WASHINGTON -- With the Democratic nominee for president at last decided upon, another guessing game can begin: whom Barack Obama will pick for his veep. Hillary Clinton clearly wants to end that game early, with her as the answer.
There are theoretical arguments why having his former rival at his side could strengthen the Illinois senator's candidacy, but there are many more reasons why he shouldn't, and probably won't choose her. I think she lost her chance -- if she had any -- with her tacky primary night speech on Tuesday that was all about me, myself and I: the 18 million voters who supported her, the states she won, the legions of voters who cheered her on, and of course her superior agenda, which she recited yet again. She could have given a gracious, classy speech that acknowledged Obama had won the nomination. She could have embraced the inarguable results of the primary race by fully declaring her intention to do everything in her power to elect the nominee of her party.
Instead, she played it coy, demanded "respect" for her supporters, and said she was not going to make any decision that night about what she planned to do next. But the decision had been made for her by the voters. She had lost and he had won, but she had a lot of trouble accepting that. It seemed she wanted the campaign to go on, and she asked her supporters to send suggestions to her campaign Web site, hoping to show Obama that she was still a force to be reckoned with. Anyone in the Obama campaign who watched Hillary's self-absorbed performance Tuesday night would have to question how loyal she would be as a running mate, let alone vice president.
Then there were all those disturbing signals from her advisers that she wanted certain things in return for her support, like the central speaking spot at the convention and the vice presidential nod. She told supporters in a conference call on Tuesday that she was "open" to the idea of being on the ticket, a calculated but presumptuous admission because no one on Obama's team had given the slightest hint that she would even be asked.
There was a time when a running mate was chosen because he or she could deliver something to the ticket, a major state, a key constituency, or maybe (in Obama's case) some experience the presidential nominee did not possess.
But what would Hillary bring to the ticket?