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Kristol: The Democrats' Glass Ceiling

7:56 PM, Aug 23, 2008 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Denver
So Hillary Clinton gets about 18 million votes in 2008, and isn't even considered for--she apparently isn't even given the courtesy of being consulted--the vice presidential pick. Joe Biden manages to persuade a few thousand (if that) Iowans to support him. And Barack Obama selects Biden? Normally, if the VP pick came from that year's presidential field, it's the runner-up (Kerry-Edwards in 2004, Reagan-Bush in 1980, Stevenson-Kefauver in 1956). (Lyndon Johnson in 1960 hadn't entered the primaries.) And Biden wasn't even the third most successful candidate this year (hi, John Edwards!), or fourth (Bill Richardson, I suppose), or fifth (Dennis Kucinich!).

What's more, Biden and Hillary have basically comparable foreign policy "experience" (such as it is in either case). Nor is Biden clearly more knowledgeable in foreign affairs than Hillary. And they have pretty similar foreign policy views. So no advantage to Biden there. And, unlike Jack Reed, for example, Biden didn't serve in the military. So no advantage over Hillary there. Nor does he outshine her in executive experience (unlike Evan Bayh or Tim Kaine or Kathleen Sebelius)--neither Biden nor Hillary has any.

Also, if the VP is supposed to handle the Democrats' populist economic message: after the last few months of the primary campaign, it would be hard to say Hillary hasn't proven herself an awfully good carrier of that message. And Hillary can perform the attacking functions of the VP nominee as well as Biden.

Will the Democratic party, which is committed (to say the least) to gender equity, and which in fact has a 50 percent quota for female delegates, accept Obama's imposition of a glass ceiling at its convention?

A modest suggestion to my justifiably outraged Democratic friends: Hillary's name should be placed in nomination not for the presidency (Obama won that more or less fair and square)--but for the vice presidency. It would be an interesting roll call vote.