An end to Chaos?

posted at 11:15 am on May 23, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

CNN reports that talks have begun between the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for a “graceful exit strategy” today. Team Hillary apparently won’t make this easy, though. According to Suzanne Malveaux, the Obama campaign won’t offer Hillary the VP slot, and she may not do much for him without at least the offer (via David Knowles and TPM):

The endgame sounds almost as fraught as the primary. Neither side wants to give much to end the competition before the convention. Hillary wants Obama to make some public show of penance for his behavior on the campaign trail and respect for her status within the party. But what form will that take? You’re not going to believe this …

Hillary’s campaign wants a public offer for the VP slot with the understanding that she will publicly decline. That will allow her to leave the race with dignity and respect, and supposedly unlock enthusiastic support and campaigning for Obama. However, the Obama team doesn’t trust Hillary to turn down the invitation. Once offered, they can hardly retract it if she publicly accepts — and clearly the Obama team does not want Hillary as a running mate.

So much for the Unity Ticket!

From the CNN report, it’s clear that Hillary’s campaign did all the leaking to CNN. They’re looking for a way out that will sustain the standing of both Clintons in the Democratic Party, and Obama may not find that a terribly palatable situation for a campaign based on Hope and Change and little else. That leaves Hillary the opportunity to play for 2012, hoping to see Obama fail in the fall. Obama may also resist the obvious condition that he pick up Hillary’s $20 million debt, which will cut his campaign war-chest in half and put him even with John McCain.

I’d say it will take a lot more negotiation before this ends — but that the eventual resolution will likely come before the convention, and possibly as soon as the second week of June.


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However, the Obama team doesn’t trust Hillary to turn down the invitation. Once offered, they can hardly retract it if she publicly accepts — and clearly the Obama team does not want Hillary as a running mate.

And I wouldn’t put it past her to do just that.

“Sure, you offer and I’ll turn it down.”

15 minutes later, in a public forum.

“It’s my honor to accept Sen. Obama’s offer!”

amerpundit on May 23, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Wouldn’t it be awesome if he offered the VP, and she accepted?

I don’t think it will happen – but let me dream!

nailinmyeye on May 23, 2008 at 11:23 AM

I LOVE THIS PRIMARY SEASON SO MUCH.

Well-Armed Lamb on May 23, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Hillary’s campaign wants a public offer for the VP slot with the understanding that she will publicly decline. That will allow her to leave the race with dignity and respect, and supposedly unlock enthusiastic support and campaigning for Obama. However, the Obama team doesn’t trust Hillary to turn down the invitation. Once offered, they can hardly retract it if she publicly accepts — and clearly the Obama team does not want Hillary as a running mate.

Ha. Awesome. It’s does seem true would be easiest answer to tidying up their party: offer and decline.

Spirit of 1776 on May 23, 2008 at 11:25 AM

How wonderful for us. Obama is totally screwed!

1. He can’t put Hillary on as VP because she and Bill would overshadow him and destroy his hippie “hope and change” message.

2. He can’t ceremonially offer Hillary the VP slot because he can’t trust she wouldn’t publicly accept.

3. He can’t afford to buy Hillary off with a $20 million payment (or even anything close to it), both because he can’t afford it and because his base – and everyone else – would view that action horribly.

4. He can’t agree to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, because that gives Hillary too much ammunition between now and the convention to win the nomination; but

5. He can’t NOT agree to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, because otherwise he will alienate tons of voters in two “battleground states” he can’t afford to lose.

OPERATION CHAOS!!!

Outlander on May 23, 2008 at 11:26 AM

This is like a sit-com, drama on TV that never ends.

However, the Obama team doesn’t trust Hillary to turn down the invitation.

That is classic;
You show me yours before I show you mine.
Hand over the money and I will let the girl go
Just lay the gun down and we can talk
I have the antidote, give me the diamond and you will live
and this classic battle of wits

right2bright on May 23, 2008 at 11:27 AM

She’s going to demand something in exchange for dropping out. Something besides just a public offer so she can refuse in the cause of party unity. If she gave a damn about party unity, she’d be back in NY right now.

The campaign debt payoff sounds like the best plausible option for us. Like you said, Ed, that would cut Mr. Hope and Change’s war chest in half.

amerpundit on May 23, 2008 at 11:28 AM

smokescreen! she stays in, this leak only confirms that she would not accept the VP slot

Craig Livingstone continues digging through Obamaland….looking for the other gloveshoe

Dpet on May 23, 2008 at 11:29 AM

It’s a trial balloon, but is it Hillary’s? I’m not sure. I don’t think she’s done pulling levers.

RBMN on May 23, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Somewhere on the web – RedState? The Corner? – someone pointed out that Obama may cut a deal to offer Hillary a nomination to the Supreme Court.

Such a strategic gaffe would be the greatest gift the democrat party has given us since the Wellstone Funeral – (aka the Nuremburg Rally).

The spectre of Hillary on the Supreme Court would increase Republican turnout beyond Barack Obama’s worst nightmare.

jeff_from_mpls on May 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM

I LOVE THIS PRIMARY SEASON SO MUCH.

Well-Armed Lamb on May 23, 2008 at 11:25 AM

I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. Chaos, baby!

CP on May 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM

Obama must promise to campaign for Chelsea when she runs for Congress (from NY?) , then back her for POTUS in 2016!

max1 on May 23, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Is Mark Burnett involved in this? Maybe they should get Jeff Probst to mediate.

sleepy-beans on May 23, 2008 at 11:34 AM

The describe the talks as—”difficult”…

Oh, Really?
The senior Senator, the “Queen” of the Senate, begging the junior statesmen for respect.
Oh, how good would it be to be in her pocket and listen.
And you know Michelle is saying, “step on her before she scurries back under a rock”.

right2bright on May 23, 2008 at 11:35 AM

However, the Obama team doesn’t trust Hillary to turn down the invitation.

.
I don’t, either (shudder).

Think_b4_speaking on May 23, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Hillary to Obama, cackling as she accepts the VP slot:

You never learn, do you? This wasn’t about you. This was never about you. And you fall for it every single time!

With thanks/apologies to Buffy the Vampire Slayer

NeighborhoodCatLady on May 23, 2008 at 11:36 AM

The Hitler-Stalin Pact comes to mind…

Akzed on May 23, 2008 at 11:37 AM

A public offer, and then a public decline?

This is where negotiations start?

ROFLMAO

Saltysam on May 23, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Hillary’s biggest mistake was turning down Sports Illustrated for their hot swimsuit edition. That could have changed the race right there.

Halley on May 23, 2008 at 11:45 AM

Say, Barak, my friend, this path you’re on – this thinking you are bound by some imaginary obligation to Hillary Clinton – is a sure loser for you. America likes a winner, dude. A winner doesn’t cow-tow to an aging shrill feminist. It makes him look weak. Is that what you want? To look like some hapless effeminate male character on a 70s sitcom like Maude, or One Day at a Time? It’s degrading to you and to the country. Don’t do it.

jeff_from_mpls on May 23, 2008 at 11:49 AM

From The People’s Cube.

BohicaTwentyTwo on May 23, 2008 at 11:49 AM

“Hillary’s campaign wants a public offer for the VP slot with the understanding that she will publicly decline. That will allow her to leave the race with dignity and respect, and supposedly unlock enthusiastic support and campaigning for Obama. However, the Obama team doesn’t trust Hillary to turn down the invitation.”

That’s an awesome steak slathered in awesome sauce.

Muswell Hillbilly on May 23, 2008 at 11:52 AM

I certainly would spend $50 to help get her out. Small price to pay for her to go away and be the “lioness of the Senate”.

originalpechanga on May 23, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Hillary on the Supreme Court? Interesting. I wonder if she would be the first justice on the court to have failed the D.C. bar exam. Such a brilliant legal scholar.

AZCoyote on May 23, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Uh, Obama is smart enough to get Hillary to quit BEFORE he gives her $20 MILLION isn’t he??

originalpechanga on May 23, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Prediction:

Hillary will do whatever she can to make Obama loose to Mcain. Hillary will then run against Mcain in 2012.

JHL

JHL on May 23, 2008 at 11:55 AM

It would be entertaining. The back stabbing and power maneuvering would almost be worth the damage done to the country, almost.

JIMV on May 23, 2008 at 11:58 AM

The longer this “talk” of a VP slot continues, the more disappointed Hillary’s supporters are going to be when it doesn’t happen.

MarkTheGreat on May 23, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Dude, that would be so awesome if Bambi offered HDog the VP with the understanding that she would decline and she accepts it anyway. It would be even better if he paid out $20 million dollars first…:p

ninjapirate on May 23, 2008 at 12:03 PM

The spectre of Hillary on the Supreme Court would increase Republican turnout beyond Barack Obama’s worst nightmare.

jeff_from_mpls on May 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM

This wouldn’t be confirmed and rumors would be totally denied till after the general election. Otherwise, as you say, it would be suicidal for Bambi.

a capella on May 23, 2008 at 12:04 PM

The longer this “talk” of a VP slot continues, the more disappointed Hillary’s supporters are going to be when it doesn’t happen.

Indeed, she shouldn’t ask for the VP slot she should demand it.

ninjapirate on May 23, 2008 at 12:04 PM

The Democrat problem is that they’re smart enough – clever enough – to know how to use strategy but too unwise to recognize not to employ it against their real allies. Doing so causes even your own friends to not trust you, which means that you can’t actually work together. It’s one thing to be giving the appearance of this give and take, but the reality appears to be that they really are strategizing against each other. Their own intelligence is their downfall because it is completely misdirected.

RiverCocytus on May 23, 2008 at 12:06 PM

Would Chelsea be old enough to hold the office of Pres in 2016? You have to be 35.

OT, the ages for Rep (25) Sen (30) and Pres (35), were set when the average life expectancy was down in the 50′s. It’s time to raise it. 25 is barely out of college. It may be straight after college if you get more than one degree or go on for and advanced degree.

I propose that instead of 25/30/35, the ages should be at a mininum 35/45/55.

MarkTheGreat on May 23, 2008 at 12:07 PM

So nice to see everyone getting what they so richly deserve for once.

The Democrat Pary deserves chaos for having knuckled to the race hustler Jackson, who “forced” them to fix the delegate apportioning system, which wasn’t broken. Pandering pantywaists.

Barack Obama richly deserves having the Hillary stone around his neck for being so egotistical that he couldn’t pass up a run that he himself had admitted would be premature. Ego the size of the Grand Canyon.

Hillary richly deserves not getting the VP for having been colossally untrustworthy since forever. Deceitful, ruthless, conniving, slippery, slimy, pathological liar.

They all jointly deserve death by the identity politics sword–because they’ve been living by it–in a truly historic self-punking. In a different time, when integrity mattered, and people knew intergrity when they saw it, they would all have been run out of town on a rail.

smellthecoffee on May 23, 2008 at 12:07 PM

It would be entertaining. The back stabbing and power maneuvering would almost be worth the damage done to the country, almost.

JIMV on May 23, 2008 at 11:58 AM

For sure. Not to mention the enjoyable image of Bill Richardson soiling himself.

a capella on May 23, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Obama is young and the VP position was described by Vice President John Nance Garner as not worth “a warm bucket of spit”. Hillary has more power as Senator from NY than as VP. Why would she possibly want the position?

On the other hand, I do understand a desire to be McCain’s VP.

thuja on May 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM

the Obama team doesn’t trust Hillary to turn down the invitation.

Quote of the month. But it shows how dishonest the Democrat Party is. Would you trust any of them? Not with a 39 1/2 foot pole!

kirkill on May 23, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Bet alot of dems are now secretly wishing Billy had been removed from office…….

EricPWJohnson on May 23, 2008 at 12:21 PM

This is JUST LIKE when Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown!

If Obama goes for any…ANY of that nonsense he’s an even bigger fool than any of us imagined. This is like blackmail. Not surprising, though, considering the source.

scalleywag on May 23, 2008 at 12:27 PM

That would be sooooooo hilarious if she declined to pubicly decline and instead accepted. I would love for a camera to be on Michelle Obama’s face!

SouthernGent on May 23, 2008 at 12:30 PM

And, if ever a post deserved an image of a big slab of red meat, I think it’s this one.

And why the hell would he owe penance for his campaign behavior? She put out plenty of negatives herself, where does her penance come in.

scalleywag on May 23, 2008 at 12:34 PM

What, you mean a Democrat doesn’t trust the Clintons? Has The Obamassiah been listening to old Rush Limbaugh shows?

rbj on May 23, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Hillary to Obama, cackling as she accepts the VP slot:

You never learn, do you? This wasn’t about you. This was never about you. And you fall for it every single time!

NeighborhoodCatLady on May 23, 2008 at 11:36 AM

http://www.snoopy.co.jp/fungames/html/c4b.html

ihasurnominashun on May 23, 2008 at 12:50 PM

Obama and Hillary,,
The gift that KEEPS on giving.
Operation Chaos RULES!
So entertaining!

Conservaboomer on May 23, 2008 at 12:50 PM

Is a Hillary endorsement really even realistic at this point?

From a practical standpoint, is it even possible for her to suddenly quit the race and start campaigning for Obama?

I realize that’s the standard course of events, but there are three differences: 1) There is rarely (if ever) such an extended battle between just two nominees, 2) its rarely (if ever) gotten this ugly – especially among the supporters and proxies, and 3) its never happened with such a short time remaining – we’re now not even 5 1/2 months from the general election.

Seems to me that at this point, for Hillary to endorse Obama would be such a dramatic flip-flop, so late in the game, that even both sets of Democrat supporters would find it both laughable and insulting.

Her only realistic options are 1) to continue to fight and torpedo Obama, 2) intentionally try to hurt him so she can run in 2012, or 3) go away quietly and sit in a corner until its all over.

That third one is probably best for Democrats. But how likely is it knowing Hillary?

Shorter version: the Democrats are out of decent options. They’re screwed.

Professor Blather on May 23, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Hillary is planned on having enough delegates to vote her in as VP nominee over Bambam’s objection. There will be enough female Bambam delegates to add to her own to do it. The fact that he can’t even control his own VP selection will doom him in 2008, and leave her as the presumptive nominee for 2012.

pedestrian on May 23, 2008 at 12:55 PM

This is JUST LIKE when Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown!

scalleywag on May 23, 2008 at 12:27 PM

My favorite comment so far.

Dave Shay on May 23, 2008 at 1:15 PM

The spectre of Hillary on the Supreme Court would increase Republican turnout beyond Barack Obama’s worst nightmare.

jeff_from_mpls on May 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM
.
This wouldn’t be confirmed and rumors would be totally denied till after the general election. Otherwise, as you say, it would be suicidal for Bambi.

a capella on May 23, 2008 at 12:04 PM

.
But, it sure won’t hurt to keep reminding folks of the possibility….

Think_b4_speaking on May 23, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Heh. Would you hand your wallet to a known thief just because he promised to give it back?

petefrt on May 23, 2008 at 2:04 PM

Hillary is planned on having enough delegates to vote her in as VP nominee over Bambam’s objection. There will be enough female Bambam delegates to add to her own to do it. The fact that he can’t even control his own VP selection will doom him in 2008, and leave her as the presumptive nominee for 2012.

pedestrian on May 23, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Really? How does VP selection work?

TexasDan on May 23, 2008 at 2:18 PM

IMO, I think Hillary knew the gig was up a month or so back. I truly think she just loves the limelight AND she is so upset she didn’t just waltz away with the nomination that she is doing all she can to stick it to Obama, to hell with the party. After all, since when did Hillary give a damn about anyone else?

kcd on May 23, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Really? How does VP selection work?

TexasDan on May 23, 2008 at 2:18 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vice_President_of_the_United_States#Nominating_process

pedestrian on May 23, 2008 at 2:29 PM

and this classic battle of wits

right2bright on May 23, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Love that one r2b, I needed to see something to lighten the day. I’d been researching “Obama votes against Born Alive Infants Protection Act” and had become very very very angry.

MechEng5by5 on May 23, 2008 at 2:44 PM

Figuring that no matter what he does, Herself will try to backstab him and sink his campaign, Barry O’ needs to get a nice speech written so he can say what a great race she’s run, how much she has advanced the cause of women, blah-blah-blah and wish her good luck in her future endeavours. End the speech right there and refuse to acknowledge her or Slick Willie’s existence from thenceforth. If we discommodate her too, maybe she’ll shrivel up and blow away!

GeneSmith on May 23, 2008 at 2:50 PM

If hillary somehow gets the VP slot and both are elected, then my advice for obama would be to make sure hillary is with you at all times and placed between you and the obvious sniper position…

rbb on May 23, 2008 at 2:53 PM

Bet alot of dems are now secretly wishing Billy had been removed from office…….

EricPWJohnson on May 23, 2008 at 12:21 PM

Their problem is that like Billy, they are so obsessed with their immediate gratification that they simply cannot see the big picture a few years down the road…

The perfect scenario would have been for Slick to resign a la Nixon, “for the good of the country”. Actually, it would have been more like “for the good of the Party”, but we all know that he (and she) don’t give a tinker’s damn about the Democrat Party, they only see it as a useful tool to attain power.

But if Billy Jeff HAD resigned, Gore would have become President and would have won in 2000 easily, because people would have wanted to keep what they believed was a “good thing” going. Remember, many Democrats said back then that they would have voted for him again if he had been eligible for a third term.

But they couldn’t envision the long term, and were fixated on beating the “bad guys” on the other side of the aisle. In the long run, it did them more harm than good. And will do them even more harm as years go by.

Del Dolemonte on May 23, 2008 at 3:02 PM

MechEng5by5 on May 23, 2008 at 2:44 PM

Stay away from that stuff before a holiday…

right2bright on May 23, 2008 at 3:15 PM

However, the Obama team doesn’t trust Hillary to turn down the invitation.

But of course…Obama is well versed in the ways of taqiyya.

Red Pill on May 23, 2008 at 3:27 PM

I think the Clintons have some things they really need, and some they really want.

What the Clintons need:

Several cabinet picks, keying on AG (non-negotiable, there are some files at Justice they can’t have seeing the light of day).

Very public thanks for being a unifier at the DNC, from both Obama and Dean–absolves her of responsibility for dividing the party.

What the Clintons want:

Veto over VP pick – No one who is a threat for 2012 (Biden?)

Cash to offset her campaign debts (most negotiable)

pldew on May 23, 2008 at 4:07 PM

Oh, hot diggity dog! This is like watching the Borgias plan a dinner party.

tree hugging sister on May 23, 2008 at 4:10 PM

I can’t believe all the McCain supporters aren’t pushing for McCain to ask Hillary to be his VP. I thought it was all about McCain winning. What’s up with you people? McCain/Hillary would be unbeatable.

nottakingsides on May 23, 2008 at 4:14 PM

. . . the VP position was described by Vice President John Nance Garner as not worth “a warm bucket of spit”. . .

thuja on May 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM

I heard that was the bowdlerized version; think of a different second letter.

MrLynn on May 23, 2008 at 5:56 PM

Ed: Hillary’s campaign wants a public offer for the VP slot with the understanding that she will publicly decline. That will allow her to leave the race with dignity and respect, and supposedly unlock enthusiastic support and campaigning for Obama. . .

I find it hard to believe this was a leak from Missus Slick’s campaign, or that it was seriously contemplated. They would have to know that if the little game were played, once it became public she would be a laughing stock.

But if the ‘leak’ were intended to damage Obambi, does it? Probably not; it probably comes from CNN itself, hoping to make the Missus look desperate and eager to drop out.

The Dems are really scared she’s going to stay in all the way to the convention and wreck Obambi’s chances. With any luck, she will. That will be the fulfillment of Operation Chaos!

MrLynn on May 23, 2008 at 6:07 PM

An end to chaos?…….More like a beginning to all new chaos! :)

ThePrez on May 23, 2008 at 6:57 PM