Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama Veep Chief Pick Means Hillary Stays in Senate

This is a weird move, unless it is what it obviously is: a signal.

The Obama campaign has named Patti Solis Doyle as chief of staff to Obama's VP running mate. That is, Ms. Solis Doyle is chief of staff to someone who hasn't been picked yet. As in, the veep doesn't get to pick. As if veep chiefs matter to anyone except the veep.

Why make this move? Because Solis Doyle was formerly Hillary's campaign manager, fired midway through the campaign for underperformance and thereafter both persona non grata in Hillaryland and highly hostile to Herself and All She Stands For (Solis Doyle is rumored to be a significant unnamed source in Vanity Fair's recent negative piece on St. William of Dogpatch).

The only reason to make this move is to say to the world that Hillary will never be on any ticket with Obama.

So this leaves us with two questions, to which we offer SWNIDish speculation and interpretation:

1. Whom will Obama pick for veep? We expect someone who can carry a swing state: Ed Rendel of PA, Ted Strickland (the horror!) of OH, Jim Webb of VA or Sam Nunn of GA. The pick will tell a lot about Obama. If he picks a nonentity like Strickland or Rendel, it means that he isn't keen to share the spotlight. If he picks Nunn, it means he's serious about substantive policy and not just forever running on a vacuous call for "change."

2. What will happen to Hillary? If Obama orchestrates her selection as Senate Majority Leader or even appoints her to his cabinet (Health and Human Services is the obvious pick, though one that will perpetually rankle Rs), it means that he's ready to exercise some intra-party statesmanship, again sharing the spotlight but also extending the olive branch in a way that acknowledges that he is secure as leader of his party for the next two terms. If Hillary spends the next seven months waiting for the phone to ring, it means that Obama wants to run his government like the Clintons: with malice toward all and charity toward none.

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