Friday, May 02, 2008

Obama-Clinton Or Clinton-Obama Ticket Necessary

Written on M.S. Prinsendam 240 miles off Mogadishu, Somalia--

Distasteful as taking the other onto the Democratic ticket with them may be, it appears that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, no matter who finally wins the Democratic nomination, must reconcile to accepting the loser as his or her vice presidential running mate. It appears this would be the only way of avoiding sizable defections to Sen. John McCain, from either low income whites and retired, or African-Americans. And, of course, the loser must agree to go onto the ticket.

I hope the winner of the nomination is Obama. He would at least treat a Vice President Clinton respectfully. I'm not sure it would be as easy for Obama if he were the vice presidnetial nominee, since Bill Clinton would constantly be horning in, and this is a menage-a-trois Obama would not need. However, if he could put up with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright all these years, he probably would survive.

During my voyage, I've been reading Bill Boyarsky's book, "Big Daddy -- Jesse Unruh And The Art Of Power Politics." It is striking that in his chapter regarding the Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963 and its ultimate renunctiation by the voters, Boyarsky notes in considerable detail that low income white and retired voters proved most resistant to sweeping desegregation, as shown in a Berkeley election on fair housing, even before the Rumford Act was passed. Even Hispanics apparently lined up against the housing measure.

What this demonstrates is that the present-day situation in the Democratic presidential race, where Hillary has been getting the majority of low income and retired voters, not to mention Hispanics and Catholics, while Obama has been getting a majority of the younger voters, blacks and highly-educated, goes back decades when a civil rights question is involved. And obviously, the 2008 presidential campaign has brought civil rights to the fore, with the prospect of the first time a major party nominee would be either black or a woman.

The split in sentiment, as Boyarsky shows, thus did not begin with the Pennsylvania primary, and it is doubtful, given the impassioned character of the struggle between Obama and Clinton, that either could run successfully without the other also being present on the ticket.

I presume that neither side would be totally happy with such a ticket at the beginning, and normallty such a ticket might not be a favorite with a majority. But this is an unusual year. We have both two wars and an economy in trouble. Public dissatisfaction with the present Republican administration is evident to all. Under these circumstances, I think the low income whites and others backing Hillary would accept Obama as head of the ticket and vote for it, while the blacks and young would be at least somewhat satisfied with Hillary on top, so long as Obama were her running mate.

As I say, a ticket of the two may not be fully acceptable, but it is necessary.

As to when the Democratic race may be settled, we are just going to have to wait until there is a clear winner. And regardless what Democratic chairman Howard Dean wants, that cannot be assigned an arbitrary date. It may have to go to the convention floor.

But this is the most exciting presidential contest in memory, and we can afford the time to see how it comes out. If Obama and Clinton would accept the other as running mate, the time it takes will not make any difference.

--

A helicopter from the Dutch Navy frigate escorting the Prinsendam landed Marines on the Prinsendam deck at about 3 p.m. Middle Eastern time (4 a.m. in California) to practice a medivac evacuation. The 600 passengers were invited to the top deck to view the exercise from aft as the helicopter hovered about 50 feet above for half an hour. The frigate was half a mile away.
With U.S. action in Somalia yesterday, and a big suicide bombing in Yemen today, most passengers are glad to have NATO protection, judging from the cheers.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous David said...

Ken,

Boyarsky's book is a real gem. You are so right about the voting history regarding issues related to race or civil rights. History can be instructive regarding vice presidential choices as well. I've been rereading Teddy White's Making of the President 1960. Compared to the emnity between JFK and LBJ, the friction between Obama and Clinton seems less daunting to overcome.
Now, what if McCain put Rice on his ticket? How would that complicate a voter's choice of ideology, race, class and character????

5/02/2008 8:55 AM  
Anonymous another old fool said...

"this is the most exciting presidential contest in memory, and we can afford the time to see how it comes out."

More exciting than the Reagan-Ford contest for the Republican Nomination in 1976? Or the McGovern-Humphrey contest for the Democratic Nomination in 1972? Both of which weren't decided until their respective parties' conventions? You're old enough to remember those election years.

I could mention 1968. But that year, too much happened. Things went out of control. I don't want to see another year like that for the rest of my life.

I read someplace that LBJ hated being VP and would not have accepted the VP spot in the Democratic ticket in 1964.

A solid majority of the "low income white" vote [there's another very uncomplimentary pejorative I could have used] haven't supported the Democratic presidential ticket since 1964.

The Jeremiah Wright controversy just shows me there is an African-American constituency that no more wants to see an African-American elected president than certain other constituencies do. A vested interest in political failure and isolation.

5/03/2008 5:06 PM  

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