For now I want to tease out the vetting of VP contenders from the actual discussion about the VP pick.
Setting aside the harsh feelings and attitudes expressed about Hillary Clinton during the primaries, I think it was a mistake for Obama not to have vetted her for VP, which we are now learning he didn't do.
It certainly may be that Hillary Clinton decided early on she did not want to be considered. Her place in the U.S. Senate conceivably offers her many more opportunities for advancing causes and concerns close to her heart (and in line with a Democratic Congress). She has, for example, already taken a lead role in pushing back against HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt's proposed rule that could chill women's access to safe and reliable reproductive health services. And she is the primary Senate voice for the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Fair enough.
Still, not vetting her - and now making this information public - leaves me feeling -- how to say this gently -- angry!
By not vetting Clinton, the Obama campaign looks small and insecure. Obama looks like a sore winner with a serious grudge. It comes across as personal and it looks bad on Obama's part.
Not vetting her also makes him look a whole lot like the typical white guys women have had to go under, around, over, and through to claw out our successes. Not a good way to sell "change" to second wave feminists.
That media pundits are now spilling the "non-vetting" story during their convention coverage is bound to pit Clinton supporters against Obama supporters and fuel more animus, so I also think this needs to be added to the mix. The media will do almost anything to create controversy.
Even so, I know how most of the media talking heads feel about Clinton (including the Left's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow) and about the media animus that exists toward both Clintons. Some of the media "crowing" re: the non-vetting is no doubt payback for the way they were frequently frozen-out during Bill Clinton's presidency.
As Clarence Page once noted during the Clinton impeachment hearings, "Listen to the sound of axes grinding, especially in Washington, D.C." It's a very small world there, prone to both the best and worst in human nature.
Yet, Obama fueled this, too, giving Clinton loyalists yet one more reason to stay home on Election Day.
In short, not vetting Hillary Clinton looks less like "change we can believe in" and more like politics-as-usual and payback; less like a "post-feminist" world and more like the -- dare I say it -- sexist and dismissive ways powerful women are frequently treated.
And this makes me angry.
Cross-posted at Open Salon