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DECKER: Hillary better for Obama than Biden

There are many reasons Democrats should tap a new vice president


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves as she arrives for a meeting of the Action Group for Syria at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday, June 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron)

The only people who are defending Vice President Joe Biden’s race-baiting comments about the Republican ticket putting blacks “back in chains” are political hired guns and the liberal media. The claim that Mr. Biden wasn’t stirring racial tensions would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous. Even President Obama was forced to publicly take his No. 2 to the woodshed, grumpily saying on national television that, “His phrasing is a distraction from what is at stake.” Clearly, if a guy can’t even control his own mouth, he isn’t someone who should be trusted to control the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

The man considered next in line to be the Democrats’ vice-presidential candidate if Mr. Biden is out of the way is actually a woman: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. This makes sense from a number of angles. For one thing, she is very disciplined and sticks to her message on the campaign trail. That’s no minor virtue for a White House spinning to control a veep who is a gaffe machine. America’s chief diplomat also could add some foreign-policy substance to a ticket led by a president with rapidly declining popularity on the world stage.

The most beneficial reasons for dumping Joe in favor of Hillary, however, are purely partisan political considerations. She simply would be a much better candidate to take on a Republican ticket that has become more formidable with the addition of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Mrs. Clinton was known to be very involved in the minute details of policy during her impressive eight years as a senator, a trait that would come in handy in a vice-presidential debate against the wonky and articulate Mr. Ryan. Elephants already are licking their chops at the mismatch in their favor of a Ryan-Biden debate. A showdown with an equally smart and politically savvy Mrs. Clinton wouldn’t be such a cakewalk.

Above all else, Mr. Obama needs to make some dramatic moves to reverse the momentum of the race. Mr. Romney’s selection of Mr. Ryan jazzed up the GOP base, and the pair has been attracting enthusiastic crowds of 10,000 to 15,000 on the stump. This is while Mr. Obama has been losing ground with key constituencies. Among all white voters, who make up 75 percent of the electorate, Mr. Obama is down 6 points to just 38 percent, according to Gallup. Mr. Obama is losing the important white women’s vote to Mr. Romney by a significant 8 points. Those aren’t promising numbers for an incumbent presiding over a miserable economy. Putting a white woman on the ticket could help stop the slide in support among that demographic group at least.

There are reports that Mrs. Clinton was approached about Mr. Biden’s job but turned it down. According to Paul Bedard’s Washington Secrets column, she’s taking a pass to start formulating her own 2016 race for the White House. Unless she thinks Democrats will lose in November, that would be an odd political calculation. The most reliable way to become a presidential nominee is to be vice president. Going back five decades, the Democrats’ last four vice presidents have all later been nominated for president. Maybe Hillary just needs to be wooed a little more.

Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011). 


About the Author

Brett M. Decker

Brett M. Decker, former Editorial Page Editor for The Washington Times, was an editorial page writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Senior Vice President of the Export-Import Bank, Senior Vice President of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, speechwriter to then-House Majority Whip (later Majority Leader) Tom DeLay and reporter and television producer for the legendary Robert ...

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