Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Democratic Veepstakes

Now on to the Democratic Veepstakes! This one is a lot trickier because of the fanatical Hillary supporters who threaten mutiny and sabotage if their beloved candidate isn't respected and treated appropriately. Though she's not the nominee, they'll settle for the Vice Presidency...for now. But if anyone ever watched that short-lived TV show, "Commander-in-Chief", the female Vice President (played by Geena Davis) became president when the male president died. Not to sound too cynical, but the number of Clinton associates who died in the 1990s is something to consider. With Hillary alluding to RFK's assassination, it only makes you wonder what's happening behind the scenes, what might be concocted in some clandestine meeting somewhere in Northern Idaho or Western Montana. I am a little worried about Denver this summer when the Convention happens. I can't help it when Hillary looked a little too happy and all too willing to raise the spectre of RFK's tragic end when he won a huge victory. With Obama being the perfect political offspring of MLK and RFK, you have to take that into consideration.

So, no, I would strongly urge Obama not to select Hillary as a running mate. He needs someone who won't attempt to steal the limelight nor one who might be too happy if Obama meets the same fate as the two heroes of the 1960s. With this being another 8 year (why does turmoil seem to strike most in the eighth year of a decade?), the risk is too great. Plus there are better candidates to select from.

He could go with Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, who knows what it takes to win in a red state. She's on her second term and quite popular. However, it could also be seen as an insult to Hillary supporters, since Hillary went through all the troubles in an attempt to win the nomination while Obama thinks he can placate her supporters by offering another female in Hillary's place. So, based on that reason, I don't think he will choose a female running mate if it won't be Hillary. Kathleen will probably end up in a Cabinet position at some point or (depending on how young she is) even running in 2012 or 2016. She's definitely a politician to watch for in the next decade.

Governor Mark Warner of Virginia was rumoured to begin running for president when he left office a few years ago. When he didn't announce a campaign, it came as kind of a shock. Why wouldn't he run? There were very few Governors running this time and that has been the preferred stepping stone to the presidency in recent years. Plus, he's from a red state. That makes him a good prospect for Vice President. However, I don't know much about his background and if he has critical foreign policy experience. That's what Obama truly needs in a running mate.

If Obama wanted to shake up the political system a bit, he could cross the aisle and select Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who has indicated recently that he might vote for Obama for president. What I like about Hagel is that he's a typical Midwesterner (from the great state of Nebraska) in that he's moderate and no fan of religious extremism that seems to have taken over the Republican party. He has a military background with solid foreign policy credentials and with his being a Republican, it would send a message of unity in the post-Bush era. What better than to have a government of national unity as some had proposed when John Kerry supposedly had asked McCain to be his running mate in 2004?

John Edwards has indicated that he does not want to be asked, let alone selected as the Vice Presidential candidate. I have a good hunch why. He wants to be Obama's Attorney General and I think he would make the best one since Robert F. Kennedy held that position from 1961 through 1964.

Senator Joe Biden has nothing but love for Obama, as you might recall when his honesty got him into some trouble (because he had the audacity to mention that Obama had the looks, charisma, and talent to succeed where a Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others did not). Though his second campaign for president hardly made an impact (his first campaign in 1988 blew up over allegations of plagiarism), he does have the most foreign policy experience and knowledge of anyone who ran on the Democratic side this cycle. He is exactly the kind of Vice President needed to give balance to a relatively inexperienced Obama. And with his political views, we can rest assured that he's no nefarious Rasputin like Dick-less Cheney.

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana endorsed Hillary, but selecting him would bring executive experience (he served two terms as governor in the 1990s) and the possibility of putting Indiana in the Democratic column for the first time since ???? Other than that (and a potential swoon factor among some women), he's kind of a lightweight. In 2000, I had hoped that Gore would've selected him as a running mate because he's in the DLC-wing of the party that seemed to be the path towards victory then, but after he voted for the USA PATRIOT Act and the War in Iraq, I kind of lost an interest in his career. There was talk since the 1990s that he had presidential aspirations, but didn't run in 2004 (possibly because he was up for re-election in the Senate that year as well) and in 2007 announced that he wasn't running this time either. I think he saw the writing on the wall...the DLC days are over. The progressives have the upper hand now.

Though Senator James Webb recently won a seat to Congress in 2006 (thanks in small part to Senator George Allen's "macaca" comment that exploded big on the new force in politics: YouTube), he served as Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, has written some military novels (which I still hope to get around reading someday), and has a son serving in Iraq (unlike most Republican politicians). He is the one I'd like to see as Obama's running mate the most, but the problem is that Virginia has another Senate race this year and if Obama wins and Webb is the Vice President, they'll have to select another Senator and who's to say that George Allen might not want his seat back? Plus, Senator Webb has the potential to be a very influential Senator, so it's probably best if Obama does not pick him.

I've heard other names mentioned...Bill Richardson (though he's most likely going to be Obama's Secretary of State), Sam Nunn (too far off the political scene, though he's now actively involved in helping to secure Russia's loosely guarded nuclear materials), and Tim Kane (current governor of Virginia, who will remain as such).

It's a tough choice, that's for sure. There's no other shining stars out there currently, who serve as Governors in critical swing states, so if Obama is looking at the electoral map, my guess is that he might choose Evan Bayh, but if foreign policy is important, then Joe Biden is a good choice. If it were up to me, I'd go ahead and select James Webb as the vice president and let the chips fall where they may. I'll be very interested to see who Obama ends up picking because it will show a little bit more about his thought processes. When Clinton picked Gore in 2000, I was in disbelief because it defied conventional thinking at the time. It showed me what a sharp thinker Clinton was and made me more comfortable in voting for him (my biggest worry in 1992 was that there were more Gennifer Flowers waiting out there to bring him down, which is why I hated the events of 1998 when my fears became reality).

I don't know when the choice will be made, but I expect some time after the Fourth of July weekend. If I remember correctly, in 2004, John Kerry announced his choice before the holiday because I was visiting a friend in Iowa at the time and we were relieved when he did not pick Hillary as a running mate.

Anyone want to make an office pool bet on the Veeps for both parties?

My predictions are: Christine Todd Whitman for the Republicans; Mark Warner for the Democrats.


d/b/c/m said...

i'll vote based on desire, not necessarily likelihood (i wasn't familiar with some of them)...

rep: elizabeth dole
dem: joe biden

Margie's Musings said...

I don't have a clue. If Obama doesn't choose Hillary, I'd want Kathleen Sebelius. I'm from Kansas and I know what a fine governor she has been. Yet I can see where that would alienate Hillary supporters.

Jeff said...

I found this on Obama's running mate.

Very funny.

Jeff said...

I found this on Obama's running mate.

Very funny.

Jeff said...

I found this on Obama's running mate.

Very funny.

Sean Langdon said...

There is also talk of possibly Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania. He was a major Clinton supporter and the pundits are saying he could help bring over the Clinton vote.

I think it will be Joe Biden.

I don't think Obama should pick a female for his VP. I don't think it would be a smart move for him. He could upset Clinton supporters by picking a different female besides her.

If offered (and I don't think it will be), I hope Clinton does NOT take the VP slot. She could do a lot more good as a Senator for the next 8 years. Plus, if Obama screws up then it will reflect badly on her as well and she will for sure have no chance at the presidency in the future.

Sansego said...

Oh...Hillary won't be president, even if Obama doesn't win this time. Even if Hillary runs in 2012, I think Governor Sebelius will as well and if she runs, I'll be inclined to work on her campaign. I like her executive experience in a red state and she doesn't carry the baggage that Hillary does...namely Clinton as a last name.

j janell cf said...

STILL so down on hillary? i don't think hillary will happen, but i do think it would be awesome--and i think it's ludicrous to suggest she's going to try to plan to assisinate obama!

Sansego said...

I don't think she'll do it...but I don't think she'll be sad if it happens, either.

There are plenty of crazy white supremacists in Colorado who might be tempted to shake up the DNC. I'm a little uneasy about this year being the 40th anniversary of that super violent year in which two great Americans were killed and riots were happening and the Chicago convention turned into a bloodbath. I won't relax until November, I think.