Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama And Clinton

Barack Obama has finally beaten Hillary Clinton in the battle to be the Democrats' nominee for the US presidential election. But even though he's got enough delegates to win, she still hasn't conceded. The reason's not down to some deluded notion that she still might somehow sneak in to be the nominee. It's something far more pragmatic - she wants to be his running mate, and therefore if he wins, to be the vice-president.

The main reason why Senator Clinton is happy enough to settle for vice-president, having spent so much energy and (her own) cash in trying to become president, is that being vice-president is the best way to get another shot at the presidency in the future. Many have gone on to be their party's nominee for the top job, even though they've often failed to win. There's also the fact that, should Senator Obama lose to John McCain in November's general election, Mrs Clinton would be the obvious choice to be the Democrats' pick in four years' time. Admittedly, she was for a long time the obvious pick for 2008 too, but she still has a famous name and a base of support that hardly any American politicians can match.

And it's that reason that could persuade Senator Obama to go along with the idea. She wouldn't be his first choice of nominee; he'd probably rather have a white man from a Southern state with strong national security experience, the sort of vice-president who could allay some of the fears many Americans have about him. But Senator Clinton's clear victories over Senator Obama in states featuring a large number of white working-class people, and Hispanics, prove that she can also reach parts of the electorate Mr Obama has struggled to. Even though he may have serious reservations about her, such as the baggage her husband may bring to the campaign and his possible presidency, and also the fact they don't really seem to like each other much, she's very difficult to ignore. Obama/Clinton may not be his idea of a dream ticket, but if she plays her cards well, he may have no choice.

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