Hillary's Pumas Meet JFK's Ghost at the Democratic Convention

Discussion in 'Congress' started by The BKP, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. The BKP

    The BKP Grand Inquistor

    Jul 15, 2008
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    With the first day of the Obama-Biden Cotillion underway in Denver, the two major topics of discussion are

    (1) Will the Clintons and their supporters return to the Party fold and embrace Obama or will they seek to upstage him in an adolescent fit of ego and hubris; and

    (2) How did Obama ultimately arrive at Biden as his choice of running mate?

    This past Friday quickly turned into an emotional rollercoaster for Hillary’s Pumas (Party Unity My Ass) as reports surfaced with the morning news that the junior Senator from New York was among the finalists to make Senator Obama’s short list of potential running mates.

    Could it be? Though not leading the ticket, would Hillary receive the recognition the Pumas so fervently believe she is entitled to? Would she write another page in American history as the first female vice president on her way to her ultimate goal, the presidency itself?

    Alas, by mid afternoon, the Pumas hopes were dashed as word circulated that Hillary had never been seriously considered for the second slot on the Obama ticket. Initially chaffing at this, insult was added to injury when Biden - one of Obama’s harshest critics early on in the primaries – received the nod and it was confirmed she had not been consulted on the selection.

    Attempting to downplay the story and minimize its’ potential damage, the Obama camp insisted the two Senators had discussed the vice presidency and Senator Biden in the days following Obama’s locking up the Democratic nomination and Hillary’s subsequent endorsement.

    Clearly there are unresolved issues in the Democratic family.

    Though the Clintons and their supporters remain a powerful force in the Democratic Party, they are nonetheless part of the also-rans from the latest presidential primary season. In a contest that awards only one prize, the first runner up is merely the first among the last.

    Were the roles reversed, one wonders how much council the Clintons would have sought from Senator Obama on the choice of her running mate.

    No; having won the Democratic nomination, it was Obama’s right to choice who he pleased as his running mate and to seek or forgo the council of whomever he liked in the process. He has been courteous, accommodating and conciliatory to the Clintons; many would say to fault. Accordingly, the time has come for them to close ranks behind him or dispense with the pretense of appearing to be one more boon away from appeasement and reconciliation. The coming days in Denver will reveal their ultimate decision and the resulting state of Party cohesion.

    In terms of the rationale behind Biden’s selection, beyond his lengthy resume; status as an elder foreign affairs sage within the Democratic Party; his connections to labor unions and the battleground state of Pennsylvania; his open Catholicism and his zeal for political combat there is a Kennedyesque logic at work.

    In 1960, Lyndon Johnson was one of John Kennedy’s most fierce and vociferous critics. Nonetheless, in a shrewd political move, Kennedy chose Johnson as his running mate. In doing so, not only did he ultimately win Texas, he also co-opted Johnson and shored up internal division within the Democratic Party. In essence, the message was if Johnson could bring himself to reconcile his criticisms of Kennedy to the degree that he would serve as his running mate and vice president, then his supporters and fellow detractors of Kennedy should do likewise.

    Lost in the logic was the obvious political payoff for Johnson; being a heartbeat away from the presidency itself. As fate would have it, Johnson’s decision to embrace his nemesis would lead to the zenith of his political career as he assumed the presidency on Kennedy’s subsequent assassination.

    In similar fashion, the logic behind Biden’s selection plays on the co-option of one of Obama’s fiercest critics early on in the Democratic primaries. So harsh were Biden’s attacks of the junior Senator from Illinois that many wondered aloud whether he was running for the nomination himself or to be Hillary’s running mate or perhaps Secretary of State in a Clinton administration.

    Again, if one of Obama’s most ardent opponents in the primaries can bring himself to reconcile his criticisms of the nominee to the degree that he would serve as his running mate and vice president, then his supporters – as well as Hillary’s - should do likewise. In doing so, Obama continues to display the significant and ongoing influence the Kennedy family and legacy plays on his decisions and tactical calculations.

    In another homage to the Kennedy legacy, Obama will be the first candidate since JFK to accept his party’s presidential nomination in a venue other than the site of the party convention. In 1960, JFK gave his acceptance speech in the Los Angeles Forum though the convention was held in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Seeking to follow in Kennedy’s footsteps, Obama will give his acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Mile High Stadium, away from the Pepsi Center; site of the Democratic Convention itself.

    In truth, both Biden’s selection as Obama’s running mate and his choice of locale to deliver his acceptance speech are safe, tactical calculations. They are based not so much on political shrewdness as acumen for adapting the success of his political predecessors and historic role models. In the end, they are aimed at providing the ultimate change that is the goal of Obama’s candidacy; a change in his own elected position and official title.

    Same as it ever was, faithful readers. Same as it ever was. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and the Convention reveals itself to be either Obama Lovefest or Clinton Slugfest.

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