THE PLANK MAY 8, 2008
The idea of a Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton "unity ticket" has been floated quite a bit the last few days. But, seriously, is the idea any good? We asked a few friends of the magazine to weigh in. Here's Alan Wolfe, a TNR contributing editor and professor of political science at Boston College.
I am for the dream ticket. This is the Democratic Party's year; why not take advantage of it by having the first African-American and the first woman as president and vice-president in our history? There was no more graphic illustration of the changing demographics of this country than those Republican debates: elderly white men with red ties, one droning on after the other. The oldest of those drones is now the Republican candidate for president. Obama and Clinton would not only beat him badly; they would attract future supporters to the Democratic Party in droves.
None of this ought to be said if Obama chose Clinton only because he is black and she is a woman. But these are the two most talented politicians the Democrats have, one, as it happens, adept at the high road, the other at the low. It is also the case that both have genuine leadership abilities. The Democrats could use identity politics to move beyond identity politics. The country would be better off for it.
The contest between Obama and Clinton created hundreds of thousands of new Democrats, raised huge sums of money from small donors, increased turnout in the primaries, and dominated the airwaves. It is energy that should be used, not wasted. And it would make Bill the equivalent of Lynne Cheney.
Kilgore: Obama should ask her, and she should accept.
Schmitt: The party doesn't need that much repairing.Michael Tomasky: He can do better in both substantive and symbolic terms.David A. Bell: Ten reasons not to pick Hillary Clinton as V.P.