Today's Blogs

The Veepstakes

Bloggers assess the merits of a possible Clinton vice presidency and the Bush administration’s plan for a strategic alliance with Iraq. 

The veepstakes: Will Hillary Clinton run as Barack Obama’s vice-presidential candidate? The Wall Street Journal thinks it’s unlikely to happen, and even Clinton herself has refrained from making overtures, telling the New York Times that the decision of Obama’s running mate is “Senator Obama’s and his alone” to make. Still, bloggers speculate about the so-called “dream ticket,” and whether it might more resemble a nightmare.

Viktorb at Life’s Journey writes: “I have one piece of advice for Barak Obama, keep Bill and Hillary as far away from the White House as possible. You don’t need Hillary Clinton on your ticket.  Take anybody else but Hillary, Bill Richardson would make a great vice president.” But Jacob Freeze at liberal MyDD thinks “unity” means a joint ticket: “If Obama plans to carry over the vindictiveness of the primaries into the general election by tossing Hillary Clinton a scrap and trying to pass it off as magnanimity, he may turn what should be a Democratic landslide into a toss-up, and leave voters in the general election with a very unappealing choice between a bogey-man and a vindictive hypocrite.”

Doug McCaughan at Reality Me is pretty sure what Clinton’s role would be in an Obama administration: “I heard him say that she would be on his cabinet in charge of health. His words were ‘And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory.’ I personally think that one sentence clearly says that she will not be the vice president.” And Comedian for President says, quite seriously: “The vetting process would require that she and her husband open up the donor list of the Bill Clinton presidential library, and all of their financial arrangements - something that she is unwilling to do.”

Frank James at the Swamp divines Clinton’s strategy in even asking for it: “By getting her willingess to play second-fiddle to Obama out there for public consumptiion, she places tremendous pressure on him. Her openness to the vice presidency may not ultimately pan out but it could prove to be leverage for some other post–a Supreme Court berth, for instance.” The middle-ground-seeking Globetrotter at Marin Forum offers a list of pros and cons for a Hillary veep slot. One of the cons is: “It has been an intense campaign and it is clear that neither side really likes the other. There could be too many divisions and animosity between the two for Obama to effectively govern. However, Kennedy and Johnson did not get along well but the ticket still worked.” Susan Davis at the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire notes that voters are split on the idea: “Exit polls in Montana and South Dakota showed that more than half of the voters in both states said Obama should take Clinton as his running mate. But it’s a potentially divisive plan—the other half said no, he should not.”

Finally, Maynard at Daily Kos has “Machiavellian” motives to support an Obama-Clinton ticket: “We’ll watch her power in the senate wane as she spends her busy schedule attending such perfunctory ceremonies as funerals for foreign heads of state and other officials who have passed away, or the occasional ribbon cutting ceremony instead of attending senate committee and sub-committee hearings. Thus, I argue that the Vice Presidency is the perfect place to dump Mrs Clinton where she can do President Obama and his agenda no harm.”

Read more about Clinton’s vice presidential hopes.

Strategic alliance or continued occupation? Patrick Cockburn of the Independent writes of a “secret deal” being hashed out between Washington and Baghdad that would allow the United States to maintain long-term use of 50 military bases in Iraq, obtain immunity from Iraqi law for American troops and private contractors, and control the country’s airspace below 29,000 feet well beyond 2008.

Martini Revolution frets: “It should be obvious that any Iraqi government which agrees to a more or less permanent occupation along with the cession of sovereignty will suffer a massive corresponding loss of legitimacy and popularity among the Iraqi population.”

Dday at liberal Hullabaloo suggests Cockburn is a bit behind the story: “There is nothing ‘secret’ about this ‘secret deal’ from the standpoint of the Iraqis. They are well aware of it and committed to stopping its progress, protesting it and demanding it be put to a popular vote. Where the Independent article is valuable is if it can bring attention to this issue in the United States.” FP Passport observes: “Obviously, these terms could change in the face of Iraqi opposition, and there is already talk of political workarounds such as making the bases officially Iraqi bases with U.S. tenants. Iraqi officials have also threatened to make other arrangements if their sovereignty isn’t fully respected.”

Jonathan Taplin at TPM Cafe brings it back to the election: “If this one is true, it’s time for the Democrats to raise a ruckus. Obama needs to ask McCain if he supports this new Bush Policy of a permanent American force in Iraq. The long term oil price and fiscal situation is bad enough. This is going to make it worse.”

However, Dave Price at the classically liberal Dean’s World is unimpressed with the piece, which he thinks is old and also misleading: “Cockburn then claims the plan seeks ‘permanent’ bases, and that Washington is denying that fact as a ‘tactical subterfuge’ which makes no sense as the Iraqi Parliament has to publicly vote on the terms of the pact.  Even less sensibly, the article claims this will restrict Obama’s ability to withdraw troops, which of course it does not as the agreement merely defines the parameters under which they would operate in Iraq.”

Read more about the “secret plan” for Iraq.