The last president to drop a running mate was Gerald Ford in 1976. Forced to replace the first-ever appointed Vice President Nelson Rockefeller with Then-Kansas Senator Bob Dole as his running-mate in order satisfy an uneasy conservative base, Ford ultimately lost his bid for reelection to Jimmy Carter.
Although it’s unlikely President Obama will ditch Vice President Joe Biden for a new running-mate, there are plenty of good reasons to consider the option.
- 1. Biden has been a major headache for Obama
When someone can fill 128 pages of a book titled “Sh*t My Vice President Says,” you know you have a flawed running-mate. Since day one on the Obama team, Biden has been a gaffe machine, stealing valuable media-time away from the political messaging efforts of campaign. His most recent unscripted moment is credited with forcing Obama to publicly reveal his fully “evolved” position on gay marriage.
Despite all of her real or perceived faults, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a seasoned political veteran who is not known for making stupid mistakes. Staying on message will be crucial for Obama’s reelection campaign, and Biden is a major liability.
- Clinton would be a better Vice President
Biden said it all when he committed this memorable gaffe back in 2008: “Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president…Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me.”
Clinton has spent the past three years beefing up her résumé serving as Secretary of State and is the obvious heir to the Democratic Party presidential nomination once Obama’s political career runs its course. Additionally, with her strong political background and with the (often unwelcome) help of former President Bill Clinton, she could become an incredibly influential Vice President. Who knows? Watching her husband successfully cooperate with the 1994 Republican Congress may have even rubbed off on her.
Additionally, Clinton is uniquely positioned to spearhead some of the Obama campaign’s key themes this cycle. Who could better spearhead the phony “GOP War on Women” message than one of the most respected female politicians in the country?
- The Obama team looks like it will need a game-changer
Regardless of your views on fmr. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, it’s undeniable that the McCain team’s 2008 gamble completely altered the presidential race and gave McCain’s sinking campaign an enormous boost. Like McCain, President Obama may need to take dramatic action to salvage what appears to be an increasingly troubled reelection bid.
Just imagine the adoring media’s reaction to Obama creating 2008’s hypothesized “dream-team” ticket (if previous Obama media coverage is any indicator, I’d expect we’d hear endlessly about how “bold,” “historic” and “gutsy” the move was).
More importantly, Clinton is a popular political figure, while President Obama is not. Recall that President Obama lost 40 percent of the vote to an incarcerated felon in West Virginia’s recent primary, while Clinton crushed Obama 67 percent to 26 percent there in 2008. It’s possible Clinton may be able to sooth the concerns of independent and white-working class voters who have abandoned Obama in droves, something critically important in must-win states for Obama like Ohio and Pennsylvania.