There is no worse ticket available to the Democrats than any combination of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Well, OK, maybe a ticket with now former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer wouldn’t be such a good idea.
But other than that option, the so-called “dream ticket” is a Democrat’s worst nightmare.
I used to think that wasn’t the case.
In fact, until very recently, I thought a joint ticket was the only viable exit strategy for the candidates.
After Ohio and Texas.
After Geraldine Ferarro diminished Obama with a racial remark.
After Samantha Power called Clinton a “monster.”
And after Clinton suggested Obama should be her VP.
With so many “afters,” the joint ticket just isn’t possible anymore.
For starters, they hate each other.
A year ago, that probably wasn’t true. Even a month ago, their dislike wasn’t as palatable.
But put those two side-by-side on a stage today and you would be lucky to get off that stage unbloodied.
They simply could not work together or ever convince the public that they could work together, because they could never convince themselves.
You can spin half-truths and fudged-principles, but you cannot spin a lie. It just won’t work over the long term.
Every time either candidate opened their mouth to praise the other, the hollowness of the praise would be audible to all.
Or in moments of stress (which campaigns are full of), one or the other will blurt out how they actually feel, just as Ferraro and Power blurted out their own opinions.
And when what a candidate actually feels or believes is damaging to their prospects, no amount of spin or fundraising will help win. At the very least, the actual candidate has to believe the message.
But there is a much bigger reason for quashing talk of this ticket, one that goes to the heart of the presidency, itself.
Picture Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama holding each others’ hand high above their heads on the stage at the national convention.
They have just been nominated as the Democratic ticket going forward into the general election.
The crowd is cheering, the signs are waving and the confetti is raining down from above like a sea of coloured hanging-chads.
Now stop. Freeze the image in your head and look at the man and the woman standing on stage.
Who’s the president and who’s the VP?
I’d guess that the if all of us tallied up who we thought was the head of that ticket it would be pretty darn close to a 50-50 split, and that kind of ambiguity is absolutely untenable in a presidential system.
At no point can there be any doubt about who is in charge, and if there was a “dream ticket,” that doubt wouldn’t just exist, it would be paramount.
Which gets us back to Democrats deciding, and decide they will.
It might be drop by drop, or it might be in a sudden flood, but either way, Democrats will decide that enough is enough and get behind one candidate.
It might be Clinton. It might be Obama.
But it won’t be both.
Michael Hale is a former journalist and political hack who can’t believe that another election hangs on the ability of Florida to not screw things up. Read his posts at www.north60hale.blogspot.blog