or so desires Robert Reich.
I have several quibbles with this, from an empirical perspective. First, the strong implication is that Obama-Clinton would gain more votes than Obama-Biden, or specifically, “Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.”
There is no empirical evidence that the VP nominee makes a substantive difference in the vote; indeed, the VP nominee only makes the most marginal of differences in their home state (at a whopping 0.3%, with this article an outlier at 2.5%). Nor did Sarah Palin have a measurable effect on the outcome, either pro or con, though that 0.5% – 2.5% boost in Alaska quite likely secured those three critical electoral college votes for the Republicans as they were clearly in doubt.
Second, as Reich believes that the possibility exists for another recession prior to November, “Clinton would help deflect attention from the bad economy and put it on foreign policy, where she and Obama have shined.” Again, empirically, foreign policy will not make much of a difference against the backdrop of a bad economy; ironically, those who give a damn about foreign policy would likely point out that removing her as Secretary of State is a negative, not a positive.
The deal would also make Clinton the obvious Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 – offering the Democrats a shot at twelve (or more) years in the White House, something the Republicans had with Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush but which the Democrats haven’t had since FDR. Twelve years gives the party in power a chance to reshape the Supreme Court as well as put an indelible stamp on America.
I agree with the Supreme Court statement; that’s where presidential legacy is at. However, this assumes an Obama-Clinton ticket wins in 2012, which is not obvious. Losing as VP nominee doesn’t burnish Clinton’s credentials for 2016. Second, Clinton will be 69 years old on election day 2016. It’s not clear that she would even want to run at 69.
While I admire Robert Reich and find myself in agreement with him far more often than not, if we’re looking for a silver bullet to salvage Obama’s chances in 2012, this isn’t it.