An Unstoppable Ticket?

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on

CNN is reporting some comments from former President Bill Clinton about how he thinks a Clinton-Obama ticket would be unbeatable.

For a long time now, many commentators from the media and blogosphere have suggested that a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket might be necessary in order to keep the party together, once the convention is done and over.  The theory is that, the closeness of the the pledged delegate count, plus the possibility of a split superdelegate vote, would harm the party.  I’m not sure about that, because since Obama since winning 11 states in a row, he had quite a few jump overs.  Still, it is a fear.

Yet, instead of focusing on a “marriage” of convenience, President Clinton focuses on one of strength.  If you think about it, he has a good point.  Consider the demographics the two cover.  Clinton has a huge advantage with women voters.  I think that she might even be able to woo some female Republican voters for that reason alone.  Obama, on the other hand, holds a enormous hold on the African American vote.  Clinton, likewise, has a big advantage with Hispanics.  Finally, Clinton would seem to be doing well those who formerly supported John Edwards – those poor and rural voters, and Obama has a hold on the youth and city vote.  Take all these together, and you have a large swath of the country.

Then you have the message vs. substance debate.  Clinton’s bark about Obama’s “angelic” rhetoric probably sounds worse than she means it to.  We don’t see a lot of Obama’s speeches, especially his stump speeches in states he visits to garner primary votes.  So, he probably has a lot more substance than we think.

Then there’s geography.  Now, technically, both candidates would be considered “northerners,” and that’d go against the old strategy of pairing up North with South.  However, lets not forget that before heading to D.C., Clinton was from Arkansas.  So, conservatives know Clinton.  And despite all this stuff about conservatives hating her and Bill, I think that’s mainly garbage spewed from the talk-radio crowd.  And even if they are both northerners now, the strategy of picking a running mate from the same region of the country isn’t new.  Bill did it in 1992, picking Gore, a southern man.

So, we have a pair that could win some key demographics.  Politically, we see some similar things going on, with Obama having gotten on the good side of many Republicans.  Unlike John McCain, who I think who is probably right to accept Bush’s endorsement, but should probably keep a firewall between himself and Bush, Obama, Clinton, or Obama and Clinton, need the Republicans.

I don’t think they can simply win on their own, unless all the Republicans were to stay home.  Considering the differences in turnout during the primaries, that could very well be the case, but lets not speculate those numbers this far away from the general election.  Lets assume for now they will need a good amount of Republicans in order to be the clear winners in November.  This is where I think Obama’s “I will cross party lines” message is going to help them.  Voters don’t want to hear about partisanship, and I certainly don’t.  If Clinton becomes the nominee, she needs to pick up on this message as well, I think.  Otherwise, she’ll have trouble climbing the hill toward the election.  If they can get a decent amount of Republicans, they’ve got it in the can.

My only concern in this ticket is military experience.  Neither can claim it.  Still, neither could former President Clinton.  Only his running mate, Gore, could.  Still, this may not be an incredible barrier.  Lets not forget that Gore was in the last conflict that required a draft, and Obama came of age after that.  Clinton, on the other hand, has the advantage of 8 years of looking over Bill’s shoulder on his military decisions.  This could help, as Clinton can claim some knowledge of how an actual President makes military choices.

So, to conclude,  an Obama-Clinton, or Clinton-Obama ticket may indeed be more than just a necessity.  It may be indeed a strong ticket destined to win.

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