An awful argument for replacing Biden with Hillary

The idea that Obama needs Hillary to connect with white voters is so 2008

Topics: 2012 Elections, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Joe Biden, War Room,

An awful argument for replacing Biden with HillaryHillary Clinton and Joe Biden

To put it politely, I’m skeptical of the chatter about Hillary Clinton replacing Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket in 2012. It would just be too complicated and so … unnecessary.

But the idea is back in the news this week, thanks to a mischievous Politico Op-Ed from, of all people, former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder. Wilder’s piece prompted a “Hardball” segment yesterday, in which John Heilemann made an absolutely terrible case for why a Hillary-Biden switch would be good for Obama’s ’12 prospects:

And on the question of what has to happen in 2012, I think you’re exactly right. I think it’s going to be a nail-biter. You remember, Barack Obama won, what, 42 or 43 percent of the white vote — a really high percentage of the white vote, better than John Kerry, better than Al Gore in 2000. He’s right now running at about 35 percent approval rating with the white vote. And if he’s going to — you can’t win the presidency with 35 percent of the white vote. He needs to do something to solve that problem. Joe Biden is good with those people — but Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are better.

Ugh. Basically, Heilemann is repeating the exact same argument that we heard throughout the spring and summer of 2008 — that Obama had a problem with white, working-class voters in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio that only Hillary “Frank Rizzo” Clinton could help him solve. And yet, Obama didn’t pick Clinton and, as Heilemann noted last night, he went on to win a surprisingly high share of the white vote in 2008. So Obama has already demonstrated that he can do OK with white voters without the Clintons.

Of course, as Heilemann noted, Obama isn’t doing nearly as well right now among white voters. A Quinnipiac poll last week found that only 28 percent of them say that they’d vote to reelect him if the ’12 election were held now. But adding Hillary Clinton isn’t the solution to this problem; turning the economy around is.



As I noted on Sunday, Obama’s poor numbers with white voters are certainly alarming — and, given the overtly racist attacks that some on the right have leveled against him, it’s tempting to believe that his race accounts for this. But things start to look different when you remember that, at this same point in his presidency, Bill Clinton — a white Southerner who many referred to as “Bubba” — was faring just as miserably with white voters, worse even. Heading into the ’94 midterms, his approval rating with white men was around 20 percent — and it was in the single digits in some Deep South states. Overall, Democrats lost white voters by 24 points in the ’94 midterms. But it was a much different story just two years later. The economy was stronger and voters had come around on Clinton. He fought Bob Dole to a draw among white voters, and won by 8 points overall. The campaign was a snooze.

If the economy turns around, you can expect Obama to win back those white voters who were with him in ’08 but who have turned away as the economy has continued to struggle. And if the economy doesn’t turn around, adding Hillary to the ticket won’t help; for all the hype, running mates don’t affect presidential elections. (Just remember how thorough the mismatch between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle was in 1988 — and how little it translated into on Election Day for Michael Dukakis.)

Plus, if the economy is still feeble in ’12 and Obama is in peril, I doubt Hillary would want to be his new running mate. As Heilemann noted, it’s fair to assume she wants to run in ’16, so joining a doomed ticket — since, again, she’d basically be powerless to help Obama — could tarnish her standing. Staying away would allow her to emerge cleanly from any Obama ’12 wreckage. (For real junkies: A scenario like this played out in New Jersey last year, when Jon Corzine begged Newark Mayor Cory Booker to join his ticket. Booker, who wants to run for governor in 2013, smartly refused. He knew he’d be blamed if Corzine lost.)

The Hillary-Biden talk isn’t surprising, given her celebrity and the fact that Biden will turn 74 at the end of 2016. She’s clearly a more natural heir to the Democratic throne. But she’ll still enjoy that status even if she stays off the Democratic ticket in ’12. And she could lose it if she were to join the ticket and then lose. 

Steve Kornacki

Steve Kornacki writes about politics for Salon. Reach him by email at SKornacki@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @SteveKornacki

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>