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Word came out today that Barack Obama is starting a not-so-secret search for his running mate. In spite of what many seem to think, it is not too early and not even slightly presumptuous. He's won. It's over. Hillary can spin all she wants and try to change the rules of the game, but there is no way, no how the Democratic party will allow that to happen. Florida and Michigan will get seated, but it will happen in a way that will not alter the outcome of the race.

Write it down, mark my words, take it to the bank: Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

Now, as to his vice president . . .

He's got a lot of options. Kathleen Sebelius, two-term Governor from Kansas would be my first choice in most cases. She's a self-made woman, she's won re-election in the great red state of Kansas and her approval ratings in that heavily republican state are through the roof. She's a good orator, tough, and has executive experience. She would bring most of the positives to the ticket that Hillary would without a lot of the baggage.

But it isn't going to happen.

Now let me be perfectly clear. Hillary has pissed me off like nobody else since Bush/Rove. She's engaged in disingenuous discourse on the rules, repeated known falsehoods over and over again until people started treating her words as if they were actually true. She's managed to play every card in the book while playing a gosh-golly I didn't say that game.

She's vicious, she's Rovian, she's lied and then said she lied but oh well!

But we need her. As much as that pains me to say, she'll be the perfect v.p. choice.

I've read in a couple of places today that it would be a direct repudiation of Obama's primary message of change to pick Hillary as a running mate. I've heard others say that they'd never vote for Obama if Hillary was on the ticket. I've heard that she's much too polarizing a figure to help Obama win. I've heard that Obama doesn't want to be pushed into picking her just because of all the posturing and waves she's stirring.

And, really, who can trust her? Not over fifty percent of the Democrats according to the latest polls.

All those reasons are valid. They're also the same reasons she must be picked.

While HIllary may be part of the political establishment, she'd also be the first female vice-president and she's got the right cross that no one, and I mean no one, would take her on without first ensuring they'd politically survive the tussle. Jeez, I mean really, there's a bunch of uncommitted super-delegates out there who are STILL sitting on the fence even after Obama has won the majority of pledged delegates. It's IMPOSSIBLE for Hillary to win more pledged delegates (delegates selected be actual votes of the American public) than Obama. She could be the muscle to Obama's reason. She could be the military to Obama's diplomacy. Obama could look you in the eye and say, "Fine, if you won't listen to me, I'll send my vice-president over and see if she could shed some light on my position . . ." Um, maybe it's just me, but that's friggin' scary.

Many moderates and independents won't vote for an Obama/Clinton ticket, where they most certainly would vote for an Obama/Nunn ticket, or a Obama/Sebelius ticket. However, there's a lot more people (probably about seventy percent of 17 million Clinton supporters) who WOULD vote for that ticket and not the others.

And even if Obama doesn't want to be pushed into making her his v.p. choice, and he doesn't really trust her, look at it this way: Picking a Clinton to be on your ticket shows some serious cajones. If anyone doubted that the man had BALLS, that might go quite a way toward dispelling that thought, particularly if he could bring the mighty Clintonian machine under control to work for him. Do I hate the Clinton demagoguery? You bet. Am I willing to use that political power to make certain the Republican party doesn't get to pick the next three supreme court judges, almost certainly overturning Roe v. Wade and destroying any chance we have for same-sex couples from ever achieving true equality in this country?

Fuckin' straight I am.

Some things are more important than dislike, or even outright revulsion. Just because Obama may not like Hillary--and he certainly has good reason--here's the straight dope: Hillary can seal the deal.

Change you can believe in can't happen without being in office. First step: Win the election. Then go after the problems.

Go after them with a real bulldog in your corner.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of the Abyss.

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