Barack Obama, having won his party’s presidential nomination, now has the authority to select his vice president. But Hillary Clinton and her campaign handlers are not content to let the election process run unfettered and without bullying Obama into make a choice that could forever taint his presidency.After her defeat was clearly apparent, Mrs. Clinton spent most of her comments on describing how competent she is and reciting her accomplishments in office. Not a word acknowledged Obama’s victory.

She again repeated the mantra that she is still the strongest candidate and stands ready to take charge as commander in chief. Lanny Davis, a lawyer in the former Clinton administration, launched a drive to nominate Clinton as vice president. Meanwhile, she has all but warned that if she doesn’t get the VP’S job her “millions of loyal supporters” just might skip the election or vote for John McCain. In other words, the Clinton strategy of intimidation, divisiveness, and strong arm techniques are about to be in full play.

George Will, in a recent column titled, “For Obama, a Ticket Test,” describes the choice that has been thrust in Obama’s lap. Apparently Hillary and her supporters believe that she is entitled to the second spot and that who Obama might want as a running mate matters little. “Why should Obama choose to have Hillary Clinton down the hall in the West Wing, nursing her disappointments, her grievance and her future presidential ambitions while her excitable husband wanders in the wings of America’s political theater with his Vesuvian temper, his proclivity for verbal fender benders and his interesting business associates,” Will asks.

Hillary’s conduct on Tuesday night was disgraceful. She failed to acknowledge that Obama had sewed up the nomination, saying instead, “To the 18 million people who voted for me, I want to hear from you. I hope you’ll go to be Web site and share your thoughts with me and help in any way you can.” Help in any way you can? What type of help could she possibly be referring to other than to push Barack Obama into accepting a vice president he neither trusts nor has any obligation to give Hillary the second spot.

If Obama were to cave in to these pushy and intrusive tactics, he truly would be regarded as a weak and malleable leader. Obama owes Hillary nothing, especially in light of her despicable and shameless tactic in justifying maintaining her candidacy because something might happen to Obama in the months ahead – specifically the “something” that happened to Robert Kennedy, whose assassination left the Democratic Party without a candidate.

The British newspaper, The Independent, reported extensively on Hillary’s invoking the Kennedy shooting as a reason for staying the race. “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California,” she said. Although she later apologized while downplaying the remark, The Independent said it was a gaffe that would haunt her to the final moments of the nomination campaign.

Writing in The National Post, Kelly McParland noted that “Barack Obama can’t possibly be bright enough to capture the Democratic presidential nomination and dumb enough to immediately undermine it by offering the second spot on the ticket to Hillary Clinton.” McParland writes that Hillary is clinging to the notion that somehow she won. Even when she was trailing Obama she put forth the possibility that she might select him as her VP.

Then there is the issue of Bill Clinton and the role he would play with Hillary in the vice president’s spot. One observer described Bill Clinton as “the consigliere to the head of the Family,” should Hillary win first or second place. As a team, Bill and Hillary have been known to play hardball and to take no prisoners when it comes to attacking their opponents. One recent news report referred to Bill Clinton as “the definition of an unguided missile.” For Obama to have the Clintons lurking in the wings waiting for him to make a misstep, would be like bathing with a water moccasin in the bathtub.

Barack Obama has consistently referred to his candidacy as one of change. That message would hardly be reinforced with a return to the 1990s, which is the era the Clintons represent. Obama must select a vice president with whom he feels comfortable and who will not spend those numberless VP idle hours concocting ways to sabotage the president. The Wall Street Journal described such a situation as “internal guerrilla warfare,” waged by Bill, Hillary, and Clinton loyalists.

If Barack Obama is to make good on his promise of change and national unity, there is no way he can resurrect the sordid politics of yesteryear. It will take little to remind Americans of Bill Clinton’s last day in office, in which he issued 140 pardons and commutations, including the sentence of Illinois Democratic congressman Melvin Reynolds who was in jail for twelve counts of sexual assault, bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and solicitation of child pornography.

It isn’t difficult to imagine the malignancies that would fester with Bill and Hillary lurking in the shadowy corridors of the White House, waiting for any minor stumble that Obama might make. The trust between and president and vice president, should Obama win and Hillary captures the vice presidency, has already been broken. Obama will immediately inherit a full plate of problems and crises to be solved – most not of his own making. Every new president has enjoyed a brief honeymoon with congress and the American people before settling down to the routines of the office. With Hillary in the second spot, the honeymoon will be over before it starts.


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