According to several news outlets, Barrack Obama has secured enough delegates to get the Democratic nomination for President. Hillary is still hemming and hawing over what she will do next. Politico.com is now reporting that she will drop out tomorrow (Friday, 6/5). My guess is that she and her camp are busy calling super delegates, checking with those declared for her, and the “uncommitted” ones, to see which way the wind is blowing, and if she has a chance to gain the nod in a convention battle.
If Hillary does drop out tomorrow, and cedes the nomination to Obama, then his real work will begin. Obama has so many issues to deal with, he may be in a bit of a self dug hole to start. In order to over come some of these problems, he’ll need to start his VP search immediately. For Obama, the VP slot will be far more important than it is for McCain. Obama will need someone who is strong on policy, mainly foreign policy and military matters, and is more centrist than he is, preferably from a big battleground state like Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Indiana, or New Jersey. Hillary as VP would be a poor choice for Obama and the Democrats. While some activists are salivating over the possibility, and Hillary has even been open to the idea of late, it would actually weaken the ticket, not strengthen it in a general election.
I haven’t seen a solid list of possibilities for the Democratic VP slot yet, so I’m not clear on who’s up for it. A few names have been kicked around, like Jim Webb of Virginia, but none of them would be a canidate that would bring something to the ticket to cross political lines. Obama’s selection could make or break his chances.
Now that the primary season is over, Obama will have to come up with something more than his “change” mantra. He’ll need some specifics, and probably to distance himself from the Senate leadership (which Rolling Stone magazine called a “failure”). He will need to allay the fears of many independent voters on many of his positions, from Iran to the economy. Even so, he faces an uphill battle. Unlike many out there, his race isn’t the issue its being made out to be. It’s his policies, and lack of any sort of plan, other than “change,” that are hurting him the most. His past associations, from ex-Weathermen to Rev. Wright, to his revolving door of foreign policy “advisors” (many of whom have resigned for dealing with terrorists), are also significant weaknesses. His lack of experience, and lack of knowledge on many key issues will also come into play, as his “bidy of work” is less than extensive.
Perhaps Obama’s biggest challenge will be to maintain the support he generated in the primaries. Given teh trend since “super Tuesday,” this may not happen. His “buzz level” has significantly decreased, as has his organizational energy. In addition, his main support has come from 18-24 year olds, which are a notoriously unreliable demographic in elections, not to mention a poor source of campaign funding.
Lastly, Obama will need to make peace with the Clintonistas. Not necessarily Hillary, but her big money backers and fund raisers. He may not be able to bring them all onboard however, as Harold Ickes implied in his statements during the Rules Committee meeting, and the expressed thoughts of others like Gerladine Ferraro.
It should be interesting to see how this all plays out. A lot could change tomorrow with how Hillary couches her “concession.” Then again, maybe nothing will change as well.