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    • Politics Series: Power
      (Previous: Economy) (Introduction and Table of Contents) We have seen that who gets how much of what is a political decision: that the economy and economics is downstream from politics. Power is the ability to make people do what you want, or not do what you don’t want. Ideology determines what the good life is and power determines who lives it. All politica […]
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Hillary, the VP rumor and what men don’t understand about powerful women

Gosh, it seems I have a lot to say today.

Charles Pierce is freaking out about the poll numbers.  Oh, sure, it was all fun and games to poke at Obama until someone loses an election.  After yesterday’s dystopian description of Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago that chilled me to the bone, Charles is backtracking today and telling the left to suck it up and vote for the bastard.

Not so fast, Charles.  In fact, if the Democrats want to dodge this rendezvous with electoral obscurity, now is the time for voters to lay down the law, draw a line in the sand and say, “You Shall Not Pass!”.  I’d make any grand bargain on Social Security and Medicare my rubicon but there are half a dozen other legitimate issues that Democrats should be forced to defend vigorously before voters yield.  No, I am not afraid of Romney, believe it or not.  At this point, the states are gleefully slashing through all of women’s reproductive rights and there are already 5 votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. Democrats yielded women’s issues without much of a fight so they can’t fall back on that old trick anymore.  I hate private equity firms and sons of rich family firms as much as anyone but Obama’s negotiations with Wall Street have been so godawful that it hardly makes a difference who’s the coldhearted Mr. Moneybucks in the White House.  In this case, it is perfectly fair to talk about equivalence.  Pierce just better hope that Democrats fare better in Congressional races.

My problem with Obama is that it’s not enough to have good intentions but a hostile opponent in Congress to blame stuff on.  You need to look as though you’ve actually broken a sweat defending our rights and quality of life and Obama hasn’t.  No one in my generation should settle for a Democratic president doing a lackluster job and then throwing up his hands in frustration and saying, “It’s inevitable that your life is going to suffer.  Deal with it, late babyboomer.  Sucks to be you.” I’m not settling for that.  We knew the job was going to be tougher than average following a disaster like George W. Bush.  He shouldn’t have run for the job if he wasn’t ready, and it was obvious that he wasn’t.  No excuses.  He had his chance to sit it out and wait but he had to have the White House now, now, now.  So, now it’s his responsibility and solemn obligation not to screw us over even if it’s really hard to do.

But it’s not Pierce alone who is starting to panic and grasp at straws.  Over at the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky is testing the “Hillary-Biden VP Switch” idea again and seeing if it gets any more traction than it did before.  I’m not sure Obama would get the bang for the buck everyone expects from this ticket though and in some respects, it might almost be worse.

For example, did you know that recently Hillary compared the VP position to being First Lady?  That’s not necessarily derogatory but does touch on something that I think men just don’t get about powerful women, which I’ll get to in a moment.  The reason why Hillary says VP is like First Lady is because although the VP can be an important and influential advisor to the president, constitutionally, the position doesn’t have much power.  The VP can break ties in the Senate annnnd, that’s about it.  Otherwise, the VP is just hanging around for the president to experience some catastrophic event.  It’s sort of like being a political vulture or hyena.  A carrion pol.

I just finished the Passage to Power by Robert Caro about LBJ’s Kennedy years and what happened to him when he was VP was a textbook case of what you do not ever want to happen to a person with as much power potential as LBJ.  Johnson was a Senate powerhouse, a legislative genius who understood every representative and senator in Congress, their hidden desires and flaws, and how to manipulate those desires and timing to generate momentum and force legislation through.  The Kennedy brothers brought Johnson in as VP in order to neutralize his power and they were exceedingly successful.  They were so successful that they jeopardized their own policy agenda.  And Johnson was miserable as VP.  He was emasculated by the Kennedys who made sure that he couldn’t even make a trivial speech without having it cleared by the Attorney General.  When JFK was assassinated, Johnson revealed himself to be a great leader.  If he’d been as astute on Vietnam, we’d be worshipping him along with FDR and Lincoln.  But if Kennedy hadn’t met his fate in Dallas, Johnson would have faded into obscurity and the Civil Rights Law of 1964 might never have happened.  I’m no fan of Obama’s but even I wouldn’t wish that on him just so someone else could benefit.

I’m of the opinion that had Hillary wanted the VP in 2008, she could have had it.  We don’t know how it all went down but my suspicion is that she knew that she would be de-balled like Johnson if she had accepted the position and so she pre-emptively asked for State if Obama won.  And so the original choice for SOS, Joe Biden, switched places with Hillary.

So, assuming this is true, why would she want to be Obama’s VP now?  My guess is that she wouldn’t.  What really drives me up a wall about Tomasky’s post is that it reflects the guy’s point of view about what would save Obama’s ass in this election.  The focus is still on saving Obama at all costs.  Yes, he is tremendously inexperienced and doesn’t seem to be learning his job very well.  Yes, he’s not a very good politician and doesn’t act like he likes being around legislators and gladhanding for votes.  Yes, he made too many deals with Wall Street, the insurance companies, the religious right to the detriment of his base. Yes, the economy is terrible and he’s done nothing about unemployment.  Yes, he’s planning to give away all the money the late baby boomers PREPAID into social security for their retirements.  But somehow, the guys feel we’ve got to re-elect this man.  I don’t understand it.  It’s got to be a male graduate student guy thing, the cluelessness of being near the top of Maslow’s pyramid. I keep picturing that iconoclastic image of soldiers pushing the flag up Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima.  So much struggle for so little payoff.

But that’s the problem.  They act like Obama is the most-ut and those around him are expected to sacrifice their own needs for his future.   I understand that Obama has this power over people.  They want to help him achieve his own personal goals and it doesn’t seem that important that his goals should be subordinated to the welfare of the country. This is where the reasoning behind the guy thing breaks down.  For that matter, some women don’t get it either.

But if that’s the case, why the Hell would a woman with Hillary’s power and ability continually put her own needs secondary to Obama’s?? We don’t expect Obama to sacrifice his ambitions for the good of the party or country. If I were her, I wouldn’t do it.  I wouldn’t put myself in a four year sound proof booth just to help Obama achieve self-actualization as a two term president, country be damned.  What would be in it for me?  Would I be able to influence policy?  Sha!, Obama’s smartest guys in the room, like Kennedy’s, aren’t going to let her anywhere near a lever of power.  So, without the ability to affect policy, what is she reduced to but a series of ceremonial appearances where she would be dragged out in front of crowds of Democrats, like some hostage, to make Obama look good.  At the end of four years, she’s going to be permanently associated with whatever failures Obama’s administration is notorious for without having had any opportunity to influence them.  And with that she’s supposed to run for office in 2016?  Like some 69 year old Chernyenko who the party is going to feel obliged to unenthusiastically endorse until some young whippersnapper beats her in the New Hampshire primary?  Are you f^&*ing kidding me?

Did it never occur to these guys that maybe she has her own ambition that is independent of and does not make reference to Obama’s?  If I were her, I’d never settle for less than the top spot because I would have the confidence to know I’d be good at the job.  And if I couldn’t get the top spot, I’d leave politics behind and become a powerhouse on the outside, holding Obama’s feet to the fire on gender equality or education or scientific infrastructure or something equally important.  There’s no point to being powerful, competent and smart if there’s no way to exercise it.  And there’s apparently no place in American politics for a woman who is not seen as a traditional helpmeet to a man.  But seriously, ladies, why do it for a dude who is not your husband and who is secretly driving you crazy with his bumbling incompetence?

Tell them to shove their shotgun wedding, Hillary.

25 Responses

  1. Isn’t that always the way?

    I hate you, mommy.
    Go away, mommy.

  2. The whole Hillary-veep thing drives me screaming yellow zonkers. We have someone at least ten times more competent than the guy who smeared her and stole her votes, and these jerks aren’t even ashamed to suggest that it’s SHE who should be veep to that shill?

    Ex-CUSE me?

  3. If I were Hillary, the only way I would agree to be VP is if Obama promised to resign right after the election.

  4. Excellent, insightful article. He’d never ask, and she’d never agree! Dems keep looking toward her because they realize what a great big mistake they made in 08 and want another chance! Glad to see you’re still at it.

  5. It drives me nuts as well. All these bullshit comes from chauvinists who never acknowledge the full abilities of a woman. It is no coincidence that these are the same people who said she is where she is because of her husband.

    I cringe at the though of such a thing, but were it to happen, rest assured that the same crowd shall *celebrate* and make us puke with their constant reference to the highest position attained by a woman. Just what they like, lots of show, no power.

  6. Off Topic: I ran across this Irish drinking song by an unnamed band while looking for something else on YT. NSFW! 😈 :mrgreen:

  7. Wish I had been warned, or better still had checked the origin of the Hillary as VP-link before clicking! I never, and I mean never go to HuffPo if I can avoid it, but once there, sigh, I read some of the first comments. Pardon my French but JFC! Whether smarming about HRC joining as Obama’s VP or slamming her, those commenters are … well, I better not risk upsetting Spammy with my ‘French’. 👿

    • I despair when I read some of the comments from women who think this would be a great idea. It would be a HORRIBLE idea. They need to take a few minutes and really think it out. In some cases, being the first at something is not necessarily an achievement.

      • like being the 1st aa president…not exactly representing the great hope as they’d hoped…yet they don’t even glimpse the loss of shoving HRC aside for their “I Have A Dream” indulgence

  8. I agree that it would be a bad idea on the merits – why subsidize failure, especially when the guy who failed will get all the benefit of your help while leaking heavily to the press how much of a burden you are, etc.?. The election junkie in me does wonder what effect it would have on the result – I’d bet the D’s would win by between 5-10 points, with north of 400 EV.

    • Really? I won’t vote for Obama for president because I don’t like failure. Adding Hillary as VP doesn’t change anything. It would backfire, in fact, because it would just shine a spotlight on Obama’s weakness as a president and as an effective advocate for women. The Republicans would flog it for all it’s worth and the Democrats might very well lose.
      If there’s going to be any winnable swapping strategy, it’s the top of the ticket where it has to happen. And I know it sounds crazy now but I wouldn’t rule it out.

      • agreed. I won’t vote for Hillary either if she runs for VP, for the simple reason that I can’t stand what’s on he ticket with her. As for MIttens, my Mormon of choice is Rpcky Anderson

  9. rule it out. The Cory Booker instant walkback was the neon flag that the Chicago thug puts so much effort into enforcement that he’s impotent as a leader. Hillary and Bill have had four years to call on world leaders before quietly moving into the circles where hard, legitimate work is respected…I hope she says, “AMF” to the turkey and goes on to live her life free to hold her own views.

  10. I agree with what you sat about both O. and Hillary. But for all your smarts some times you just really amaze me.

    You wrote:

    “Yes, he’s planning to give away all the money the late baby boomers PREPAID into social security for their retirements.”

    Late BB were not the only ones who PREPAID. Early BB did too. I know. I was born in ’46 and I PREPAID for my retirment too for at least 20 years. And now so are Generations Y and X and millenials. It’s not always Just About Moi.

    • I don’t know what it is about you early babyboomers but an awful lot of you seem extremely defensive and protest way too much if any of us late babyboomers have the audacity to be angry about the way we’re being treated. If my calculations are correct, you’re going to be retired in a couple years and won’t have to worry about this shit anymore. Meanwhile, WE are losing our jobs, pensions, 401Ks, healthcare and future social security bennies and will be expected to work for peanuts until we’re well into our 70s. So, you know, it’s not all about YOU.

      • I guess every sentence is supposed to be pre-parced with parenthetical qualifiers annotating your assumptions. Kind of like the required “We don’t support Republican’s here” note.

        • Any time you use the word “babyboomer”, these touchy-touchy people come out of the woodwork. It really pisses me off. I don’t get it but the closer they get to 65, the more selfish and self-centered they get. It’s nauseating.

    • Actually, the FICA-tax was majorly raised in 1983 as part of the “Social Security Rescue Act” or what ever it was called. The logic offered at the time was that the huge bulge of mid-and-late baby boomers would cost so much money that the only way the system could afford it was if people starting in 1983 pre-payed their own future Social Security benefits. That is what built up the so-called Trust Fund to begin with. So it was only late boomers and also Generation Jones-ers (it can be googled) who first began the heavy prepayment. Early boomers do not have a factual leg to stand on if they make THAT claim. They are nearer to having the Sweet Deal that Silents and Greatest Generationers get.

      “Early boomers” prepaid? I’m sorry. As a “Generation Jones-er”, I’m not having it.

  11. “helpmeet” -haha, the typo made me think of the frontier wife who pulled the plow by day and when th younguns were tucked in, dutifully submitted to inconsiderate sex: a real “helpmeat!

  12. You know . . . if HRC could keep Obama contained and harmless (keep your friends close and your enemies closer), it would be sweet sweet revenge for HRC to run as President and Obama to run as her Vice President in 2012. Wouldn’t that be just too funny? But only if HRC could keep Obama safely contained the way a very healthy lung can keep a tuberculosis sample safely encysted and dormant.

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