Just suppose: The Democratic Party drops Joe Biden as its vice-presidential nominee and substitutes Hillary Clinton. Then the GOP switches Sarah Palin and John McCain.
Could the political parties do that? Absolutely. Each party’s rules provide that the national committee shall fill any vacancy that occurs due to death, resignation, or disability of its nominee for president or vice president.
Why would either party wish to change a nominee, especially this soon after its nominating convention? To avoid losing the election, that’s why.
Democrats first: Barack Obama, who won the Democratic nomination with more delegates than his nearest rival, Hillary Clinton, made what looks increasingly like a fatal judgment when he refused to take her as his running mate. Their mutual loathing is an open secret, exacerbated by her ex-president husband Bill.
Had Obama known McCain would name a woman as his running mate, he might have swallowed his pride and picked Hillary. But McCain had Obama — and the leftist masscomm — snookered into thinking he was vacillating among first Joe Lieberman, then Mitt Romney and finally Tim Pawlenty.
No one was more shocked than Obama when McCain chose the female governor of Alaska. But it was too late. Obama was stuck with Biden, who has done next to nothing to help the ticket.
It was a brilliant move by McCain. Sarah Barracuda has taken this nation by storm, reducing Obama to campaigning against her instead of McCain.
What if Obama were now to counter with a master stroke of his own: Bid Biden farewell, acknowledge his original bad judgment and offer the vice-presidential billing to Hillary? Another Obama flip-flop? So, what’s new? Would Joe go gracefully? He’d have to, for he’s already on record that she was probably a better pick than he.
Would Hillary take it?
She’s Hillary, isn’t she?
Granted, the next-to-last thing Obama wants is to try to govern with both her and Bubba as de facto co-presidents. However, the really last thing he wants is not to become president, regardless of who the vice president is.
Subbing Hillary for Biden might well reverse Obama’s sagging fortune and put him in the Oval Office. Is this why Obama and Bill had their hush-hush lunch?
Now, the Republicans: McCain is riding high today with Sarah on his ticket. She’s drawing crowds the likes of which he’s never seen. She’s the big excitement, not he. Does he resent that? Perhaps. Odds are he couldn’t be more pleased, his genius vindicated.
But if Obama pulls a Hillary-for-Biden switcheroo, that could spell big trouble, perhaps robbing McCain of the victory he appears at last to be headed toward. If that happens he will need yet another, even-mightier lightning bolt.
The only way he could successfully counter an Obama-Hillary ticket would be to reverse roles, with Sarah at the head of the ticket and himself second.
That would take some kind of courage, but he’s seen a lot worse in the Hanoi Hilton. And as it now stands, Sarah is leading the popularity polls — ahead of McCain, Obama and Biden. Why not double down on that? Country first.
Such a second stroke of brilliance would wipe out news-media catcalls about McCain’s age and previous health problems. Sarah would go head-to-head with Obama, with comparisons about experience redounding in his disfavor. And McCain could concentrate on making hamburger out of the Hillary-Bill combo.
What of all the Hillary-only Democrats, many of whom have begun to support McCain (largely because of Sarah)? Some might revert to a revised Democratic ticket. If what they truly want is a woman president, suddenly Sarah’s their gal.
Is all this so much whimsical fantasy? Stranger things have happened. In any event, it makes for intriguing mind games, especially after 5 p.m.
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com.
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