Obama's biggest mistakes...
In the wake of Hillary Clinton's speech last night, there is a lot of talk about how not nominating Clinton for VP is "Obama's biggest mistake". That is simply not the case. Obama should not have "needed" Clinton as VP in the first place, and the fact that he does is a symptom of his actual 'biggest mistakes."
Obama's biggest mistakes, in order, were:
1) Not participating in further debates, and ignoring states like West Virginia and Kentucky. That wasn't just a missed opportunity to introduce himself to more voters, it was a signal to voters that they didn't matter to him. It also provided evidence to those doubtful of Obama that he lacks the personal characteristics that a President needs to govern in the face of pressure and adversity.
2) Playing the race card against Clinton. Obama would have gotten the vast majority of AA votes anyway, based on the "historical" nature of his candidacy. But playing the race card not only alienated people already supporting Clinton, it probably increased her support. It also made it nearly impossible to make an effective case against the inevitable GOP dog-whistle politics that will play a major role in the GE.
3) Not taking personal responsibility for unifying the party. Instead, he acted as if it was Hillary's job to get her supporters to fall in line, while he concentrated on people like evangelicals. It's a truism that endorsements are virtually meaningless anymore, and that candidates themselves need to appeal to voters -- and it's been that way for quite some time. Obama seems to have forgotten that. Additionally, whether by intent or incompentence, Team Obama made a series of moves (Solis-Doyle, allowing "roll call vote" and "Clintons' roles" at the convention to become controversial) that were perceived as disrespectful by those not convinced by "party unity" arguments.
4) Failure to define himself and flip-flopping. It's hard enough for any candidate to define themselves in the face of opposition efforts to define them, and for someone with Obama's lack of a record its especially difficult. The "all things to all people" schtick worked in the primaries only because Clinton chose not to make an effort to define him until it was too late. Obama stands for nothing in particular -- there is nothing for people to grab that acts an an anchor to define his character. And his post-primary flip-flops and equivocations have exacerbated this problem, allowing the GOP to define his solely in terms of his "character."
Given the antipathy toward the GOP this year, no Democrat should "need" the kind of help "that only Hillary Clinton" can bring to the ticket. When the role of the VP nominee becomes "saving the campaign from the candidate himself," the question of "the right" VP candidate becomes irrelevant.
Nor is there any evidence that Clinton would be able to accomplish what would be demanded of her. A big part of Obama's current problems has to do with the media's obsession with the Clintons, and because there are profound differences in how Team Obama and Team Clinton think the campaign should be run, and strong resentment of the other "side" within each camp, the media will focus the "Clinton vs. Obama" dynamic, leaving an open field for McCain's attacks.
And ultimately, while Clinton might be able to push Obama over the top in November, the real question comes down to what happens next? The election season has shown us that Obama is not a consummate politician -- rather, he's like a highly specialized plant that thrives in a specific environment, but withers and dies under less than ideal conditions. While Democrats are rightfully worried about Obama's chances in November, the reasons they need to be worried should also have them concerned about an Obama Presidency.