Robert Reich

The question that dominates the news tonight, as it will undoubtedly dominate the news tomorrow and the day after that, and perhaps longer, is whether Obama should make HRC his vice president. She has clearly signaled her desire to be so, and her surrogates have suggested that for Obama to do otherwise risks alienating her legions of supporters. Put to one side whether this is correct; we have no way of knowing. The more significant reality is this: at the very time when Obama should finally be free to make make his case to the American public for why he should be president, he is engaged in another diversionary and distracting fight with her for the public’s attention.

I have known and admired the Clintons for decades and I have no doubt that Hillary could do an excellent job as Vice President. But this current spectacle illustrates why he should not choose her. Hillary and Bill Clinton are masters at claiming the public limelight even at the expense of larger public purpose. Media attention puts her unflagging ambition center stage and his unbridled (although sometimes misdirected) charm on full display. Were Obama to make her his Vice President, she would turn the tables and make him her President, just as she has turned the tables this week and transformed his remarkable victory into her audacious dare.

Robert B. Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written eleven books (including his most recent, Supercapitalism). Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His weekly commentaries on public radio’s “Marketplace” are heard by nearly five million people. This entry originally appeared on his blog.

Copyright 2008 Robert B. Reich

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