Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Put Clinton on the Ticket

Today is Tuesday June 3rd, the day of the last primaries, Montana and South Dakota. My 83-year-old mother called me this afternoon to ask about the superdelegates. She and my dad voted for Obama in the Ohio primary, but today she was under the impression that Clinton had won the popular vote, and that the superdelegates might swing to Obama anyway, which rightly struck her as dubious. We talked awhile and I assured her that Obama was going to be the nominee fair and square. (It's true that the Florida and Michigan fiasco puts the whole thing under something of a cloud, and that's got to be a terrible thing for the Clintons.) But later when G. and I turned on MSNBC I was really struck by a number I saw. It was at 6:30PM. The popular vote numbers (I'm not clear on how these were calculated, assuming FL and MI were left out) were 17,428,810 for Obama, and 17,425,541 for Clinton. That's a difference of 3,269 votes out of over 34.8 million cast! That's a statistical tie. Two points for my Democratic, Obama-supporting friends: 1) As Democrats, we're supposed to be people who respect small-"d" democracy, consensus politics. I'm not impressed with your dislike of Clinton, if you dislike her, when your sentiments are put up against over 17 million people, half of the Democratic primary electorate, who voted for her. Are you with the people, or with yourself? 2) Some of my friends are saying that this election is going to be an easy thing. Obama doesn't need to make painful political calculations. Think again. This one is going to be hard-fought, and the Democrats should have won the last two, remember, but they screwed them both up. We must not leave anything to chance. As to the discussion of Clinton's statement today that she would be available (I don't have her exact words) for the VP slot, I saw this as more humble than arrogant. After all, of course she's a prospect for the VP slot, let's be real. But in stating her availability, she was saying to Obama, "OK, you can reject me. I've put my cards on the table. The decision is yours to make, you know I won't reject you." She was precisely not playing games. Put her on the ticket.

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