Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dream Team?

With Hillary Clinton preparing to endorse Barack Obama, the punditocracy and political class has immediately begun wondering about the possibility of a Obama-Clinton ticket. She's apparently receptive to the notion, and at least one of her supporters plans to openly push for it. The idea of the nominee combining with his closest rival has precedent: In 1960, John Kennedy teamed with Lyndon Johnson and in 1980 George Bush joined Ronald Reagan. It's the quickest and simplest way to unify a party: It shows respect to the supporters of the runner-up and demands that the runner-up campaign actively for the ticket. In the case of Hillary Clinton, Obama would tap into a formidable organization and donor base.

But, he would also take on the baggage of party insiders who think they should be running the show. Putting Clinton and all that comes with her on the ticket would hardly burnish his carefully cultivated image as a new breed of politician practicing a new kind of politics. And, of course, it would mean taking on that tangled thicket of complications known as Bill Clinton. The spotlight would be on the Clintons as much or more so than Obama. Should he be elected, what role would the former president play? Does Obama really want two Clintons looking over his shoulder when one is likely one too many? Of course, the last thing Obama or the country needs is a revisitation of the events leading to Clinton's impeachment. For all of these reasons, it's hard to see Obama asking Clinton to be his vice-president. There are other ways to unify a party that smells victory anyway, so why take a cure that might well be worse than the disease...

Eric Alterman and George Zornick provide a corrective to the right-wing media characterization of illegal immigration. Apparently, Lou Dobbs et. al. really believe in a plot to build a "NAFTA Superhighway" that will connect Canada, the United States, and Mexico as part of a scheme to undermine American sovreignty. More insidiously, this crew pretty much lies about the impact of illegal immigrants on crime. Read it and weep...

Bill Fletcher of The Black Commentator reflects on the meaning of Obama's history-making victory. While appreciating its significance, Fletcher points out that "...if we are not thinking both about building for an Obama victory, but more importantly, laying the foundation for stronger social movements and a mass political organization that can advance a progressive direction, we will have misunderstood our challenge and fallen prey to illusions."

The Nation reports the following:
  • Percentage of Iraqis displaced by the war: 20
  • American cost of the Iraq war per second (as of 3/08): $4,563.18
  • Total number of coalition personnel in Iraq at the height of the "surge" (including all contractors and civilian support): 343,100
  • Total number of actual U.S. combat troops in Iraq at the height of the "surge" (excluding support personnel): 38,000
  • Number of police officers in NYC: 37,000
  • Number of embedded journalists during the March 2003 invasion: 775
  • Number of embedded journalists in March 2008: 23
  • Number of U.S. troops killed and wounded, Hue City, Vietnam, 1968: 147; 857
  • Number of U.S. troops killed and wounded, Falluja, Iraq, 2004: 104; 1,110
  • Number of Iraq troops diagnosed with PTSD: 300,000
  • Number of troops stop-lossed: 58,300
  • Number of troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001: 1,668,000
  • Number of troops deployed after being declared medically unfit: 43,000


Nita Lou Bryant said...

Look at the body language in that photo of Clinton and Obama! I can't picture this twosome working well together under any circumstances.

Scrumpy's Baker said...

Really good points about the Obama/Clinton ticket.

K. said...

Nita: You're right about the body language. She's gritting her teeth and he looks like he's afraid that she's wearing a radioactive pantsuit.