If Clinton chooses Hickenlooper as her running mate, I will not vote for her. I mean it. [Updated]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was spotted being dropped off at Clinton’s home and remained there for about an hour, according to CNN and NBC News. A person familiar with that meeting confirmed that Warren did meet with Clinton.

The same networks reported that Clinton also met at her home with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose name has been less prominent on Clinton’s list of potential running mates. Clinton also met with Hickenlooper while campaigning in Denver late last month, and he later told reporters that the vice presidential search “briefly” came up.

Clinton meets with Warren, Castro, Hickenlooper as part of VP search, Abby Phillip and Ed O’Keefe

Time and again when asked by a reporter why she thinks so many people, including many Democrats and Dem-leaning Republicans, don’t trust her and don’t like her, Hillary Clinton offers her opinion that that is the result of a quarter-century of vicious attacks by Republicans.  And again and again she claims that her vaunted toughness in defending herself against those Republican attacks will translate into toughness in fighting congressional Republicans on policy issues.

Neither claim is accurate, and both are part and parcel of the heart of Clinton’s campaign problems: That she has a long history of feigning cluelessness about what is so off-putting about her, and that one reason so many people don’t like or trust her is that she feigns cluelessness about what is so off-putting about her, or, worse, isn’t feigning cluelessness about the reason for a problematic public reaction to something about her or something she has said or done.  Or even just the meaning of a term like “the establishment.” which, her protestation notwithstanding, is unrelated led to gender.  And that she’s a triangulator and that, with the exception of traditional women’s issues, her progressive feints appear to be exactly that: feints.

For those who don’t know, although I assume Clinton does: Hickenlooper, who won reelection in 2014 by a hair to, um, this character, spent his entire first term as the ultimate triangulator.  So eager was he to advertise his nonpartisanship (read: moderate-Republican leanings) that he appointed a Republican nobody trial-court judge known for his illiteracy in anything resembling actual law, including his state’s statutes in the main area of law specifically assigned to him to handle as a judge, to the state Supreme Court.

Colorado has an appalling method of judicial selection that gets high praise because the judges are selected initially not via election but instead by appointment of the governor.  The problem is that a private committee, operating secretly, is charged with receiving bids for vacancies and then forwarding to the governor three names from which to choose.

But the three names become public (so to speak) only after they are announced as the three finalists; the names of the applicants are not publicly announced when they become applicants.  And then there is a window of approximately three minutes (okay, I think it’s 15 days) before the governor must make the appointment.  The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time period is of course long enough for the three to get their supporters to weigh in, but unless you know the announcement of the three is coming, not long enough for anyone else to do so.  Hickenlooper, provided with a choice between two Dems and this Republican-out-of-your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine, chose, to the dismay of many Dems, many progressives, and many victims of this judge’s stupidity, chose the latter.

In (I believe) the second election cycle after the appointment, the judge must run for “retention” by the voters—getting 60% (or some such figure) approval of the voters.  For this (misnomered) justice, that election was the one in November 2014, the one in which Hickenlooper running for reelection topped the ballot for state offices.  A state agency charged with contacting people (i.e., lawyers) who have had cases before the judges running for retention, and summarizing the statements, had reported about this Republican-out-of-your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine that many lawyers—some who had argued cases at the state Supreme Court since his appointment there and some who just had to try to deal with the opinions (such as they are) authored by this moron—that he was notably ignorant of the law and was either unable or unwilling to explain the bases for his opinions.  The agency’s report assured readers, though, that the moron said he’s working on improving.  Apparently, no one had noticed, though.

But Hickenlooper, who apparently also used other important appointments to advertise his nonpartisan (read: pro-business) cred, got a big look-at-me-I’m-not-really-a-Democrat-or-at-least-not-really-a-progressive chit.  The problem, though, was that his triangulation damn-near cost him reelection.

Someone I know who badly wanted to see Hickenlooper’s Republican Supreme Court appointee denied retention, and who believed he could accomplish that by reporting certain specifics to high-profile journalists, instead made the very painful decision to not do that.  The governor’s race was nip-and-tuck until the end.  Anyone appointed by the alternative to Hickenlooper would be horrific.  And highlighting the utter cravenness of Hickenlooper’s I’m-not-a-progressive-just-look-at-my-appointments tenure as governor conceivably could tip the balance toward the other guy in such a close election; progressives, whom Hickenlooper belatedly realized were sooo not pleased that some were considering not voting, and who late in the campaign he started frantically to court, could find it even harder to vote for this guy.

Which should be a lesson to Clinton and to the two people charged with drafting her Convention acceptance speech, and who want to try to explain what, specifically, their candidate means by her slogan “Stronger Together.”  They want, they say, to convey what kind of country Clinton will try to mold as president.

That is incredibly weird, if you think about it.  On virtually the eve of the Convention, this nominee is still debating between the candidate who will assuage her financial-industry donors—after all, who recommended Hickenlooper to her in the first place?— and, well, probably no one who won’t, notwithstanding her token among the VP-choice finalists.

What strikes me is the odd similarity between what Trump is doing and what Clinton is doing.  Or, more accurately, the similarity between the reason for what each of these two respective nominees is doing.  Trump went uber-base in his running mate choice in order to get some mega-donors to fund his campaign.  For Clinton, the opposite is necessary in order to achieve that goal.  I shouldn’t have succumbed to wishful thinking.

But neither Clinton nor her speechwriters need wonder any longer why so many people don’t like or trust her.  Nor what she can do about it.  She’s answered the first question, just fine.  And the second question answers itself, although she still thinks banalities, constant idiotic playacting, looking for a slogan that will fly, and of course triangulation dog whistles, are the way to go.  If at first you don’t succeed, ….

The encouraging news if she chooses Hickenlooper, I guess, is that she may not have him help select her judicial nominees.  Although you never know.



UPDATE:  Oh, stop.  Just stop, all of you in the comments thread who are excoriating me and think I will continue to be angry enough to actually not vote for Clinton.

Look. There really is no choice, in my opinion.  There just isn’t.

I meant it when I wrote the post, yes.  But since then I watched Clinton’s video address to the Netroots convention, and I feel about it much the same as I did her comments to us Sanders supporters on Tuesday during her joint with him.  I think it would be hard not to watch that video and not see it as sincere.

But if I’m wrong, there’s still no choice.  Not for me.

I wish Clinton would step back and ditch her standard persona and truly be the person she is in that video.  But doing that would require moving away from many of the people who have her ear and whom she relies so much on for political advice.   It also would require her to decide finally that the candidate she says in that video that really is is the candidate she truly is now.

As for Hickenlooper, I think now maybe she really didn’t know much about what transpired in his first term.  But if so, it really should be a warning to her that before she just accepts advice from someone who has the ability, the access, to give it to her, she should speak with some actual progressives who know about the person she’s considering or the issue she’s being lobbied about.

If she does pick Hickenlooper as her running mate, it will be a decision that runs contrary to her statements in that video about who she now is as a candidate, which I interpret as something beyond the two main issues she spoke about in it.  But if she does, I will vote for her anyway because I don’t think I have the option not to.

Update added 7/17 at 4:21 pm.