Monday, September 21, 2009

Obama-Paterson: Really All About Hillary?

The Obama-Paterson contretemps will very likely turn out to be a blunder, but it was not necessarilly stupidity. This could be cold political deal making between Obama and likely not just Hillary, but the Clinton team of Hill and Bill. Both sides have an interest in Paterson declining to run and for Obama that has little or nothing to do with the Congressional races.

When the NYTimes reported that the discussions between Obama’s people and the Governor’s office ‘were intended to be confidential’, Ed Morrissey at HotAir erupted with:

The White House idea of “confidential” must be “leaking to everyone who has a
pen and a piece of paper…”
The leaking could be intentional and meant to frame the story by making it about concern for Congressional seats in the next election, and if so, so far that has worked. That’s the subterfuge! RNC Chair Michael Steele, in his snort worthy playing of the race card against Obama comes very close to the nub when he points out the NJ Governor Corzine, also up for reelection is just about as low in the polls as Paterson but is not being asked to step aside.

Here is, quite possibly, ‘The Deal’:

Hillary is getting out of the Obama administration. She has been treated badly as Secretary of State and is wise enough to recognize Obama’s foreign policy as a slow motion train wreck in process. She also realizes that she will be blamed by Obama’s allies and much of the media for anything that threatens the Obama image.

She is not going to retire from politics and therefore needs a career move and the best bet is Governor of NY. However, that may be a tough race even if nominated by her party if she faces Rudy Giuliani in the general election. She could need every bit of the NY Democrat coalition to win – including African-Americans. That coalition might be fractured if her second electoral contest in two years is once again Hillary against, well, the Black guy! She may beat Paterson for the nomination only to lose the election. Hence, get Obama to move Paterson aside without a primary fight.

For Obama, the resignation of his Secretary of State eight or nine months into his administration would not be advantageous and might cause some unwanted scrutiny and serious criticism of his, not her, foreign policy. There may be pieces written in even otherwise Obama-friendly journals that contain some combination of ‘foreign policy’, ‘smart diplomacy’, ‘na├»ve’ and ‘shambles’ in the same paragraph. But if Hillary is not seen as jumping into the life boat because of the increasingly steep slant of the Titanic’s deck but because, say, in these trying economic times she believes she has to help her beloved fellow New Yorkers, Obama can possibly escape or largely mitigate the embarrassment. Further, if Hillary left and the speculation was focused on her treatment in the Obama administration, whither those Hillary voters when Obama runs for reelection?

This may well be a behinds the scenes deal, and I believe Paterson might know that and resents it.

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