I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but looking at the political landscape, Hillary Clinton is the most practical choice for Vice President.
Adding her name to the ticket would unite and energize the remaining Democrats who are slow to warm up to Senator Barack Obama. A recent poll of convention delegate showed that nearly 30% would like to see Mrs. Clinton as VP, by far the largest bloc. With the former First Lady on the ticket, all evidence points to united party and a Democratic victory in November.
In months preceding the 1860 Republican National Convention most thought that New York Governor William H. Seward was a shoo-in for the Presidential Nomination. He was a major national figure with powerful political connections and the Republican Party was expected to unite behind him.
The convention itself was similar to a caucus, but only Superdelegates had a vote. Voters wouldn’t truly have a vote on their party’s nominee until over a hundred years later. Seward won the first two ballots, but failed to capture the majority needed to win. On the third ballot he was soundly defeated by a little-known Illinois lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, who won by being everyone’s second choice. Lincoln, who had only served one term in Congress and briefly in the Illinois Legislature, shocked the entire country by capturing the nomination.
Lincoln had no say in who his Vice Presidential pick was, that was decided at the convention, but he did get to pick his cabinet. He appointed Seward, his biggest rival the Secretary of State, the most powerful position available. This story is chronicled in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s amazing book Team Of Rivals, one of Senator Obama’s favorite books.”He talks about it all the time,” a top aide told Time Magazine.
In May when Obama was asked if he would pick Clinton as VP, he spoke of the book as precedent for that decision.
“I will tell you, though, that my goal is to have the best possible government, and that means me winning,” Obama said, per ABC News’ Sunlen Miller. “And so, I am very practical minded. I’m a practical-minded guy. And, you know, one of my heroes is Abraham Lincoln.”
Obama then referred to “a wonderful book written by Doris Kearns Goodwin called Team of Rivals, in which [she] talked about [how] Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his Cabinet because whatever, you know, personal feelings there were, the issue was, ‘How can we get this country through this time of crisis?’”
As someone who was an Obama supporter from early on, I was obviously dissatisfied (and angry) with the negative and unfair attacks Clinton used during the primary. But that primary seems like ancient history when faced with the levels of attack that Senator McCain has stooped to in recent weeks. It’s time to do what Lincoln would do, unite the party and head towards the White House.