I realize there will be hundreds of diaries written about this subject up until the time that our party's nominee, Barack Obama, selects his running mate for the general election. (Speaking of that, have I mentioned red state governor and Obama supporter Kathleen Sebelius lately?)
I digress. Other than the myriad reasons why Hillary should not win the Veepstakes—high negatives, Clinton-era baggage, the enmity of African-American voters, etc.—my argument against the "dream ticket" can be summed up thusly:
Bill Clinton could be the next Dick Cheney.
It's no secret that the former president seeks a return to executive power. He's mentioned this desire several times to the press. In May 2003, he openly advocated altering the 22nd amendment speech at the JFK Library and Museum in Boston:
I think since people are living much longer... the 22nd Amendment should probably be modified to say two consecutive terms instead of two terms for a lifetime... There may come a time when we elect a president at age 45 or 50, and then 20 years later the country comes up against the same kind of problems the president faced before.
Since an actual third term was out of the question, becoming the "first husband" was an appealing path to the White House for Bill Clinton. But now that Hillary's bid for the nomination has failed, being the "second husband" is his best case scenario. Picture him standing on the platform in Denver at the climax of the convention, arm-in-arm with the Obamas and his wife and wearing that familiar smile.
The idea of a Clintonian "co-presidency" has been pitched since 1992, and it was a selling point of Senator Clinton's primary campaign until the former president became a liability to voters, notably because of his condescending Obama-Jesse Jackson comparison before the disastrous South Carolina primary. Regardless of his public visibility, we know Bill Clinton has been heavily involved in the campaign all along, and he resumed stumping for his wife after Obama's string of February victories. It's probably not a stretch to assume that the co-presidency concept extends to the vice president's office, as well, if Hillary became the VP.
This brings us to the current administration, during which the sitting Vice President has tried to set a most disturbing precedent. It's been almost a year since this bombshell broke:
In a simmering dispute with the National Archives that heated up Thursday, Cheney has long maintained that he does not have to comply with an executive order on safeguarding classified information because, in fact, his office is part of the legislature.
Further, Cheney's office tried to abolish the oversight agency involved, according to a Democratic congressman.
It's a neat trick, huh? Claim to be part of the legislative branch for immunity to oversight, but keep the right to invoke executive privilege whenever necessary?
So let's imagine the Clintons "co-own" the vice presidency under President Obama. Would it not sully the credibility of Obama's administration if Bill Clinton tried to hide questionable business deals struck while wielding (usurping?) the presumptive power of the vice presidency? I would to see that hated adjective "scandal-plagued" affixed to the Obama administration because of a former president's drive to earn millions and pay off Hillary's campaign debt.
All of this might be paranoia, but Barack Obama, as the man who will become our president this fall, needs to leave the Clintons where they belong: in the past. And to help put the Bush/Cheney administration in the past, we deserve a vice president who loves and honors the Constitution as much as he does.
I can't seem to recall... did I mention Governor Sebelius?