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Obama-Clinton 2012
December 28, 2011 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Robert Reich writes today: My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State -- a position he's apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President

(Can't link to RobertReich.org, which seems to be underwater right now.)
Please discuss.
posted by growabrain (106 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Washington types have been bloviating about this lame-brained fantasy for years.

Reich must have been desperately short of material this week.
posted by Trurl at 8:25 PM on December 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


It likely would win them the election, even if it is incredibly unlikely to actually be something on the radar, and yeah years is about right, since late Nov 2008.
posted by edgeways at 8:27 PM on December 28, 2011


This will never happen. Obama realizes that too many Democrats will start to wish the ticket should be the other way around.
posted by lobbyist at 8:27 PM on December 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think this happened already in one of the Infinite Earth timelines.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:27 PM on December 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


A hardcore republican i know was insisting to me that Obama is going to resign and Clinton is going to run instead at the top of the ticket.

Pure fantasy.
posted by empath at 8:29 PM on December 28, 2011


Obama realizes that too many Democrats will start to wish the ticket should be the other way around.

Not this democrat. I might prefer another candidate at the top of the ticket, but not the clintons.
posted by empath at 8:30 PM on December 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


Please discuss.

No thanks.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:31 PM on December 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Democrats always wish someone else was at the top of the ticket
posted by edgeways at 8:35 PM on December 28, 2011 [24 favorites]


the irony is that the clintonistas won even if hillary didnt get to be POTUS :P
posted by liza at 8:35 PM on December 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


My political prediction for 2012 (based on very credible inside information): the GOP ticket will be Romney/Leiberman, sending Gingrich into a frenzy that culminates in him locking himself in the Reagan Library in a stand off with police. Ron Paul will be called in to try and talk Newt down via megaphone. A sheepish Newt will emerge a few hours later, and Romney will promptly drop Leiberman and put Paul on the ticket. Leiberman will shrug and go back to doing whatever he does. Meanwhile, a quick-thinking DNC will insist Obama switch Clinton out of the VP spot and bring Kucinich in, while Clinton bumps Biden out of the SoS slot, and he goes on to host a talk radio show called "Don't Bullshit Me, You Horse's Ass", with his co-host, Newt Gingrich. Together, the two of them will open the show with a point/counterpoint segment reminiscent of the Clinton/Dole thing 60 Minutes used to do, only not as sad to witness. Then they take calls for the remaining 20 minutes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:37 PM on December 28, 2011 [44 favorites]


I can't see Obama dropping Joe and if he were to do that, it would be for a younger successor like Cuomo.
posted by octothorpe at 8:41 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shoot. If anything, Clinton will resign early into Obama's second term.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 PM on December 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


I voted for Hillary in the primaries. Spoke up for her at my local caucus in Seattle when everyone was ooh Barack this and ooh Barack that.

I had no illusions that Hillary would be any less of a politician than Obama, but I still believe she'd have shown more backbone, fought harder, and realized much, much sooner that the Republicans had no interest in bargaining in good faith.

As disgusted as I am with Obama, I couldn't possibly vote for any of the current Republican primary candidates. But I'd vote for Hillary in a primary fight over Obama in a heartbeat.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:42 PM on December 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


My political prediction for 2012 (based on irrefutable inside information) is that Obama has the nation's top psychics working on summoning the ghost of FDR into a crystalline orb which he will then install as the heart of a 10' tall metal automaton who will serve as his running mate.

The Clinton-Biden swap is only slightly more farfetched.
posted by Bromius at 8:43 PM on December 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


I had no illusions that Hillary would be any less of a politician than Obama, but I still believe she'd have shown more backbone, fought harder, and realized much, much sooner that the Republicans had no interest in bargaining in good faith.

Sure, just like Bill Clinton didn't gut the welfare system, vetoed the Defense of Marriage Act and never instituted Don't Ask Don't Tell.
posted by empath at 8:53 PM on December 28, 2011 [25 favorites]


Please discuss.

Please don't do this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:54 PM on December 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


Also.
posted by empath at 8:55 PM on December 28, 2011


Sure, just like Bill Clinton didn't gut the welfare system, vetoed the Defense of Marriage Act and never instituted Don't Ask Don't Tell.

I enlisted when DADT was so new that they hadn't even had time to change the enlistment papers yet. They just blotted out the questions about homosexuality. I was as happy as anyone when DADT was finally dropped. But while it's great to say that the military never should've barred homosexuals in the first place, the practical reality is that DADT was a worthwhile baby step and in the long run did more good than harm.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:58 PM on December 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


I thought it had been clear for months that Clinton was going to leave, and John Kerry was going to become Secretary of State in a second Obama term.
posted by gsteff at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah! Clinton sucks! Budget surpluses, booming economy, low unemployment, all that sort of thing.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:06 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


My political prediction for 2012 (based on very credible inside information): the GOP ticket will be Romney/Leiberman, sending Gingrich into a frenzy that culminates in him locking himself in the Reagan Library in a stand off with police. ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:37 PM on 12/28


Forgive my tin ear if i missed the joke but this seems entirely plausible.
posted by From Bklyn at 9:07 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not gonna happen. It's too cutesy of a move that'll be a net distraction, not a bump. And no one ever pines to be Sec. of State -- that's just a consolation prize for someone like Biden, as it was the means for Hilary to stay near the spotlight while she waited for Obama's eventual exit.

If Obama is re-elected, Clinton is almost certain to resign 'round about 2014. She'll write another book and make another run. Biden may also resign at about the same time, as it's unclear if he'll ever run, and he certainly won't run against Hilary, against whom he's almost certain to lose. Biden resigning also lets Obama hand-pick someone as a potential successor -- a relative unknown that would both vault into prominence and owe Obama a favor down the road.

If Obama loses, Hilary is instantly the clubhouse leader for 2016, but that's a weird calculation for her, as it would mean running against an incumbent that might gain (or lose) strength for any number of reasons that no one can foresee. Huge gamble.

2008 was really Hilary's year, and she got buried by an unforeseen historical shift. You wonder if she'll gamble like that again.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:10 PM on December 28, 2011


I heard they were going to cut Biden and Clinton each in half lengthwise and sew them together thereby having VP Biclint and SOS Clinbi.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:14 PM on December 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


Shouldn't that be Secretary of State Clinden?
posted by cashman at 9:20 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean since we're just throwing out weird random ideas.
posted by cashman at 9:21 PM on December 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reich is smokin' and snortin' and freebasin' some serious shit while he's drunk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:22 PM on December 28, 2011


Yeah but Clinbi was more sexually confusing to me with the combo of bisexual and clitoris so I went with that. Same with Biclint. Since you asked.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:23 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hillary had said repeatedly that she has no interest in running for higher office again or being involved in Obama's second term, assuming one happens. She has never been part of Obama's insular inner circle and never will be.

scrayblackdeath: I had no illusions that Hillary would be any less of a politician than Obama, but I still believe she'd have shown more backbone, fought harder, and realized much, much sooner that the Republicans had no interest in bargaining in good faith.

Hillary would have had no better success at dealing with the Republicans than Obama has had. I can't think of a Democrat who would have. The Republicans have a special loathing for Obama, but they would have made life a living hell for Hillary too. You can argue that maybe Hillary wouldn't have taken as many gambles as Obama has, but I think that the partisan environment in Washington would have been there regardless of who is at the White House, and it'll probably be there just as much if Romney or another Republican wins.

Cool Papa Bell: And no one ever pines to be Sec. of State -- that's just a consolation prize for someone like Biden, as it was the means for Hilary to stay near the spotlight while she waited for Obama's eventual exit.

If by "no one" you mean John Kerry, well, you're absolutely right.
posted by blucevalo at 9:23 PM on December 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Flagged as double.

Okay, not really, but...

The prospect of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton trading places with Vice President Biden is "on the table," Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward said Tuesday night.

"Some of Hillary Clinton's advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012," Woodward said in an interview on CNN's "John King USA."


Emi Kolawole
Washington Post's blog: 44 (Politics and Policy in Obama's Washington)
October 5, 2010; 7:49 PM ET


It was a shitty idea then, and it's a shittier idea now. For about a thousand different reasons. But the easiest one that is obvious now and might not have been last year (or the 15 other times this has been kicked around by some other columnist desperate to fill space in the last 3 years) -- putting Secretary Clinton on the ticket would be just the kind of shit to rally the crazy base who otherwise will be disenfranchised if (probably when) Romney wins the nomination. People call Obama lots of things but a candidate that stupid is something that no sane person would ever call him.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:25 PM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


My political prediction for 2012 (based on irrefutable inside information) is that Obama has the nation's top psychics working on summoning the ghost of FDR into a crystalline orb which he will then install as the heart of a 10' tall metal automaton who will serve as his running mate.

So Doctor Who will be back in America for season 7?
posted by maryr at 9:25 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


scaryblackdeath

I had no illusions that Hillary would be any less of a politician than Obama, but I still believe she'd have shown more backbone, fought harder, and realized much, much sooner that the Republicans had no interest in bargaining in good faith.

with all due respect I disagree. Obama has shown time and again he wants it more. Hilary surrounded herself with the same new democrats who fold time and again. She never would have revamped healthcare, would have had the same problems with intransigent republicans. it would have been school uniforms all over again.

... And I think we'd be lucky to have Hilary as president during non-crazy republican times
posted by slapshot57 at 9:27 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


The entire point of having Joe Biden is that he's good for the occasional distraction and he'll say things that they can just walk away from by saying "Ohh thats just crazy Joe". Hillary provides none of that kind of cover and is frankly generally better on policy. And therefore she is probably a better secretary of state. In a 24hr media world you need someone to distract the media; so they don't eat you alive. If you want examples see the republican presidential primary where candidate after candidate is raised up examined and discarded by the media for a series of "flaws". Crazy Joe gives the media something to talk about so Obama can focus on other things.
posted by Rubbstone at 9:27 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I think Hilary is a damn fine secretary of state that doesn't get nearly enough credit for the job she's doing largely behind the scenes
posted by slapshot57 at 9:31 PM on December 28, 2011 [15 favorites]


Clinton has already stated she won't stay around for a second term. I'd expect Kerry to replace her. I doubt she'll run again. It's very early, but right now the 2016 Democratic nomination race is shaping up to be a contest between Martin O'Malley and Andrew Cuomo.
posted by spaltavian at 9:33 PM on December 28, 2011


I wish Reich would stop stealing my ideas.
posted by homunculus at 9:36 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama/Gingrich is just as likely and a hell of of a lot more interesting to think about.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:44 PM on December 28, 2011


That is an interesting definition of "interesting".
posted by maryr at 9:48 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


but I still believe she'd have shown more backbone, fought harder, and realized much, much sooner that the Republicans had no interest in bargaining in good faith.

I know this is never going to die; but there's just not a grain of truth to this oft-repeated fantasy. The Republicans would have tried to torpedo any Democrat in their first term. There as no special negotiation skills Obama failed to implement; the GOP was not going to give any Democratic president want they wanted. But Clinton would have lacked the strong personal approval numbers that are helping Obama to weather the bad economy. (Obama's numbers are usually in the 45-50 range and he's still the favorite to win in 2012, despite 9% unemployment. Think about that.) Plus, this has been, from a media perspective, a scandal-free presidency. (Neither Bradley Manning or Fast and Furious have caught on as mainstream narratives.) Even if Clinton was a saint while in office, the GOP would drag everything out from the 1990s.

If Clinton were president right now, we'd be virtually in the same position, except we'd probably have a weaker healthcare law. I don't see her taking the gambles that Obama refused to. She was going to let the Bush tax cuts on the middle class expire? She was going to let the country default? She was going let the government shut down? Obama played chicken with the Republicans on all of these things- and he actually won on the tax cuts, with them set to expire next year in a way that can plausibly be blamed on Congress- but how much further could he have responsibly risked it?

The economy came extremely close to slipping back in recession this summer, and that was a result of the debt fight. Obama went to the mat on that one, but he, or any other president would share the same disadvantage vis-a-vi House Republicans: he's actually responsible for the stewardship of the nation. Hillary Clinton would not have enjoyed any greater freedom to maneuver.

If you really want to dream of a more liberal alternate history, you'd have to look to the Senate elections in the three elections spanning 2006-2010. The so-called Democratic super-majority came to be build on the likes of Lieberman and Nelson, meaning the Democrats were never able to truly overcome a filibuster.
posted by spaltavian at 9:50 PM on December 28, 2011 [30 favorites]


OBAMA/GRAVEL 2012 RIPPLES IN THE POND OF LIFE
posted by nathancaswell at 9:50 PM on December 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


But while it's great to say that the military never should've barred homosexuals in the first place, the practical reality is that DADT was a worthwhile baby step and in the long run did more good than harm.

Except when Obama does baby steps people call him a traitor and a liar.
posted by empath at 9:57 PM on December 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


I had no illusions that Hillary would be any less of a politician than Obama, but I still believe she'd have shown more backbone, fought harder, and realized much, much sooner that the Republicans had no interest in bargaining in good faith.

You mean like the way she shepherded through her healtcare plans during the "2 for 1" phase of her husband's presidency, bulldozing the Republicans like a latter-day Eleanor R?
posted by rodgerd at 10:01 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


This has been the obvious plan for years. I've never imagined they'd do anything else.
posted by gerryblog at 10:06 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


People haven't been looking closely enough at James Brown in this cycle. They could do "Livin' in America" as the campaign song - sung LIVE by the VP!!1
posted by Meatbomb at 10:07 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no way Hilary would have been able to cut through the bullshit and get a more liberal agenda passed. Limbaugh made his name by turning anything that either Bill or Hilary did into grist for his hate-mongering. Right wing talk radio was still talking about the 'murder' of Vince Foster in the second term. Now that the ill-informed right has learned to access the internet and with the rise of Fox News, the anti-Clinton stuff would have them frothing at the mouth. They hate her for being a strong, non-traditional woman. And Bill has given them plenty of ammo and who knows what trouble was lurking on that front.
But that is old news.

Hilary Clinton has been an excellent SOS. She is a precise and careful speaker and an incredibly hard worker, capable of taking in vast quantities of information. Can you see Joe being able to stay on script? Kerrey would bore all our enemies into submission. Boy, do I hope this does not come to pass.
posted by readery at 10:17 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Obama selected Clinton for Secretary of State it was a clear sign that Obama was not going to be the Liberal Crusader that the right accused him of being and that liberals dreamed he would be. Clinton of course comes from the DLC movement that strategically moved the Democrats away from being the party of the people and towards being a pro-corporate Republican-lite party. Two decades of DLC leadership have made the Democrats the ideological equivalents of the Reagan Republicans of the 1980s while the Republicans have shifted even much further to the lunatic right.

But was more telling for me was what Obama said to McCain in their September 26, 2008 debate. He noted that McCain was an advocate of the invasion of Iraq from the beginning citing weapons of mass destruction (that didn't exist) and a quick & easy defeat of the Iraqis (that didn't happen). Obama very correctly said at the time that McCain showed poor judgment that should be considered when deciding whether he would be a good leader. Unfortunately, Obama didn't consider Clinton's poor judgment when appointing her to one of the most important cabinet positions. Clinton was a vehement war hawk at the time of the invasion. Despite being a Senator with direct access to the bad and falsified intelligence she still thought invading Iraq was a good idea or more likely (and more reprehensibly) decided it was more pragmatic to stay in office by appealing to the nations' bloodlust. That Obama didn't even adhere to his own standards and appointed someone whose poor judgement favored war crimes was a clear sign that he was just another corporatist/militarist.

Progressive Americans shouldn't be concerned with an Obama/Clinton ticket except to the point of primarying them or running a third party candidate against them.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 10:30 PM on December 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


This future is well known already. Mind the Flood.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:43 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Biden may also resign at about the same time, as it's unclear if he'll ever run, and he certainly won't run against Hilary, against whom he's almost certain to lose. Biden resigning also lets Obama hand-pick someone as a potential successor -- a relative unknown that would both vault into prominence and owe Obama a favor down the road.

Do you realize the kind of shitfit that the Right would throw if Obama "handpicked" Biden's successor? An unelected Obama "stooge" only a heartbeat from the presidency? You couldn't walk 10 feet without hearing "imperial presidency," "caliphate," "invasion," "unconstitutional" and "IMPEACH!!!"
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:46 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Obama selected Clinton for Secretary of State it was a clear sign that Obama was not going to be the Liberal Crusader that the right accused him of being and that liberals dreamed he would be.

I know, right? If only Obama's centrist voting record in the Senate hadn't been totally a secret until November 5, 2008, the whole Liberal Crusader thing that current third-party advocates were propping up then would have never, ever have happened.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:48 PM on December 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Do you realize the kind of shitfit that the Right would throw if Obama "handpicked" Biden's successor? An unelected Obama "stooge" only a heartbeat from the presidency? You couldn't walk 10 feet without hearing "imperial presidency," "caliphate," "invasion," "unconstitutional" and "IMPEACH!!!"

I didn't know Zagat was reviewing politicians, too.

The right throws shitfits about anything Obama does or does not do, up to* and including* killing Osama Bin Laden*. So it's not like there is any rational incentive to cater to them.

*Warning: may lose IQ points reading links.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:03 PM on December 28, 2011


Why would you want to be the Vice President? Sec State is a better job. Madame Secretary is going to ride off into the capitalist sunset like her husband. She will also tend to Chelsea's political career and any grandchildren. I cannot imagine her giving that up to be VP. Warm bowl of spit and all.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:04 PM on December 28, 2011


Do you realize the kind of shitfit that the Right would throw if Obama "handpicked" Biden's successor? An unelected Obama "stooge" only a heartbeat from the presidency? You couldn't walk 10 feet without hearing "imperial presidency," "caliphate," "invasion," "unconstitutional" and "IMPEACH!!!"

Except that's how a vice-president gets nominated in the case of a vice-presidential resignation. It's the 25th Amendment:

Section 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.


Now, that's not to say the confirmation process wouldn't be a fight (heck, Obama can't even seat a judge). But this part of the amendment has already been used twice, both times in the wake of Watergate, with a Republican-led presidency and a Democratic-held Congress, so the confirmation environment was about as bad as it gets. Moreover, in my prediction, it wouldn't be nearly as fractious as you imagine, as this would be happening in an imaginary Obama second term, when Obama has nothing to lose.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:07 PM on December 28, 2011


I think people are confused. When Democrats say Obama is the baddest motherfucking PoTUS in our lifetimes we mean good bad, not bad bad. He's the shit. Not shit. Our enemies are in the ground. Healthcare, Financial Reform and America's army is out of Iraq.
posted by humanfont at 11:14 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If for some reason Biden did resign, Republicans in both houses would absolutely die before allowing anyone even remotely presidential to be appoint. Obama'd end up having to choose someone who was 75 years old, un-telegenic, and promised never to run for office again.
posted by skewed at 11:17 PM on December 28, 2011


Saxon Kane writes "Do you realize the kind of shitfit that the Right would throw if Obama 'handpicked' Biden's successor? An unelected Obama 'stooge' only a heartbeat from the presidency? You couldn't walk 10 feet without hearing 'imperial presidency,' 'caliphate,' 'invasion,' 'unconstitutional' and 'IMPEACH!!!'"


These people voted for the last guy after his dad was head boss. Even if they were that nervy, I don't think anyone they were talking to could look at them with a straight face.

skewed writes "Obama'd end up having to choose someone who was 75 years old, un-telegenic, and promised never to run for office again."

Man I'm glad I recently did the math so that joke made sense.
posted by Mitheral at 11:45 PM on December 28, 2011


Biden doesn't need to resign. Hillary would be the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2012 and take office upon election. Obama would stand for re-election and Biden wouldn't. No confirmation hearings required. This scenario won't happen though. Hillary wouldn't bring enough to the ticket.
posted by humanfont at 12:01 AM on December 29, 2011


And you guys, you guys, this one time, one time Obama was lost in the timestream and Dick Grayson had to be Obama because everyone thought the real Obama was dead. And Malia? You guys, Malia was Robin for Dick Grayson Obama! It was so cool, seriously! And when Obama came back, he told Dick to keep being Gotham's Obama because Obama was gonna go all around the world training other Obamas! Hillary got to be New York Obama and Biden got to be Secretary of Obama and then Obama set up Rahm Emanuel in Chicago as Obamawing!
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:15 AM on December 29, 2011 [12 favorites]


People haven't been looking closely enough at James Brown in this cycle.

James Brown is dead.
posted by mephron at 12:37 AM on December 29, 2011


Boing boing, it's a yo-yo, much for up to down.
posted by Mblue at 12:55 AM on December 29, 2011


wow
posted by growabrain at 1:29 AM on December 29, 2011


You couldn't walk 10 feet without hearing "imperial presidency," "caliphate," "invasion," "unconstitutional" and "IMPEACH!!!"

And this is different than now how?

Hint: If you are evaluating potential Democratic candidates by how the GOP will react to them, you have already lost.
posted by eriko at 1:59 AM on December 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Obama speaks like a leader, but acts like a follower. What is he following? A rather diluted centrist, centrist-right mode of governance, (ironically) without soul. He is a very likable person, on the podium and is very photogenic. He has the big hitters - like Goldman-Sachs (his biggest corporate bundler in 2008) - behind him. He has a better than even chance of winning, unless the economy starts to go into decline again. That said, don't underestimate Romney, because Romney - although a rich white man - is just as passionate about America as Obama is, and when Romney speaks from the heart (and, he does, in spite of ignorant people trying to paint him as a robot) he can be compelling to the GOP base. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by Romney, and it IS going to be Romney, it has always been Romney. The press has made a horse-race of the GOP run-offs because it boosts ratings. Follow the money.

btw, Clinton would have accomplished more, and would also have come off looking better while she did it. She wouldn't have had to learn on the job, and would also have known "the ropes". She would have hit the ground running. Clinton has more spine than Obama, and she was savaged for her looks and gender more times than I can count *by Democrats* and *many* liberal media outfits. That's why I'm an Independent today. I will never be a registered Democrat again, not after the hypocrisy exhibited by so-called "liberals" and "progressives" in 2008. So, they got what they deserved - i.e. Hillary, lite.

As for health care, those that say Hillary wouldn't have accomplished as much must have been babies in 1993, when Hillary single-handed took on the health care industry and was roundly made to look like a fool after the insurance companies spent $300M to convince ever-ignorant Americans to again vote against their own interests. Anyone who thinks Hillary would have been weaker, or less accomplished than Obama is either living in a cloud of cognitive dissonance, or is naive.

I don't see Hillary running as VP; there's far less power there than running State. Others, above, have pointed to her statements about leaving if Obama is re-elected. Even Bill Clinton says that Hillary "is tired". Sec of State is a position that practically lives in the air - it's probably the most demanding and exhausting Cabinet position.

As for 2016, Hillary will be almost 70. Also, the US will STILL be in a funk in 2016, or just coming out of it, with a long road to full recovery. the next 4 years - n omatter who gets elected - are going to be hell, guaranteed.

Finally, to play my own devil's advocate, Hillary, Barack, Romney, etc are all controlled by vested interests. They would all be "different" in office, but in no way would any one of them upset the Plutocratic applecart that we're currently riding in.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:47 AM on December 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Speaking as a non-American (although a very avid follower of US politics):

I can't see Clinton doing the swop with Biden. I don't know if it is the same within the US, but from where I am, it feels as though the VP doesn't really do much, whereas the Secretary of State is so much more high profile. Though in the org. charts or what have you, the VP is (probably) ranked above the Secretary of State, I think it was a very politically astute move for Clinton to gun for State rather than the vice-presidency - she played to her strengths well and generally got more media exposure all round.

The toss-up between Obama and Clinton:

Watching the 2008 elections, I was rooting for Obama. He represented a generation of change to people like me (that is, the younger generation) - he came from outside the system (having only served one term in the Senate) and held so much promise for a system that I felt had gone badly wrong in the Bush years.

As his term progressed, he had his ups and downs - I was especially heartened by the passing of the universal health care law, not so impressed by his handling of the financial crisis (I felt like he should have pressed home his advantage while the banks were weaker and instituted stricter financial reform laws). Much of what he had to deal with in the early period of his presidency was either a legacy of the Bush years or the realities of the political climate. I would say he acquitted himself pretty alright, though I wouldn't give him stellar marks.

I think Vibrissae has it though - Clinton would have hit the ground running, being well-acquainted with the political system (being an insider and all). Compared to her, Obama was but a political neophyte, a fact that was painfully obvious in the first few months. But would she have done better? I don't know. During the primaries, I felt like she didn't have that same breadth and depth of vision that Obama had, which I think is very important for a leader. Does that translate to being less bold or being less willing to take chances? I don't know, frankly.
posted by titantoppler at 4:18 AM on December 29, 2011


lobbyist: "This will never happen. Obama realizes that too many Democrats will start to wish the ticket should be the other way around."

The problem for Obama is that after winning the 2012 election, Hillary might start wishing the ticket was the other way around and realize she is just a heartbeat away from the presidency :)
posted by 2manyusernames at 5:04 AM on December 29, 2011


Am I the only one who remembers how embarrassing and inept Hillary's primary campaign was? Obama won because he (or at least David Plouffe) ran a tight an focused campaign while Hillary's flailed about with numerous strategy and personnel changes.
posted by octothorpe at 5:33 AM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


As for health care, those that say Hillary wouldn't have accomplished as much must have been babies in 1993, when Hillary single-handed took on the health care industry

And lost catastrophically. What's "naive" is your belief that the Right wouldn't have salivated at the chance of re-running the old playbook against HillaryCare. What's worse, however, is that Clinton failed in large part because she threatened Democrats. A lot of people in Congress now were in Congress in 1993 and they sure would not have forgotten her last attempt. No one trusted her on this issue, and she would have had to restrain herself specifically to avoid reliving her earlier debacle. You don't seem to remember the 90s very clearly.

Clinton is not some mystical Iron Lady, she would have had to work with the exact same Congress as Obama or worse, given her coattails would not have been as long. (No doubt if she had won the nomination, the same people now dreaming of a Clinton Restoration would be pining for what the "real liberal" Obama would have done.) Given her record in the Senate, her suprisingly tin-ear of a campaign and the huge amount of baggage, she almost certainly would have achieved less than the current president.
posted by spaltavian at 5:47 AM on December 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


As sure as I was that in the Bush second term, Cheney would resign for health issues and Bush would nominate Guliani as veep and heir apparent, I am equally sure Obama will not do this. (Which doesn't say much, but still...)

The veep choice doesn't win elections in the first place, and I think politics has changed enough that having vice-president on one's resume doesn't help a candidate win their own election as much as it might have in the past. (*) Hillary has said she doesn't want anything else, and even if she does, I don't see a stint as VP adding to her electability more than another couple years of SoS would. At the moment, I can't think of any other democrat I'd rather vote for in 2016.

Plus, changing veep horses midstream gives the impression of flip-floppiness and a sort of "if the current VP isn't good enough now, why was he good enough then?"

(*) And even in the past, it wasn't good for much. Ignoring the vice presidents who became president after a presidential death, the only vice presidents who were elected president after serving as VP were Bush I, Nixon, Van Buren, Jefferson and Adams. And even Nixon gets an asterisk, since his election was 8 years after he left office as VP.
posted by gjc at 5:50 AM on December 29, 2011


I don't think this will happen, but at this point I don't see Clinton as VP as something that would rally the right's base. Anyone that hated Clinton despises Obama at this point as well. They would vote against him if Reagan came down from a cloud and said "Obama is my chosen one."
posted by drezdn at 5:56 AM on December 29, 2011


I enlisted when DADT was so new that they hadn't even had time to change the enlistment papers yet. ... But while it's great to say that the military never should've barred homosexuals in the first place, the practical reality is that DADT was a worthwhile baby step and in the long run did more good than harm.

I'm a gay veteran. I enlisted and served my term well before DADT. I watched carefully as DADT was enacted, and knew a decent number of other gay servicemen before and during DADT. Based on what I've seen, I don't think DADT was a baby step in the right direction, and I don't think it was worthwhile.

Had Clinton either (a) been willing to risk significant political capital on something he'd thought would be an easy win, or (b) held off on pushing the issue in the first place, we most likely would have gotten where we are now quite a bit faster (say, Clinton's second term). Instead, we got a non-solution that deferred pressure to change, and that didn't really help anyone beyond the process of enlistment.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:46 AM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't the Secretary of State position better and more powerful then the VP anyway? Why would she want to switch?
Yeah! Clinton sucks! Budget surpluses, booming economy, low unemployment, all that sort of thing.
Eh, super-cheap oil and an internet boom had a lot to do with that. Clinton really lucked out. He also supported all the financial deregulation that lead to the 2008 crash.
Shouldn't that be Secretary of State Clinden?
Jollary Binton and Hilloe Cliden.
with all due respect I disagree. Obama has shown time and again he wants it more. Hilary surrounded herself with the same new democrats who fold time and again.
I think Obama did as well, once he got in. I didn't support Hillary because she voted for the Iraq war, primarally. She also spouted nonsense about video games, etc. But, on Healthcare she would have seem HillaryCare 2.0 as a way to create, and repair her legacy in one move. I think she would probably have fought for it. Doesn't mean it wouldn't have been a total corporate sellout.

Now, look Again I was against hillary. I felt that people who opposed the Iraq war shouldn't reward politicians who voted for it. It was an important message to send and I think it was worth it. And Hillary was anything other then a "True progressive". She'd built a niche for herself politically as a centrist willing to work with republicans.

but this idea:

There is no way Hilary would have been able to cut through the bullshit and get a more liberal agenda passed. Limbaugh made his name by turning anything that either Bill or Hilary did into grist for his hate-mongering.
In '08 the democrats had the house, the senate and the Whitehouse. Limbaugh isn't an elected official. The only reason the republicans had any power was because a handful of senate democrats gave it to them. Hillary, unlike Obama would have had the motivation and confidence to twist their arms if she needed too. She'd know those guys for years and years while Obama was the new kid who they wanted to prove their dominance too. You have to remember that during the first few years they didn't NEED any republican votes, just votes from recalcitrant democrats.

And Obama was just totally naïve about trusting the republicans. It was stupid of him. Hillary, whatever you want to say about her, wouldn't have been naïve. But the question is what her true agenda would have been.

I think it was a good call to take a risk on Obama, the risk just didn't pan out, and we ended up with the same shit.
Do you realize the kind of shitfit that the Right would throw if Obama "handpicked" Biden's successor? An unelected Obama "stooge" only a heartbeat from the presidency? You couldn't walk 10 feet without hearing "imperial presidency," "caliphate," "invasion," "unconstitutional" and "IMPEACH!!!"
So what? They do that already. I don't understand this attitude. It's like, the right hates Obama, so Obama has to be nice to them otherwise they'll hate him harder? Who gives a shit?

People in politics need to stop spending all their time worrying about what people who disagree with them think about them.
He's the shit. ... America's army is out of Iraq.
Only because the Iraqi's kicked us out. Obama was negotiating to let them stay and be immune from Iraq law. The Iraqis didn't allow that that's to wikileaks leaking documents about the U.S. not prosecuting people they knew committed atrocities. If you want to thank someone for getting all our troops out of Iraq, thank Bradly Manning.

Anyway, Mitt Romney may not be the nominee. If he isn't, Obama will win in 2012 in a cakewalk. Come on. The American people are not going to vote for Newt Gingrich. I doubt they'll vote for Ron Paul in the end, even if they like him.
posted by delmoi at 6:58 AM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


A rather diluted centrist, centrist-right mode of governance, (ironically) without soul.

Why "ironically"? I mean, I'm pretty sure what you're getting at, but I'd like you to come right out and say it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:12 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who remembers how embarrassing and inept Hillary's primary campaign was? Obama won because he (or at least David Plouffe) ran a tight an focused campaign while Hillary's flailed about with numerous strategy and personnel changes.

posted by octothorpe at 5:33 AM on December 29


If you are evaluating candidates' ability to govern by the slickness of their campaign managers, you have already lost.
posted by duffell at 7:12 AM on December 29, 2011


The idea that Hillary Clinton is "above" being the first female vice president in U.S. history (with a better-than-even shot of being the first female president come 2016) is nuts. Of course she'd do it.
posted by gerryblog at 7:17 AM on December 29, 2011


If you are evaluating candidates' ability to govern by the slickness of their campaign managers, you have already lost.

It's not so much slickness as her (or her managers') failure to understand the nuts and bolts of the process, stay focused on concrete goals instead of coasting toward delusions of inevitable victory, and effectively manage networks of supporters, all of which speak to her ability to govern.
posted by Copronymus at 7:26 AM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now, that's not to say the confirmation process wouldn't be a fight (heck, Obama can't even seat a judge). But this part of the amendment has already been used twice, both times in the wake of Watergate, with a Republican-led presidency and a Democratic-held Congress, so the confirmation environment was about as bad as it gets.

There was a slight difference between replacing Agnew (who resigned as part of a plea bargain) or Ford (who became President) and replacing someone who's stepping down for nakedly political reasons. Plus, there's a reason that Ford (then the minority leader of the House of Representatives) was "selected" by Nixon -- the Democrats (who held both houses of Congress at the time) flat-out told him that there was exactly one acceptable Republican who would pass confirmation. Do you honestly think that Boehner would let anyone more nationally electable than Dennis Kucinich be confirmed as VP?
posted by Etrigan at 7:29 AM on December 29, 2011


Anyone who thinks Hillary would have been weaker, or less accomplished than Obama is either living in a cloud of cognitive dissonance, or is naive.

Clinton would have hit the ground running, being well-acquainted with the political system (being an insider and all). Compared to her, Obama was but a political neophyte, a fact that was painfully obvious in the first few months.
My response is essentially that there are a lot of liberals with rose-colored glasses of the Clinton administration, and that spaltavian (who judging by his profile, he knows exactly what he's talking about) pretty much gets it. First, anyone who was at all involved in politics at the time, or at least was close friends or family, can tell you Hillary engendered a metric shit-ton of bad feelings during the Clinton healthcare debate and her time as a Senator. She just wouldn't have had the pull in Congress to get anything more than marginally better. Arguably, she might have had less and done worse, because of the aforementioned coattails. It's very easy to see Franken not being elected and Specter not switching, for instance. Even assuming she had been given the same Congress as Obama, she still would have had the same time limit of ~9 months at most with a supermajority, which would still be in name only thanks to Nelson, Lieberman et al. "Arm-twisting" would have been useless on these guys, as seen by Nelson taking $2m of campaign money and running, and Lieberman basically slathering all over the insurance companies.

Second, what a lot of people fail to realize is that Obama's hires and nominations were very Clinton-esque, if not pulled directly from his administration. There would have been little difference in appointees between an Barack Obama administration and a Hillary Clinton administration, and the financial appointees would have been so close to identical so as not to make a difference. In other words, on virtually every major issue that's come up, she would have responded the same way. If you think she wouldn't have bent to the political realities of the health care debate, more power to you, but that just brings us back to the Congressional issues above. The starting point would have been immaterial.

One caveat: Hillary would likely have had a better sense of organization of staff at first. But--and this is a huge but--it would have been almost entirely image-based, thus people often see her as "hitting the ground running." I mean, she actually had less legislative experience than Obama (8 years vs 12 years), and in practical terms, she would still have been limited by Congress. She would also still have been listening to most of the same people as advisors, and would still have had to deal with competing egos amongst her staff. And as others have pointed out, her campaign was not run particularly well, which doesn't bode well for how a transition, let alone an entire Executive Branch, would have operated. I mean, she couldn't even hire people who knew about the nomination process! But if you believe otherwise, then by all means let us know about all the presidents with shitty campaigns that managed to win.

And as for the current angst du jour? I'd love to hear how the same person who voted for both wars and the PATRIOT Act would have "gone to the mat" against the NDAA and not supported drone warfare. Or that someone who had helped start an investigation into Grand Theft Auto and has distinct ties to IP organizations would have roundly denounced SOPA. The Tea Party was neither organic nor particularly race-based (at first), and would have been created no matter which Democrat won. The financial crisis would still have hit and she would have had the added drag of her husband having enacted some of it's root causes.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:34 AM on December 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think people misunderstood my comment. It doesn't matter if it is constitutional for Obama to appoint a VP successor, or even if it had been done every year for the last 100 years. Remember how freaked out the right was about Obama's "czars," despite the fact that Reagan had 'em too? I was just imagining the storm of doofus-rage that would erupt if it happened. Yeah, they poop their pants about everything Obama does, but it would be an especially large turd for this.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:42 AM on December 29, 2011


Biden will be the new lead guitarist in Megadeth, an easy choice given his almost telepathic riff-chemistry with Dave Mustaine. Filling in as VP will be some journeyman from a prog rock band we never heard of, but rest assured - he will have the chops to step up and shred your face off during every solo break in the State of the Union, while at the same time showing due respect to the styles of former VPs.
posted by ignignokt at 8:46 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's very early, but right now the 2016 Democratic nomination race is shaping up to be a contest between Martin O'Malley and Andrew Cuomo.

I'd say O'Malley, whose 2nd term as governor is up in 2014, will more likely go after Mikulski's Senate seat in 2016 if/when it opens up (Mikulski will be 80 at the end of her current term). He's a shrewd enough player to know he stands a better shot at the presidency with some time in the U.S. Senate under his belt.

I think an Obama/Clinton ticket is a possibility, it positions Clinton well to run in 2016. Without her the Democratic slate is looking pretty thin. On the Republican side, I'd bet Jeb Bush makes a run and has a pretty good shot at getting elected. Get Ready for Bush III...
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 8:50 AM on December 29, 2011


He's the shit. ... America's army is out of Iraq.

Only because the Iraqi's kicked us out.


At least we're leaving them something to remember us by: Weapons Sales to Iraq Move Ahead Despite U.S. Worries
posted by homunculus at 9:26 AM on December 29, 2011


It doesn't matter if it is constitutional for Obama to appoint a VP successor, or even if it had been done every year for the last 100 years.

I think the idea is that hilary runs as VP on the ticket in 2012. That's not an appointment, that's an election.
posted by empath at 9:52 AM on December 29, 2011


Without her the Democratic slate is looking pretty thin.

Russ Feingold. Tim Kaine. Andrew Cuomo.

Off the top of my head.
posted by empath at 9:53 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed at how many of you guys are able to divine how well or how poorly Clinton would have done in the White House. I can scarcely predict how well a new barista at my favorite café will do.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:18 AM on December 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


We kind of have to do that. That's what elections are for. You pick the person you think would do best and vote for them.

Do you propose that we instead draw names from a hat?
posted by empath at 10:49 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was a slight difference between replacing Agnew (who resigned as part of a plea bargain)

Somehow I have a hard time imagining there isn't _something_ Binden could plead to. I mean he's no Dick Chaney but surely he's crossed against the light or something at some point in his life.

I think an Obama/Clinton ticket is a possibility, it positions Clinton well to run in 2016. Without her the Democratic slate is looking pretty thin. On the Republican side, I'd bet Jeb Bush makes a run and has a pretty good shot at getting elected. Get Ready for Bush III.

I was told this wasn't going to happen, don't be failing me now AskMe.
posted by Mitheral at 1:38 PM on December 29, 2011


Do you propose that we instead draw names from a hat?

You can't seriously think that's what I was implying, and I'm a little annoyed that you would do this. I was of course referring to the various "yeah well if Clinton had been president she would have been this way and done that thing" issued forth with absolute certainty. It's a ludicrous, unprovable argument to make in trying to demonstrate What Might Have Been.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:12 PM on December 29, 2011


They're talking about an alternate timeline. I'm pretty sure everyone gets it's conjecture. That doesn't mean it's a ludicrous argument to make though; we know a lot about Hillary Clinton and we've seen what's happened in the ast 3 years. Arguing over what might have been may help one decide what should be done next.
posted by spaltavian at 2:18 PM on December 29, 2011


I thought that's what reading platforms and previous voting records was for.

Man, you make one little joke about baristas ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:32 PM on December 29, 2011


spaltavian killed it. great comment.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:46 PM on December 29, 2011


Robert Reich writes today: My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information)

IF HE'S GOT NO INSIDE INFORMATION HE SHOULD JUST SHUT UP AND GO BACK TO COMPOSING MINIMALIST MODERN CLASSICAL MASTERPIECES.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:55 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I voted for Hillary in the primary but enthusiastically supported Obama in the general. (I'm using her first name and Obama's last not as an uncounscious sexist choice of address but because it makes it clearer which Clinton we are speaking of.) I was delighted when she was tapped for State and have found my feelings validated by her recent historic speech on LGBT human rights, which I think flew mostly under the radar. Biden conducted himself well in the last presidential debates, though I guess that's no surprise, considering his opponent.

What I had really hoped for, though, was for Biden to act in office as a loud foil to the Republicans while allowing Obama to remain above the rhetorical fray. Perhaps if Howard Dean stayed around longer as Chair of the DNC, he could have served a similar purpose. They could have taken heat for injudicious words, and been somewhat reproved for being partisan, while moving the ball in fits and starts down the field.

Obama/Hillary would be changing horses in a way that would yield no net positive change for Obama's reelection but Joe, where are you? Let's have some of your storied mouthiness.
posted by Morrigan at 4:52 PM on December 29, 2011


empath: yeah, my original comment was in response to someone's theory further up that both Biden & Clinton would step down after the election, allowing Obama to appoint a VP.

infinitywaltz gets +1 for semi-obscure musical reference.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:12 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's fun to play Fantasy Presidential Politics, but it's about as meaningful as any Fantasy League. What's up, Bob? Much as I want Obama to do more, to be better, tougher, smarter, I think he's done far more than he's getting credit for. Bush II and Obama both overreacted to the financial crisis, and didn't hold the financial institutions responsible, thus allowing those institutions to avoid change. Obama let me down on the Patriot Act.

But, seriously, the best health care plan anybody could negotiate, and a lot of people have tried. And I think he's set a hell of a lot better standard for not mudslinging, for trying to find common ground, and for trying to find, if not the High Ground, a lot higher ground than we've seen in quite a while. No matter how good Obama is, he has been and will be reviled by the Right, and criticized by the Left.

Can I just say how great it is to not have GWBush in the White House? To not have Evil Lord Cheney next in line? I love having President Obama and this 1st Family in the White House, and representing the US around the world.
posted by theora55 at 7:40 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


A rather diluted centrist, centrist-right mode of governance, (ironically) without soul.

Why "ironically"? I mean, I'm pretty sure what you're getting at, but I'd like you to come right out and say it.


What's your implication? Should I have said it like Obama did when he said he couldn't tell whether Bill Clinton was a brother or not, because he "hadn't seen him dance"? Go check it out.

So now you can take your implied racist accusations and shove them where the sun don't shine; then, go take the Implicit Studies test online, and learn about your own biases, before passing judgement on others. I saw too many like you during the last election cycle, making decisions based on race, instead of competence. Or, insulting Hillary Clinton based on qualities associated with her gender, and then passing off as a "feminist" in "friendly" progressive-left circles. It made me want to gag. The last election cycle showed me full bore what a bunch of hypocrites so many in the so-called Progressive wing of the Democratic party are.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:59 PM on December 29, 2011


My prediction : Romney will get the nomination and lose to Obama, but only because Romney is a Mormon and the GOP is full of ignorant motherfuckers who still think Barack Obama is a Muslim. Hillary will resign and never hold political office again. Things didn't turn out the way she'd hoped, and at this point maybe she DOES wish she'd just stayed home and baked cookies. She'll devote the rest of her life to worthy causes, and in general do a lot more good than she ever did while holding office, a la Jimmy Carter. Obama's second term will be even worse than the first. He won't even have another paltry "victory" like his half-assed compromise healthcare plan. Basically, nothing will get done, nothing will change, we'll still be neck-deep in the hole and scratching our asses wondering where we left the shovel. (Was it the Chinese who took it?! Wuz it?! Wuz it!? Gawdamn, it's those Chi-neese agin!) The one upshot is that the tea party will continue to burn themselves out, and the Republicans will continue to flail about, without any real leaders or ideas.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:18 AM on December 30, 2011


Obama increased America's use of wind and Solar energy by more than all previous presidents combined. In fact Solar has grown 400% during his Presidency.

The transportation bill shifted billion of dollars towards mass transit.

New rules on student loans will take effect in 2014 reducing payments to no more than 10% of monthly income.

Health insurance plans no longer have lifetime limits and you may not be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. New health insurance cooperatives and exchanges are going to come online and the for profit companies are now required to spend 85% of collected premiums on health care. Big businesses like Walmart and McDonalds will soon have to provide coverage for their workers or face fines.

Our enemies have been killed, dictatorships have been torn down. Over DOD objections our military has been pulled from Iraq.

Unemployment benefits have been extended. Pay roll taxes cut. Both over republican objections.

Our POTUS is kicking ass.
posted by humanfont at 8:33 AM on December 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


while it's great to say that the military never should've barred homosexuals in the first place, the practical reality is that DADT was a worthwhile baby step and in the long run did more good than harm.

14,346 soldiers, sailors and airmen/women were discharged under "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."
posted by duffell at 11:50 AM on December 30, 2011


Sure. But they would have been discharged is DADT hadn't been passed too. Only difference is gay witch hunts would have been permitted and probably would have outed significantly more service persons. And the threat of investigation could have been used as a harassment tool.

There is no way that the current situation would have happened instead of DADT at the time of DADT. And a case can be made that DADT was the slippery slope that allowed for GLB service members to serve openly.
posted by Mitheral at 8:14 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


But they would have been discharged is DADT hadn't been passed too. Only difference is gay witch hunts would have been permitted and probably would have outed significantly more service persons. And the threat of investigation could have been used as a harassment tool.

No, I don't think that's correct. DADT didn't stop "gay witch hunts" - it simply kept them from starting at the same place. Under DADT, if anyone did "tell", such as another person in the same unit, etc, the military could respond the way they always had. And that's what they did.

DADT also seems to have changed the concept of homosexuality for the military, from a behavior to an identity. When I was in the Army, if you were caught blowing your buddy, it didn't mean you were gay! It just meant that, this one time, you just happened to accidentally end up with a dick in your mouth. After DADT, homosexuality was treated more as an identity, and allegations of having this identity were pursued pretty vigilantly. I managed to serve my full term before DADT, and probably wouldn't have made it through during DADT.

There is no way that the current situation would have happened instead of DADT at the time of DADT. And a case can be made that DADT was the slippery slope that allowed for GLB service members to serve openly.

First, it was a pretty close call at the time. It wouldn't have happened at the exact time, but it was a viable cause that could have been delivered later in Clinton's first term. The big problem was that he led out of the gate with it, then folded when he met resistance. Second, again, DADT wasn't really a step in the right direction. DADT required servicemembers to lie about their identities, and was itself a lie, by its tacit acceptance that there were gay people in the military while defining homosexuality as incompatible with military service.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:45 PM on January 1, 2012


DADT required servicemembers to lie about their identities, and was itself a lie, by its tacit acceptance that there were gay people in the military while defining homosexuality as incompatible with military service.

No, the pre-DADT laws required servicemembers to lie. DADT required them not to lie, nor to tell the truth, and theoretically made it unimportant that there was a difference. Also, DADT specifically said that homosexual conduct, not homosexuality, was incompatible with military service. It didn't work the way its supporters claimed it would, but it was at least a little bit better than the status quo in 1992. It just wasn't enough and allowed the homophobes to claim that it was enough.
posted by Etrigan at 7:12 PM on January 1, 2012


DADT required them not to lie, nor to tell the truth

That's called a lie of omission, isn't it?

Also, DADT specifically said that homosexual conduct, not homosexuality, was incompatible with military service.

Yes. Again, though, prior to DADT, homosexual conduct by itself did not necessarily result in a discharge.

Some of this is colored by my own personal experience. I was in active duty from '84-87, was out to several people in my unit - including my direct supervisor - and knew other gay soldiers before and during DADT. The overall consensus from them was that DADT was not a meaningful improvement.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:36 PM on January 1, 2012


Salon.com's War Room has the Clinton-Biden trade at #1 on their list of political red herrings for 2012:

Why we’ll hear about it: Because it’s an easy and irresistible, personality-based story for the media, which kicks the speculation into overdrive every time an even remotely credible political figure advances the idea.

Why it won’t happen: The reasons are many. Start with the reality that Biden hasn’t committed any fireable offenses as vice president and isn’t an electoral drag in any way. We’re not talking about Spiro Agnew or Dan Quayle here.

posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:47 AM on January 2, 2012


Again, though, prior to DADT, homosexual conduct by itself did not necessarily result in a discharge.

From the DoD directive on separations, 1982:
Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The presence in the military environment of persons who engage In homosexual conduct or who, by their statements, demonstrate a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct, seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission. The presence of such members adversely affects the ability of the Military Services to maintain discipline, good order, and morale; to foster mutual trust and confidence among servicemembers, to ensure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of servicemembers who frequently must live and work under close conditions affording minimal privacy: to recruit and retain members of the Military Services; to maintain the public acceptability of military service; and to prevent breaches of security.

With some exceptions ("Such conduct is a departure from the member's usual and customary behavior" or "Such conduct under all the circumstances is unlikely to recur"), the pre-DADT policy absolutely was that service members could not be gay, period. Did some local commanders ignore this? Yes. Just like they did under DADT. But DADT was a step forward, albeit a small one that shouldn't have taken eighteen years to follow up.
posted by Etrigan at 12:06 PM on January 2, 2012


With some exceptions ("Such conduct is a departure from the member's usual and customary behavior" or "Such conduct under all the circumstances is unlikely to recur"), the pre-DADT policy absolutely was that service members could not be gay, period. Did some local commanders ignore this? Yes. Just like they did under DADT. But DADT was a step forward, albeit a small one that shouldn't have taken eighteen years to follow up.

Yes, the pre-DADT policy was that servicemembers could not be gay. Again, though, in my experience and that of other gay soldiers I knew, local commanders were much more likely to ignore this before DADT than they were after the implementation of DADT, especially if any third parties did "tell."
posted by me & my monkey at 2:45 PM on January 2, 2012


Again, though, in my experience and that of other gay soldiers I knew, local commanders were much more likely to ignore this before DADT than they were after the implementation of DADT, especially if any third parties did "tell."

17,000 servicemembers were discharged for homosexuality in the 1980s. Around 13,000 were discharged for homosexual conduct in the 18 years of DADT (and that doesn't count the fact that the Obama administration separated very few in the two years before DADT was repealed).

In my own experience, which coincides almost entirely with DADT, if your commander wanted you gone, you were gone. If he didn't, you weren't. This seems to conform to your own experience from before DADT.

Again, you said:
DADT... [defined] homosexuality as incompatible with military service.

It expressly did the opposite, saying in policy and regulation and countless training materials that homosexuality was not incompatible with military service, but homosexual conduct was. Before that, as I quoted above, Department of Defense policy did define homosexuality as incompatible with military service.
posted by Etrigan at 4:11 PM on January 2, 2012


17,000 servicemembers were discharged for homosexuality in the 1980s. Around 13,000 were discharged for homosexual conduct in the 18 years of DADT

We didn't have stop-loss in the 80s, what with the absence of actual wars.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:05 AM on January 3, 2012


Stop-loss applies only to service members at the end of their active duty service obligations. It has no legal impact on discharges for violations of DADT. I'll agree that it provides sort of a psychological impetus for commanders to not pursue discharges, but so did the operational tempo of the last decade in the U.S. military.
posted by Etrigan at 10:27 AM on January 3, 2012


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