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October 30, 2008



Yes, Joan, you're seeing what you want to see. This isn't collaboration. It's capitulation. The hard political fact is that Obama doesn't need the Clintons any more, they need him. Thanks to the financial panic, he's back in the lead and he would have that lead without any last minute help from them. It's up to them to get on his bandwagon now.

Very few of Obama's followers are likely to credit the Clintons for much of anything, although they will probably be nicer once the election is over (and Obama has won). I'm sure Hillary will continue to do valuable work and Bill will do likewise, and President Obama may kick Hillary upstairs to the Supreme Court or something like that, but if things go as expected next week the Clintons are done.

(It's always possible that Obama will be another Carter-like disaster, but there's no reason to assume that the Clintons will necessarily profit.)

John Petty

I disagree. An Obama presidency is going to need all the help it can get. It will be under fire from day one. He's going to need the support of traditional Democrats, and the Clintons lead that faction.


Many of those people are already rallying round Obama, however, and once he’s in the White House I think any residual mistrust will go away – he’ll be their Democratic president, too, maybe one with a huge majority.

Obama has pretty much gone his own way – challenging Hillary in the first place, not going out of his way to conciliate Bill, not selecting Hillary as veep or helping her with her debt – and gotten away with it, if he wins. That’s huge, it seems to me.

Without the financial crisis and the boost that gave Obama, the foregoing might not be operative, but right now he’s in the driver’s seat in a way he has not been before.

I also think Obama will get more of a honeymoon period than Clinton did. The press is in his pocket (Clinton had his time in the sun, too, but it was never like this) and Republicans may wait to see exactly what Obama’s promises of bipartisanship mean. They won’t just fire away.

John Petty

The Clinton supporters will be on board. It's the activists who are likely to be disappointed first.

The GOP has no interest in bipartisanship, but, you're right. They'll hold their fire for a little bit.


I didn't mean to suggest that the GOP is genuinely interested in bipartisanship, sorry. I meant that they'll wait to see what they can get and take their measure of Obama.

John Petty

I think so too. You can bet that whenever it comes, it will be angry and bitter.

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