Hillary's Pick for Veep: Will She or Warren She?

Will Hillary Clinton pick Elizabeth Warren as her running mate? That's a major decision facing the presumptive Democratic nominee as the national convention approaches.

Forget the latest assault on the United States by a radicalized Islamist. Ignore the flagging economy, the failure of Obamacare, the FBI investigation of her private self-server.  Nothing could prove more strategic than Hillary's choice of running mate in enabling the Clintons to return to the White House.

 According to Hillary, when they left there sixteen years ago, they were all but penniless, drained by the legal costs of Bill's scandalous affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, which Hillary characterized as a vast right-wing conspiracy.  Since then, the Clinton fortunes have reversed with a vengeance – from church mice to millionaires 170 times over.  Chalk it up, if you will, to being shrew calculators – or in the case of Hillary, a calculating shrew.  From college onward, ,she has been an Energizer bunny driven to realize her lifelong ambition as the first female president of the United States.  Now that her hard-fought goal is within reach, it's damn the Trump torpedoes, full speed ahead.

But the glitch is that some of those unwelcome missiles are being launched at her by members of the out-but-not-down Bernie Sanders movement.  And even while Hillary's clinching the Democratic nomination has made Bernie more irrelevant with each passing day in the countdown to Philly, he still has something she doesn't: the fealty of impassioned supporters without whose votes Hillary may not be able to win in November.

Six seemingly interminable months ago, I became aware for the first time of the A-B-C movement within the Democrat party ranks: Anybody But Clinton.  Disheartened though Sanders acolytes may be at this point, many of them are still determined not to vote for Hillary.  If they sit this election out – or, worse, if enough of them opt to vote for populist Trump – Hillary's chances of victory could be compromised.

What to do?  Well, vilify Trump, of course.  That's a given.  Scare voters into believing that no matter how problematic the prospect of Commander-in-Chief Hillary may seem to some, The Donald would be far worse.  Paint a terrifying scenario: a world at war, Putin and The Donald sitting down together to break bread and slurp borscht, a tsunami of Arab wrath and economic repercussions from Trump's temporary ban on hoards of un-vetted Syrian Moslem refugees coming to our shores, a slowdown in the flow of drugs from south of the border due to an honest-to-God wall.  That sort of scary stuff.  Whatever it takes.

But elections are won less often by those who vote against candidates than by those who vote for them.  We rarely relish going out of our way to watch a lousy movie just because it's better than anything else that's playing.  The same applies to the theater of politics.  So Hillary can't necessarily count on graphic trailers of hatred for Trump to bring disenchanted or lukewarm voters to the polls – not when her opposition seems to have some unprecedented gusts of enthusiasm at his back.

So the two-pronged conundrum for Hillary consists of the negativity of Bernie supporters and the passivity of other Democrats.  How best to neutralize both?  Perhaps by picking Elizabeth Warren as the vice presidential running mate!  She has plenty of left-of-center appeal to those who feel – or at least felt – The Bern.  And her shrill rhetoric is notoriously anti-Wall Street, which was one of the central rallying points of the Sanders campaign.

Pocahontas has plenty of pizzazz.  She is feisty and fearless in pouncing on Trump.  She's already shown her determination to flip The Donald off the way she flipped properties during the housing crisis to turn a neat profit.  Despite her preference for fellow New Englander Bernie, she's now embraced the Clinton cause as an outspoken surrogate on the campaign trail.  Some may even suppose her to be as the first Native American to run on a national ticket!  (Note: My children are far more genetically American Indian than she is, but they never parlayed it into personal gain.)

Still, it's a bit premature for the presses to roll out Clinton-Warren campaign placards.  Or to think of catchy slogans like "Two (Women) for the Price of One" or " Nurturing a New America" or "Giving birth to the American Dream."  (The term "Gender Bender" should figure in there somewhere.)  Warren is being vetted, but so are a number of other, lesser known liberal Democrats who could appeal to the growing base of the party.

Nor should one overlook the negatives in choosing Senator Warren of Massachusetts, a state that Clinton already has in her political pocket.  Would Warren make a viable difference, for example, in swinging purple states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida into the Clinton column?  Would the crucial independent vote, which tends to be moderate, feel comfortable with an edgy lefty professor, who rakes in big bucks for teaching few classes?  The prospect of having Warren as second in command may not sit well with a lot of Americans, especially with candidate Clinton, still under FBI investigation.

But there is a far more essential, if self-servingly sinister, reason why Hillary might be reluctant to tap darling-of-the-left Elizabeth Warren.  She's a woman.  This statement will come as a surprise only if you still define Hillary in her own terms: as an altruistic champion of women.  Yet Hillary has historically cared less about women than about using them for her own good.  She "identifies" with middle- and lower-class women as political assets the way she pegged Bill's bimbos as political liabilities.  Promoting the glorious, glass ceiling-shattering concept of America's first female president is nothing more than a high-minded gesture to propel her ambition along the low road to the White House.  Hillary's outrageous sense of "entitlement" is, in the end, based primarily on her sex, certainly not on her accomplishments.

So I have an inkling that after her long and devious political slog, Hillary Rodham Clinton does not exactly relish the idea of sharing the glory, or the podium, with another female.  If she does, it will evolve from a desperate conclusion that without Elizabeth Warren on the ticket, her dream of a lifetime could once again slip away.