Hillary Clinton Should Not Be Obama’s Running Mate

Hillary Clinton appears interested in running for vice president. Hopefully Obama does not allow this to happen. There are several reasons why Clinton would be a poor choice.

From a purely electoral perspective, Clinton does not offer very much. Many of the people who voted for Clinton over Obama are traditional Democratic voters who will vote for Obama now that he is the nominee. There are at least two states, New Jersey and California, where Clinton won the primary but Obama later moved ahead of Clinton in the polls, debunking the idea that Obama cannot do well in the states which Clinton won.

In terms of states, Clinton might  be able to bring in Arkansas, but that is hardly certain. She very likely would be in a situation comparable to Gore in 2000 and Edwards in 2004 who were unable to win Tennessee and North Carolina. The benefits of having Clinton on the ticket as vice presidential candidate would be less significant than Gore running for president n 2000.

If looking at demographics instead of individual states, it is also unlikely that Clinton would help. Most of the usual Democratic voters will still vote for Obama. Part of Clinton’s support does come from social conservatives who are not interested in reform as supported by Obama and many of his supporters. It could be counterproductive to worry too much about such voters.

In recent years we have been seeing a realignment between the parties. The Democrats have been receiving new support from independents and disenchanted Republicans who oppose the war and social conservative positions of the Republicans since 2006. Placing a pro-war, anti-reform, social conservative such as Clinton on the ticket might pick up some Clinton supporters, but it risks alienating all the new voters the Democrats have been receiving. Clinton represents what Obama supporters want a change from.

Hillary Clinton also fails to help Obama with his weaknesses. A bizarre fact about this year’s Democratic race is that the three top tier candidates were the three with the least experience. Looking at real experience as opposed to proximity to power as first lady, Clinton has far less meaningful experience than Obama. This includes national security, with Clinton having exaggerated her involvement during Bill’s years in office when she did not even have security clearance. Besides limited experience, Clinton has showed poor judgment in her positions going from Hillary Care up to her support for a gas tax holiday. Obama would be better off seeking a running mate who has more experience, as long as he avoids someone who conflicts with his message of change.

While Clinton took the low road during the campaign, Obama took the high road. There were many types of attacks which Obama avoided but the Republicans will not hesitate to use should she be on the ticket. While Clinton attacked Obama based upon people he has associated with, Obama did not stoop to this level. Clinton’s old associates, not mentioned by Obama, do provide considerable ammunition for the Republicans.

Having Clinton on the ticket also means risking damage to the ticket from the antics of Bill Clinton. Actually Hillary Clinton herself might be even more dangerous to the ticket as the Republicans replay clips of her attacks on Obama.  They will do it regardless of whether she is on the ticket, but this will be more damaging if she is running for vice president.

Besides making a poor running mate, Clinton would be a poor vice president. Her lack of experience would be a problem both as a candidate and as vice president. Her lack of integrity presents an even more serious problem for someone next in line to be president. We cannot totally ignore Clinton’s warnings about the dangers Obama might face.


  1. 1
    Len says:

    I could not possibly agree more. If nothing else, Hillary and Bill Clinton’s behavior during the primaries should disqualify them from consideration. (I include both Hillary and Bill because if you get one, you get both.)

  2. 2
    Wayne says:

    I would think that the only people really hoping for HRC as the VP candidate are the McCain campaign staff.  About the only way I see Obama losing to McCain in Nov is if HRC is the VP candidate.  My biggest concern, as a resident of the state of Illinios, is what Obama would do with the US Attorney for the Northern District.  The current US Attorney (Fitzgerald) was appointed via a reccomendation from former Repbulican Senator Peter Fitzgerald (no relation), and has made a name for himself as someone who has tried to clean up the culture of sleaze that impersonates our state government.  Of course this makes a number of Obama’s friends including Rahm Emmanuel, very nervous, so I would love to hear what Obama plans to do about this issue.

  3. 3
    Robyn says:

    I agree that Hillary should not be considered for the VP position.  She and Bill would overstep their (her) position as well as undermind his authority (in public and private).  Bill is out of control and would be more of a liability than a benefit during the campaign.

  4. 4
    Charles Deemoise says:

    I actually disagree.  I think HRC might actually be the only chance Obama has to win the general election.  He performed poorly in the majority of swing states.  He also performed poorly with a strong percentage of demographic groups that aren’t going to just “vote for him because they’re a Democrat.”  It’s not that simple.
    No one wants to say it in the media or talk about it because it’s a bit of a ‘taboo’ subject, but the majority of hispanics HATE BLACKS.  It’s sad, but it’s true.  Those two minorities do not get along and have a very long history of bad blood; maybe it’s because they’ve both been fighting for their own equality, etc.  So it’s no surprise that hispanics did not support Obama.  And they won’t in the general election unless HRC is his VP (and they decide to support the ticket since they already supported her; which is no guarantee anyway) *OR* Obama choose Richardson as his VP and is able to sway some of that hispanic vote.
    Either way, unfortunately, I bet Obama gets BURIED in the general election by McCain.  As much as I hate to admit it, I think it’s going to happen.  There are already a lot of indications…  Obama has been in the press non-stop and should have a MAJOR poll advantage against McCain at this point of the race; McCain hasn’t gotten much attention from the media during the past few months.  BUT Obama isn’t leading McCain in the polls.  As of right now (within the margin of error) it’s a DEAD HEAT.
    And if it remains a dead heat, Obama loses to the electoral college system and how most swing states will most likely play out.  It sucks, but it’s reality.  (Don’t shoot the messenger, I don’t make the rules.)
    The GOP is also going to PREY on Obama’s inexperience.  That will also be his undoing.  If Obama were elected President he’d have the least experience in government than any other President in HISTORY.  Those facts can’t be denied.  As much as many of us want DRAMATIC CHANGE (and don’t want this Roe v. Wade situation to become a nightmare) the fact of the matter is that in the time of potentially SCARY ECONOMY (only going to get worse as the housing market hits rock bottom in 24 months and oil prices keep going up) *and* you add that to the ‘unrest’ in the Middle East and everything else to FEAR for our country and the LAST thing that many people in this country DON’T WANT is to “roll the dice” and take a chance with someone completely unproven and inexperienced.  It’s just too risky with so much too fear.  (Bush was reelected on fear alone for a reason.  It’s one of the strongest emotions humans have.)
    So as much as I think Obama would be a breath of fresh air in the White House, I think it’s inevitable that he gets run over in the general election by McCain.  Every election we hear the cry of “there’s so many young voters this time, it will be different!” and yet the elections are mostly determined by older citizens of the country.  Well, most of those older citizens are going to have an affinity towards McCain whether we want to admit it or not.
    We can always hope I’m wrong, but just calling it like I see it.  Thanks for reading my long rant.  Keep up the great work!

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    There are some serious flaws in your argument. You make the false assumption that losing among a group in a partisan primary indicates the candidate would also lose that group in a general election. For example, current polls show that Obama is receiving more of the Hispanic vote than McCain is, and that Obama is currently doing better among Hispanic voters than Kerry did. Obama does not need Clinton on the ticket to pick up their votes.

    I disagree with your assessment regarding the state of the race, but even if Obama was behind this is not an argument in favor of putting Clinton on the ticket. Clinton weakens the ticket and increases McCain’s chances of winning independents and winning the swing states.

    The GOP will use inexperience against Obama. That is another reason not to put Clinton on the ticket. Clinton has far less meaningful experience than Obama has, and running with her would only weaken the ticket.

    Right now McCain has an advantage over Obama with the elderly voters but that won’t be enough to win. Clinton also led Obama with the elderly voters, but that was not enough for her to win. There are plenty of other potential running mates who might help Obama with older voters, and others who voted for Clinton, who do not have all her negatives. While Obama took the high road and did not bring up all the dirt on Clinton, there is no doubt that the Republicans will do so. Simply trying to review Bill Clinton’s financial dealings since leaving the White House will probably kill any chances of Hillary winding up on the ticket.

    Obama will also improve his support among elderly voters once he starts campaigning for them. Simply comparing their views on Medicare will convince many of them not to vote for McCain.

  6. 6
    Charles Deemoise says:

    Great points, Ron.

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