Hillary will never be VP.
Hillary Clinton is many things. Stupid is not one of them.
According to reports, which, though having a very strong air of credibility cannot be absolutely confirmed, President Obama offered her the number two position on the ticket in place of the hapless Joe Biden.
The offer was reportedly made a couple of weeks ago, well ahead of a string of stunning misstatements and malapropisms from America’s gaffe-a-minute vice president.
The Obama campaign reportedly courted Hillary because the thing about Biden is, everyone knew the gaffes would be coming. Only in this campaign, Barack Obama can much less afford them. The race is too tight and Obama’s 2008 political tailwinds have turned into the stiff headwinds of 2012.
And then, in a week that confirmed the fears of David Axelrod and the other tribe elders of the Obama campaign, Ol’ Joe got loose and went out and started stepping in it.
In just a single week, Biden hit the Gaffe Trifecta. First, he exhorted a crowd he was speaking to to be sure to get out there and work hard and turn out the vote so that “we can win North Carolina again” – apparently having forgotten that he was speaking to a rally in Virginia.
At another appearance in Virginia, he asked the crowd, “Folks, where is it written that we cannot lead the world in the 20th century in making automobiles,?” apparently unaware of a fair amount of to-do almost 13 years ago when we not only entered a new century but a new millennium.
To be fair, these are the sort of mistakes any speaker can make and eventually will make when called upon to speak on multiple occasions in multiple locations often on the same day.
But then Biden opened his mouth and made people gasp.
Trying to draw a sharp contrast between Obama administration policy on Wall Street regulation and Romney’s proposed policies, he said that Romney’s proposals would “put y’all back in chains,” – to a predominantly African-American audience. (Listen to clip here.)
In what was to many ears a “black-sounding” dialect.
You could just see David Axelrod back in Chicago holding his head in his hands.
Again, according to the reports, Hillary turned the Obama campaign offer down before all of this happened.
But she’s not about to change her mind.
Hillary is among the most prominent of a fair number of establishment Democrats that understand some important facts about the Obama presidency.
First, she understands that it might be coming to an end soon. The stars were perfectly aligned for Obama in 2008. A deeply unpopular Republican president was ending his term on a decidedly sour note. Extremely bad news was breaking about the U.S. economy and the GOP nominated a very weak candidate who put up a very inept campaign.
Against that backdrop, Obama was unsullied by a record and was able to cast himself as a blank canvas upon which voters could project their own vision of an ideal candidate.
That magic is now gone and in its place stand a stalled economy, persistently high unemployment and a deeply-seated feeling among voters that things are not well.
Second, Hillary knows that if Obama loses with her on the ticket, she can kiss any aspirations of a run of her own in 2016 goodbye. The number two person on a losing ticket is seldom a hot political commodity afterward.
And third, Hillary knows that if Obama wins re-election, he will likely be deeply unpopular at the end of a second term. She and her husband and James Carville and other Democrats know that Obama is much too liberal for most of the country to stomach. Unfettered by the need to win another election, it is likely that Obama will tack even more sharply left.
Hillary is among those in the Democratic Party that are quietly hoping that Obama will lose, for fear of the devastating harm that he will do to the Democratic brand in a second term. If she were yoked to Obama as a second-term VP, her chances of landing the office on her own in 2016 would be practically nil.
Hillary knows what she wants and she thinks three moves ahead all the time.
She has no intention of being Obama’s VP in a second term.
In fact, she won’t be his Secretary of State in a second term either.
Bet on it.
Because Hillary Clinton is many things. But stupid is not one of them.