Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who will be Obama's VP?

I've been asked a few times who I think Barack Obama will pick as his running mate. My top pick is Senator Jim Webb from Virginia. A recent article on Huffington Post had similar feelings.

Webb is the closest thing to a front runner for Obama's VP these days. A former Republican, he served as Secretary of the Navy for Ronald Reagan. Webb defeated George "Macaca" Allen to become a junior senator in Virginia.

Pro: Webb is a good foil for Obama's post-partisan message, and he's got the military credentials to match up with John McCain. He's good at playing the attack dog, which will let Obama take the high road. And he's from trending-blue Virginia, which would be a great pickup in November for Democrats. He's also pro-guns.

Con: Webb can be a little out-of-control as attack dogs go.

I couldn't agree with this more.

Next up is Bill Richardson. He used to be my number one choice for an Obama running mate. He would shore up the Latino vote while also bolstering the ticket. Unfortunately, after recent months, I think far too many uneducated white voters are nervous about a non-white ticket. The political climate has changed over the last few months, and the black \ Hispanic combo is probably too radical for too many people.

Then we get to Joe Biden. I like Biden a lot. He's got foreign policy experience, and history ends up proving him correct when he takes a stand. But, again, given the current political climate, I'm not sure if he would help too much. To me he conjures too much John Kerry and not enough middle-America.

Chuck Hagel would be an interesting choice. I like this one a lot. He would probably be my number three pick right now. He would personify the idea that Obama is a pragmatist and willing to work across party lines--the source of his appeal. Hagel would add an element of toughness, much like Jim Webb, which should resonate with many undecided voters while helping to neutralize McCain. His negatives are his conservative leanings on abortion and health care but I don't see that being much of a factor in a Vice Presidential role.

Then there's my number two choice, General Wesley Clark. I've liked him since 2004 when he ran on an anti-war ticket. He would certainly remove much doubt about Democratic toughness, or weakness on national security. As a Clinton backer he could bring angry Democrats back into the fold.

Now let's talk about a few who would not be good choices.

People, even paid professionals, just can't stop pondering Hillary Clinton as a legitimate VP contender. I don't see this happening for all the reasons she has put on display over the last four months--she's remorseless, shameless, old school, and far too overtly political. She seems like the Democratic embodiment of George W. Bush--someone who surrounds herself with loyalists and hammers away at the party line, all while everything goes to hell around her. Then she just bunkers up and fights some more. She's everything Obama claims not to be. Putting her on the ticket doesn't help him at all.

Mike Bloomberg, the popular governor of New York City. I like this idea in theory, the media loves the guy, but I feel it would make the ticket a little too glamorous. Obama has more than enough glitz and media savvy, what they need is some lunch pail, working class, love-it-or-leave it gravity on the ticket.

John Edwards, would be another bad choice. I've never been a huge Edwards fan. To me, being against poverty is sort of like rooting for the Yankees, or listening to the Beatles. It's a tad unoriginal and safe. And I'd say that's a good way to sum Edwards up. Also, he carried nothing in 2004 when he had his chance at the big stage, and Cheney ate him for lunch during the debates. Edwards is a figurehead, a hood ornament of the party.

Finally, Al Gore. He's at his best when he's doing slide shows and he made the wise decision not to listen to the siren call and run in 2008. It would have ruined everything he has salvaged after his heart-breaking 2000 campaign. He's a good man, a smart man, a wise man, but his political time has come and gone. Besides, he'd never be VP again would he?

No comments: