It was assumed last night that Obama must have been fuming over Hillary Clinton’s non-concession speech. This was, the pundits noted, the one night when the national audience was watching, and she chose to withhold support.
I’m not so sure. Hillary’s speech makes it much easier for Obama to not choose her as running mate. If she had been gracious, helpful and effusive in praising the new party leader, Obama would be hardpressed to not choose her. (After all, if you count the votes in Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa, and if you exclude Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming, and if you count all the votes for her in Michigan and none for him, and if you count Democrats abroad – then she may have narrowly won more popular votes than he did! )
Seriously, Obama will be under great pressure – not just from other pols but from the electoral logic, to choose her, whether he wants to or not. But her refusal to let him be the star of the show on Tuesday, combined with the veiled threats from Clinton aides earlier in the week that Obama had better choose her or else, means that if Obama were to select her now, he would look weak. Whatever benefit she might bring cannot be worth creating the impression that he’s malleable. The more she pushes, the more grudging her support, the more freedom Obama has to leave her off the ticket.