Watching the Democratic debate, what strikes me most is how hard Clinton and Obama need to work to find a difference between them. And when they finally do differ, their views are more often complementary than dissonant -- they agree on the problems, and just have different ideas about how best to implement a solution. What's more, I feel like there's a genuine rapport between them that's developed over the campaign.
Compare that with the fire and the fury of the Republican debates, where from the first question candidates couldn't agree on as basic a question as whether Americans are better off now than they were 8 years ago, and often came to verbal blows personally. They're a mess.
The power of the Democratic ticket is clear not only in the debates, but in the fund-raising and turnout data for the campaigns and primaries so far. Americans are excited about getting rid of Bush/Cheney and getting one of these two into office. The point I'm building up to is that I'm wondering what the effect on the campaign would be if Obama and Clinton pledged to pick the runner-up as their vice-president.
Now, as I write this post, Blitzer just asked the same question, which is enough to make me think it's a terrible idea. And the candidates of course said they wouldn't rule it out (what else could they say?). But I still want to open it for discussion. Its effect on who would continue to vote in the primaries and who the eventual nominee is are one side of it. I'm more interested in how it will effect the tone of the remaining debates and the media messages in the months leading up to the convention.
If the two jointly announced a "Unity Pledge" before Super Tuesday -- a guarantee they will both be on the ticket in some order -- would they be more effective at distancing themselves as a pair from the other side? If they don't, will they necessarily devolve into more pettiness as the convention draws nearer (assuming their delegate counts stay neck-and-neck), or can the collegial tone they've (mostly) set so far survive on its own?