Prediction: Obama Loses Because He Didn’t Make Hillary His VP
I closed a post on August 4 with these words:
My sense at this point is that female independents interested in a female vice president would outnumber rabid Clinton-hating Republicans who were not otherwise inclined to vote for Romney and/or against Obama. So at this writing it still seems that Obama would be wise to invite Hillary. It still seems to have the potential to make the difference.
And just now, less than three weeks before the election, I read this in the New York Times:
Mr. Obama has long maintained a double-digit lead among women in most surveys, helping him to overcome a deficit among men. A Gallup poll this week suggested that Mr. Obama’s advantage had evaporated, though other surveys — and Mr. Obama’s top strategists — disputed that finding. As the debate on Tuesday made clear, neither campaign is taking the support of women for granted.
Yet if I were a woman, I think I would probably be saying au contraire: after all this time, Obama is still taking women for granted. Hillary has paid her dues. What does a girl have to do to get on the ballot?
The mere possibility that Obama’s advantage among women could evaporate — that Romney, with what he represents, could attract a majority of the female vote — seems to indicate a major failure, by Obama, to convince women that he is taking them seriously.
More broadly, it is rather profound that Obama would find himself in his present situation: that his overall lead could vanish simply because he did a lousy job in one debate. That sounds like very soft support — like he’s vulnerable. This is not where a capable incumbent should expect to find himself.
It could be argued that his subpar performance in the first debate was not a fluke but, rather, is consistent with the impression of an overall decline in energy, vision, and hope since 2008. It would have taken flexibility and courage to choose Hillary as the vice presidential candidate. As he has done pretty consistently, Obama opted instead for “whatever worked last time”; and with all due regard to Joe Biden, that has hardly captured anyone’s imagination.
So I’ll stick with what I’ve been betting since last December: a ticket with Hillary’s name on it would have won, and a ticket without her will lose. We’ll never know about the first of those two propositions, but we’ll know about the second one in a few weeks.
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Tags: 2012, Barack Obama, bet, election, hillary clinton, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, prediction, vice president, women