Because making Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Gail Collins, Gretchen Morgenson and Nick Kristoff available to all is a god-damned public service.
Wow. Let’s just all buy into the hype the Clinton machine wants you to believe and declare her the president right now — we might as well. After all, George Bush has done so much to lower our national standards for democracy in this society, the Democratic Party and everyone else should just go along with it, too. Let’s just name her the candidate right this second and forget about the rest of it, shall we?I’m not so prepared to declare her president — note that Fish has to cite national poll numbers. Political parties choose their candidates based on the results of primaries and caucuses of EACH state, not on a national ‘mandate’ of half the voters! And in Iowa, it’s still a 3-way race!I really wish that this kind of horse-race journalism would end. It won’t, of course, but it’s one more sad disappointment to see someone as learned as Stanley Fish buy into all the who’s-in-first hype that all the mediocre pundits hang their paycheck on. Still, can’t this space be used for more relevant criticism?
— Posted by Not so fast...
Stanley Fish must long ago have left off reading Milton for watching TV pundits. “Let’s take the conventional wisdom of TV punditry”, he says to himself, “and inject the excitement of academic prose.” Voila, the horse-race journalism–if you call writing this soporific “journalism”–aptly noted by a commenter above, but without TV’s brevity, adrenaline, or commercial slickness.
(To the New York Times: yes, Mr. Fish made a name for himself in academia; yes, he thinks he’s a dissident in a country steeped in liberalism’s propaganda; but that doesn’t make him edgy, relevant, or a good writer. You can give him a “blog”, but really it’s an embarrassment for a blogger to be so ignorant of the state of the prevalent political conversations happening in the medium, as this entry makes clear. There are razor-sharp intellectuals, such as Glenn Greenwald, who set the standard for Web-based political analysis. These examples ought at least to be on the radar of a would-be political blogger, even if his name is Stanley Fish. Mr. Fish’s blog isn’t just amateurism, it’s internet amateurism of the worst kind, made more embarrassing by the fact that academic celebrity is mean to immunize its perpetrator against the standards of a quintessentially anti-credential, ant-mainstream medium).
— Posted by Wes
Seems to me that as brilliant as Stanley Fish proves to be that he is underestimating the American people (ALL of them) when he says that we are not ready for a ticket of a woman and a black!Balony, Professor Fish! For me and my friends, the ideal Dem ticket would be Clinton/Obamaa! Pete
— Posted by Peter Smith
This article just goes to show that while there are many kinds of clever, there are just as many kinds of stupid. I have a few questions for the distinguished professor:1. Based on historical records, how accurate have pundits been in predicting the nominated candidate at this stage of the cycle?2. Even assuming that Mrs Clinton is the nominee, what is achieved by performing this (fairly simplistic) analysis of running mates now? Are we saving time? Will there be insufficient time to think about this after the convention?To me, the function of this analysis is clear. It is all about the “inevitability” of the Clinton campaign. That’s a pretty shallow intellectual pool for this scholar to be dipping into.
— Posted by Bill Keane
The previous two posts might be spot on if it weren’t for the unfortunate fact that the vast majority of potential primary voters, like myself, don’t have voices in this process because of geographic locale. While I respect the voters in the first of the several primaries, they by no means have a lock on good political judgment.
Just because I’m discontented doesn’t mean I’m going to blame the messenger for the message. Time will tell how astute is the messenger.
— Posted by Discontented
Of course Stanley Fish thinks political policy should be decoupled from science. Astrological charts, divining rods, and crystal balls, apparently his tools of inquiry, are much preferred.
— Posted by aphealy
I still like Clinton and Obama.
Obama’s too much an untested and unknown quantity for me to want to see him as President straight off but seems presidential caliber. A couple of years as vice-president would be just right to see how he pans out.
— Posted by Mathew
As opposed to the two previous posters, I can’t see the problem with Fish’s article/blog/whatever.
Wes wrote “it’s an embarrassment for a blogger to be so ignorant of the state of the prevalent political conversations happening in the medium.” Huh? What does that mean? Fish can and should write even if he’s never looked at any other bloggers.
Bottom line, it was a good analysis. If you don’t like it, say why, but don’t just throw around fancy phrases.
— Posted by David
I truly believe that worrying about the electoral college is going to be academic. The nation will be mainly blue by November, 2008. The Republican Party is being abandoned in droves done in by Rove.
— Posted by William C. Elwell
I agree with those who say it is too early to pick a winner as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee and I disagree with Mr. Fish’s assertion that the country is not ready for woman-black ticket. I think that a Clinton-Obama ticket would present an attractive combination of experience and promise. More important, I believe that a woman-black ticket would suck the political air out of the presidential race, leaving the Republican ticket gasping for attention.
— Posted by verde
An alien writes:
Two previous two-cents’-worth, both hostile to the benign and thoughtful Stanley.
Personally, and strictly as an outsider, I thought he was asking the proper questions, and proposing some worthwhile lines of argument.
His presumption, that the Democratic nomination is done-and-dusted, is surely beyond serious refute. So, to the next stage … There is nothing “amateur” about that approach.
And as to being “amateur” in the present context, perhaps it would help to recognise reality.
The grossness, the disaster, the brash crudity,the unmitigated hubris of Bush-Cheney has willed a nemesis upon the World’s only Superpower. It puts all Americans into unexplored territory. The future, necessarily-chastened America needs new world-views, especially outside the Beltway. From here on, you are all “amateurs” and supplicants: no-one has been at it long enough to be “professional”. That is, unless someone like Stanley recalls Dean Acheson on losing an empire, but not yet finding a rôle.
And, in passing, that new-found humility, the willingness to observe, to think, to learn is what has made Al Gore so attractive to so many.
— Posted by Malcolm Redfellow
Mark Warner would be a good choice, though his withdrawal from the presidential race last October (he would definitely be the viable anti-Clinton candidate had he not dropped out) still has some question-marks surrounding it. (marital cheating, or financial cheating? the latter would certainly be more politically harmful).
Another Virginian Democrat, Senator Jim Webb, could make a convincing appeal to disillusioned independents all across the country. He would also beef up Clinton’s Defense credentials.
— Posted by MC
From poorly reasoned, ill-informed, twisted arguments that deny students their first amendment rights in schools to stupid and unnecessary calls for the “old days” when someone made our coffee for us, I don’t think that Stanley Fish’s writing could get more irrelevant than it already has.
This frankly ignorant, paint-by-numbers blog piece doesn’t even pass for good, well-argued rhetoric from an English professor (it’s full of bigoted and basic assumptions, poorly developed claims and narrow, small-minded conjecture) and it damn sure doesn’t pass for relevant political commentary.
In the Washington Post yesterday, Ellen Knickmeyer published a deeply important article in the Washington Post entitled “Israel to Block New Refugees From Darfur.”
In the article, Knickmeyer reported that “Israel closed the door Sunday on a surge of asylum-seekers from Sudan’s Darfur region” and “[t]he announcement, rais[ed] new concerns over the refugees’ safety, heighten[ing] a debate in Israel over what responsibilities a nation created by survivors of genocide in Europe bore toward people fleeing mass killing in Africa.”
I thought that Stanley Fish who cares about Israel and who said in a March blog that “And I have seen (with apologies to Shelley) that when hostility to Israel comes, anti-Semitism is not far behind” would surely give his opinion about whether or not it is a good thing for Israel (considering its history of founding after genocide to Jews and its acceptance of Jewish immigrants) to turn away the truly needy genocide victims from Arab oppression and systematic killing in Sudan.
Surely, I thought Stanley Fish’s blog would take this on. (I mean, the Times didn’t have anything about it to my knowledge so Fish had to blog about it, right?).
But, like a failed birthday party, I didn’t get what a wanted. Instead, Fish phoned in his worse blog ever: yet another dumb broadside about Hillary Clinton.
— Posted by Joan Steptoe
looking at the criteria, isn’t the logical choice former Governer of Iowa Tom Vilsack?
— Posted by Ray
After all of the examples the Bush administration has provided illustrating the danger of letting ideology top reason, why would anyone advocate deliberately ignoring what science has to say when formulating political policy? Sure, there is a danger in reading too much into any new research, but there are bigger dangers in other sources of policy. Public will can be and frequently is manipulated — how many TV news viewers thought we found WMDs in Iraq? — and there is always “the tyranny of the majority” to guard against. Science, when done correctly, offers conclusions drawn from observable reality. What better source for policy could there be?
— Posted by Patrick
You may want to add a midwestern ex-governor to the list–Tom Vilsack, who impressed many but had to drop out of Presidential contention for lack of money and is now Sen. Clinton’s advocate in Iowa. He has the executive experience and downright decency that would add what she needs to the ticket:
— Posted by Robert Stein
I share the views of the first two posters. Fish should stick to what he is so apparently good at: stale bromides from the political wasteland. One hopes that a potential President Clinton will ignore such limited and hyde-bound thinking.
Here is a scenario: the people who are excited by the presidential election, who gave money in record (though small contribution) amounts, and were energized to join a cause larger themselves, either abandon electoral participation entirely, or support an independent candidate because the democrats were too limited in their thinking about the ticket.
Or here is another - like the Reaganites in 1976, disgruntled democrats “sit out” their party’s nominee in the national election, because they believe that their person will have a better chance 4 years later.
Given Senator Clinton’s persistent state-level negative ratings, either of these outcomes is more likely than the limited and primitive electoral prognostications of the blogger.
— Posted by david615
I am no fan of Professor Fish or most of what gets published on this blog, but I find this post to be rather harmless, contrary to the opinions of other readers. Regardless of whom you would prefer to be elected president next year, it is uncontroversial that Hillary Clinton is likely to be one of the two candidates that will actually have a chance of being elected. Given that, from the perspective of the (American) Left, the Republican nominee will probably be a less attractive candidate than Sen. Clinton, it is in the interest of the Left to make sure that she is electable. Noting that someone like John Edwards is unelectable is not equivalent to saying that he should not be elected, but only that, as things presently stand, were he to be the Democratic nominee, the Republicans would almost certainly win. I don’t think that claiming this makes one no better than a TV pundit, for there is no evidence to the contrary. I personally think, as I’m sure Professor Fish does, that this country needs someone a lot better than Sen. Clinton to be elected next year, but that does not mean that we should wait until the primaries are over to think about whom she should select as her running mate. If someone better than Sen. Clinton is nominated, and if we have good evidence that the nominee has a reasonable shot at winning the election, we may, at that time, shift our attention towards strategizing for that candidate’s campaign. But, limited as we are, we do from time to time have to depend upon less than perfect evidence in deciding what to do, and all the evidence at present points to Sen. Clinton’s eventual nomination. If the main objection is to political strategizing so long before the actual election, I suppose that this is just the nature of the game. It would be nice if the system were such that more energy was focused on improving our present political situation than on selling various politicians, but the system in place is one that necessitates this sort of thing. We can either not play the game at all, letting those with special interests win more easily and thereby make things worse, or we can grin and bear it, doing what we can to make things better. On the other hand, because the Professor is a more intelligent fellow than most TV pundits, it would be nice to hear something more insightful from him than this, since this post could have just as well been written by some CNN blowhard, but that does not mean that this is a worthless discussion to be having, which is what I gather previous comments were claiming.
— Posted by R. Vangala
Excellent article Mr. Fish!
— Posted by deidre
There is only one choice for Hillary Clinton’s running mate and that is Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia. He’s presidential material in his own right and that is the most important consideration on which American voters ought to be basing their vote. Please, please, please Democrats, and please, please, please Clintons, do not put Obama on the ticket with Hillary. He is not qualified as far as most of America is concerned and millions and millions and millions will not vote for him no matter what. Many people are not willing to say that they will not vote for him because they do not want to appear to be racist. The truth is it is not racism that is holding many back from supporting Obama; it is his lack of experience. It is just like Lieberman on the Gore ticket; many cringed at voting for Gore because Lieberman being Jewish made us wonder whether his loyalties lay with Israel or America. The vice presidential candidate does matter and should matter. Just look at Cheney. No, Mark Warner is the only one who can stand up to the scrutiny of the south as well as the business community, while touting a very, very successful governorship.
— Posted by Mimi Barron
Under false pretense of exploring Clinton’s vice-presidential options, Fish gives us yet another “don’t even bother learning about the candidates & voting, it’s all been decided for you” message. So much for democratic process. Is it too much to hope he’d use this forum to discuss how the media attention focused on Clinton obscures the substantive differences among the Democratic candidates–and how that impoverishes the political process?
— Posted by Defyinggwb
It’s amusing, as a recovering lifetime Democrat and ex-liberal, to listen to the hothouse discussion among NYTimes readers. They seem to take greater pleasure in bashing Bush and assuming they are the rightful owners of the Presidency, than in actually offering better ways to win the war that militant Islam started (not W.). For accomplishing that goal, I’d recommend Hillary Clinton, since she possesses the requisite ruthlessness to wage a non-P.C. war against our enemies. Obama is far and away the most interesting candidate on the scene and as V.P. would, I suspect, learn quickly that war requires full use of military might. Since we need a continuing strong economy to fight the war, Obama’s non-ideological, non-socialist approach is very promising. Now that’s a strong ticket
— Posted by Stephen Rittenberg
Fish’s views seem perfectly sound to me, but I’ve been wondering how African-Americans might re-act if Clinton passes Obama over. Will many feel slighted and stay home?
— Posted by JohnJ
“His presumption, that the Democratic nomination is done-and-dusted, is surely beyond serious refute.”
Wow. Oh, the look of surprise on the faces of Mr. Fish and Mr. Redfellow when Hillary goes up in flames. Putting Hillary on the ticket is the best way for the Democrats to lose. Again.
FYI- If Hillary does somehow win the nomination, we’ll have another Republican president. Too bad the Democrats can’t find their backbone or their principles.
— Posted by W
With the Republicans in such disarray, the Democrats could nominate Daffy Duck with Mr.Magoo as his running mate and still win the Presidency. HOWEVER: Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who would have the knack of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and yes, I said that correctly. Notwithstanding the advertisement I just read masquerading as a column–the Dems need to choose someone else. ANYONE else.
Hillary is too polarizing, and too viscerally despised by too much of the country to win. And, she’s a woman. Polling with candidates of colour and/or a female have always been less accurate because people are not wanting to be seen as sexist/racist if they don’t want to support that particular candidate. So polling has to be taken with a grain of salt.
— Posted by Adrian Howell
What about Wesley Clark? Meets all Prof. Fish’s quite reasonable pre-requisites (ran the Southern Command and NATO, not a state government, but hey . . . ). Home in the Southwest. Experience in national campaign (from which he seems to have learned a great deal and did well in primaries in the South and Southwest). Better on the stump than Bill Richardson. National name-recognition. Military expertise to deal with the Mess-O-Potamia. Discipline, intelligence, appealing personality. Not too tall (femaile Presidential candidate can’t be overshadowed by a really tall VP candidate). Speaks Spanish. Would contribute greatly to the project of repairing the reputation of the U.S. overseas. Has a fabulous spouse. Obviously underutilized in current positions, so likely to accept the job. Drawback: he and Hillary are both intellectual–neither passes the “I’d feel comfortable sitting down for a beer with him/her” test, so she may choose someone more folksy.
— Posted by mamayo
Fish is entitled to his opinions and I am to mine. But neither of us can predict the future, especially a political future. However, he probably will be able to argue after the fact that he picked the vice-presidential nominee, having named all the possibilities. All I am qualified to predict is that it won’t be Mr. Fish.I enjoy reading Mr. Fish’s comments, on any topic.
— Posted by Mort Young
I agree with those that take issue with the assumption that undergirds Professor Fish’s analysis.
The professor is looking at national numbers not statewide numbers. Although donors look at national numbers, Senator Obama has an enormous campaign warchest (something that will not be overlooked when selecting a running mate). In any event, elections are much more dynamic than Professor Fish would like to think. If Sen. Obama takes a few early states, it may sway people’s perception of him as electable (or sway people’s perceptions of how electable Sen. Clinton is). I hardly think the Democratic nomination is a foregone conclusion.
As for his analysis of possible VP candidates for Sen. Clinton, I think it is a fair analysis, but again, I hardly think anyone can dismiss the campaign warchest and the dynamism that Sen. Obama brings to a ticket.
— Posted by NM
Respectfully, your initial premise is wrong. If she attains the nomination, Senator Clinton should select a well-qualified woman from a swing state as her running mate. First, any male voter rejecting a nominee because she is a woman will not vote for the ticket simply because a man is in the VP spot. Second, by standing next to neophite Dan Quayle, it heightened Bush 41’s appearance of presidential stature, which was necessary to overcome the shadow of Ronald Reagan, and Senator Clinton has her own shadow to contend with in her husband. Third, nothing recaptures her candidacy as an election of change better than a woman/woman ticket. Fourth, if Senator Clinton is the nominee, it heightens the likelihood the Republicans will select a woman VP (eg, Elizabeth Dole) so that the Democrats would not have a 2008 monopoly on the “historic” ticket. Fifth, if she cannot serve out her term it would underscore that her gender’s ability and qualification were not a fluke and by building to strength she would energize the female voting base. P.S. Her campaign song should have been “Sisters are Doin’ It For Themselves.”
— Posted by Sam
You’re forgetting the Bush Administration relocated many of the black people in Louisiana after Katrina so they could turn it into a red state. It’ll go for whoever the Republicans nominate.
— Posted by Matt Cvetic
Fish dismisses Edwards too quickly. He is a Southerner and a more traditional Democrat than the others and, because of the great stress he places on poverty and health care, the most obviously Christian of the candidates. Also, Fish makes no mention of Jim Webb or Wes Clark both of whom could turn out to be quite strong candidates. Webb, like Edwards, knows how to communicate effectively with, and appeal to, people who feel they have been mistreated and dealt with unfairly, and Clark is a type of man Americans have loved to vote for over the years: he’s a General. People who are hesitant to vote for the first time ever for a woman for president — a woman, moreover, who would be president during constant terrorist threats — might be less hesitant to vote for her if her running mate were a General.
— Posted by Robert
Do not take for granted that Clinton will win the nomination. The Republicans will love that so that the dirt will fly.
Obama is the best hope for the Dems and the country.
Richardson would make a good v.p and balance foreign policy experience.
— Posted by Pat Collage
— Posted by Mr. Peabody
Stanley, you forgot one obvious choice: Gore. He was probably the best VP the country has ever had. Clinton-Gore won twice before. Why not go for a third and fourth?
— Posted by Larry Sawers
Bet on Evan Bayh. He has three atributes that Prof. Fish does not mention (but the fact that he is a former governor of Indiana is a trenchant part of Fish’s analysis). One. He is on the Armed Services Committee with Hillary and has made several trips to Iraq with her. (So has Jack Reed, D-RI, but he is secdef material). Two. He is also on the Select Committee on Intelligence. Three. Like it or not, he’s got “the look.” Check out the photo of him with wife and boys on his senate website. Move over, Mitt!
— Posted by Dan Shea
Bob Graham, former Governor of Florida and retired Senator, might wisely be considered as a running mate…
— Posted by J R Parry
Bill Richardson. Western balances the ticket. Hispanic brings in votes from all over. Experienced for that “heartbeat away” factor. And having him VP won’t subtract any Dems in US Senate. Clinton should try to keep as many Democrat Senators and Reps where they are, for a better chance of being a successful Prez.
— Posted by cicero
I have a prediction for you Mr. Fish: not only will the Dems remain undecided as to their choice for President tomorrow, but after Obama and Clinton split many of the early primaries, the Dems will still be split as to their choice 9 months from now. You are betting on history when you predict the landslide — and this election has anything BUT history leading its course. Consider the unique territory this campaign treads: we’ve got a white woman, a black male, and a candidate whose wife has cancer; we have states pushing their primary dates earlier to gain a role in the process; we’ve got the possibility of 28 years of either Clintons or Bushes in the White House; we have a million debates; we’ve got YouTube debates; we have candidates not accepting money from special interests (Obama & Edwards)… bottom line: polls are polls, history is history — we will only learn what the people want when the primaries begin, and even then it’s my prediction it may take a while to sort through this mess.
— Posted by charley
We shouldn’t forget about Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. I know, he’s a Senator, but he has extensive experience administering State offices in Florida and such a warm Southern drawl and an authoritative, Hollywood-style jaw line.
Although his son has been convicted of Battery on a Police Officer in an incident that occured on election night, Nelson’s own record is spotless.
— Posted by R. Jibaja
None of the above. All the same criteria and a few other more important ones would lead you to General Wesley Clark, I think.
— Posted by William L. Sharfman
I think Bill Richardson would make an excellent choice. Not only would his nomination help to secure the Latino vote firmly in the Democratic column (where, given Karl Rove’s ugly failure to defeat the zealots in the Republican party, it clearly belongs), it would also take advantage of an historic demographic shift taking place in the Southwest (in Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado & Arizona), an area of the country which is seeing the birthplace of Goldwater Conservatism undergoing a huge influx of Democratic-leaning voters. Despite a lot noise to the contrary (from people like David Brooks), the demographic shifts this country is rapidly experiencing mostly favor the Democratic Party. Unless the Republicans wise-up and throw off the yoke of Christian Conservatism, they will relegate themselves to the regional party of the Southeast, with the more secular members of their current coalition jumping ship or tuning out. To my mind, a Clinton/Richardson ticket takes better advantage of these shifts than any other feasible combination. Richardson is also a very capable guy, with the kind of four-star resume that will assure voters he is qualified to take the reigns of power if need be. Other than the votes he/she is capable of bringing to a ticket, this is the only real qualification required for a successful candidate for Vice President.
On the other hand, given Richardson’s seemingly incurable affliction with foot-in-mouth disease, I find it hard to imagine him ever waging a successful presidential campaign of his own. If Hillary has any visions at this premature stage of creating a truly lasting legacy, she may be well advised to choose a more electable successor… How about Bill Ritter, Governor of Colorado?
— Posted by Robert A. Costello
re: “Even conservative commentators have been saying that she is running a model campaign”
like Pavlovian dogs, conservative commentators start salivating at the prospect of Hillary Clinton as the democratic nominee because they know something that she and her supporters apparently do not - Hillary Clinton is unelectable.
Like no other candidate, she will drive out the Republican vote and guarantee another 4 years of failed - and increasingly dangerous - Republican policy.
— Posted by jsyorke
It’s a tad presumptuous of Mr. Fish to declare Mrs. Clinton the Democratic nominee for president, with the state primaries not occurring until early next year, and to begin choosing her running mate.
Everyone says that Mrs. Clinton is experienced and, often in the same sentence, say Mr. Obama is in experienced. Mrs. Clinton has been in the U.S. Senate only a few more years longer than Mr. Obama. More experience? Counting her years as First Lady is absurd — tea, anyone? — and, if one does, should include how she bungled her attempt to reform our nation’s healthcare. If her efforts here represent her experience, we certainly don’t need more of this in the Oval Office.
In a recent Democratic debate, Mrs. Clinton downplayed that her negative polling points equal her positive ones. Nominating Mrs. Clinton will be to follow a recent decades trend (with the exception of her husband) of the Democrats ability to nominate unelectable candidates.
I’ve said for years that the only chance for the Democrats to win the presidency in 2008 is for Mr. Obama to be on the ticket. The political landscape has not seen the likes of him since Robert Kennedy and JFK before him. Mrs. Clinton polarizes; Mr. Obama attracts.
At the same time, I wouldn’t like Mr. Obama to be anyone’s running mate. He would merely be helping them win. He should determine his own political future. And with all the talk about experience, no one seems to address the issue of the quality of the person and their depth and breadth of thinking, something that makes Mr. Obama truly stand out.
But as long as Mr. Fish wants to pick running mates, I do think that Mr. Richardson would make an excellent running mate — but in support of Mr. Obama.
Those who believe that Hillary will lose in a general election must be very young or very forgetful. Many candidates look like losers from this far out, but fight on and win (Nixon, Reagan) or almost win (Humphrey, Ford). But no one is as disciplined as Hillary, and that sort of discipline will win the race. Does anyone expect that flip-flopping, foot-in-mouth Mitt Romney or aw-shucks Fred Thompson or the newly emergent Mike Huckabee can put in a better performance?
As for veep, Richardson looks worn out and tired and befuddled, but I think that a team with lots of experience, double-experience, would be great. My vote is for Tom Vilsack.
— Posted by Alan Jacobs
I think this analysis while electoral in nature misses an important point. Senator Clinton will be running against a Republican who will try to say that “SHE” cannot be as strong on national security issues as “HE” is. I strongly recommend that the Senator pick a running mate to strengthen her national security qualifications. That running mate is General Wesley Clark. General Clark is a southernor, has been tested by electoral politics (he did win the Oklahoma primary in ‘04) and would show that Senator Clinton is committed to finding the most qualified people to staff her administration.Also, the idea that a person’s home state ensures an electoral victory does not hold water anymore, if ever. Remember Vice President Gore lost his home state of Tennessee in ‘00.
— Posted by Bill Keller
Prof. Fish is right, and my ten bucks is on Bayh. Clinton took him to the Mid-east on her “fact finding” trip last year, probably to test out public reaction and also check him out herself. He’s perfect — mid-Western governor; beautiful wife, twin boys (about 14 years old); no negative publicity; famous father (the late Sen. Birch Bayh), and a former presidential candidate, so that the public already knows his name and the learning curve would not be too steep.
Bayh is the most likely choice.
— Posted by tcrny
JohnJ’s remark might elicit some concern but Obama has always made it clear from the start that he was running for the top job and nothing else. You can also rule out Mark Warner if Senator John Warner retires. A Senator would be a poor choice for two reasons. First, they need more than 60 votes in the Senate and can’t afford to lose two on the ticket. Second, executive experience is needed. Sen./Gov. Evan Bayh remains her best choice if Fish is right and she locks up the nomination.
— Posted by Daedalus
I agree with the previous commenters here who suggest that this blog is an embarrassment and that Fish is buying into the horserace declaring Clinton the winner at this stage. Give the voters a chance to make up their minds for goodness’ sake.
Very discouraging. This man has nothing interesting to say.
— Posted by nana_karina
The Fish-Hillary NYC Interests Industry will sink her sooner rather than later. Even Blomberg would be a better candidate and less tied to Unowho.
— Posted by jock
A slam-dunk 6 months out from the first test of a candidate’s viability…why even have the primary?
The thing about Clinton is, while the MSM is hungry for a fight and has annointed Clinton the winner from the very beginning of this race, her poll numbers have not been impressive and her negative’s have been sky high–among disparate groups.
This reflects the electorate’s unease with a candidate who seems ready to do whatever it takes to prove she’s one of the guys. Then there are those on the right who’ve been programmed to despise a Clinton no matter what they may say or do.
Clinton lacks substantial support, whether from the left, for her obscene, neocon-like ‘war with iran is on the table’ stand, or from the right, for just being hillary.
— Posted by Diana
Would Republicans really love to run against Clinton?
Karl Rove was doing his best to submarine her on the talk shows yesterday. So, there are two possibilities:
a) He is really afraid of her and wants to push her out of the nomination, or,
b) He is counting on the reaction of the Democrats to do exactly the opposite of what he advocates.
Of course, option b) leads to two other possibilities:
a) He is really the evil genius who gave us Bush, or,
b) He is wrong here as he has been on most things, and will blow 2008 as badly as he did 2006.
Seems like the beginning of an infinite regression …
— Posted by cobernicus
Since this is the last round-up for McCain, maybe he will finally give in and be Hillary’s VP candidate. That would be a very tough ticket to beat.
— Posted by Mike
Perhaps Mr. Fish underestimates the absolute revulsion that most Americans feel for the departing Republicans. I expect to see several red states turn color this time, not just Louisiana. Everyone has tv’s and we all saw the devastation of New Orleans, knows the lies of the Iraq abomination, sees the total disrespect for scientific research, etc. Ready for a black VP? I know I am. And, like many other Americans, I still have hope that “anyone but Clinton” still has a chance. Unlike another post above I do not respect the power that a few states hold in the nomination process. To have our president picked by New Hampshire, and a couple other states, is one of the reasons that we had such a dearth of talent in our eventual nominees. Our system is perverted to the point where it does not come close to accomplishing it’s purported goal of picking the best woman for the job. Maybe a rotating system of early primary states with representatives of each region would help.
— Posted by johnrf
I find it offensive that months before anyone has really tuned into the 2008 election — let alone cast a single vote! — any candidate is being passed off as having a near-lock on the nomination. This is a case, unfortunately, of the media trying to shape the outcome rather than report on the candidates’ positions.
Hillary’s poll numbers are good within the party, but her overall negatives remain alarmingly high. If Democrats fall for this Inevitability Strategy, they’re begging for another electoral debacle.
— Posted by BhL-NYC
Where does he come up with this stuff?? All I can say is Mr. Fish, you have know-it-all intellectual syndrome…you can blah-blah-blah about everything you “know”, but I’d say you forgot one fairly important factor–when people actually see and hear Obama they like and connect with him better than Hillary (OK, to be exact since I’m dealing with a know-it-all type, lets say most people) If you aren’t smart enough to see this and understand why its the case, then you aren’t really understanding things at a deep level, no matter how “intellectual” you are….so how you decide to categorically state with no support whatsoever that “Obama’s caught all the fire he’s able to ignite” I have no idea…do you just sit around and think about and then say its a fact because you thought it? Honestly I have no idea how you decide that that’s a “fact”, which is at least the way you sound like you think it is….what people, yourself included need always to think about is that the answers to any questions within the realm of knowable things are the same no matter what we think they are–so any analysis, etc. is worth exactly as much as what went into it, so you have to keep listening and learning and searching, and when you do talk, the more of that listening/learning/searching mentality you’ve had, the closer to the answer your statements will be…(I can’t resist–of course people like Bush do far too little if any of this, which is why he’s so far off on pretty much everything with the possible exception of a bit of concern about unfairness in Africa…1&1/2 more years of venting )
As far as you (if memory serves me) wrote recently about the new caveman show and how its more important if we put our money where our mouth is about equality that was spot-on, and the kind of core value that we should be thinking about all the time…so you do sometimes write important things, and you’re obviously an intellectual guy, but please, if you’re able to, stop writing columns with the underlying message “look how much smarter I am than everyone else!” You’re not, you’re just more didactic….all of the other Times columnists, who are plenty smart of course, manage to not be condescending to an if we do say so ourselves fairly smart readership, so please try to learn something from them, and maybe you’ll gain a little wisdom to go with your intellect
— Posted by Ben
I wanted to want Clinton, but at this point it would be a disappointing choice, and it’s gigantically disappointing that so many of us are saying we don’t want her to win the primary but will vote for her in the general election if she is the Democratic choice. That takes the meaning and weight right out of the primary race, which could have been a wonderful vehicle for selecting a better candidate, but it’s already being talked about as a done deal. Depressing! I understand the fear of pulling a Nader, so people are pledging to vote for Clinton if she is in fact the Democratic nominee. But this is not one bit ideal and definitely not what this country so desperately needs.
— Posted by Elizabeth
I don’t understand why the Times is giving valuable space to Mr. Fish to write about topics outside his area of expertise. Anyone can write a speculative horse-race blurb; the mainstream media is full of this kind of fluff. Any intern in Washington could have phoned this in. What makes Mr. Fish’s vaguely informed musings on politics (or buying a cup of coffee, etc.) worth reading?
Once again I find myself mildly peeved that some of the readers’ comments far exceed the insightfulness of the original post. William C. Elwell is absolutely right to point out that while the field of potential nominees appears static, the electoral map is not. There are a number of variables on the ground that will influence the composition of the final set of states in play. Wes is right when he points out that while horse race politics is a fun amateur sport, there are in fact people out there who have real expertise in political strategy and could have written a far more informative and engaging column… he even helpfully suggests one. And “not so fast” is right to demand that an analysis of the choice of nominee and running mate be tied to the process by which the nominee is chosen, not easily accessible but minimally useful national polling numbers.
It appears the premise of this blog is that Mr. Fish’s celebrity in the field of lit-crit translates into expertise on any and every topic. It does not. I will suggest an analogy - Stanley Fish’s column on politics (or coffee) is to the New York Times as a Julia Roberts guest column on “10 steps for flatter tummy” is to Cosmo. The content is nothing special but the reader is presumably interested because of the author’s celebrity. In (still) other words, this is a mediocre product made more “valuable” because it bears the “Stanley Fish” brand.
I suggest the New York Times use the space alotted to Mr. Fish for a truly merit-based blog. All readers could submit columns on a topic of their choosing to be blindly evaluated by whatever editorial powers-that-be. The editors could see the author’s identity only after the column is chosen on its merits (but the column would be posted / printed with the author’s identity just like an ordinary op-ed).
— Posted by Ciccina
If I had a crushed disc I would go to a pro, not to Wes above. I did, so I chose a doctor. When my friend was sued he went to a pro, so he chose a lawyer, not W above.
The political pros look at the Electoral College when handicapping the presidency. Mr Fish does not mention the fact that if Kerry had carried New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada or Idaho, he would have won. Is it such a stretch that adding Richardson would put HRC over the top? Even Arizona would be in play.
Can adding Obama carry one state that went for W (the one in the WH)? Hillary needs to carry what Kerry carried and add 18 votes more. Ohio would do it. Figure a veep that would do that and take him. Failing that, select Bill Richardson.
— Posted by Richard
The Presidential election may come down to ABG or ABM (anybody but Guliani, or anybody but Mitt), but personally I’d like to feel good about the Democratic candidate, and that’s why Edwards is my choice. He is far superior to Clinton on the issues, and more experienced than Obama. An Edwards/Obama ticket, or even an Edwards/Richardson ticket, might be something to get excited about.
— Posted by Disenthralled
i’ve been lucky enough to see obama speak a few times in person recently and, contrary to Fish’s assertion, he seems like he’s just starting to get fired up…please don’t discount him yet - substantive change wont come with Clinton pt. II
— Posted by kate
In addition to what was said above, I find Fish’s assumption that the Presidential election game will played out according to the same 00 and 04 rules hilariously optimistic for the Republicans.
The nation is P.O.’d. The Republicans will do everything they can to shift the blame onto “Washington” as a whole, but the nation knows who to blame.
— Posted by Smedley Underfoot
I thought the rap on Richardson is that he is a womanizing pol, … and should he become a viable candidate on the ticket, his past and current sexual indiscretions would become fodder. That is the last thing Sen. Clinton needs … another ‘dawg’.
— Posted by Tangerine
let’s see …. is there a male Senator from the South with strong military credentials (Sec’y. of the Navy under Reagan, Viet vet) who is tough, forthright and could withstand Rove-style attacks? Senator Jim Webb for V.P. Tim, Las Cruces, N.M.
— Posted by tim kraft
More then foreign policy experience, what Senator Clinton needs is military credentials. While Wesley Clark seems like the obvious choice I would put my money on Senator Jim Webb of Virginia. A blue dog Democrat and former Secretary of the Navy under the Reagen Administration, he would be a perfect fit for her.
— Posted by Brian J Handel
My money is on Wes Clark if Clinton gets the nod.
— Posted by Dan Milstein
I consider myself a staunch democrat, but I don’t think I could find it in me to vote for H. Clinton no matter who she chooses.She reeks of all the things that make politicians slippery - she reminds me too much of George Bush. Besides the Clintons and the Bushs have had the White house long enough. Let’s give the country a whiff of fresh air.If H. gets the nod I will have to write some one else in.
— Posted by don anderson
Four years ago — long before the first primaries — the Dean candidacy was a near certainty, too.
Let’s wait till a few states have cast their votes before we have the coronation, shall we?
— Posted by Howard
Although Mr./Ms. Vangala seems certain that John Edwards would not be elected if he were the nominee, the national polls say the opposite. These show that he is, in fact, the Democrat most likely to beat every Republican candidate who has declared. Let’s hope the primary voters keep this in mind.
— Posted by Lucy
Who died and annointed this guy Nostradamus? “To be sure, polls in Iowa and New Hampshire show a close contest, but I predict that as the time for actually voting gets closer, Clinton will pull away in those states, too, and the landslide will begin.So the only remaining big question is, Who should her running mate be?” Where does this guy come up with the connection between “I predict blah-blah-blah” and So the only remaining question is….only an egomaniac nut would think that reaching a conclusion makes it so….please stop condescending to readers by acting like your predictions are facts–if you want to go through the process of how you arrived at your conclusion, fine, but please spare Times readers the I think therefore its so type reasoning…there are other papers where you can get away with that kind of nonsense, and if anyone in management there ever glances at these comments, maybe you’d like to discuss with Mr. Fish what they are…? All your other columnists and bloggers manage to write without being condescending, so maybe you could have Mr. Fish understand how they do it? Seriously, this type of writing and predicting facts and trying to convince people there’s no point in voting or paying attention to their choices is beneath the Times, and its just plain annoying…
That Clinton’s nomination is “surely beyond serious refute” is absolutely untrue. Remember who the lock was as late as November, 2003? Dean seemed unstoppable, didn’t he? But after the New Year, Kerry and Edwards surged. People who are finely tuned to presidential politics at this early stage have to remember that unlike them, most people just aren’t paying attention yet, and probably won’t until just before voters turn out for the caucus in Iowa.
— Posted by David Mebane
Man, can we wait until a vote is cast? Writing like this makes me want to give up on The New York Times. Does anyone study history. Kerry was “electable.” War with Iraq was inevitable even though 500,000 marched in Manhattan along with millions around the world. Don’t the people matter any more?
— Posted by Gregory Adamo
Evan Bayh seems like a very likely choice. Clinton and Bayh have been close colleagues in the Senate. Plus (this is the conspiracy theorist in me), Nancy Jacobson, who is one of Clinton’s biggest fundraisers, used to be a former Bayh staffer. She also happens to be married to…Mark Penn. Go figure.
To Dr. Fish’s list of candidates, I would like to add Gen. Wesley Clark. He fulfils almost all of the criteria (except for the Governor thing. But, surely a General is just as good is a governor).
Gen. Clark is disciplined, popular among progressives for his criticism of the Iraq war, respected among independents, and even Republicans, for his military credentials. I really think he would be ideal.
As for the electoral college, Clinton is going to have no problem winning. My thoughts are that she needs to win everything Gore did (not counting Florida!) plus Arkansas.
Arkansas is not going to be difficult for her to win. (Unless perhaps Huckabee is on the ticket) Check out the latest polls: she is leading all Republican frontrunners by 15 - 20 points!
— Posted by O.R. Siddiqui
Aren’t there are any “folksy,” Southern women who could be Hillary’s running mate? Just how conservative is the new south?
— Posted by R
Well, anything you mentioned would be an improvement.
— Posted by NH, Culver City CA
It’s laughable to suggest it’s time to talk about Clinton’s running mate. Firstly most front runners at this stage usually lose. Secondly, when people actually bother to pay atytention to this they’ll realize one thing, a potential 28 years of Clinton Bush rule is just something that’s just plain un-American. Yuck. New leadership please.
— Posted by Johnnyglock
— Posted by mark
How about Bill Clinton for Vice President–LOL
— Posted by Scott
Im not at all surprised to see that Dr. Fish is a supporter of the status quo in his electoral politics as well. The end of his article sums up his position: a good reason to elect Hillary is that she acts “presidential.” This is precisely the problem with American politics today: image dominates substance. Paul Krugman has decried the same thing in several of his columns. Despite Fish’s wish to bypass the democratic process, i hope voters are not as duped as he is by media and traditional “political” reasoning.
— Posted by Sami
Professor Fish seems to be channeling one of those old poli sci books. Has he not noticed that the last two administrations have been filled by vice presidents from the same region of the nation as the presidents they serve? Geographic balance is less important in a media-driven election, not to mention on the internet. If Senator Clinton does indeed become the nominee, and I’m not convinced she’s sewn it up yet, she’d be wise to overlook those pedestrian midwestern and southern governors and tap someone with some independent magnitude like Al Gore or Wes Clark. I’d hate to see it blamed on O’Bama if she loses.
— Posted by ladyuptown
I know the real impetus behind Stanley Fish’s article. He must have his sights sets on the Vice-Presidency. First a renowned academician, then a “controversial” blogger, and finally a national figurehead. It just takes a mighty pen to write his way into Hilary’s favor and then, onto her ticket.
See how language creates power!
— Posted by Matthew
Obama or Edwards would make ideal running mates for Senator Clinton. It’s time to set aside the conventional recipes for the presidential/vice-presidential cocktail . I’m not confident that the voters attach much meaning to geography anymore. There are better reasons to vote for the president or vice president than where they live or whether they were state or federal officials.
To look upon the vice presidential pick as a way to add strength to a ticket, one would have to ask how much help was that in the past? I don’t believe presidential decisions are made with a belief that our man or woman may be knocked off so we really need to examine number two. Veeps like Dick Cheney and Dan Quale have been kind of cartoonish in what they brought to the ticket. Al Gore didn’t fit that mold, but he didn’t make it on his own either.
As far as the nation not being ready for a woman and a black man in the same election, that may just be wrong headed. Were we ready for a cowboy when George Bush was picked? A draft dodger when we went with Bill Clinton? For me I want safety in the choices. Safety from terrorist devils, and hair-brained tax schemes like the Free Tax. I want ideologues leading the nation, but not politicians who are taking their cues from fringe bloggers.
— Posted by Mike McCaffrey
Who cares about Hilary? She and Obama are not electable! My candidate is John Edwards - and, after reading the op-ed in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend by my boy Baby Harold (Harold Ford, Jr.), I think Edwards should cut the legs out from under both Clinton and Obama and go ahead and declare Baby Harold as his running mate. Ford is smart, articulate and nearly took the Senate from rich man Bob Corker this past November. Corker didn’t even get the majority of the votes from his hometown, Chattanooga, but the Republican majority in upper East Tennessee put him barely over the edge. Ford is a charismatic speaker and has 10 years experience in the US Congress. Edwards/Ford is a winning ticket!
— Posted by Sarah
Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana.(Check Wikipedia–the guy’s a governor from the West, a farmer, international experience, big friendly guy, damn good Democrat.)
— Posted by Jon
I like Wesley Clark as a running mate. He’s very smart, articulate, a highly-decorated 4 star General, and I think he may even appeal to Joe six-pack.
— Posted by Cathy
Mr. Fish would do well to note that the last two successful v.p. choices both flouted conventional ticket-balancing. Bill Clinton chose Al Gore, a fellow southern baby boomer. George W. Bush selected Dick Cheney, who had no electoral appeal whatsoever, and even Wyoming’s three electoral votes were virtually guaranteed to the Republicans.
In contrast, the failed campaigns of John Kerry and Michael Dukakis both attempted ticket balancing (Kerry/Edwards and Dukakis/Bensten) only to lose eminently winnable elections.
— Posted by Steven Lubet
Senator Obama would make a good Secretary of Housing and Urban Renewal–maybe he could fix New Orleans. Biden for Secretary of State.
— Posted by jon
Excuse me, please, but as a Democratic primary voter I dearly resent being told that primaries have been supplanted by polls so I needn’t bother.
Mr. Fish, I am at a loss to understand why on earth you would want to write this particular column right now. But speaking from personal experience (as an op-ed writer) I’m going to guess you were just having a hard time coming up with a good topic for this week).
I definitely like what Obama has to offer and have decided recently to work in his campaign; not irrelevant to my decision is the fact that I really, really don’t want Hillary as a candidate (because she will lose) nor as a president.
— Posted by Nathalie Guyol
“it sure isn’t ready for a woman and a black on the same ticket.”
Rubbish. Liberal fantasy.
— Posted by R. Kevin Hill
If Hillary is a shoo-in for the nomination, it’s because craven Democrats genuflect when they see anyone who might be “electable.” But — like John Kerry — Hillary won’t win the election. For all her strengths, she’s got more than a few skeletons in the closet, a dubious record of sniffing the wind on important issues, and a streak of opportunism so wide you can see it from the moon. She’s not even someone Americans can see themselves enjoying a beer with. She has no chance, unless Bush & Co. decide to come clean and admit all their incompetence and evildoing.
If you don’t believe me, look at the Republican spin. Conservative pundits have been gleeful at the prospect of going up against her, and have thus been sticking to the “She’ll be the nominee” message for over a year. Once the Republican Mean Machine gets through with her, anyone they put up will look like the better bet to John Q. Public.
— Posted by Stacy Prince
As a proud Hoosier gal, I wholeheartedly endorse Evan Bayh for the VP slot. . . he’s not only smart, photogenic and actually speaks as an intelligent person does, he’s clean as a whistle in every way. . . . not even a tinge of scandal in his eight years as Indiana’s popular Governor, nor as a senator.
— Posted by Sarah E. Grove
I hope the standard Republican pitch that Hillary can’t be elected is wrong, though I, a lifelong democrat, am uneasy about her chances - not because she’s woman but is a Clinton - as far as veep possibility - Richardson is perhaps a flawed choice because of his klutzy mouth. I throw out your argument against senators and pick Obama as a ‘dare’ choice - IF the country is ready to make a huge change and elect a female, why not throw in a a bright, attractive, intellectual young racially mixed male as running mate? Prepare us to make a bold a daring choice and perhaps save the country.
— Posted by George (not W) in Texas
I’m not the first among the commenters to make this point, but while Hilary has a clear lead in the polls and futures markets, it is absurd to call the primary election “over.” The inaugural New Hampshire poll is still four months out, and the pace of political action will only increase as time grows short. I am sure the educated readers of this paper will not need to be reminded of the 2004 primaries, which catapulted a largely unknown candidate to a halting national campaign.
— Posted by Daniel
The moment I read the title of Mr. Fish’s article, I knew the answer to his question, which is going to be a tough call for the Democrats. I would love to see the “mate” be Obama, but that is a road to failure. The south would be totally lost, as would all those across the country with prejudice in their hearts. I personally would prefer Bill Richardson … I think he’s great … but the answer is John Edwards. With him on the ticket as VP, we’d have a chance in the south.
— Posted by Sydney Davis
I for one would LOVE to see a Clinton/Obama ticket. Both smart and articulate; a combination of passion, experience and a whole lot of political savvy (by instinct if not by actually surviving in the bloodbath we lovingly call the democratic presidential election process). The American public didn’t do such a great job selecting the best candidates last two times around: let’s try to do better in 2008!
— Posted by Laura
The answer is Bill Clinton. He would be a great first lady.
— Posted by Joe Melosi
Bushes, Clintons, Bushes, Clintons. A depressing move toward our growing plutocracy. Say it isn’t so, Stanley. Nan Hobson
— Posted by Nan Hobson
Matter of fact, why aren’t we already planning for President Hillary’s re-election? The 2008 election is like so a foregone conclusion. (I insert Valley Girl-speak for emphasis.) Clinton-Blagojevich 2012, anyone?
It seems the only way for a journalist to stand out is to jump farther and farther ahead, making ever-wilder predictions. The phrase “famous last words” comes to mind for anyone jumping too far ahead. Let’s just go on with the primaries, and make new predictions after they’re settled. Patience.
— Posted by Mark Lebow
Let the process run its course before declaring a victory for Sen Clinton. Besides who really thinks that Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton is good for this country? Enough is enough. And no matter how smart Mrs. Clinton is, she is not Bill Clinton. Dynasties are not for the United States. The USA needs fresh faces and fresh ideas, not a victory by the media or by name recognition. Plus, why does Hillary Clinton get a pass on her voting for the war? That decision was tragic and should not rewarded.
— Posted by Mr. VV
The post was okay. I don’t understand why people express such heat about who should write what. The weakness was that the essay got tedious by reciting every possible name, which made it seem like Fish is a school kid proving he can list all the states. There was no big payoff with a unique insight, so I suppose it’s true he failed to bring any of his academic genius to it and added nothing of unusual political knowledge. Shouldn’t he tell us what a post-modern v-p would look like? Give us telling phrases about HRC’s political skill and status as a new cultural moment? etc.
— Posted by MoreMoxie
I agree with Pat. As Rove’s tour of the talk shows and interview with Paul Gigot suggest, the Republicans are doing everything they can to promote Hilary’s “inevitability”. We know that if she wins the nomination they will come after her with the patented attack machine at full fire, no holds barred. But what do they do if Obama is the Democratic standard bearer? The independent voters who will decide this election may finding a smear campaignagainst the first African American nominee a little hard to stomach and we know they don’t want to talk about the issues.
— Posted by Charles M.
Mark Warner was governor during a time when Virginia was widely recognized as the best fiscally managed state in the Union. As someone who typically votes Republican, but who voted for Warner, I could say that would have substantial appeal to me when the voting booth curtains close at my back, as would his support for and understanding of the tech sector.
Anyone who thinks that any personal foibles are disqualifying in politics wouldn’t put Hillary at the top of the ticket anyway.
— Posted by MG
Clinton/Obama is the ticket most likely to win. Forget the South. Forget the conventional wisdom. Build an appeal on intelligence/vision/competence. After the Bush disaster, the country could certainly be ready for a woman and a black.
If it is not, then Europe is looking pretty good as a place of next residence.
— Posted by Marshall Smith
I think by this logic, we should also go ahead and let Giuliani start picking out the white house curtains. If Clinton is nominated, the republicans will keep the white house and I think at the end of the day, the democratic party will realize this especially considering the down-ballot loathing of her. The polls may show Mrs. Clinton in the lead but a week is an eternity in politics, let alone 6 months. And I’m sure it’s been quite a while since Mr. Fish has seen a genuine movement in this country, so perhaps he has trouble seeing Mr. Obama’s campaign as such. Give it time. In three months we’ll be debating his veep.
— Posted by Evan
Fish is working on a self fulfilling prophecy, right?. Ever since Clinto ran for the N.Y. senate it was obvious that she wanted to become president. And for some reason, most of the liberal media support her on that. Now, I think Clinton is and admirable woman and a capable senator. But I am still waiting for someone in the media to explain to me why she should be nominated.I do not see her as the clear winner on any of the issues. Health Care? She is taking huge contributions from lobbyists. Iraq? That’s going to be trial and error no matter who is president. But she voted for it! Education? Obama is the only one who is not afaraid of the teachers union and favors merit pay. And so on and so on….Apart from that, she’d loose against any of the republican candidates, no matter whom she’d choose as a mate
— Posted by petraboehm
Punditry seems to consist of applying what worked in the past to what could happen in the future. If Mr. Fish wants to hold that Sen. Clinton should not pick another senator, he must have forgotten Kennedy/Johnson. Or if there must be geographic distance, he must have forgotten Clinton/Gore. Or if anything matters much about VP candidates except how they are treated by the cameras, he’s forgotten Bush/Quayle.
— Posted by David Dawson
Repackage (”a moderate”) Warner? As what? A liberal? Hillary is helped by having a liberal VP candidate?
Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia, was the political rage for a month or two and is regarded as a moderate; he could be repackaged by the right marketing campaign. He might even bring Virginia with him.
— Posted by Jerry
It may be a mistake to look at Hillary as just a senator from NY. She occupies more space on the national stage than that. If so then what about Senator Bob Menendez of NJ? Although another senator, the VP doesn’t actually run anything(I should think we have learned our lesson on that score) so executive expirence not absolutly needed. Along with his expirence in the House and Senate he brings along strong ties to the Cuban-American community. Think what that could mean to the race in Florida.
— Posted by gene
Conventional wisdom abounds. Apparently Stanley Fish believes that the worst thing about the current administration is that it serves too narrow a slice of the establishment and what makes Senator Clinton appealing is that she will serve a bigger slice. It’s the establishment that decides how the majority of us will vote. Perhaps this is not Stanley Fish’s idea, perhaps its mine. It’s also my greatest fear: that the majority of those with money and power should select our leaders and run the show. My hope lies in the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a perfect connection between conventional wisdom and experience; and therefore, that Senator Obama will be nominated and win the presidency, or if not, that he will be nominated vice president and be elected president in his turn, and that he will prove to be an unconventional president, one who is willing to serve the human good and not simply the interest of a majority of the elites who make up our establishment.
— Posted by Greg Pool
This is an interesting and thorough analysis. Too bad there’s no way Hillary Clinton could ever get elected president. That is because I would never vote for her, and she needs my vote. Why would I never vote for her? There are about ten reasons too many to list here, but the main one is that Hillary Clinton doesn’t stand for anything that I can see, except for Hillary Clinton. Here’s another reason she will never get elected. This is the first election that could be decided by people under 40 who are FOR abortion rights, AGAINST the war in Iraq, FOR gay and lesbian rights, IN FAVOR of finding a just peace in Israel/Palestine, AGAINST special interests, FOR comprehensive health care and FOR immigration reform. Also, they don’t get their information watching television. Where is Hillary on these issues and how does she communicate? The problem is not that these folks will vote against Hillary; the problem is that they just won’t bother to vote. So it really doesn’t matter who Hillary has as her running mate: she can’t win.
— Posted by Philip J Tramdack
Let’s see, someone comfortable to sit down and have a beer with, a former governor, can deliver a speech… how about her hubby, Bill?
— Posted by Michael
I’m amazed that Fish lays out the criteria that exactly describes former Gov. Vilsack of Iowa, then doesn’t mention him. Vilsack also has a military background, which will help, too. He’s the best and obvious choice.
Bayh wouldn’t even deliver Indiana and the rest are unknown, except Richardson, who can’t complete a sentence in 30 seconds, as the debates have repeatedly shown.
— Posted by Brian Bardfield
IF Sen. Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I highly (H-I-G-H-L-Y) suggest she name NY Times foreign policy columnist Thomas L. Friedman as her running mate.
He’s the only one who makes sense on the important Middle East issues these days.
I’ve believed that since 2004 when, the Democratic field at the time lacking in my eyes, I wrote his name in on my California primary ballot.
— Posted by WayneInSF
Fish should stick to what he is so apparently good at: promoting god and creationism.
He is just following the republican’s and Rove’s talking point, which is to get Clinton to win the Democratic nomination because she is beatable.
I am a life-long democrat who will not vote for Clinton. Her administration will be similar to Bush’s. She is non-positional. And Marc Rich just screams out at me.
I hope and pray that Al Gore reconsiders his position. Gore/Obama appears to be a real good fit to me.
If Clinton wins and there is no viable republican candidate I will vote for Nader again, if he runs. Else I won’t vote.
— Posted by John Tkach
If Stanley Fish is correct and Clinton is the Dem. nominee, then democracy in the U.S. really is dead. I guess Democrats can stay home and not bother to vote. We can just let executives from CNN, Fox, ABC, et al vote since they’ve hoisted Sen. Clinton upon us and decided already.
— Posted by Vaughn M
I believe the article is brilliant and Stanley Fish hits all the points as to why Hillary will be nominated and should be elected President. I agree that Obama would be a bad choice strategically, and the choice of a running mate may be the differnce between a close race and a win.My expectations: Richardson, Gen Clark, Bayh, Mark Warner, Former Fl Gov & Sen Graham or Gore …Clark is probably the safest choice and brings the most to the ticket. If not, he will be Defense Secretary.I say announce your VP, Defense Secretary nomineeand Sec of State at the convention - and have all 3 campaign with her in strategic states…along with BILL - She will win!
— Posted by Norman
I’ll skip the prognostications about Sen. Clinton and putative running mates for her - I’m not convinced she’ll be the Democratic nominee - but thanks for the clear statement that the issue is equal rights for GLTB people, not how they got there.
— Posted by Lisa Hirsch
Clinton/Obama is the best ticket. If the election can fly in the face of pundits like Fish about the “gender issue,” it would be a relief to deal a death blow to the “race issue.”
Those who won’t vote for a woman won’t vote for a black. Those who will vote for a woman will also vote for a black. And blacks? Seeing a black person on the ticket at all will make their vote for the ticket inevitable as well.
Inevitabiity is the greatest factor at work, just as it was in the two hideous terms of Bush. He was inevitable then, they are inevitable now.
Hillary’s negatives? Nothing like Lincoln’s or Wilson’s or FDR’s. And people often like to set aside negatives when they can do something historical - such as voting for FDR’s last terms.
Obama says ‘no’ now, but he will have to say ‘yes’ then. His next office after the vice-presidency (two terms from now) also seems inevitable to many of us already.
I find a suprising number of people already seeing it this way, whatever their view on women and blacks. To resist old-hat thinking like Fish’s it’s necessary to say ‘yes’ to Clinton/Obama, and say it over and over, otherwise the politics of stale ‘Been there, done that’ will rule and ruin once more.
— Posted by Kenneth Pitchford
Response to 10 “a woman-black ticket would suck the political air out of the presidential race”…perhaps, but only if the woman were Clinton and the black candidate was Obama….I can think of many ‘woman-black’ tickets that would tank faster than Mike Dukakis in a tank.
— Posted by Scott Dougan
With all the irony implied by the word in academic parlance, Mr. Fish’s comments are “interesting.” To that we must immediately add “premature, “politically unsound,” “incitive, but not incisive.” I recall serving on a committee to invite Prof. Fish to lecture at UNC-CH, but his reputation at that point would certainly not be borne out by the present performance.
— Posted by G M Masters
Since most people don’t read anymore, the TV pundits are the only ones who matter. How the candidates look and sound on TV in 10 second sound bites is all that counts. A novel idea: how about selecting someone for VP who is qualifed to lead the country, in case of the unthinkable.. supposed republican Colin Powell would be great!
Maybe your analysis is correct–but how about going with somebody who is totally qualified to be President and can lend some more substance? That does not eliminate Joseph Biden. I believe the country is tired of the kind of political chess your article articulates(though it may be correct). Let quality reign!
— Posted by Alan B. Ungar
Dear Stanley:I have just started to enjoy your entertaining columns on-line. However, I noticed your bio said you went from Johns Hopkins to Duke to Cal-Berkley to Univ of Il to Florida International. What is with that career path? Somehow I (and perhaps your mother, and mother-in-law) would have been more impressed if that procession of jobs had been in reverse.Where did you go wrong? Enquiring minds want to know? I love your writing regardless……
— Posted by John J. Cunningham
Yes Richardson is a good choice but can be a GOOD target for anti imagration ad’s. Yes Warner could be a good choice, as good looking as Mit and smart but the BEST would be RENDELL. He is combative and could take on the repbliers and he “could” move the retired folks in Florida enough to pick up the State. He would pick his home State and would make a really good attack dog on all the swift boat, Rove lies that will be coming…. As for being Jewish, thank goodness his name is NOT JOE and Joe (trader) being Jewish was not what cost Gore the election, what cost him the election was the same that cost Kerry, the republiers are simply smaerter and better liers. Marty
— Posted by Marty Susman
I am supporting Hillary much to my own surprise.I always liked her but as for voting for her?I thought I would be supporting someone else for president.Then she began campaigning and no one was more shocked than I when I found my head bobbing up and down in agreement.So here I sit guessing with the rest of you wondering who will she pick for veep.I have always felt that it would be Evan Bayh.He made a hasty exit from the presidential race and has all the right stuff.He also has flown curiously low these days.Perfect for a surprise reentry to the world of presidential politics all fresh and new for the long road to the White House.
— Posted by kittycago
The Democratic party has a lamentably long record of nominating non-electable people to the presidency, most recently John Kerry.
George Bush got (not won) a second term because even dyed in the wool Democrats couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Kerry.
It’s fashionable to argue that no matter who the Republicans might nominate in 2008, he (or she) is destined to lose.
But bias runs deep in the human organism, and if the Democrats are foolish enough to nominate either Clinton or Obama, the Republican candidate, whoever he (or even she) might be, is virtually assured of winning.
Nominating either Clinton and Obama would involve taking unnecessary risks that the Democratic party could easily avoid by nominating someone safe, like John Edwards, who may not turn many people on, but who has the signal advantage of not turning hardly anyone off.
At the polls, Americans have pretty much resigned themselves to the reality they must vote for the “least dreadful” of the candidates (e.g. Bush again versus Kerry) and that there will never again be, if there ever was, and opportunity to elect the “best” person.
And what makes it all so sad is that post-Bush, we need a heroic, political giant in the White House to begin to undo the damage Bush has done both at home and abroad, and it doesn’t look as if either party is likely to provide one for us to vote for.
If my assessment is correct, voters in 2008 will once again be voting not for anyone but against the worse of the alternatives and, for reasons that should seem obvious, a majority of voters are likely to see both Clinton and Obama as fitting that criterion.
I would really hate to vote for a Republican this time around, but I could not bring myself to vote for either Clinton or Obama.
— Posted by Tom Billings
Hillary’s nomination for president is not inevitable. Why not consider her as a potential vp candidate on a ticket headed by Obama?
— Posted by david
Maybe Al Gore wouldn’t mind being *Vice*-President again. He is probably way too smart to want to be President, but rolling your eyes while the Senate carries out their shenanigans is perhaps not all that bad of a job.
If she can’t get Gore, perhaps she could get Jeb Bush (not that he would be good for anything given his family’s history). Nevertheless, he’s a former Gov. and he’s from Florida and he has probably had it with the current administration just as much as the rest of us.
— Posted by geoff v
If the Democrats actually want to win in ‘08, I see Edwards-Obama as the strongest ticket. The biggest fear the Republicans had in ‘04 was Edwards, not Kerry–that is pretty well documented by now. That is still the case. A candidate must be electable in the entire US, not just the usual Dem strongholds. I have nothing against Sen. Clinton, nor do I believe she is unelectable because she is a woman–far from it. She is unelectable because she is THAT woman, and her negatives are off the charts. If she is the nominee, that Ken -doll sock puppet flip-flopper Romney, who will get the nomination as soon as the conservatives wake up and realize Ruy is far from Winston Churchill, could beat her quite easily.That gives us 4-8 more years of Executive/legislative gridlock.
Democrats have to decide if they want to win the White House in ‘08 and get their agendas pushed or just make a point. With their recent roll- over- rush to summer vacation abdication of responsibility giving this ridiculous President and his even more ridiculous Attorney General even more power than they were looking for in domestic spying, one wonders just how serious the Democrats really are already. Nominating Hillary at all would just solidify, in my mind, their equal, if less noxious, ineptitude to the Republicans.They won’t get a veto-proof majority in ‘08 and if they also end up with a Republican president, we will have 8 MORE years of this fatuous kabuki theater masquerading as governance, while young men and women continue to die to create the un-creatable in Iraq, millions remain without health insurance and our Constitutionl freedoms are eroded even more than they have been.
— Posted by Steve
Prof. Fish is far too quick to write off Al Gore. Gore is perfectly positioned to step in as the consensus candidate when Hillary either trips or when the democratic faithful finally shrink from nominating someone who, fair or not, is not able to win. With Gore at the head of the ticket the logical vice-presidential candidate would then be Barack Obama. It is a great American ticket: the southern white global environmentalist and the northern black intellectual. (See my blog on it at blog.stadum.com/2007/07/gore-administration.html.)
— Posted by Edward M. Stadum
Well given the criteria Stanley Fish outlined for Hillary Clinton’s running mate, dare I say Al Gore is her man!!! Now this is something worth considering as I hope someone in Hillary’s camp has already done!
— Posted by Lauren
When I read Prof. Fish, I get this inkling that he has a hidden agenda. Nothing surreptiously bad, of course, just that he wants to trigger a reaction among readers, maybe to galvanize them to thought or action. I don’t believe in his naiveté.
Anyway, what frustrates me most is the process we have to go through, that is, for example, that someone with Barack Obama’s caliber can be attacked by fellow Democrats, supposedly for inexperience rather than forsight. He is the only candidate that had the guts to be against the war way before anyone else and to be bold enough to declare that, if president, he would be prepared to talk directly to renegade nations - which would be a completely different approach to diplomacy.
It takes guts to change the world for the better such as when Anwar Sadat went to Israel to make peace. He broke with the past.
Seriously, what other candidate, besides Obama, consistently shows the willingness and boldness to brake from the past? Better still, non-ideologically!
— Posted by John Hooker
California ballot measure, to split up the electoral college. Would give a huge edge to Republicans in the election: See here:
Also, this article is about Hilary herself. Not, if she is selected just yet. Whomever is selected as the Prez nominee for the Dem ticket, this article would apply. My bet is for Mark Warner. As a former Virginia resident, I’ve been more impressed with his strong administration and management skills as well as having vision and charisma other VP candidates just don’t have (such as Vilsack, Bayh, or others).
— Posted by Justin Grady
Tom Vilsack was, to me, the most impresssive of ALL the early candidates, and his withdrawal was lamented in an excellent op-ed in the NYTimes. He uniquely could compliment Mrs. Clinton in a way not mentioned in Stanley Fish’s article, namely, the psychodynamic.
— Posted by John Epstein
Senator Clintons issue, as it is for all presedential candidates is the electoral college. OH and FL remains the prizes that may likely decide the the 2008 election as they almost did in 2002 and in 2004. I think it is short sighted to be dismissive of a Woman/Black ticket, but how does Senator Obama help Senator Clinton, as she already gets the Woman/Black vote with Senator Obama’s help. Former FL Govenor and Senator Bob Graham seems the likely choice. He is still loved in FL. He is an astute politician. A proven fund raiser, and could likely help deliver FL. A likley Clinton electoral stategy would depend heavily on winning the Vote rich Northeast, California, Michigan,and Illinois. Winninng FL would likely win the election. OH is a toss up, based on years of a less than successful and “tainted” Republican govenor, OH in all llikelyhood voted Democrat in 2004, and a throw the bums out mentality seems pervassive for 2008.
— Posted by Lee Weiss
Very good article. I think Gore should be the one to hold second place.
— Posted by Sara Meredith
I’d like to see some moderate Republicans on Fish’s hypothetical list (some of the respondents should remember that Fish himself would admit his “over before it’s over” pontifications are all hypothetical musings). What about Chuck Hagel? This sort of poison of party loyalty is partly to blame for the mess (or messes, I should say) we find ourselves in now. We are prisoners of it. Even as Rove goes down in flames, he’s still wagging his chubby little finger at us on the way out, as if we all should know better. As if somehow our troubles were an inevitability that will mushroom into a true living hell if we elect Hillary. Nonsense. A moderate GOP-er or centrist Dem would NOT be such a bad thing, and would actually be sweet revenge as Rove skulks his way out of our political world.
— Posted by IndieInLanna
Bill Richardson is my choice for President, but he’s a man who has ‘worked well with others’ as an administrator, Governor, Representative and Ambassador… I know he’d certainly do us proud as VP.
Settling on a team going into the primsry has the virtue of developing a kind of shadow government. My sense is that the current administration is unstable, lacking the confidence of most citizens, and may be worse than untrustworthy.
Good idea, Mr. Fish.
— Posted by F.L.Stearns
When people (especially women) are finnally in that voting both, most will not choose a women to lead them in a time of war, and that will not show up in the polls. I still thing there is a strong possibility that Al Gore will toss his hat in the race in the fall. When that happens, he will win the nomination and the election by a landslide.
— Posted by Dyanne
It appears to me that a vice-president in a Hillary Clinton administration will be nothing more than a third head - and an unimportant one at that. With Bill Clinton, former president and probably the best politician of our time as advisor to President Hillary Clinton, what possible role can the vice-president play other than some sort of errand boy.
Those individuals who might otherwise aspire to the position of vice-president, may not be too enthusiastic in light the electorate having received two presidents for the price of one.
— Posted by Marvin Waxner
Isn’t it presumptuous to call her the winner of the primaries just yet?
For any of the Northeastern candidates, look no further than Phil Bredesen. Him, Bayh, and Clark are the short list.
— Posted by Mike, Brooklyn
As a lifelong Democrat and a woman–you might expect me to be in Hilary’s camp–I worked for both Clinton/Gore campaigns but I have grave concerns about the DLC influence on her as it did on him. That picking cabinet positions and others from across the isle was not smart. And Clinton started many of the policy,s that we are in so much trouble over now–like the World Trade being such a sell out of American values. I don’t agree that she is the only choice. In a normal election cycle the cream begins to rise in Sept.–this too long cycle has to be stopped now–or the next election will begin in 09. Starting so early was a sign of her campaign wanting to out spend and wear out all the other candidates. And many of us older Dems are not happy with this trying to win by lasting the longest. So Mr. Fish I don’t agree that she is the nominee period. I have heard some rumors that some of our old guard may decide to run–Sam Nunn for one and I haven’t ruled out Al Gore–this race is just beginning.
— Posted by Cindy Kessler
Whether it’s simply the quality of NY Times’ readers — or less likely Stanley Fish’s provocative musings, what is unquestionably again the case is the superiority of most comments vs. the strangely empty meditations of the lead essayist. So what’s wrong if the finale surpasses the opening gambit?
— Posted by Robert Becker
I side with those who say that it isn’t over yet, whatever the media indicates. Polls demonstrate name familiarity and the media has so concentrated on the top three that other viable candidates are ignored. They will not be ignored when disaster strikes the ‘front-runners’ as it surely will no matter how controlled the campaigns.Posted by Georgia McDaniel, a donor to the Edwards campaign only.
— Posted by Georgia W McDaniel
While I will support any Democratic candidate in this race, I believe that the Democratic Party is making a fatal error in nominating Hillary Clinton. Even in the heart of Bush country where I reside, people are ready for a change. But Hillary’s name is an absolute lightning-rod for most moderate-leaning people. I know this is unfair, but I feel it is more important for the party to choose someone who can win in the general election. My heart is with Obama, for while he does not have long Washington experience, I believe the country is hungry for intelligence & real leadership. There may still be some surprises in the early primaries–I hope so, for the sake of our country. I don’t think I can live in a Guiliani/Thompson/whoever-led America for another eight years!
— Posted by Linda Robins
And what about the mesh (lack thereof) between a presidential candidate and his/her veep? Does it tend to make any difference? Does the VP simply subdue his/her own policy priorities to the Pres?
And to that point, would a Hillary-Edwards ticket even make sense, given Edwards “us vs them” populism vs Hillary’s wealth of experience working within the system? Is such a ‘marriage’ compatible?
— Posted by Marc
I liked Obama initially but he has demonstrated that he lacks enough experience. Given the total mess the Bush administration has made with its foreign policy we need someone with a lot more experience to get us back on track.I agree that Tom Visack is a good possibility, but I really like Richardson. The breadth of his experience would be an asset.
— Posted by Suzanne
Having a female and a black man running together will probably eliminate %25 of the electorate. All these “the country is ready for a female/black political leadership” has been overstated. Let’s not forget that people still love their confederate flags and maternity leave is looked down upon in most parts of the country. Women’s liberation and civil rights didn’t happen 4 generations ago. Although on paper people might say it wouldn’t make a difference, most people’s prejudice, whether conscious or not, would make them think twice about voting for a clinton/obama ticket. Strategically speaking, I can’t see a Clinton/Obama ticket working out.
— Posted by JDS
Serious issue, thought provoking and perhaps even prodding.
This Adirondack Native will vote for Senator Clinton no matter whom her running mate will be. I think Senator Clinton will pull off a smart selection, none of whom appear in your article, but thank you anyway for your opinion.
— Posted by David MacDowell
I agree that Richardson needs to improve his speaking style and polish. Otherwise he seems highly intelligent and experienced, like Clinton, which makes for a refreshing change from our current predicament. I think you should say more about how you think, “fence-sitters will climb down and join her ranks”. There are still many who think she’s unelectable because she’s a woman (see above), or because she’s always had some perceived negatives. How do you see that changing? As a subject, this is far more interesting and timely than your speculation about possible running mates.
— Posted by James
I used to like Stanley Fish’s articles/essays when he wrote about things he has unique insight and expertise in, such as how to reconcile an empirical belief in relativism with normative political advocacy for particular ideas that arguably have universal appeal–for example women’s rights. But the “analysis” in the above blog post is sort of drekky and amateurish, in my humble opinion.
— Posted by MaximumPig
Richardson is a clod.
“Unpolished speaker” is a wishful description. Richardson has had a long career to get polished, and it hasn’t happened yet.
I’m sorry to say that, because I think the Dems could use a good Western governor on the ticket. The heart of the country has moved West, and it’s time politicos got the clue.
— Posted by CJ Gronlund
I think the presidential election will be much closer than most people imagine, although Clinton is probably the favorite now. She is running a careful campaign like Nixon, in similar circumstances, did in 1968. But the situation was much worse then, and Nixon nearly lost.
— Posted by Michael Livingston
I don’t agree with the opening premise that Senator Clinton has a lock on the nomination. One could just as easily observe that she has gone as far as she can go — there are those that support her and many others who do not, in other words, most people have made up their minds about her. One could also predict that the country is not ready for a woman or a black as president and so Edwards will win out. Why assume that this race is already finished? Doesn’t make much sense to me.
— Posted by Patricia Clark
Please try to refrain from writing columns which conflate your opinions with facts–as I believe Biden likes to say, you’re welcome to your own opinions, but not your own facts… When you write a column that takes as its premise something which is highly controversial and still far from decided and treat it as a sure thing, you do a disservice to your readers and the level of discourse. As numerous posts here have thoughtfully discussed, there are many reasons why the race is not over, and what we need from journalists at this point is certainly not columns that try to tell people it is over, so don’t even bother…I’m honestly surprised to see this type of things in the Times–I’d expect to find it on CNN…please in the future describe your thought process more carefully and allow readers to consider how and based on what evidence or lack of it you’re arriving at your conclusions, rather than just stating your thoughts and guesses as facts…lets keep the Times as the place for a thoughtful, intelligent readership to find the needle in the haystack of mass media we need, and not as one more horserace picker trying to tell people their vote really doesn’t matter because its all preordained by the powers that be…to be clear, if you would have written more about how the powers that be make it likely that Clinton will be the nominee that would have been alot better than “Edwards isn’t going to catch fire and Obama’s already caught all the fire he’s able to ignite” with no attempt to give any explanation for why you think this might be so….because of course there are many reasons it might not be so, such as that now alot of the national polls are primarily about name recognition, and as the primaries approach, people around the country will become at least somewhat more familiar with the other candidates besides Hillary, who obviously had far higher initial name recognition than the others….so please try to give explanations and reasoning and refrain from I think therefore its so type journalism–Times readers are too smart for it…
— Posted by Benjamin Smith
Governor Ted Strickland from Ohio. He may help her take Ohio and he’s so safe he bores birds right out of the sky.
— Posted by David Scott
I can get excited about a Clinton/ Bayh or Clinton/ Warner ticket. I like Richardson, but he’s proudly unpolished. The Clinton folks might be able to soften the rough edges, but I have my doubts.
So much for democracy and public debate! If our leading public intellectuals can so easily be manipulated by the infotainment industry’s conventional wisdom on how this polity ought to manage itself, then what possible hope is there for the rest of us less-exposed minds?
Mr. Fish’s anti-democratic observations convey a striking sense of indifference to (if not outright contempt for) inclusive public deliberation and discourse.
‘Who cares about the millions of citizens yearning for enlightenment and critical thought; let’s just skip ahead to what I know is good for them.’
— Posted by HB
Where’s the groundswell for Richarson? Non-existent. There’s a reason the guy has not caught on and it’s a lot more than just unpolished. Why would Hillary take on what nobody’s buying? If Obama adds pizzaz, Dems who are lukewarm and brings some independents and Republicans, then he deserves the nod. That’s bringing something to the party. Other than Warner, these others are just academic, Stanley. In real life they are nonstarters.
— Posted by Rudy Garcia, NM
If she gets the nomination I thinkJoe Biden is best for Vice Presidentif he would even consider the position.Or next I would think Mr. Edwards would be a good choice.
— Posted by Linda Pillars
Anyone who immediately writes off Obama as a vice-presidential pick should be written off as a picker. Who else other than Obama could galvanize the Democtatic under-supporters in voting booth attendence such as young, poor, and black people into becoming politically interested enough to go to the polls?
— Posted by Bob Ciaffone
Since we know the GOP will attempt to derail the Democratic nominee — most likely Hillary — on the grounds of national security or being a pinko commie when it comes to social policy, I’d go with Gen. Wesley Clark or Sen. Jim Webb. Both are highly intelligent, have common sense, give a damn about people, are extremely good communicators, won’t stand for smear tactics and are Southerners.
— Posted by Catherine
Stan, has overlooked an exemplary Governor from a state that has enjoyed an unusual leadership for the last 35 years; Oregon! Former Governor John Kitzhaber M.D. has proved himself a leader in health care delivery, welfare reform, environmental protection and managing for efficiency.
He is looked at positively by both sexes and political parties. He is Hillary’s intellectual equal and knows how to work in a collaborative manner, actually getting work done.
Important for the working man, he is a guy that other guys like and respect, while still being a solid professional. Women like him as too, as since his first election in 1972, he has been a respectful colleague to his female peers.
As a nation we would be extraordinarily lucky to have his intellect and integrity added to Hillary’s political juggernaut. Hopefully the Campaign will be dialing 1 (503) 378-____!
— Posted by Tom Fender
With all this talk about who is, eho isn’t etc. we skip the biggest problem in Presidtntial eleections: the electoral college! Who can forget the illiterate Florida elector “I won’t vote for no damned Democrat”? Without the electoral college we would not have been subjected to eight disastrous years of Bush-Cheney
— Posted by HansB
Time always tell, especially where politiking is the issue. I am no fan of Hillary Clinton, nonetheless I think the idea of closing the deal on the nominations even where we are six months away is too presumptive. Is a red herring at play here or is Mr. Fish just being an agent provocateur?
— Posted by Toki
Senator Clinton - if she becomes the Democratic nominee - should ask Richard Levin (Yale’s President) to be her Vice Presidential running mate. He is a winner… in every arena that he has entered: economics, fund-raising, science, education, gender relationships, and American / Chinese affairs.
His television presence is the best-on-earth. He is “believable.”
Thinking beyond the “Clinton Years” Richard Levin would make a very great American President.
Richard Levin could do for America (… and the world) what he has done for Yale. He is a very smart, very balanced, winner…
Where else could Richard Levin go after he leaves Yale?
— Posted by E.Z. B...
Sorry……….but you are showing your “insider status” and “inside the box” thinking. I am not sure Barack Obama would agree to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, but, if he did, I think they would win in a landslide! STOP thinking demographics for a moment, and start thinking about politics, which is, after all, “the art of the possible!”
Many of us who are not very interested in Hillary would be alot more interested if Obama would agree to run with her. That would make him only 53 in 2016!
— Posted by Kate Madison
Mr. Fish has posed the solution that common sense has always dictated in the past, but alas we are looking forward to an election that has no similarity to the past. We have seen inept dissemblers in the Presidency before but never one as accomplished and destructive as this man. Competence and restoration of our country’s lost standing as an honorable nation should be the criteria for choosing both President and Vice President. Sen. Clinton has shown in the debates that she is head and shoulders above the other candidates and General Clark has the moral stature to restore our confidence in a Vice Presidency all but destroyed by the man there now. Clinton and Clark leadership and competence.
— Posted by Patrick L. Gogerty
Look at what the world has had to face because of a Texas rancher with zero concept of the repercussions of his “experienced” decisions. We are currently heading for global financial disaster based on Bush’s inability to see past his cows and he continues to shovel s*&% and dump it on the rest of us.
Clinton and Obama have both got the ability and the experience to think outside of the US box and be responsible citizens of the planet (it’s a big place, folks!). Hilary and Barack have both faced discrimination and life circumstances that have been invaluable lessons in understanding others as well as the fallout of the decisions of others. They have both taken the high road, faced their challenges, and gone on to help others. I truly believe that together they could help make this planet a better place for all.
Whatever happens, please DO NOT send another Bush or Bush-wannabee out into the world. The rest of the planet can’t take it anymore! Think of the global effect of your decisions, please.
I’m a registered Republican who’s sick of the GOP and is willing and eager to vote for a Democrat. But not this one.
If you want the votes of disaffected Republicans and independents you’ve got to do better than Hillary. She’s polarizing, poll-driven and inauthentic. Not exactly the antidote to eight years of Bush.
Nominate her and I assure you that you’ve just driven millions of votes to a third party candidacy.
Four years ago the press had virtually anointed Howard Dean as the Democratic nominee before a single vote was cast. Funny how the actual voters don’t always act the way the self-appointed guardians of wisdom say they will. “Obama has already caught all the fire he is able to ignite”? This is based on what, exactly?
One thing is certain: if Hillary does get the nomination, everyone with the slightest right-wing leaning will come out of the woodwork to vote against her, and the election will be much closer than it needs to be. Nothing will reanimate the moribund Republican party like a Clinton to run against. Even if disaster is averted and she manages to win the general election, how effective a president will she be able to be against adversaries who will want to oppose her on everything because of who she is?
The nation is ready to change the channel from the Bush-Clinton-Bush soap opera of the last 20 years, and if the Democratic party can’t see that then maybe they don’t deserve to get their candidate elected.
— Posted by Tim C in NJ
I have never heard of Mr. Fish before. But I concluded a long time ago that Hillary’s running mate should be Bill Richardson. I have thought this guy is great for years, since I heard him speak at the Democratic convention. His credentials are outstanding. Clinton/Richardson is my dream ticket!
— Posted by Mary W.
Mr. Fish infers that Sen. Barach Obama could be that “black” candidate needed by the Democraticparty. Many commentators think that Sen. Obama would draw the “black” Afro-American vote. However, it should be pointed out that Sen. Obama is not a “black”. He is “coloured”, neither black nor white. That makes a difference not only in his complexion but that many Afro-Americans do not relate to him as being of the same Afro-American experience…as being one of them.
— Posted by Lou S.
Hmmmm, let’s see. Maybe Professor Fish should now also start predicting the monsoons in South Asia. This is August 2007; the elections are in November 2008. Those who, like Professor Fish, gaze so deeply into the crystal ball run the risk of needing sun glasses after a while. Blinded by Hillary, is it? Let’s see: What about those sleazeball Indian entrepreneurs around her who “raise” money? What about those many trips taken to India by her spouse where, shall we say, Bollywood beauties, ahem, fall at his feet somewhat weak-kneed? Plenty of stuff can happen, to paraphrase the unlamented Don Rumsfeld. I, for one, think very highly of Senator Clinton. But don’t be too surprised if she’s embarrassed, if not totally derailed, by some of the good folks around her.
— Posted by Pranay Gupte
Comment 120’s thought is the only conceivable reason I can think of to have allowed a blog post that bad to be associated with the Times…“When I read Prof. Fish, I get this inkling that he has a hidden agenda. Nothing surreptiously bad, of course, just that he wants to trigger a reaction among readers, maybe to galvanize them to thought or action. I don’t believe in his naiveté.”I have to say, reading the comments and seeing the varying levels of insight among the readers is somewhat interesting. Certainly way more interesting than the original blog post was–the blog post on its own basically has no merit and is beneath the standard we’re accustomed to w/the Times. So I’m wondering if this is the kind of gamesmanship you’re allowing to be associated with the paper? I wouldn’t say its entirely uninteresting to see people’s reactions, but I’d be quite surprised if it was the type of thing you’re intending to allow–it certainly seems like an un-Times like type of road to go down, posting columns you know have no merit just to see how many people pick up on that…and honestly I’d prefer if Mr. Fish kept it a one-time excercise if it had anything to do with that–it’ll get real boring, real quick…reading and discussing unfounded columns is of course not generally why people read the Times…. Anyway, I guess you’ve gotten to see the astuteness level of your political readership in a different way today…;)
— Posted by Ben Smith
Dear NYTimes, please do not allow your paper to become a “Viewspaper” instead of a newspaper. I am fed up with the media crushing all possibility of citizen interest and involvement in the political process by allowing their columnists to talk down to the readers, telling them what to think and what’s already been decided? By who? A law professor? I don’t care where Mr. Fish teaches law. I am not impressed. Lawers are a dime a dozen blabbing their mouths off in papers and tv. Mr. Fish does the NYTimes’ readers a disservice by discouraging readers from bothering to read, think for themselves and vote. He isn’t educating readers with knowledge they otherwise wouldn’t have access too, say as N. Kristoff did with his Darfur columns. This is the first time I tried reading a Fish column and I stopped reading after the first paragraph, when Mr. Fish, apparently concluding he’d been annointed by the NYTimes to tell all the “little” people what’s been decided, dismissed John Edwards (my candidate), Barak Obama, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich and other intelligent Democratic contenders. I won’t be reading Mr. Fish again. By the way, if Mr. Fish is a law professor, shouldn’t the NYTimes direct him to “blab”, oh, excuse me, “blog” about his field of expertise?
— Posted by A. Pohlig
If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination I will vote for her, work for her, and make a contribution to her campaign. The thing is, I don’t think she can win because there is a sizable segment of voters who HATE her and I don’t know how to get past that.I think John Edwards is a much better bet because, while some may disagree with his policies, they don’t have the viseral reaction Mrs. Clinton creates. I enjoyed the analysis Prof. Fish provided and these comments were all well thought out. I thank all who posted. As to a ticket — how about Edwards/Rendell?
— Posted by Alan Foster
Yes, I agree with Cathy (post #79) that the VP on the ticket should be 4 Star General Wesley Clark, because the major issue in 2008 will national security. And everyone knows the repubs will try and paint the dems as weak on this issue.Clark has run a campaign before, and in the primaries won Oklahoma, a super conservative and military conscious state.Clark would innoculate her from being weak on defense, security and protecting the home front.He’s a winner in all ways a candidate should be, only lacks the TV star power that Hillary brings at the top of the ticket. Also they’re good friends.Garth Bishop, Los Angeles
— Posted by Garth Bishop
Sorry to disagree Stanley but early starters never win. Their cards are played before the table gets hot. In six months it will be Al Gore and Barak Obama.
— Posted by Ken
In case this is still a democracy, i just joined and contributed to John Edwards’ campaign.
— Posted by Pat
Professor Fish is full of, er, ah, baloney!Hillary Clinton is NOT going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. And even (God forbid!) that she were, she would absolutely LOSE the election!So: let’s start thinking of an electable candidate.Barrack Obama, for instance. An estimable man with an international background — precisely what we NEED right now, after seven years of hill-billy George W. Bush! (Why does he speak with that silly accent, when his own brother in Florida is able to speak standard English?)General Wesley Clark would make an excellent running mate.Whatsat, you say? Obama doesn’t have enough experience? Remember Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960? (Maybe you weren’t around then, but I was!)
— Posted by Arthur LaMirande
I don’t think Bill Richardson is a satisfactory running mate for Hillary Clinton. He does not demonstrate the competence, nor the ability to spontaneously respond to informational questions. He has also admitted to some dishonesty and deceptive behaviors in his political career and I frankly think his integrity appears to have been compromised at times.I would hate to see Senator Clinton associated with anyone who might tarnish her own image and thus her candidacy. Paula G
— Posted by Paula Beckenstein
Relative to WayneInSF post.
If you are such a Tom Friedman fan, the guy, who along with Miller, Gordon, Safire, and the NY Times hawked about how great the Iraq War was going to be, you must be a neocon of the Fox News ilk. More power to you!
I was just wondering though why Tom Friedman declined an interview with Bill Moyers about Friedman’s daily, incessant pushing for an invasion of Iraq in the run-up to the war.
“We’ll be treated as liberators, they’ll be dancing in the streets!”
I posted a comment long, long ago and just checked to see that it was not published. I stated that Mark Warner was the right man for the no. 2 slot with Hillary Clinton as he certainly is qualified and experienced enough to be president in his own right. However, I also added that Barack Obama was not only not qualified to be president or vice president but that there are many who will not vote for a black person when they get into that booth, no matter what they say in public. Was my comment not published because it was anti-Obama or because it reflected the hidden anti-black bias in America? It’s a mystery, one way or the other, why you would not publish my comment - un-PC as it was.
Mr. Fish: Why don’t you take up the question of why whoever becomes president should appoint a bipartisan committee of experts from various sectors to work on social security and health care, thereby removing it from partisan debate, e.g. the bipartisan committee on Iraq (whose advice Bush did not follow). That’s the only way we’ll ever achieve comprehensive reform. Anything the Democrats propose (and Hillary if she becomes president) will be opposed by the Republicans. EVERYONE agrees that something has to be done; don’t leave it to the politicians. Appoint experts from the health care industry, doctors, sociologists, financial experts, etc. etc. to both committees and give them a year to come up with various options. Please, somebody push this. No one has proposed this as yet.
— Posted by Atsuko
How about Bob Graham of Florida? Governor and Senator and past presidential and vice-presidential contender. At 71, he is the same age as John McCain, and is non-threatening to Clinton (or any other nominee that wanted to use him); but he, unlike she, can say he voted against the Iraq war, because he actually read the 200p briefing memo and found nothing there to justify a war. (John Kerry probably found this threatening, and passed him over for V-P, and lost Florida as a result). Who says there is nothing to be done about Florida?
— Posted by joaquim
The objections Mr. Fish has to Gov. Richardson are the very reasons that he might well be the best presidential candidate the Democrats could pick. Richardson is not slick, sleek, focus grouped, or scripted. He is chubby, unfashionable and not an especially good orator. Richardson is down to earth, humble and honest. Richardson has demonstrated extraordinary finesse in conducting foreign relations. He has governed the State of New Mexico responsibly and with decency and integrity.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is a walking, talking monument to preternatural mendacity. When looking behind the smoke and mirrors one will discover nothing but an abyss of cynicicism. Bhe is willing to stand for anything at any time in her well planned quest for the gold ring.
Although I thirst for a candiate with the pure vision of Dr. Ron Paul, I am a realist and know the Republic could do a lot worse than to elect Bill Richardson as our next president.
— Posted by Clement R Knorr
The following comment bothers me:
“The pundits keep wondering whether the country is ready for a woman president or a black president; it sure isn’t ready for a woman and a black on the same ticket.”
It bothers me because this idea–that America “isn’t ready” for a black President, or for a woman-black ticket–is so often passed off as a bit of conventional wisdom, without being supported by any actual empirical evidence (e.g. in the way of surveys or polls).
If you believe without sound evidence that America isn’t ready for a black President, then there really won’t be a black President by virtue of self-fulfilling prophecy: the candidate (Obama in this case) will be seen as “unelectable”, and so he’ll be voted out during the primary. Even though there may be an insignificant number of actual racists, the widespread assumption of the existence of large numbers of racists will lead to the same result: Obama not being elected because he is black.
So, to all people who say that America “isn’t ready” for a black President, or isn’t ready for a ticket with a woman and a black: where’s your (non-anecdotal) evidence?
— Posted by David Morris
Fish brings out the Hillary haters.What kind of thinking prompts a person who claims to be a Democrat to vow to vote against Clinton if she is the party’s chosen candidate?And after witnessing the damage Bush and the enabling Republican Congress have done, why would anyone vote Republican just to vote against Clinton?
I am sure it’s by now a fantasy to think the country could assume its real job which is to interview candidates on how they plan to do our bidding. That’s the job description, as written in the Constitution.
Instead, we, and they, are under the misapprehension the shoe is on the other foot. We go round asking them what they want to do with the country (us), on subjects like abortion, church-and-state, Medicare, health care, immigration, gay marriage, education, foreign relations (remember when it was called that, and not “policy”?), lobbyist influence, and more. And we have little to no assurance they will do what they say they will. They take polls, people answer questions which are designed to narrow our thinking and the candidates declare they want that.
Rather, anyone who would like to serve the country (us) ought to take a test o Constitutional law so they know what the job description is (I wonder how many really do know; do we know?). If they pass, they have the opportunity to demonstrate for all of us how they would go about doing our bidding for the next four years. Properly, this must apply to every Congressional position as well.
But no, we do not conduct ourselves this way. We have the equivalent of betting on horse races, we have conversations about “electability,” race, sex, physical attributes, personal spending (how much do you reckon Ms. Rodham spends on her hair? and why does it matter?). We have “debates” in which it is thought proper to inquire about candidates’ “spiritual” lives, their children’s schooling (wherein appearing like the common people became a sort of contest in a perfect demonstration of reverse snobbery).
We ask, and they entertain, questions about how they tell their children about sex, which was (from Planned Parenthood, yet) actually a question about reproduction and the language we use to describe it (which says a lot about our collective ignorance of the difference), and the candidates, to a person, became at least slightly embarrassed and most misunderstood the whole subject so much they gave answers regarding sexual predation. And none of it is relevant.
We all use words like “serve” in describing what a publicly elected person does; and “leaders,” when in fact they are all sheep, but with no shepherd. Rightly, the electorate is the shepherd. But once they go out of the pasture, they are easy prey for wolves to the degree that they invite wolves into their fold for the chance to be play dress-up and be sheep in wolves’ clothing.
They do not lead and they do not serve. And we are all guilty of behaving in patently unconstitutional ways that encourage and perpetuate the status quo.
I have no idea what to do about it in the short term. For the long term, should we be so lucky, we ought to make it a high school graduation requirement that all students study, understand and be able to discuss the Constitution in terms of what it says, what it behooves us all to do, and why it is important.
— Posted by Betsy
First off, my ideal ticket is now and always has been Hillary Clinton and General Wesley Clark. Not so Fast points out the biggest problem with our system, the States. we’re not electing a president of Iowa or New Hampshire but the president of the UNITED STATES, i.e the the president of all of us. the candidates for president and vice-president shouldn’t be decided my the political parties or the voters in two small states, but everyone should have in a voice in their selection. we need to get rid of the electoral college and have a national primary and general election where whoever has the most votes (nationally) wins. This type of primary would tell who is winner right away and save everyone enormous amounts of time and money.
— Posted by GRAYWOLF241
Why not Strickland? I think the country is ready for that ticket!
— Posted by Jill O.S.
It is Mr. Fish’s own view that political policy should not follow science, and many people think otherwise, and that political leaders should show leadership in science policy. This has not been the case in several years, sadly (and damagingly, but not irreversibly so). This appears to be another distorted blog entry biased towards the view that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, despite the number of candidates with the potential to win based on issues yet to be discussed deeply. I am optimistic about the decisions of the electorate!
— Posted by M.K.
Let say for the sake of argument that Professor Fish is correct that Ms. Clinton is the clear frontrunner. Would that necessarily mean she would have to appeal to American racism by not selecting Mr. Obama? Is Professor Fish making the argument, which many black nationalisits have, that America is preordained to be a racists country? If this is what Professor Fish is saying we are very deep trouble and Americans of African descent, like myself, should pack our bags after 400 years and take a hike.
— Posted by Randal Jelks
Fish’s notion that Clinton has the nomination sewed up before a single person votes is naive historically. Time and again early front-runners anointed by polls and pundits have been rejected by the actual voters. Democratic voters are smart enough to realize that Hillary Clinton in not electable as president. The Republicans are quiet now in the hopes that they can wait for the right post-nomination moment to remind my socially conservative Midwest neighbors of the consequences of having Bill Clinton living in the White House again. The entire impeachment process will start all over again. Democrats have the intelligence to foresee the Republican trap being set, vote for someone else, and Hillary will go back to the Senate where she has done a good job. The stakes are too high for our country and our world for Democrats to let Hillary succeed in gaining the nomination only to ensure the election of yet another Republican.
— Posted by David L. Nelson
Gosh, I’m sorry, but it seems as if the Professor’s less relevant with each passing column.A political blogger, he isn’t (I’d agree with Wes of comment #2, but I wouldn’t be so mean about it.) And as a general pundit voicing a reasonable view of a segment of the mainstream, he also falls short.I guess there are some people who will agree with Professor Fish’s mental machinations on this subject. But all in all it does seem like a waste of good electrons for The Times to be devoting theis space and attention to it. Especially so early in the process.I still want to believe that Edwards, Richardson, Biden, and even Gore can affect the discourse and the selection of the candidates. Let’s not be so hasty and declare the winner before the race is run.
— Posted by Chad Dominicis
Clinton and Obama are both big city candidates and the choices you list for Clinton are pretty much the rational ones for Obama as well.
I figured Richardson was perfect until his recent gaffe, now I’m not so sure. But he would be our first Hispanic vice president which still be a significant advancement for equality. As a westerner he presents a significant blowing to the liberal elite stereotype (which is going to be a problem for Clinton and Obama neither of whom seem like ‘jes plain folk’).
— Posted by Kathleen G.
It’s got to be Gen. Wesley Clark. Not the most polished candidate and some overlap with Hillary’s bio (born in IL, raised in AR), but he deflects the soft on defense/terrorism attacks which are sure to come otherwise. In the end, the VP candidate rarely influences the outcome. In my lifetime, the only one who did was in the 1960 election, where LBJ delivered enough southern states to JFK. See such forgettable VP’s and VP hopefuls such as Henry Cabot Lodge, Spiro Agnew, Ed Muskie, Dan Quayle, William Miller, Lloyd Bentsen, Sargent Shriver, and Tom Eagleton, none of whom had enough electoral appeal to later mount a serious attampt for the top spot.
— Posted by Richqrd Brochstein
Once again, Prof. Fish shows that he’s book-smart and real-world stupid. (Dear Stanley - maybe opining far from your oeuvre is, in journalism as in academe, a Bad Idea…?)
(I’ve been involved in nat’l politics for 33 years; one of my parents (a Democrat) was a press-secretary for 2 US Congressmen and then an elected official with a national office; I served on the floor of the U.S. Senate (Republican-side.)
Fish - you’re way, way off base. Many (far more experienced than you) political pundits believe Clinton/Obama is a HUGELY electable ticket.
Of COURSE Richardson is utterly unelectable - no points for figuring that out. (5 minutes of his appearance on The Daily Show would convince a 12-year-old.)
So Clinton’s spent time/effort polishing her New York credentials — and that makes her a North-Easterner? Um - BZZZZT. She’s ‘from Arkansas’, as far as the hoi-polloi (and the South) are concerned.
You severely underestimate the impact that a ticket with a woman (and/or a black man) would have, come election day — particularly with an electorate motivated by the meme/theme of “change”.
Stick to literary criticism - I’m sure there are plenty of undergrads who thirst to hear about deconstruction, semiotics, post-modernism, and Derrida.
— Posted by AC
Why another politican at all? Why not a Bill Gates, a Warren Buffett, someone who hasn’t lived on the public teat (or another lawyer) his entire adult life?
— Posted by Richard Turyn
As someone else, I believe, has noted, a great choice for Hillary would be Jim Webb. He’s popular with the liberal blogosphere in a way Hillary might never be, has defense credibility she’ll be hard pressed to find on her own, and as a former Reagan cabinet member, he potentially appeals to swing voters.
It’s just about impossible for me to see Obama agreeing to be Hillary’s running mate, btw. He’s got another presidential run in him, without a doubt, and America rarely elects former VP’s to the office of President, as he surely knows. Plus, he and Hillary just don’t seem to like each other very much, which has to matter, on both sides.
— Posted by Gaije Kushner
Professor Fish is a bit premature…I might remind him that in 2003, polls showed Howard Dean pulling away from the competition in both national polls and money…John Kerry was polling 4% nationally a month before the Iowa Caucuses…When Kerry won Iowa, he won it all.
John Edwards is leading in Iowa (30% to Hillary’s 22% among caucus goers–Obama comes in third). Edwards also is the most progressive and electable of all the Democrats–according to two recent Rasmussen Reports, Edwards is head and shoulders above Sens. Clinton & Obama in head-to-head match-ups against all the Republican candidates.
Edwards has a broad base of appeal–I know several people who have changed parties just so they can vote for him in the general election.
Edwards’ working class message resonates with people of all races, creeds, and gender. He is the only electable candidate taking courageous stands on the issues.
He has my vote.
— Posted by Kathy Callan
Stan, has overlooked an exemplary Governor from a state that has enjoyed unusual leadership for the last 35 years; Oregon! Former Governor John Kitzhaber M.D. has proved himself an extremely competent leader in health care delivery, welfare reform, environmental protection and managing an efficient state government. All skills and qualities we need at the national level.
He is looked at positively by both sexes and political parties. He is an intellectual equal to Hillary and someone who works in a collaborative manner. Unlike politics as usual, he actually gets real work done! A lost political virtue in Washington DC.
As a nation we would be extraordinarily lucky to have his intellect and integrity blended into Hillary’s effort. Another tired Senator or boring Governor is not what we need. Hopefully the Campaign will be dialing 1 (503) John Kitzhaber very soon!
Tom Fender, Olympia Washington
Contrary to Fish’s assertions, Edwards has indeed caught fire - with the grassroots.
Fish has apparently been hoodwinked by the various pundits and puppeteers who coronated Hillary with the nomination as early as last summer. Given how early it is even in this unusual election cycle, I find this outrageous. How dare MCM usurp the people’s right to choose our president?
I will support Edwards regardless whom he chooses as his running mate, but my preference is anyone but Hillary.
Short of a revolution, Edwards is the last hope for true representation of the people.
— Posted by Boadicah
During Recostruction, after the Civil War, the term “Yeller Dog” Democrat was coined. This referred to many in the South would said the Democrats would get their vote even if they ran a yellow dog for office. I think the democrats could run a yellow dog for President in 2008, and it would win (male or female). So, I just don’t think electibility is a serious concern in this election since all the democratic candidates are reasonable people compared to what Newt Gingrich called the “pigmies” running for the Republican nomination and and because of the mess Bush and the Republican Congress have made of things at home and abroad. The current economic mess is just another nail in the Repulican Party’s coffin in this election cycle.
— Posted by Richard R. Schneider
“Should be” is what always loses elections for the Democratic Party. We remember what happened in Tennessee last election when using racist messages shot down the better candidate because he was black. And it was easy; like shooting ducks in a barrel. I would vote for Obama in a heartbeat, or for Hillary, but I know what kind of job the same people who made “Swiftboating” a verb are going to do on either one of them, much less both together. The leftist base is ahead of the pitch, just like the rightist base is behind it. Either way it’s foul. Or maybe it’s just that I’m a white man with an unconscious bias disguised as practical considerations. I have to go muddle around in liberal ambiguity now. So long and thanks for all the Fish.
— Posted by Dan Lee
Reader-response: Please retitle your column “Conventional Wisdom” ASAP.
— Posted by Jonathan
The Clinton bashers have several fallacies in common. 1)The American people hate the Clintons. This is not true. All through Bill Clintons presidency, the majority of the people loved Bill Clinton. It was and is the Republicans that hated the Clintons. 2)The Clintons are losers and she is unelectable. Bill only lost one election in his life and Hillary is undeafeated.3)The American people are tired of twenty years of Bush - Clinton presidencies. There were Bush presidncies and there were Clinton presidencies, never to be linked. The people are sick of Bush presidencies.I believe that Governor Strickland would be the best candidate for V.P. In a recent poll he had a 67% approval rating in Ohio. I think a Clinton Strickland ticket could win by a land slide.
— Posted by gernger
Clinton will win the nomination because she is the best candidate. Yes her eight years as first lady count for a lot. She understands politics and has learned a lot from her health care debacle. Yes, at that time she worked off the premise that you were either with her or against her, and she lost. As many political analysts have pointed out, as a senator she has been much less polarizing and adapted to the political landscape. As for Edwards, despite his more detailed health care plan, the guy does not understand foreign policy. He says that he wants the troops out of Iraq and regrets his mistake in giving carte blanche to the Bush administration to go into Iraq but then would intervene in Iraq to prevent genocide. Interesting? How do you prevent genocide without troops and military hardware? And how do you avoid putting American soldiers and the Iraqis who are now working with the Americans at risk by pulling out quickly? Also, Obama, though brilliant, does not seem to understand politics. I fear he would be easy prey for the republicans and might have trouble doing the backroom horse trading that is needed to get his agenda approved. Also, I doubt Obama would agree to play second fiddle to Hillary, and I doubt she would want him on her ticket since he’s such a magnetic speaker. Hillary’s biggest impediment is, as some of you along with Karl Rove have perceived, she is not a populist. Edwards has learned a lot about campaigning and seemed to convince some of you he’s the man of the hour, however I’m not convinced he has enough national experience. During the 2004vicepresidential debates he appeared woefully inexperienced and as he became more frustrated it was painfully apparent that he was easily thrown off course. Wes Clark has the security credentials but he’s also no politician as became apparent in his bid for the 2004 presidency. He’s also not a populist. She needs a populist to fill out her ticket whomever.
— Posted by LM
Stanley, Stanley, Stanley,
It’s waaaaaay too early to be handicapping the Dem nominee and her/his running mate. It is not too early to discuss the issues that matter to the Democratic voter, however.
How about healthcare: how do the candidates’ positions on this issue compare? Or the environment: which candidate has the most comprehensive approach to saving the environment? And then there’s civil liberties? Do any of the Dem candidates pledge to respect our constitution, restore habeus corpus and our right to privacy in our emails and telephone conversations?
I’m disappointed to see you jump on the bandwagon of lazy journalists who simply aren’t willing to do the homework necessary to write a relevant column.
— Posted by Pat Tibbs
Fish’s blathering is yet another example of why insulated academics should be required to take a year off here and there and actually work for a living. I think John Edwards will, in the words of Muhammad Ali, “shake up the world.”–Paul Wertz, Eugene, Oregon
— Posted by Paul Wertz
Clinton/Obama is a pipe dream. It’s obvious that she despises him; she could never work with him. When she wins the nomination she will become convinced of her own inevitability and she will pick someone she’s comfortable with (Bayh or Richardson) thinking she can win the Electoral College even without much VP help.
Bush was so appallingly bad that many Democrats now remember 92-2000 as the second American Camelot (it wasn’t). Obama should have been the 2008 nominee but he didn’t play his cards right. If Hillary pulls ahead at the next quarterly fundraising report then he’s lost (though it will take some months for him to realize it).
The Republicans–who by all rights should be moping on election day, sitting at home and thinking about what they’ve done–will come out in droves to vote against Hillary. The Independents will stampede and help elect Thompson, falling for that Reaganesque crap once again. The Democrats will lose the Senate but keep the House, narrowly. Hello war(s), buh-bye universal healthcare. Basically, we’re all doomed.
— Posted by Ted Vance
Have the people who think Clinton needs to prove her military credentials noticed that she is the only candidate on the Senate Armed Services Committee?
— Posted by Kim H
With this column and its tone, Prof. Fish just blew his image for provocative wisdom. Why was he top pick for running this up the flagpole to see who salutes? Or was it his own idea?
Maybe he knows Hill’s the chosen puppet-in-chief, the anointed of the NWO elect, like Bill. The powers that be want conduct they can count on; which means she’s chosen to groom Bayh as well. Imagine–sixteen years more of Bush & Co. with a new cast, and perhaps a new director. The Executive Producer is the same.
The sheep know their master’s voice.
(ISAIAH 55, PSALM 2, JOHN 21:12)
— Posted by DrNova
If Al Gore does not enter the race, Edwards will be my choice for the next President. Why? Common sense provides an answer: In a country that has ~45 millions of its citizens without any health insurance; ~28 millions of poor; ~57 millions of “near poor” (defined as a “household income of $20,000-$40,000 a year for a family of four”), the presidential candidate who has proposed the best universal health care plan, and has initiated the most serious drive to eliminate poverty, MUST WIN, if we are truly living in a democracy in which all citizens are free to vote!AS
— Posted by ana sotrel
I think the real focus should be on the bogus “departure” of Rove from the White House. Just as in 2000 and 2004, working closely with Ralph Reed and the resources of the Republican national Committee, Rove will command a strategy that undermines Clinton and whoever her running mate. I would suggest she run with a pit bull to attack all the campaign manipulations Mr. Rove has mastered.
Rove, brilliantly, realized he needed to return to the political penumbra where he is so masterfully effective in disassembling the Democrats, rather than being in the increasingly lame-duck spot light of the White House. Get ready for “Swift Boat” redux.
— Posted by Peter Marcos
Wow! I am writing again after #172. Way earlier someone in the Know-Nothing Party intimated that no one is interested in this subject. Sure they’re not, lol
NM at #172 hit the nail on the head; Republicans, making like they are Democrats, are in the great majority of the Clinton haters. And let us not forget that the Republican base, like the Catholic Church and the Mormons still keep women solidly disenfranchised from the hierarchy.
Fortunately this time around, there are more voters who hate this abominable war enough to vote Democrat when push comes to shove.
— Posted by Richard (again)
Under no circumstances should Hillary Rodham be the nominee. It would guarantee a Republican victory.
— Posted by foomee
I agree with the many (summarized in Catherine’s post, #152) who’ve said Jim Webb or Wes Clark. It’s the war, stupid.While Clark seems to me to have more depth and substance, Webb would ‘kill’ on the campaign trail, he has total credibility on Iraq–especially since his son is fighting there– and, as a male-chauvinist of some reknown, he might ‘balance’ the 1st woman president ticket.
— Posted by Jamie Baldwin
i was an early obama supporter, having read both his books in september 2006. my views have shifted since. yes he was right on the war. yes he’s very articulate and that’s important in an age of dumbing down. yes he’s worked his way up and didn’t have a silver spoon. yes he’s charismatic. and no he’s not yet as shifty as h.clinton.and after jena it’s time for a black to be up there (tho he doesn’t carry slavery’s historical burden). but i’m disappointed. the same tired rhetoric of war as a means of effecting foreign policy. and in spite of the international exposure in early formative years i don’t see any enlargement of vision. it’s the same old the US of A first, last and forever jingoism.aren’t statesmen meant to lead? so he’s just another pol? then give me gov.richardson.
— Posted by angela koreth
When talking about Bill Richardson, it is worth noting that he can win a lot of votes in the South, and tip several states in Clinton’s favor.Also, Illinois, Wisconsin and even parts of the Midwest have huge Latin American constituents that, if motivated to vote, can tip the balance in Clinton’s favor.
Hispanic represent for the Democratic Party the same opportunity that middle class Southern males presented for the Republican Party in the 70s and 80s.
— Posted by JB
Mike Nifong- I hear he is available; he would keep the partying down to a minimum and could keep an eye on Bill to make sure there isn’t another Monica Moment.
— Posted by Charles Huebner
I’m almost wishing we could go back to the old days when the political parties selected their presidential nominee at a convention and then the nominee announced their running mate. It’s way too early to be deciding who will run for president, and surely too early for the VP decision. The democratic party has several execllent candiates. I’m delighted to see recognition of Governor Richardson’s qualifications; if only the media would do the same and provide equal coverage to ALL the candidates!
— Posted by Jeanne
I’m really sick of reading and hearing that we MUST support Obama just because he is black, especially black people must support him. This is ridiculous and as bad as those who say America is not “ready” for a black president or that there have been enough Clintons in the White House. People - stop it. Who is smart and experienced and has the best advisers around and to choose from? Hillary. Without a doubt. She will be the next president and she deserves it. If the Republicans (especially the ones who are posting comments here as if they are Democrats against Hillary but who know all the right Rovian comments to make) don’t get the fact that their party is now dead and nearly buried, they will. That party is done for, thanks to George. If Mark Warner is the perfect VP but not enough war credentials, then Wesley Clark is the perfect VP. He and Mark Warner would have won the Democratic nomination in Virginia if they had won, so they will take Virginia to the bank for Hillary. Barack Obama is all talk. Please, Democrats, don’t fall for his charismatic speeches and the fact that he is half-black. He is not qualified to be president or vice president. He is an illusion.
Senator Joseph Biden. Experience, articulate intelligent and (about as much as a politician can have): integrity.
— Posted by David Chowes
I am ready for anything that is not the “establishment” and “the good ole boy” system. Heck I would even vote for a Gorilla at this stage.
— Posted by RH
Why has no one mentioned the obvious? It’s Dick Cheney. The office is his. Commenters who suggest other people have the right to try to move into the Cheney branch of government are traitors. Why have those who distrust HillaryRC not seen that she will go with Cheney? Why didn’t Professor Fish see this?
I agree with the many writers who suggested Gen.Wesley Clark as a running mate for Senator Clinton. I was in favor of him when he ran in his first presidential primary. However I think Jim Webb is a poor choice because he is too hot tempered and has, I think, a low likeability quotient. Paula B
Please, for the love of god, never allow such a horrible blog entry to be posted on the Times site ever again. There’s absolutely no interest served to the reader by trying to argue for the inevitability of the Clinton campaign here…we don’t read the Times to find out who you sat around and decided will win–we read to be informed and to have the important issues discussed thoughtfully–it is absolutely not your place to tell people who you guess will win as though its a done deal when it isn’t–if you want to join the punditry, carefully explain your thought process and reasoning so we can analyze it and please never use nonsense I sat and around and decided it was so reasoning statements like “John Edwards isn’t going to catch fire, and Barack Obama has already caught all the fire he is able to ignite” again.
From a pragmatic point of view, I see nothing wrong with Fish’s analysis. Just because the same opinion can be seen elsewhere does not make him wrong. America has a lot of hard work to do and Hillary Clinton is tough, smart, hardworking, competent, and compassionate enough to do the job. Just because we are revolted by the raw greed and power-grabbing of this Republican administration, does not mean that we can afford to be sentimental. And anyone who considers a Clinton/Obama ticket and thinks we are all ready for a black candidate does not have their ear tuned to the street and backwoods. Many of us, maybe most of us, are ready for a black candidate, just not a black president. I recommend those that believe otherwise get a cold hard dose of American racism by talking to blacks and whites. If people are not frank with you, they are probably evasive and you can tell a lot by that too. Liberals need to interact with people besides each other, this coming from a lifelong liberal. The massive disenfranchisement of black voters in recent elections, with the obvious complicity of many, many people, ought to be enough to make the case.Also, those who have not seen much of Hillary are grossly underestimating her charisma. I saw her speak at a small reception for an acquaintance who was running for Senate. My friends and I were blown away and we did not expect to be at all. Her charisma is of a different variety and has been overshadowed by Bill’s, but when serious national campaigning begins, those who are not in the key primary states will be very much surprised. Do some research on how she won over upstate New York in her first senatorial campaign (and a look at Rudy’s bumbling in the same territory and in Iowa). I am not banging the drum of inevitability, just pointing out the obvious.
— Posted by Cynthia Williams
Did Karl Rove put you up to writing this column, Mr. Fish? Instead of talking about the inevitability of any candidacy, why not expound upon the candidates’ qualifications and let the voters decide who will be the party’s nominee?
Perhaps you consulted with Dick Cavett and eliminated Vilsack from your list for his excess poundage. Perish the thought that the VP were chosen for the talents he or she would bring to the ticket.
I do agree that should Hillary be the nominee, she should not pick Obama as veep. I believe they are ideologically incompatible and would be dysfunctional as a team, much like Kennedy and Johnson. Obama has a rare talent of leadership and vision that makes him a poor choice for second fiddle.
— Posted by Rich Evans
Hillary Clinton is a DISASTER for the Democratic party. She helped author the greatest foreign policy disaster of this generation. Judgment anyone?
She blames the Bush WhiteHouse for extreme secrecy, but won’t release her documents from the Clinton library till AFTER the election. Hypocrisy anyone?
If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, start guessing who the Republican President will be.
The primaries may be creeping backward, but I think it may be premature to call the election in August.
— Posted by Johanna
Looks like the preponderance of sensible opinion is settling on Wesley Clark for Hillary’s V.P. Good choice. Hope the campaign is looking at this blog!p.s. would someone who ‘knows’ Hillary Clinton is un-electable please explain–rationally–why that is.p.p.s. Can we start selecting Hillary Clinton’s cabinet for her? I disagree with the blogger who recommended Joe Biden for Sec’y of State. That job should go to Bill!–Jamie Baldwin
The best VP for Hillary is Senator Evan Bayh. He’s been Governor, a two-time Senator, and there’s name recognition in Indiana. Senator Bayh followed Senator Clinton to Iraq almost immediately after he closed his presidential exploration committee.The next best alternative is possibly fomer Gov. Vilsack of Iowa. However, it is unpredictable that the former Gov. will be able to pull the necessary electoral vote for Hillary.It will be wrong for Senator Clinton to choose her VP from among the nine presidential candidates in the Democratic field. None of them can guarantee electoral votes outside their domains.
— Posted by Abraham
Two comments: Hillary Clinton, as senator from New York, site of the twin towers disaster, was in a far more complicated position than all elected officials other than her fellow New York representatives when she made a judgement regarding support the Iraq War. Given the tenor of the times and, other than a few mavericks, the unified support of the Congress, had she voted against giving the President authorization at that point, it is very obvious that any political future that she was contemplating would have been irreparably damaged. There is no way that she could hve rebuilt her credibility as a staunch defender of America, even as the country’s support for the war dissipated. Had she “apologized” for supporting the war as some of her critics have urged, given that she is a woman, this would not have played well nationwide.Secondly- How about a choice of Jim Webb of Virginia for VP? He is brilliant, macho, has conservative as well as some progressive bona fides. If he were chosen and accepted, conceivably such a ticket would make it more comfortable for some men to support her.
— Posted by jhr
Well, Stanley Fish missed the whole point anyway - if Missouri goes Republican, then it doesn’t matter who Hillary’s running mate is. Missouri has picked the President every time since 1900, except once in 1956. If Hillary wants to win, she needs someone who will win Missouri.
— Posted by Natasha
I would love to see a Edwards/Richardson or an Edwards/Obama ticket. What has destroyed this country and had created a deep mistrust of Washington is the increased partisanship of both Republicans and Democrats. Hillary Clinton, while not intentionally fueling the flames, tends to polarize. Edwards talks specifically about what he intends to do and what policy changes he wants to make. Richardson is practical, unquestionably experienced, and would be a the perfect person to reestablish our relationship with the international community. I think Obama has a lot of promise and in 4 or 8 years would make a terrific President. It is clear that he is passionate, intelligent and hardworking. The vice presidency would be a great fit for him.
— Posted by Pierce
This election will be about change just like in 1992 — Obama/Webb — Jim Webb is first term sen from Virginia — just like ‘92 he will help bring the south back to being blue — plus Ohio — trending blue now — will get on board Obama ticket with the tough-talking former navy sec at VP –
— Posted by Chicago
“Clinton/Gore worked beforeIs it time to try once more?”
–posted by Frank
— Posted by Frank Thomas
I’ll not bother agreeing or disagreeing with the many cogent opinions (and nonsense) posted above.
But I think Fish and others reveal a pervasive bigotry when failing to see Bill Richardson’s gaffe for what it was (and is). I’m a middle-aged straight guy, but any aspiring leader who believes homosexuality is a “choice” should be out of contention for any position of public responsibility. Imagine if Richardson or anyone else made a similarly ignorant comment about race or gender! S/he would be, rightfully, excoriated.
It is a sign of deep malaise when this sort of comment is excused as mere clumsiness.
— Posted by steve
So, maybe it is a little early to be prognosticating about running mates when there is still a possibility Mrs. Clinton won’t make the cut for Democratic presidential candidate. That being said, at least the analysis was thought-provoking. What’s more, it was a breath of fresh air in what has become a very old and stale primary season!
— Posted by ENV
Mike Easley? You’ve got to be kidding. He’s the most unremarkable governor our state has ever seen. Terry Sanford, Luther Hodges, Jim Hunt were (are) people with something to say. But most North Carolinians still don’t even know the current governor’s name.
— Posted by Ray Huger
The vehemence of those disagreeing with Stanley Fish is so extreme that it proves the power of Mr. Fish to reach an audience. Note, also, at this point, that there’s been over 200 responses to his blog. That’s why The NYTimes publishes him! That is, people read him! OK, Mr. Fish yesterday was just having a little fun. How can ANYbody knowlegeably predict the 2008 election processes? Disagree with him? fine. Have your own idea of candidates? Fine. But what gives with the vitriol from some writers? That doesn’t give any credence or respect to those writers or their opinions.
— Posted by John Mc Cue
8/21/2007 10:49:00 PM
After reading Stanley Fish's prediction of a Democratic Presidential win for Hillary Clinton, I now know why the NY Times has subscriber opinion columnists. An open and free access to columns like Stanley Fish's would undermine the elitist manipulation of public opinion that subscriptions promote. If Fish is correct that the Democrats are not ready for an African American Presidential Candidate in the qualified Obama, then Republicans will find his conservative clone, an attractive African American candidate (not Condi Rice) to run as their Vice Presidential candidate. And that will, I predict, doom any Clinton attempt to galvanize African Americans and other racial minority voters to her support. If he loses the nomination, Obama should remain in the Senate and let Clinton go down in flames, because any Republican ticket with or without a minority candidate as VP will polarize the country for another four years to make Obama's 2nd attempt at the White House seem the right one for a majority of Americans in 2012. He would be risking that possibility on a Hillary ticket, which I believe would be a political disaster for the Democrats.
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