Barack Obama’s campaign is in deep trouble, and he knows it. It was in deep trouble well before Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate. The President is obviously desperate. He has no record of accomplishment to run on, and he has spent months attempting to divert the attention of his fellow Americans from this fact. In those months, he spent something on the order of $130 million on preposterous advertisements run in the swing states attacking the prospective Republican nominee as a felon and as responsible for the death of a woman from cancer.
The latest Gallup poll shows the two prospective nominees tied, but it also reveals that 50 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s conduct in office and that only 43 percent approve. The data underpinning these results was collected before Romney brought Paul Ryan on the scene. As Americans gradually turn their attention to the choice they have to make, things are going to get worse for the President, and he is going to have a hard time making his case – for he has been spending a lot more now than he is taking in. Moreover, Romney’s choice of Ryan ensures that the enthusiasm generated by the Tea-Party Movement in November, 2010 will not only be renewed in November, 2012. It will be redoubled. Just look at the crowds these two men are now drawing.
So it is time to consider whether the President might not opt for a game-changer. Joe Biden brings nothing to the ticket but the prospect of repeated embarrassment. Hillary, because she is the wife of Slick Willie the seducer, was attractive to white working stiffs in 2008 – the demographic most likely to abandon Barack Obama for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan this time around. She is not especially appealing to younger women, but those getting long in the tooth love her still – some of them, anyway.
I was once strongly inclined to think that it would come to this. But I noticed that, whenever the time came when Bill Clinton would have sought a compromise and would have begun triangulating, Barack Obama tended to double-down. Most recently, for example, when he got into trouble for aping the anti-business rhetoric of Massachusetts’ favorite indigenous American Fauxcahontas, he did not back off. He decided, instead, to give Lieawatha a prominent perch at the Democratic convention whence she could hector a nationwide television audience.
To substitute Hillary for the Delaware Motormouth would be, let’s face it, to eat crow. Barack Obama despises the Clintons. He sees them as sell-outs, and he would rather go down to ignominious defeat than to acknowledge, even obliquely, that he has made a godawful hash of his Presidency.
That is one reason why I suspect that he will balk at the prospect. Were he to surrender to the Clintons, what would he say to Michelle and Valerie? That the man is henpecked is obvious, and hell hath no fury like a Michelle and a Valerie who have been scorned. Just ask Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley, or Oprah.
There is another reason that I have come to suspect that this will not happen. Hillary looks beat. She seems to be worn out. I have often wondered in the last year or two whether she is well. Bill no doubt would be delighted if she were to get the vice presidential nomination. But I am not at all sure that she would.
I have wracked my brains. Who else could there be? Is there a prominent Democratic Governor or former Governor who could carry the torch? Rod Blagojevich, always an appealing guy, is, alas, temporarily unavailable. Deval Patrick, Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo, and Pat Quinn might help a little in Massachusetts, California, New York, or Illinois. But I cannot see what they would add that the President does not already have firmly sewn up. Moreover, the states over which these men preside are not exactly models of fiscal rectitude.
What about the Senate and the House? Harry Reid awaits the call. So does Nancy Pelosi. My bet is that Barney Frank would not refuse, and Ben Nelson has nothing better to do. But is there anyone else – someone more likeable than these ghouls? Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Maxine Waters? In the Age of Obama, is there any other Democrat (apart from Slick Willie and his long-suffering wife) who has any stature at all?
Ah, yes, I forgot. Al Gore, everybody's favorite crazed sex poodle, is no doubt available, and John Kerry might jump at the chance. And we should not forget John Edwards and my classmate at Yale – the estimable Howard Dean.
Sad, isn’t it?