Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Hillary Didn’t Want to be VP

This is as close to an official statement as we will get on the VP issue between now and November.  In an appearance today on The View, former President Bill Clinton revealed that Hillary never really wanted to be vice-president, but would have accepted the job out of a sense of duty.

When I argued against a unity ticket back in July, I suggested that Hillary and Barack go through a charade of him publicly offering her the vice-presidency and her politely turning him down.  That, I thought at the time, would be a great way to unify their supporters.

But I was wrong.  

While many might argue that she should have spared her supporters (and opponents) the agony of wondering if she would be on the ticket, I think that her decision to stay mum on the vice-presidency was a wise and prudent choice.

First, ruling out accepting the vice-presidency after her concession would have made her look like a sore loser.  A declaration that she would not serve as vice-president if called upon by the nominee of the party would have made her look small.

Second, it would have been seen by many (the media, the Republicans, the ABCs, and the PUMAs) as a sign that she did not fully support Obama.  Right up until the convention, the media kept looking for signs that Hillary was not genuine in her support for Obama.  It could have soured her die-hard supporters on Obama more than they already were.  

Third, in the unlikely event that Obama were to lose this election, it would have handed the ABC wing of the Democratic Party a target.  The cries would have been:  “Hillary never wanted him to win.  She tried to destroy him so she could run in 2012.” (That said, if Obama does lose, I would expect that to happen anyway.)

Finally, she could not have taken it back.  What if Obama had encountered some trouble this summer that sent his numbers south among women and blue collar Democrats?  Adding Hillary to the ticket would have been the big boost he needed, but he couldn’t offer (and she couldn’t accept) the vice-presidency after she had publicly ruled it out.

So for those of you who are angry that Obama never seriously considered Hillary, take comfort in the fact that she never wanted the job in the first.  She will be, for many years, perhaps decades, to come, our most prominent, most effective member of the Senate.

Unless she has other plans in 2016…


  1. nrafter530

    in June, I had close contacts with the Clinton campaign when I was working with PBS in New York and THIS IS EXACTLY what I was told off the record.

    • psychodrew

      Bill Clinton is deliberate with his words.  He could have given a very parsed non-denial denial had he intended.  Had he intended, he would have had such a line rehearsed and ready to go.

      My take is that Hillary wanted him to send a message out to her supporters that they should not be angry that she’s not on the ticket.  If you watch his entire appearance (that video is only the first of three), he goes on to explain his “nobody is ready for the presidency” comment.

      Anything he does to undermine Obama also hurts Hillary.  That’s the way it is for the Clintons.  Politically, they’ll always be attached at the hip.  I really don’t think he would do anything to undermine Hillary, even if he did want to undermine Senator Obama.  Even if they weren’t loyal Democrats and cared only about themselves, the best thing for their own legacies is that Obama be elected.

      I think the comment is sincere and made in the interest of party unity.  And I’m not a very big Bill Clinton fan.

  2. GrassrootsOrganizer

    while I have no issue with Bill letting this out now I don’t imagine it’s going to make a tinker’s damn bit of difference in today’s race.  

    I find it impossible to believe that any cognizant Clinton supporter hasn’t committed one way or the other by now.  And if this financial meltdown hasn’t moved them (or the Palin stunt) I can’t imagine what will.  

    The current circumstances aren’t even about voting FOR Obama anymore.  In reality, it’s all about voting against Palin/McCain to save what’s left of the country.  Anyone so committed to Hillary in 2012 or still holding onto sour grapes  staring international catastrophe in the face is beyond hope.  

    In other words, if this news would make a difference to you enough to change your vote?  chances are very good you were going to be too “stressed” to get out of bed on election day or the cat will have convinced you to write in John the Baptist.    

  3. Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner

    But there two possible ways to read this: Is it a true statement meant to extinguish any lingering PUMA-esque anger? Is it just a face-saving “well, she didn’t want it anyway” comment?  

    • GrassrootsOrganizer

      that is so messed up.  Traitor to what?  Excuse me if I” don’t think its her gender.

      I think it might be to her race.  o-:

      • I loved Bill back in the day, and he’s a still a legend, but I though he hindered Hillary in some respects. But he’s a vital force even now, and if he’s pulling full steam for Obama, that’s important. Thanks to your insight on this, drew.

      • nrafter530

        as I pointed out in my diary. In a follow up e-mail by the way I asked my ex co-worker what she would do if Palin and Clinton ran against each other in 2012.

        The answer;

        Palin because Clinton is “a traitor”  

  4. sricki

    I didn’t want her as VP either. Regardless of whether folks believe Bill when he says she didn’t want it, I think she handled the situation appropriately.

    • nrafter530

      she accused me of being hateful for irrationally hating and lying about Palin…Palin, according to her, isn’t really anti-choice, that’s just a lie everyone is saying about her.

      You can’t talk to these people. This ignorance better not be what decides the election, otherwise it’s back to Italy for me…permanently.  

  5. rfahey22

    and one that would have effectively removed her from the national political scene.  It makes sense that she would not want it.  However, I wonder if they could have handled things better (not that I’m complaining about our current standing in the polls).  I think that they may have been able to smooth over the bruised feelings a little better before the convention than they did.  Who knows, maybe an early announcement that Clinton would not be the VP nominee could also have led McCain to tip his hand re: Palin.

    • psychodrew

      What’s up?  Haven’t seen you in a while!  Is school kicking your ass, too?

      I’m studying for a biopsych test right now. 🙁

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