By Brent Budowsky - 06/09/08 05:05 PM EDT
Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton stand at the cutting edge of a great epochal moment in American history — one which, if realized, will be written about by historians for centuries and fire cannons of inspiration that will energize the spirits of young men and women everywhere.
It is within reach in 2008 to achieve a realigning election comparable to 1932 that would transform all three branches of government, and transform geopolitics in ways that bring standing ovations from free people, and those who yearn to be free, in far corners around the world.
Today there are three women who stand out for the presidency or vice presidency, and one of them could be on the Democratic ticket. They are Sen. Clinton (N.Y.), Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona.
All three merit consideration, though it would seem to this columnist that the most compatible with Sen. Obama (Ill.) might be Gov. Sebelius, who has a history of winning support from independents and Republicans, and is the daughter of a popular former governor of Ohio, John Gilligan.
If a woman is chosen, no matter how it may work out, my hope is that Sen. Clinton would relish her role in history as the kingmaker and dream-maker who forever changes what is possible, and may still be elected president by 2016.
As Sen. Obama considers the decision that is only his to make, it is possible to construct a landslide scenario that lifts the dreams of all, by thinking in terms not only of a presidential candidate, and vice president, but a vision of an administration and presidency in which all dreams rise together.
If any of the women are chosen by Sen. Obama as vice presidential nominee, it would be desirable to name a prominent Republican, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.), as secretary of Defense, possibly before the convention. This would enhance national security credibility, foster a post-partisan spirit of unity, and bring a lifetime champion of troops, veterans and military families.
Why not include the Hispanic dream, with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is eminently qualified to be president, as secretary of State? Why not include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a post-partisan Treasury secretary of enormous financial expertise and clout?
Why not consider Bill Clinton as extraordinary presidential emissary for a genuine Middle East peace? If there were ever a person ideally suited for such an immense mission of timeless historic importance, it is Bill Clinton.
Why not bring together Caroline Kennedy, Chelsea Clinton and Susan Eisenhower in the ultimate legacy tour to unite the best of America’s past, present and future?
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are transitory leaders, historical figures at a moment when Americans want to break with the status quo and bring about change that builds on the best of the American past, in order to build the best American future.
No matter whom Obama chooses from the long list of men and women who would be tremendous vice presidents: Change with reassurance brings victory; hope rooted in our history brings landslide.
The road to realignment in 2008 is to ride the wave of the dream, while honoring our traditions and the heroes who came before us, and gave so much, to make our dreams come true today.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. He serves on the Advisory Council of the Intelligence Summit and as contributing editor of Fighting Dems News Service. He can be read on The Hill Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.