So there is this small flurry of rumors fluttering about the murkier reaches of the Beltway media saying that President Obama has been courting Hillary Clinton to join him on the 2012 ticket in place of Joe Biden, and these rumors of course have nothing to do with the fact that Romney is not only touching politics’ third rail with his choice of Paul Ryan, but that he has gotten down on all fours and licked the third rail until it’s slippery.
I don’t even want to link to any of the stories because they don’t deserve page views. If you want to see them, go use the google.
Let me explain as clearly as I can why you should not believe these rumors, and that they are, in fact, an enormous, steaming pile of crap. And you don’t even have to get into the weeds of the Obama-Clinton soap operas that the press loves to doodle about in their notebooks, or think about who likes who or who wants who to run for president one day or anything. All you need to know are these two things.
1. Joe Biden is actually a huge asset to the president. Not only is he widely reported to be a close and valued counselor to the president, trusted with a sizable and extremely consequential governing portfolio, but he is also a key ambassador to white, middle-class voters in key swing states. Where Obama’s coolness or eloquence fail to connect, Biden’s down-to-Earth familiarity and jocularity ease doubts and forge bonds.
2. Obama gains nothing electorally from having Clinton instead of Biden on his ticket that he doesn’t already have locked up. Obama is trouncing Romney with women voters, and the notion that Hillary Clinton can help with rural voters in places like West Virginia is a load of nonsense, a relic of the Democratic primaries, where, when the electorate was entirely made up of people who were already Democrats, Clinton fared far better than Obama. She in no way would sway rural voters already inclined toward Romney in the other direction. I mean, just think about what a silly idea that is, that Hillary Clinton is somehow the key to winning over coal miners or something.
The Obama team would probably rather Joe Biden were a little more careful with his words sometimes, sure, but no one’s votes (or as Biden himself might say, “LITERALLY no one’s votes”) are being swayed by Biden saying something a little goofy now and then. They know that.
If nothing else, Obama suddenly replacing his vice-president on the ticket would be, perhaps, the ultimate sign of weakness and desperation. In this election, as I have spelled out, Obama is neither weak nor desperate. It is Romney who, in the midst of an election he at one point believed he could win by default, has decided to attempt the Hail Mary of choosing a running mate who exemplifies everything the Obama team already wants you to think about him: That he is going to heartlessly slash programs for the elderly and poor, while cutting the taxes of bazillionaires.
The right knows that it’s Romney who’s desperate, and they’d rather you thought the opposite was true. It’s kind of what they do. Don’t buy it.