In today’s New York Times, former executive editor and current op-ed columnist Bill Keller dances around for more than 400 words before saying what he really wants to say: Hillary Clinton should replace Joe Biden as the vice-presidential candidate in 2012, maybe. It’s an old idea — Keller admits it’s been “kicking around on the blogs” for over a year — but “it’s time to take it seriously,” he writes. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the idea hasn’t just been gestating on the blogs; in the summer of 2010, Sally Quinn wrote almost the same exact thing in a Washington Post column, concluding, “Take it seriously.”
One: it does more to guarantee Obama’s re-election than anything else the Democrats can do. Two: it improves the chances that, come next January, he will not be a lame duck with a gridlocked Congress but a rejuvenated president with a mandate and a Congress that may be a little less forbidding. Three: it makes Hillary the party’s heir apparent in 2016. If she sits out politics for the next four years, other Democrats (yes, Governor Cuomo, we see your hand up) will fill the void.
But Keller’s column idea is so tired, and so baseless (having been “authoritatively, emphatically dismissed by Hillary, Biden and Team Obama“) that the writer himself seems less than convinced. After laying out his dream scenario, Keller writes awkwardly, “Of course, this is more exciting if it’s a surprise, and now I’ve spoiled it. Sorry. But not as sorry as I’ll be if — as I fear — it’s just a fantasy.” But at least he filled his column, you know?