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Stonecipher

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« Reply #0: Mar 21, 2008, 10:49 AM »
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In a post earlier this week I mentioned that Hillary Clinton would make an excellent Senate Majority Leader, but I didn't provide any context for it.  In today's post we'll explore that possibility a little further. 

 

There has been some chatter within the Democratic Party about a possible deal being brokered between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 

 

If necessary, the deal wouldn't go down until sometime in June, after the final primary in South Dakota (It is beginning to look more and more like re-votes in MI and FL will not happen).  It would happen instead, before the convention in an effort to prevent an internal party meltdown in Denver. 

 

Before I go into this, I should note that this is pure speculation.  No one from The Party has publicly suggested this.  At this point it is rumor and hearsay. 

 

Assuming that Barack Obama still holds a pledged delegate lead and a popular vote lead, he will be the clear front runner going into the convention.  So the big prize of the nomination will be awarded to Obama.  That is the easy part.

 

Sen. Clinton's piece of the deal is a little more complicated. 

 

In exchange for conceding without a divisive and potentially disastrous fight over superdelegates Sen. Harry Reid (D- Nevada) will step down from his position as the Majority Leader in the Senate and support Hillary Clinton to take his place. 

 

There are a few problems with Clinton's part of the deal though. 

 

One, Harry Reid has to agree to step down.  The good/bad news for the Democrats is that Reid has been relatively ineffective as Leader and his approval ratings have been bad since he took the job.  Bad is actually not the word, wretched is more like it.  This deal would be an opportunity for Reid to become a Party hero and possibly save himself politically in the process.  He should be easy to convince.  First problem solved.

 

Problem number two, just because Reid steps down and endorses Clinton to become the new Majority Leader that doesn't necessarily mean she'll automatically get the job.  She still has to be elected by the other Senate Democrats. 

 

The good news, Clinton seems to be a popular choice for this role among the Senate Democrats.  In 2006, Joshua Green of the Atlantic Monthly wrote: "As an admiring senator put it to me, "Hillary Clinton is everyone's secret choice for majority leader.""  I believe this is still true. 

 

I also believe, despite my current animosity towards Hillary Clinton, that she would make an excellent Majority Leader.  She is an extremely divisive figure nationally, as we have all seen first hand in recent weeks, but she is still popular in New York and more importantly she is popular and respected amongst her colleagues in the Senate.  She doesn't need to directly answer to the whole country as the Majority Leader, just to New Yorkers and the 99 other Senators.  So problem number two is solved.

 

The final piece of this equation is convincing Hillary Clinton to accept the deal before it gets ugly on the convention floor.  This is the hard part.

 

Convincing the Clinton's to give up their dream of moving back into the White House is no easy task.  Hopefully, as this election moves forward they will eventually be capable of facing the reality that 2008 is not the time for them. 

 

An offer of the second most powerful position in the country may be an acceptable consolation prize. 

 

Sure, the Democrats could lose the Senate, making her Minority Leader instead of Majority Leader.  The way things are shaping up though, particularly if Barack Obama becomes the nominee, the Dems are likely to make some large gains in Congress (You can check out why that is in my post Screw Delegate Counts, Obama Wins Electoral Votes).  Even in the event of a McCain win, the Democrats are likely to have a 55-45 majority in the Senate.  There is little chance that she would be anything less than the second most powerful person in American Government.  She might even end up as the most powerful Democrat.

 

A move like this could potentially save her ego and give her supporters something to feel positive about, rather than going into the election with nothing except bitter feelings towards Barack Obama, the nominee.

 

The infighting would come to an end immediately and if the Democrats were actually able to figure this all out and pull it off it would look awfully good going into the general election in November.

 

First, if all parties involved seemed satisfied with the deal it would go a long way to healing the Obama vs. Clinton rift in the Democratic Party.  It would also keep Clinton's divisive name off of the uniting Obama ticket, yet still allow the two to become teammates of sorts. 

 

Perhaps more importantly, a deal like this would show the nation that the Democrats are, in fact, capable of solving a difficult problem like this and bringing a conflict to a peaceful ending.

 

Finally, can you imagine the power of having Barack Obama as President, Hillary Clinton as Senate Majority Leader and Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House?  This would make that fun little game the Republicans play, where they bring out their most sexist and racist pundits to accuse the Democrats of being sexist and racist, a lot more difficult to play.

 

So Harry, Hillary, think about it.  You've got some time before you need to decide, but it would help the rest of us out a lot.  Thanks.



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jwilkes

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« Reply #1: Mar 21, 2008, 11:56 AM »
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I have my doubts about whether or not this would be possible. First of all, the post of SML requires an INCREDIBLE knowledge of Senate rules. Part of the reason Harry Reid is the SML is that he is highly respected for it. After only a little more than a term in the Senate, does Hillary have what it takes? I doubt it.

But more than that, I think that if a "deal" will be reached at all, it won't include Hillary in the Senate. Too many toes to step on. What I could see is Hillary as Secretary of State...VERY possible.
Stonecipher

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« Reply #2: Mar 21, 2008, 4:22 PM »
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LBJ had about the same experience as Hillary when he became Majority Leader.

As for the Sec. of State thing, I'm sure a lot of people are thinking that way, but ultimately, I think Barack will need to choose someone with a little more diplomatic grace and skill than Hillary. Bill, for example, but I don't think Hillary is the person we want mending the relationships that Condi is currently tearing apart.

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