortured as Broder's was last week.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 4, 2008 11:55 AM

There seems to be an epidemic of articles comparing this election to past elections. There was one yesterday by Ronald Reagan biographer Lou Cannon comparing the contest between Clinton and Obama to the 1976 nomination fight between Reagan and Gerald Ford that was a bit of a stretch.

Note: I think the headline should read 1960 instead of 1964.

Posted by: danielhancock | June 4, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I'm shocked. This is an insightful and constructive article that seems genuinely intellectual and not just partisanship in some form of an affectation of punditry.

"Now, however, the tables are turned. Obama who finds himself in the role of Johnson, leader of the Democratic Party -- but obliged to acknowledge that Clinton, like Kennedy in 1964, represents her own constituency, her own family's political legacy and her own power base within the party."

I'm glad that someone has finally has finally connected Obama's role as leader in the contest to the notion of leadership of the Party. For months commentators have been calling Obama the leader (with a small "L" as in leading only in numbers), while bashing Clinton for this and that, as if no one had any power over her. By continuing to bash her instead of work with her, she was not only allowed to dominate by her apparent wilfullness, Obama came off looking impotent for weeks. It's implied that if Clinton is running around infuriating and baffling everyone, no one is in charge. I've been trying to point out for weeks that if Obama was a Leader (capital "L" as in Leadership), they would have worked something out weeks ago.

"Now, however, the tables are turned. Obama who finds himself in the role of Johnson, leader of the Democratic Party -- but obliged to acknowledge that Clinton, like Kennedy in 1964, represents her own constituency, her own family's political legacy and her own power base within the party."

Clinton did a great pivot and turned the tables on Obama, transforming his platform of "change" solidly supported by left-winger party establishment into affectations of elitism backed by top-heavy out of touch party hacks, with herself having the insurgent campaign of the people. It was an amazing and powerful thing for her to pull off. Coming away with the popular vote after being the "old", "lying" and "partisan" Clinton machine politician, was the work of an expert political talent with extraordinary energy and depth.

Which pundit was it that said that Obama as a candidate is not as good as his campaign and that Clinton's campaign was not as good as the candidate?

"This is how White described it: "A president must be president in his own right.... To attach a Kennedy name to his own name would mean forever sharing the title of the presidency with a ghost of the past.... If Johnson were to prove himself in a campaign for the presidency, he must prove himself alone.""

Look at how Clinton so dramatically retooled her campaign, message and how to connect to the electorate. If a candidate can only function in one mode, one universe of political discourse, he or she is limited, both in the range of problems he can deal with and the range of people he can lead. It seems a little ridiculous that Obama is talking about transforming the relationships between America and others on the global stage, existing with these others in a new and more constructive way, if he can't co-exist with a leading constructive member of his own political party within his country. The fact that his campaign is choking on Clinton so dramatically indirectly undermines the credibility of his radical language of leadership in foreign diplomacy, and each comment of his media tools that the Clintons are this and Bill Clinton is that, makes his unifying, transcending language seem more and more specious.

If Hillary Clinton is outside the pale of politically reasonableness for Obama and Bill Clinton is too much racist anathema for the Obamas, who will they be able to work with and swallow being symbiotic with? If the Clintons are too unacceptable for the Obamas, then who in Washington will they be able to embrace and unify and transcend with, much less who out in the world beyond our shores? Obama's protestations about the unacceptability of the Clintons is not only absurd given his claims of making new inroads with the worlds most intractable tyrants and bullies, they increase the subliminal message of his impotence, to which his supporters are insensitive but to which others are not so blind.

"What to do about Hillary Clinton becomes one of the first major tests for presumptive nominee Barack Obama. Johnson, in 1964, eventually called Kennedy in and told him that, while he had not made a decision about whom to select, he had decided he would not pick Kennedy. (Whether Kennedy really wanted it is a matter of dispute.)"

Again, you've hit the nail on the head. This is a leadership challenge for a would-be executive in dealing with the disposition of his sister-cum-rival. He should be reading Art of War right now, instead of having his media shills and talking head tools heap more insults and jeers on his head like he and his camp are comprised of impotent, cranking complainers dominated by an obstinate, willful woman. Obama has let the media do enough of his talking and fighting for him.

In a sense, the reason why Obama has not yet been able to shake Clinton is because he has not really shown the leadership himself to close the deal either with the electorate (he didn't pull off getting the electorate to give him the nomination and shut her down even after he became inevitable) and he hasn't closed the deal with her (made her his ally or at least made her happy and given her a respectful exist commensurate with her place in history and her accomplishments this year). If the best Obama can continue to do is rely on others to pressure her and the media to do his arguing, talking and fighting for him, he may never be able to shake her.

Obama claims to be able to come into the job of President without a lot of like experience because he can learn as he goes and, as his wife claims, "It's not rocket science".

Well, instead of continuing to rail at Clinton via the press and his talking head tools, isn't it time for Obama to show what he's able to do as a budding world leader and lead a happy woman off the stage?

Clinton is entirely justified in taking that travesty of the MI reallocation of her delegates and "uncommitted" delegates to the convention. The RBC gave her grounds for an appeal by breaking its rules for dealing with uncommitted votes for candidates whose names are not on the ballot and improperly reassigning votes without any authority to do so under the rules. Since Obama was part of that disposition, as his faction controlled the outcome, he's bought himself the trouble if Clinton appeals that to the convention.

Posted by: AsperGirl | June 4, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't think 1964, think 1960. In 1960 the Kennedys picked Johnson as the VP candidate to appeal to the voters who did not have aristocratic accents and ivy-league educations. After the election, the Kennedys held high contempt for Johnson, referring to him as "uncle cornpone." Let this not be repeated. Let Obama pick someone based on merit and compatibility with Obama's goals. Leave out an attempt to placate some subset of HRC's admirers.

Posted by: ckazoom | June 4, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

what is the kennedy legacy?

Posted by: dan | June 4, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary's supporters want to give it to McCain, let them. This election was hers to lose from day one, and that's exactly what she did. Give it to McCain, and let her legacy be 4 more years of Bush and as someone who could never set aside her personal sense of entitlement for the good of the country.

Clinton supporters are fools to allow themselves to be used as bargaining chips.

Posted by: JB | June 4, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I am so tired and disgusted by the endless litany of intolerance and animosity toward Mrs. Clinton coming from the "Obamaniacs" who always need to post comments on WP and NYT columns that I, for one, hope Hillary is put on the ticket if to serve no other purpose than to infuriate and piss off all of you bitter fools.

Posted by: John | June 4, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Terry McAuliffe introduced Hillary Clinton at Baruch as "the next president of the United States."

ROTFLMAO!!!!!

I wonder at what point they decide that it just isnt going to happen
maybe she and bill are in the back of a pickup in some small town in texas, a massive flag writhes in the wind behind them
hillary holds the mic that is plugged into a boom box on the end of the tailgate...
cranked to 10
every once in awhile some interference from a radio station breaks through
"band on the run"
a tumbleweed issues forth small puffs of dust as it touches down and then is picked up again and hurrled along an invisible path.
An old man sits on a five gallon buckett eating a peach, his overalls stained with grease, behind him is several cars with their hoods up... and behind those more car parts
"You can decide this nomination! you can pick the next president" hillary exclaims
"fly like an eagle" breaks through for a second but just a second eliciting a round of applause from bill who sits with his beat red face, sweat rolling down his brow... he has a nice straw hat on... frayed at the ends. Two pins are stuck to it
"not an elitist" and "hillary 08"
the old man slurps on his peach and then stands...His words mostly muttled and unintelligible because of his missing teeth
"ok i need to jack that truck up, can we get this over with?"
"you gonna finish that peach" asks bill
the man tosses bill the peach
Hillary waves at the... crowd...
and then she and bill both jump down and pack up the flag
...and they get on their tandem bicycle and head off into the sunset, onto their next campaign spot...as President Obama's motorcade speeds by...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama had better pick Hillary as vp and fast. I don't think that Obama can win a general election without her. He may have wide appeal with many democrats but its going to be a whole different ball game come the general and Hillary does an effective job as a fighter, leaving Obama to look like that "nice, change guy."

Posted by: Carlin | June 4, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

By slandering Hillary in this fashion, these friends of Obama have convinced me, all right--I will vote for McCain in November. I would have thought that you would say that, now that this part of the war is over, let's look for things we cxan do together. Hillary's big theme was universal healtrh care. She was telling you that this is her price. However, if you people have such hatred for those of us who don't believe exactly as you do, then why should we vote for you? Why should we give you the time of day?

Posted by: Bob from Brooklyn | June 4, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Jim in Miami for your insightful comments that are historically accurate. Was hoping to hear more about your visit with LBJ before he died. And whoever suggested on here that Hillary run as an independent must still be celebrating with cheap champagne left over from the Clinton "victory" party last nite. Run as an independent, yeah right.

Posted by: John | June 4, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Comparing the Clintons to Bobby and John Kennedy is insulting. The Clintons have no 'legacy' beyond their own insatiable drive for power. They certainly have no roots in or connection to anything that the Democratic Party supports .... Patriot Act? Iraq War? Constitutional Amendment to outlaw Flagburning? Racism worthy of the Klan? Anti-gay policies in the military?

Posted by: Mark Stickle | June 4, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons, by their actions, seem to be the most egotistical, narcissitic politicians in United States history. Barack is the nominee, yet Senator Clinton may demand the vice-presidency with the authority of a virtual co-president, then delegating the same power to her husband.

This is not ancient Rome. Barack needs to show he is a strong leader. by refusing to appease the Clintons, whose ultimate goal is not less than to return to the White House.

Posted by: Independent | June 4, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

DNC STOLE VOTES FOR OBAMA!!!!
VOTE OUT!!! THE USELESS Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Manchin and LAME DUCK Howard Dean
SUPPORTERS URGE SENATOR CLINTON TO RUN AS INDEPENDENT
MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF CLINTON DEMOCRATS WILL NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA! HE WILL SURLY LOOSE IN GENERAL ELECTION, THANK THE BIASED CHEATING DNC WHO STOLE VOTES TO SUPPORT OBAMA!!!!

THEY PURPOSELY TOOK DELEGATES FAIRLY WON BY SENATOR CLINTON AND GAVE THEM TO OBAMA!!!!

WE ARE CHANGING OUR PARTY AFFILIATION

VOTE THEM OUT NEXT ELECTION!!!!

DNC Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but also delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.

SUPPORTERS URGE SENATOR CLINTON TO RUN AS INDEPENDENT

Obamas have Set Race Relations Back Decades
In general is Obama has used Poor Judgment REPEATEDLY! Obama proved Rev Wright was correct!!! Politically correct, that is. The fact that it is "painful" and took 20 years suggests he agrees with these racists "under the covers". He resigned not necessarily because he wants to but because it is the only course open to him. Imagine if the roles were reversed and John McCain had attended a white separatist church for twenty years. Would his resignation after two decades cure the concern that he had lived some sort of weird double life, cavorting with racists but talking about equal opportunity in his public life? He'd have been forced out of the presidential race by now. So the question remains: was Obama the least observant church congegrant on the planet (racism and anti-Semitism at Trinity? No!) Or a hypocrite.
WE DO NOT ACCEPT OBAMAS POLITICAL DAMAGE APOLOGY!!!

SHOCKING Obama words: what he really thinks of white folks
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI77cU3jsFs

http://www.dontvoteobama.net


As far we are concerned, the contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is not yet over. And if it is forced to end now, I am not quite sure I can say with certainty that I will vote for Obama.

It just doesn't sit well at all.

The Democratic Convention is not until late August, more than two months away.

Obama leads Clinton in official pledged delegates, 1764.5 for Obama and 1637.5 for Clinton. Both are shy of the 2,118 needed to win.

There are also the so-called "super" delegates, which is the unofficial name for delegates who are "unpledged," meaning that instead of being elected, they were appointed to their roles by the political insiders. There are 823 of them.

As far as I know, according to the Democratic Party rules, unpledged delegates are not wedded to any candidates until that Democratic Convention is convened.

In other words, an unpledged or "super" delegate can change his or her mind today, tomorrow and next week. No matter what they say today as they are hounded by the news media, their vote does not really count until they are called to account at the convention.

The truth is, Obama does not have the official delegate count to claim a victory. And Hillary Clinton still has two months to change the minds of the apparently easy-to-change minds of the politically anointed "unpledged" delegates.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

We all know what Hillary wants. She wants to be President and even now she believes she is entitled to it and will win it yet. After all, look at what happened to Bobby Kennedy AND to JFK. The Party MUST control the damage that Hillary the spoiler is even now plotting further to wreck on the Obama campaign and to move to win over McSame, who is being helped by the Clinton Dynasty out for revenge. She does not want to be VP, only to make her women supporters madder with Obama if he does not give in to her bullying and to prove he is weak if he does submit to her imperial majesty Queen Hillary Macbeth. We must all be vigilant against the Clinton spoilers.

Posted by: lin | June 4, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The article by Dan is informative. The saying that one should bring his friends closer, and enemies even closer does not apply in the case of Hitllary Clinton. Let her go lick her wounds elsewhere and not on the lawns of White House

Posted by: Abuya | June 4, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama should offer Hillary a cabinet position of her choosing. I just don't see the two of them being compatible.

IF they could get along, Hillary could offer invaluable experience.

Maybe, John Edwards for vp

Posted by: Jim in Denver | June 4, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

It's odd that Hillary Clinton would invoke LBJ's name so often now. As I recall, LBJ's name never slipped from President Clinton's lips during his eight wasted years in the White House.

Now, in their desperate grab for a third term, the Clintons are admirers of LBJ.

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I had spoken to President Johnson a couple of months before he died. I drove up from San Antonio to see him and Mrs. Johnson around Thanksgiving in 1972, shortly after Nixon and Agnew were re-elected.

He was in a terrible funk.

I was in Washington DC when he passed away. It was on the same day as the US Supreme Court handed down it's Roe v. Wade decision.

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I think this comparison is as tortured as Broder's was last week.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 4, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Also, as I recall, President Johnson won over 60% of the national popular vote in the 1964 election, crushing Barry Goldwater.

That is not exactly the place that Obama finds himself in today, wondering who to take on as vice president.

In those days, before the constitution was changed, we had no vice president after President Kennedy was killed, until inauguration day in 1965 when Senator Humphrey became vice president.

To LBJ, a vice president was used only as a piece of furniture in the cabinet room.

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Comparing President Johnson to Hillary Clinton is silly.

Johnson had been a member of Congress since the early FDR administration, and he was Majority Leader of the US Senate when he ran for vice president in 1960.

Any comparison to the former Goldwater Girl, Hillary Clinton, is nonsense.

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Obama should dump the Clintons and fast. Just yesterday I saw a photo in Vanity Fair of Bill Clinton's latest bimbo in Los Angeles.

The Clintons and the new bimbo are too heavy of baggage for Obama to be dragging them into a five month campaign for president. Drop the Clintons and the young lady in L.A. and run away as fast as you can.

Posted by: JIM, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | June 4, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Balz's analogy misses a key difference between Johnson and Obama.

Lyndon Johnson had been a power in Washington for years; he did not feel he needed any help being President, certainly not from Robert Kennedy. He ended up treating the much abler running mate he did choose, Hubert Humphrey, with thinly disguised contempt.

Sen. Obama is a pro on the campaign trail, but would be a novice in the Oval Office. His Vice President would likely be a much more active part of his administration than Humphrey was of Johnson's, out of necessity. That needn't be a bad thing, as long as Obama's Vice President was always acting at Obama's direction. If Hillary Clinton were Vice President, that wouldn't be the case.

It's not a matter of Sen. Clinton's constituency. There are lots of ways for Obama to reach out to Clinton supporters that do not involve burdening his administration with Clinton herself. Most of the ill feeling generated by the Democratic campaign thus far has been among the people who actually work for the candidates, and will fade with time.

My guess -- it is only that -- is that Obama himself is conscious that putting Clinton on his ticket would buy him a little applause from people who will end up voting for him anyway, at the cost of a serious and permanent headache should he get elected. He will get a lot of pressure to assuage other people's feelings in a hurry by "reaching out" to Clinton, but his best course would be to announce now that he will make his own decision, and take some time to make it.

Posted by: Zathras | June 4, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

1964? Didn't the Democrats win in a 44-state landslide against a warmongering, conservative senior senator from Arizona?

I agree... this will be another 1964.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

No matter what Obama does, he should know this:

Having BILLARY Clinton as vice president would be the equivalent of having a spitting Cobra as a room mate. You CANNOT control its NATURAL HABIT of spitting and biting. Either way, you get POISON in your blood circulatory system!

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | June 4, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

This is one of the most insightful pieces of journalism I've read this entire election cycle. Thank you Dan! Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Brian | June 4, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

As I think was said by someone last night on CNN, she wants to be president and if not that co-president as part of a coalition government. It is all about her.

"A coalition government, or coalition cabinet, is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several parties cooperate. "

Posted by: pjonathan | June 4, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

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