Why PUMAs Can’t Just ‘Get Over It’
It's not the fact that Hillary lost — it's how she lost.
August 28, 2008 - 5:48 am
It is understandable that, despite the obvious advantages Hillary would have offered as a running mate, Obama decided she would not be a good choice for Vice President. As such, she might have overshadowed and even sabotaged him; the contrast between them might have made him look weak. In addition, too much enmity probably lingers on both sides for them to have worked together effectively.
Furthermore, even if he were to have considered asking her to take the VP role, perhaps he knew that she didn’t really want the job. Betting that Obama will lose in 2008, she may have preferred to return to the Senate and then embark on another Presidential run for herself in 2012. She might be in an excellent position to do that because her 2008 campaign has increased her constituency and her base, and even earned the grudging and astonished respect of a few Republicans, who couldn’t help but admire her grit this go-round.
But it is somewhat puzzling that Obama has failed to take most of the fairly simple and basic steps that would have gone quite a way towards soothing the still-festering wounds of many Hillary supporters. After all, doesn’t he need their votes to win? Would it really cost him all that much to do what it takes to try to get them?
My theories on the subject (not mutually exclusive):
(a) He’s just that arrogant; he doesn’t think he needs them.
(b) He’s just that angry.
(c) He’s just that stupid.
(d) He’s getting bad advice.
But whatever the reasons that Obama has failed to reach out effectively to the PUMAs, it doesn’t speak well of his ability (correction: his <i>claim</i>) to have a special knack for bringing people together. If he can’t effectively reach across the aisle to dissenters in his <i>own</i> party, what hope is there of his doing so with Republicans, not to mention leaders of other countries with whom we might have disagreements?
Obama’s attitude towards Hillary supporters is the first real test in this campaign of his actual diplomacy, as opposed to his speeches about it. If so, he gets an F.