Is an Obama/Clinton ticket possible? There are the common arguments against it, and a few unconvincing ones for it, repeated endlessly:
1. Clinton will not be overshadowed by an underling.
2. Obama would not want to carry Clinton baggage.
3. Way too much bad blood between these two during this campaign.
4. Being No. 2 is unthinkable for Clinton.
5. Obama doesn’t want to be an LBJ. (upstaged and marginalized by Bill)
But do these hold up? I certainly don’t think Hillary would take a #2 spot, there’s absolutely nothing in it for her. She wouldn’t be in charge or even in the inner circle, and that is intolerable. Would Obama even pick her? It goes against his basic message of change and rejection of the old order and insider rule. Same with the very unlikely Obama/Gore scenario.
But, would Obama take the #2? There is a lot of arcane calculation here. 4 years is an eternity, and new potential candidates will come out of the walls to challenge Obama in ’12. That’s if Hillary loses. If she wins, and he is not the VP, whoever is will be the frontrunner and Obama will have to beat them. This depends on how popular Hillary’s administration is after her 4-8 years (its hard to imagine her not running for reelection in any scenario, in fact from the day she’s elected she would begin campaigning for ’12).
If Obama thinks Hillary can win, there are some reasons to consider taking the VP slot. However, just because Obama is on the ticket doesn’t take away Hillary’s many negatives. There is a strong possibility she could lose, even with Obama on the ticket. Being a part of a losing ticket is absolutely no advantage to Obama, and in ’12 he will be severely damaged trying to claim he’s an outsider and not part of the old guard establishment if he was part of a failed Clinton team.
There would, of course, be a “do it for the good of the party” contingent trying to get him to accede. I don’t see where Obama owes the party much, especially if the super-delegates crown Hillary in the face of a very close delegate count (which is pretty inevitable, if neither drops out).
If Hillary wins, Obama would be in for 4-8 years of having the worst of all worlds: not having any power to influence policy, but having to depend the Administration and being held responsible for all its failures and scandals at the end of the term if he runs from the VP slot.
If Hillary loses, he’s part of a losing team. Frankly, its in Obama’s interest to see Hillary lose if he doesn’t get the nomination: he’d be the prohibitive front-runner for ’12 absolutely, and a lot of the inexperience problems could be addressed by his actions in the Senate in the meantime, which is the main knock against him. Comporting himself in a statesmanlike manner and sponsoring major legislation would put him in a great position for the next election.
There has been a lot of talk why Obama will or won’t take the VP slot if offered. The best argument is, there’s nothing to gain from it.