We are probably less than 24 hours from knowing Barack Obama’s vice-presidential pick. This blog along with an increasing number believe Obama will go conventional. He will most likely choose an experienced individual to bring balance to the ticket, someone with the ability to take over should the need arise, and possibly someone with electoral clout who can rally disgruntled Clinton backers or win a swing state. Senators Evan Bayh of Indiana and Joe Biden of Delaware clearly fit the bill. Besides, are not presidential elections a contest between who will be president with the hope that the vice-presidential nominee will not distract in a negative way? In this regard Bayh and Biden are conventional choices. But on the eve of the selection, I am less certain. We may be in for a surprise.
What if Obama, whose candidacy is everything but conventional, decides to not only talk ‘change’ but ‘demonstrate’ change? Again, conventional thinking would tend to have us believe that choosing Hillary Clinton is impossible because she represents the old way of doing politics and he beat her on those grounds. Besides, we have observed very recently that there is an uneasy truce between the two camps. Finally, because the polls are slipping or flat, he will look weak or desperate if he chooses Hillary. And what about Bill?
All this conventional wisdom makes sense. But Obama is not conventional. If he chooses her, he sends a signal that he is sufficiently secure as a person to take this powerful, talented, and potentially first woman to hold the post, by his side because the country needs real change and a new direction more than conventional thinking. In an instant, he energizes the convention and the Democratic base, and throws the Republicans off course. Yes, it wakes up the Republican ‘Clinton haters’ but it changes the picture and the’ unified’ charged-up Democrats will put the Rove-inspired McCain campaign on the defensive. Rove tactics have never beaten a Clinton.
Obama has not been swiftboated yet but it is coming close. Clinton will help neutralize much of the venom to come. The 527s have yet to show their ugly heads. I know Hillary is not change to many, but by picking a female candidate Obama would be sending a message of transformational change to go along with his own historic candidacy. It probably will not happen but in a unique and unconventional way, Barack Obama will have ‘walked the talk’ and demonstrated real change if he chooses Hillary. It would be more than just a speech.