For months there has been talk about an Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama “dream ticket” (in the words of its proponents), that supposedly would draw in strong support from all the electoral groups that supported either Democratic candidate. It now looks unlikely to happen, for a number of good reasons.
As former President Jimmy Carter points out, it would be more likely to combine the perceived weaknesses of both candidates than their strengths:
“That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates,” Carter told the Guardian, saying that both candidates’ vulnerabilities could overshadow that the ticket if the two team up together.
“If you take that 50 percent who just don’t want to vote for Clinton and add it to whatever element there might be who don’t think Obama is white enough or old enough or experienced enough or because he’s got a middle name that sounds Arab, you could have the worst of both worlds,” he said.
In late 2007 Hillary Clinton was widely seen as by far the most likely choice of the Democrats for the presidential election. Then came the primaries and she stumbled. Clinton would have us believe that she was ready for the highest office in the US “from day one”, but she wasn’t ready when Super Tuesday didn’t deliver a knockout blow to Obama as she had expected.
Despite being accused of lacking in political experience, Obama had managed to recruit and build an effective organisation that delivered a string of 11 victories in a row and he out-fundraised Clinton.
After she hit her drought, Clinton kept reinventing herself until she finally managed to find an image that resonated with enough voters. Meanwhile Obama remained himself.
What’s more, he showed class and character thoughout those months, from when he addressed racial issues after the Pastor Jeremiah Wright controversy to partially accomodating Clinton in her unreasonable demands about the disputed primaries in Florida and Michigan. I shook my head in disbelief when Clinton claimed all the Michigan votes for herself, even though voters in Michigan had not even been able to vote for Obama, as he had not been on the ballot, following rules agreed upon by all candidates beforehand.
She was fighting to win at all costs, prepared to take no prisoners. Even when Obama had reached the majority of pledged delegates and super delegates, she did not have the grace to concede his victory and join hands for November. She had to be pushed by senior party leaders.
If there is one thing Barack Obama is good at, it is listening to advice from experienced people. I trust he will listen to those who understand it’s time to turn a new page for a Democratic party no longer under the spell of the Clintons and their political and personal baggage.