Word on the Internet is that Barack Obama's running mate, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, is going to bail out on the campaign, feigning illness, just in time to put Hillary Clinton in his place for the Vice Presidential debate with Sarah Palin.
Interesting, but is it true? First, if Biden is ill to the point that he can't continue on with the campaign, he should just quit now, not wait for some kind of "October Surprise" by which he and Obama hope to torpedo Sarah Palin. Otherwise, people like me will see it as a scam, and make the point that the Obama camp is trying to manipulate the voters, and that would not be a good thing.
Second, Hillary or no Hillary, Sarah Palin can hold her own with anyone on either ticket and assuming that she is weak because she is "the girl" is not only condescending and arrogant, it is stupid. Besides which, it won't fool the voters in the least and probably would backfire in a major way on Obama if there is even a shred of truth to any of this.
Picking a vice presidential candidate and then dumping him has not been a good strategy in recent political history.
I would refer you to the unfortunate removal of Democrat Thomas F. Eagleton as George McGovern's vice presidential candidate in 1972 after revelations surfaced of the late Sen. Eagleton's depression and hospitalization.
Now, I have often thought that Biden has a few screws loose, and his conduct on the campaign trail bears that out. But I don't think it is so bad he should be removed before he has a chance to show what he can do for the ticket in the general election.
But wait! What if it isn't a case that Biden is ill, or that the Obama campaign wants Hillary Clinton on board as a second-stringer just in case The Big O can't swing the electorate on his own?
What if Joe Biden is afraid to debate Sarah Palin? What if he has seen her in action, and knows that his own reputation as a master debater is just more MainStream Media smoke and mirrors.
I bet that's it! I bet that if there is any truth whatsoever to these Internet rumors that it really is based not on the Obama campaign being dissatisfied with the vice presidential pick, but that the vice presidential pick is afraid to debate Sarah Palin!
Such is the stuff from which legends are made.
One last question. What on earth could possibly have changed between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that somehow would suddenly make her the perfect VP pick for his campaign? They obviously don't like each other, she won't campaign for him, Bill Clinton thinks Obama is a tool, and neither the White House nor all of Washington, D.C., are big enough for both of them.
Hillary didn't get asked to be the VP nominee in the first place, reportedly because she doesn't want it, and would have turned down the request even if it had been made. Do you think something has changed so fundamentally between them now?
If Hillary stays on the sidelines, doesn't aggravate her party, and Obama loses, she gets to come back as the Big Dog on the ticket in four years. But if she gets on the ticket with Obama, and he wins, it is the end of her political career.
She will get a nice house, and will be able to be Queen Bee at functions where Obama has to be out of town, but other than that, she never gets another chance at what she really wants. So where is the profit in this for her?
She might be able to wait four more years for another run at the presidency. After all, Ronald Reagan did and he was much older than Mrs. Clinton. But eight years? That is too much of a stretch. It won't work and she will be left out in the cold.
No, her best bet is waiting and watching this election, and stepping in for 2012.
A serious political strategist sees this as way too much speculation with way too little return for the people involved. Biden would go the way of Eagleton, and Clinton would become an asterisk in political science books.
I'm going to chalk this up to Internet rumor mongering. But then again, if Biden bails just before the Vice Presidential debates and Obama has to find a replacement, won't I look smart!
MCCAIN WAS RIGHT ABOUT FIRING COX
Something of a family spat erupted late last week over the Wall Street meltdown and what should be done about it.
John McCain, in response to a question from a questioner, said he would have fired Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox.
In response, Newsmax.com posted an article this weekend in which Rush Limbaugh was quoted criticizing McCain for "throwing Cox under the bus."
I don't think McCain was throwing anyone under the bus, and I don't think it was a knee jerk reaction to media demands for comment. I think McCain was just reacting in the way that a lifetime in the military would dictate.
Remember the adage "The Captain goes down with the ship."
If you apply that adage to the meltdown on Wall Street you can see why McCain reacted as he did.
In the military, each individual is responsible for his or her own words and deeds. But further, each commander is responsible for the words and deeds of his or her subordinates.
If a lieutenant does something wrong, and it gets the attention of the highest level commanders, then you can bet that every person in a command position above that lieutenant will be called on the carpet to explain why that lieutenant screwed up.
If there is a breakdown in the command structure, or in communications, or in training that would have prevented the incident, everyone in the chain of command who had a hand in it will be held accountable.
In John McCain's world, if the nation's financial markets go to hell in a hand basket, and the reason for it is malfeasance in the lending institutions that caused the markets to go to hell in a hand basket, then people should be held accountable.
In John McCain's world accountability starts with those directly responsible, and ends at the top of the chain of command. In this case, the man sitting at the top is Christopher Cox, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense to call for his ouster.
I agree with Rush Limbaugh far more often than not, but in this case, I don't think McCain was throwing Cox under the bus, I think he was holding him to a higher standard.
It may well be that the Wall Street meltdown was not the direct result of anything that Cox did or did not do. But it happened on his watch, and in the real world that means he is responsible.
Holding people in high places to high standards, and making them accountable for the area of responsibility. What a novel concept!
Monday, September 22, 2008