The Campaign Spot

The Governing Downside of a Unity Ticket

Obama addresses the obvious about him taking the second spot in a Hillary-Obama ticket:

He referenced comments from Bill Clinton in 1992 that his “most important criteria” for vice president was that person must be ready to be commander in chief.
“They have been spending the last two or three weeks” arguing that he is not ready to be commander in chief, Obama said.
“I don’t understand. If I am not ready, how is it that you think I should be such a great vice president?” Obama asked the crowd, which gave him a standing ovation during his defense. “I don’t understand.”
“You can’t say he is not ready on day one, then you want him to be your vice president,” Obama continued. “I just want everybody to absolutely clear: I am not running for vice president. I am running to be president of the United States of America.”

Unsaid, but perhaps even more important, is the issue of governing. No president would want a vice president who has spent the better part of two years arguing against several of their key pledges. Their views don’t have to be uniform (witness Bush and Cheney on gay rights) but it’s tougher when they’ve spent a year arguing.
Suppose during a health care legislation, some Republican member of Congress introduces legislation to strip out any mandates, quoting Obama’s statements opposing them on the campaign trail. Does Vice President Obama say, “no, I didn’t mean what I said before, I’ve seen the light under President Hillary”?
I think the man has some pride.
When Chavez or Ahmadenijad say they want to meet President Hillary face to face without preconditions, and Hillary turns down the offer, can Vice President Obama hold his tongue?
When she vetoes a bill that would ban mandatory minimums, will he shuffle his feet and look at the ground? When she quashes a proposal in Congress to raise Social Security taxes above $102,000? Will he stand by her if she determines that the circumstances require a unilateral use of force, or will he resign in protest?
How many times would Obama or his aides complain anonymously that she was messing things up, or not pushing hard enough for “real change”?
And would he be the real number two in a Hillary Administration, or would Bill?
Besides that, there’s the usual joke that the top of the ticket with these two would have to hire a food taster.

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