The Democrats' Hobson's Choice

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Mar 29, 2008 4:15 PM
Mario Cuomo weighs in with his opinion on how to resolve the Obama-Clinton feud with an idea that's nothing if not novel -- they should agree to join together on the ticket, either before the convention or after it, with the order yet to be determined!  (Obviously, the "novel" part is a joke.)

Just one more time:  Barack Obama would be crazy to go for this.  Why would he want to take the bottom of the ticket, given the Clintons' ethical problems and Al Gore's experience -- and, he might rightly ask, why should he have to if he rolls into the convention with more pledged delegates and more popular votes?  Yet he'd be equally insane to place Hillary Clinton on the ticket as his veep for some of the reasons I've pointed out here

If I've thought of this,  how is it that Cuomo  hasn't?  Is this really the best that a former New York governor, supposedly a leading intellectual light in the Democratic Party, can come up with? 

What's most interesting is that the Democrats may have effectively been put in the position of having to make a Hobson's choice when it comes to choosing a ticket -- between what's best for their party and what's best for winning the general election.

Cuomo evidently thinks that the best outcome is having a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket.  That would probably be optimal for maintaining the unity of the Democratic Party.  Given the emerging divisions, a ticket with the two top candidates is probably the only conceivable way to avoid more intra-party bitterness.

But it's probably not the best ticket if the goal is to beat McCain.  Other pairings would likely do more to win the Dems the general election than a ticket featuring two candidates whose combined service in elected office is still less than McCain's alone; with no executive background; and very limited foreign policy experience.

It's a tough choice that the Democrats are facing: Should they focus primarily on uniting their own party to avoid long-term political trouble, or instead decide to go-for-broke in order to maximize their chances in this year's race?