What can Obama do for HRC?

Invite Chelsea to keynote the convention.

Karen Tumulty asks the obvious question: what can and will Obama do for Hillary Clinton to help reconcile her to defeat?

I don’t think there’s much. The Vice-Presidency is out. Virtually any cabinet position would be a comedown. It’s doubtful that she wants to be on the Supreme Court, and putting her there would have enormous costs for Obama. It’s hard to see that money alone would do much; Bill can mint the stuff, and Hillary’s campaign memoir would be a best-seller.

Bill Clinton would be fine running an African development initiative, but would he really trade what he has now for that sort of job? Not likely. And given HRC’s behavior around Michigan and Florida, it’s hard for Obama to do anything for her without seeming weak. A good speaking slot in Denver? Sure, but so what? Does she suddenly need the name recognition?

On the other hand, there’s one member of the family who has a potential political future that Obama could help with. Bill is already talking about a potential Chelsea Clinton Presidential campaign. There are “Chelsea in 2016” buttons appearing at Clinton rallies. There has been some cavilling among the chatterers about Chelsea’s refusal to take questions from the press even as she’s made herself a substantial part of the HRC campaign, and her day job in a distressed-debt hedge fund isn’t exactly a stint in the Peace Corps, but my guess is that not one voter in 100 knows or cares about any of that. What they know is that a young woman with an evident reluctance to engage in politics, and who survived an incredibly difficult adolescence, rallied to her mother’s side when things were going badly, and by all accounts did a creditable job as a surrogate speaker.

The way to win the heart of virtually any parent is to do something nice for his or her child. And there would be no more eloquent way for Obama to express personal good-will toward Hillary Clinton than by forwarding the career of her daughter.

As soon as the current unpleasantness is over, Obama should invite Chelsea Clinton to give the keynote address in Denver, and offer her as prominent a role as she’d like to play in the campaign from then on.

No, she hasn’t really earned it. And she might not even do it especially well. But so what? Peace has to be made, and I can’t think of a cheaper way to make it.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com