The reasons to think Hillary Clinton will not the Democratic VP nominee are myriad. Among them:
- Clinton's camp says she is not being vetted
- VoteBoth, a Clinton-for-VP project by two former Clinton operatives, has shut down, proclaiming Clinton's VP chances nonexistent
- Hillary is speaking on Tuesday night in Denver, and having her name placed in nomination. VP nominees speak on Wednesday.
Let me outline why I think all of this could be a massive headfake:
- Clinton is already the most vetted public official in America. Lack of "formal vetting" doesn't say very much. And "formal vetting" can occur at any time. I'm sure Vice Presidential search committee head Dick Cheney didn't submit his papers several weeks out.
- It is precisely the fact that VoteBoth is a project of Sam Arora and Adam Julian Parkhomenko (who was an assistant to ex-Hillary CM and current Obama VP COS Patti Solis Doyle) that makes this interesting. We can be certain that the shutdown was done in consultation with Hillary and Obama operatives at the highest levels. That either means Clinton is not the pick, or Obama and Hillary's people don't want people to think Clinton is the pick. Those are two different things.
- Convention speaking schedules can be changed. Most everyone on the short list already has a scheduled speaking slot. Clinton receiving upwards of 40% on the first ballot and then being chosen as the VP could enhance the "catharsis." Obama would simply be bowing to the will of Democratic Convention-goers.
To these responses I'll add the following, the leaks so far out of Team Obama have been exceptionally lame. Joe Biden? Tim Kaine? Please. Even seemingly interesting names like Kathleen Sebelius and Evan Bayh have seemingly been given the kibosh. Why hasn't Martin O'Malley, who would seem like a natural frontrunner, even been mentioned?
The leaks so far are consistent with tamping down expectations for a blockbuster Obama pick, like Clinton.
And we know that Obama's team knows how to play this game, looking at the head games they played with June fundraising.
But more than just a source of intrigue, I am more and more convinced that Hillary Clinton is in fact the logical pick. Just look at the other names on the short list:
- Joe Biden's mouth is a constant source of embarassment. And how would the PUMAs take to a failed second-tier candidate leapfrogging someone with 18 million votes?
- Evan Bayh has been vetoed by the netroots
- Kathleen Sebelius would be a clear and direct affront to the PUMAs, much more so even than Biden. The first woman VP/President -- and one you've never heard of -- would increase the sense of Clintonian alienation.
- Tim Kaine. Hahahahahahahahahaha
- Wesley Clark would provide the military experience Obama needs, but his comments about McCain's service are a problem
- Chris Dodd is a crook
Each of the conventional VP frontrunners seemingly has two strikes against them. And the idea of picking a VP to win a critical state is seriously flawed. If Obama is winning Virginia or Indiana, he has already won the election anyway.
If you're Obama, why not choose a VP who strengthens you all over and consolidates a source of weak support? Who has been thoroughly vetted? Whose selection would be a surprise and galvanize support for the ticket?
If Bill Clinton can be sent to Tahiti for the next 80 days, it just might work.