05 June 2008

Buy one, get one free...

Despite my contention that who wins the US presidential contest makes little real difference to the rest of the world, the choices made do tell us a lot about the US. Furthermore, nobody with any intellectual curiosity can avoid being fascinated by the game being played.

Now that Barack Obama is (bar the shouting) the Democrat candidate, the question of running mate becomes central. Obama and his advisors, and the party behind him, will no doubt have one thing in mind: which choice will maximise probability of defeating McCain and the Republicans in November. Close behind that will come another practical consideration: with whom can he can work effectively for the following four years? The rest of us have the luxury to think about more philosophical aspects and, at the same time, more superficial ones.

At the headline level, I would love to see Hillary Clinton as that running mate, simply because it would break two barriers (race and gender) for the price of one. That also translates into practical politics as bringing in Clinton's supporters behind the joint ticket, amongst other things.

The idea has a shadow, however. If both the presidential and vice presidential candidates are barrier busters, there also arises the prospect of two backlashes for the price of one.

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