Of the seven criteria -- geography, ideology, religion, governance, succession, compatibility/loyalty, and electability -- that have governed the selection of vice-presidential running mates, three favor an Obama-Clinton ticket and four do not.
1. Geography? Often presidential nominees try to unify their party by selecting a nominee for geographic reasons as in 1960 when John F. Kennedy (Massachusetts) chose Lyndon B. Johnson (Texas) and Richard M. Nixon (California) chose Henry Cabot Lodge (Massachusetts). So for geographic reasons, should Senator Obama ask Senator Clinton to be his running mate?
- No. From a traditional geographic standpoint, Senator Clinton would add little or nothing to the Democratic ticket, because both come from large urban states in the north. From a non-traditional geographic standpoint, however, namely having a vice-presidential running mate with greater appeal than what Senator Obama has in some geographic areas, such as West Virginia and Kentucky, then the nod might go to an Obama-Clinton ticket.
- No. Senators Obama and Clinton hold essentially the same views on almost all issues. Indeed, some critics have said: "There's not a dime's worth of difference between them."
- No. Senator Obama's religious affiliation is with the most liberal Protestant denomination in America, the United Church of Christ, and Senator Clinton's affiliation is with one of the most liberal Protestant denominations, United Methodist.
- Yes. Senator Obama has not yet served one term in the U.S. Senate and only had a short tenure in the Illinois Senate. Almost every president has sustained a long public career, far longer than Senator Obama's. So on balance, it might behoove Senator Obama to ask Senator Clinton to become his running mate.
- Yes. The choice of Senator Clinton by Senator Obama would send a clear signal that the vice presidency would be occupied by someone definitely capable of serving as president. In fact, in the eyes of many, she would be more capable of serving as president than Senator Obama.
6. Compatibility and Loyalty? Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush deserve considerable credit for selecting running mates with whom they were personally compatible. But even with their compatibility, grievances emerged between them, revealing that under the best of circumstances, compatibility and loyalty may become strained. Should Senator Obama choose Senator Clinton as his running mate for reasons of compatibility and loyalty?
- No. Over and over and over again critics have noted that there is little love lost between Senators Obama and Clinton. In the minds of critics Senator Obama sees Senator Clinton as the one who will not get out of the way of his inevitable nomination, and Senator Clinton sees Senator Obama as the one who drove a stake into the heart of her inevitability as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. There is a long history of presidential nominees choosing vice presidential running mates to help them win, but then shoving them aside upon taking office. John F. Kennedy, the young Senator from Massachusetts, did that to the most powerful majority leader in the history of the U.S. Senate, Lyndon B. Johnson.
- Yes. Not only has Senator Clinton run an almost neck-and-neck race with Senator Obama, but more importantly she has won the votes of significant voting blocs, which Senator Obama must win if he is to win the presidency -- namely women, blue-collar voters, Roman Catholics, Jews, and rural voters. And she won in almost every head-to-head match-up with Senator Obama in such large states as Texas, Ohio, California, and Pennsylvania.