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As Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign chances fade away in an embyonic stampede of superdelegates to Barack Obama, at least some of her supporters are pursuing a Plan B, the Vice-Presidency.

http://www.voteboth.com has been formed to push her candidacy with the appealing notion that we should not settle for a candidate backed by 51% of the Democratic Party when we can get a team backed by 100%.

This follows Senator Clinton's offer--made after Senator Obama had taken a large delegate lead--to make Obama her V.P. and her suggestion that he make the same offer to her.  As only Obama at that point was likely to actually be able to offer the Vice-Presidency, it seemed to me that this exercise was more about landing the Vice-Presidency than gaining votes for President.

Her strategy of campaigning in all the remaining states can also be seen as an effort to pick up Vice-Presidential delegates.  If she comes into the Convention with, say, 1900 delegates, she would only be a little short of the majority needed for Vice-President.

The strength--and weakness--of this gambit is the fact that there are no pledged delegates for Vice-President.

Just as it stands to reason that some Obama delegates would like to vote for her for Vice-President, it also stands to reason that there are some Clinton delegates who would like to score points with President Obama by backing his candidate for Vice-President.

The last time a Presidential candidate was challenged at a Democratic National Convention on his choice for Vice-President was in 1972, when George McGovern's nomination of Senator Tom Eagleton met resistance from many McGovern delegates who advanced the candidacy of recent Texas gubernatorial candiate Frances Farenthold.  

Large numbers of supporters of McGovern's rivals Hubert Humphrey and Scoop Jackson rode to McGovern's rescue in support of having a centrist Catholic nominee.  Eagleton won easily, but to little avail as he was soon forced off the ticket for having, and hiding, a record of recurring mental illness.

Eight years earlier, Lyndon Johnson faced down a determined effort by supporters of Attorney General
Robert Kennedy to make him LBJ's runningmate.  Johnson announced that he was ruling out all members of his cabinet and all who regularly met with the cabinet from Vice-Presidential consideration.

Kennedy wrote all of the affected a note saying "Sorry to take you all with me."  And he moved to New York, got elected to the Senate, and set a valuable precedent for Hillary Clinton in doing so.

One has to go back to 1944 to find an example where convention delegates--then controlled by party bosses--successfully powered a candidate for the Vice-Presidency.  Vice-President Henry Wallace was far too liberal--too much an accomodationist with the Soviet Union, then a WWII ally, and too little an accomodationist with racial segregation, powerful business interests, and political machines--to be acceptable to them.

So they pressured Roosevelt, then obviously dying, to name someone else.  After hemming and hawing, FDR finally said that either Wallace or Senator Harry Truman would be acceptable.  Truman then won a decisive victory, and all but the first three months of the next term in the Presidency.

Senator Hillary Clinton is no Harry Truman.  And I do not think the "Vote Both" gambit will work.  But it certainly bears watching, analysis, and in the judgment of many including myself, concerted opposition.

Originally posted to State Rep Mark Cohen Dem PA on Sun May 11, 2008 at 05:50 PM PDT.

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