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…