08.05.08 Obama’s VP Pick
Sorry to disappoint you, Dear Readers, but there will be no prognosticating this time, just a bit of superficial analysis. You see, I’m simply not excited about any of the names being tossed about as the “short list.” So, I have no choice but to share my lack of excitement with you.
What follows is my rundown of all the names I’ve heard and all the things about each that bother me. Your challenge, Dear Reader, is to comment here or write me back (firstname.lastname@example.org), and convince me that one of these (or someone else!) would be a perfect pick!
Tim Kaine (Governor of Virginia): He seems to be the hot candidate of the moment. If he can deliver Virginia for Obama, that would be a fine thing. But the problem is that he is a first-term governor who does zero to help Obama on experience or foreign policy. He’s also a devout Catholic with questionable pro-choice credentials.
Kathleen Sebelius (Governor of Kansas): Well, she’s a woman. But the odds that she could deliver Kansas’ whopping six electoral votes are slim. And she is a second-term governor who helps Obama little on experience and zero on foreign policy.
Chris Dodd (Senator from Connecticut): I really like Dodd. But, CT has a Republican governor, which means if Dodd is selected, the Dems lose his seat in the Senate.
Jack Reed (Senator from Rhode Island): I don’t know that much about Reed, except that he is being considered, in part, because of his expertise in military affairs. But RI also has a Republican governor.
Joe Biden (Senator from Delaware): I have a great deal of respect for Biden’s foreign policy expertise, but this man suffers from perpetual foot-in-mouth disease. He would be a disaster waiting to happen on the campaign trail.
Bill Richardson (Governor of New Mexico; former Everything): He’s got the best resume of anyone under consideration and a solid progressive record. But his lack of charisma – and lack of articulateness during his abortive campaign earlier this year – give one pause. Just the same, I’d been wondering why he does not seem to be a finalist for VP, until a Democratic insider told me last week that Richardson has a “zipper problem” and other skeletons in his closet.*
Hillary Clinton (if you need me to tell you where she’s from, you have no business reading this blog): What, are you kidding? As Obama rapidly sheds the last vestiges of idealism and principle, all he needs is to tie himself to the über-cynical Clintons. Not to mention the fact that HRC couldn’t play no. 2 to anyone. Not to mention that the idea of the old Billygoat himself running loose in the administration is enough to send shivers up the spine of any rational human being. Though it could be argued that HRC could help Obama get elected, the Clintons’ lust for power would presage nonstop undermining of Obama’s administration and unending fodder for the tabloids and late-night TV after the election. Remember: whenever there is a Clinton in the room, it is all and only about the Clintons!
Evan Bayh (Senator from Indiana): I had the impression that Bayh was rather conservative, but just looked up his most recent rating from Americans for Democratic Action and it stands at a highly respectable 95%. As a supporter of Clinton during the primaries, Bayh has the potential of helping unify the party. And, though Indiana only has 11 electoral votes, there is the hope that Bayh might have some influence in neighboring Ohio and among those hallowed “white, working class” voters (i.e., racists from Appalachia). Though I began writing this post with no favorite in mind, I guess I end up with Bayh by default.
Just remember, though: apart from making a marginal difference in a state or (maybe) two, VP picks don’t really have much impact. So, just relax about all this and wait for it to happen!
As for McCain’s pick, I recommend some good analysis by William Kristol in today’s New York Times.
*Just because I heard this about Richardson doesn’t necessarily make it true. It is an unsubstantiated rumor that may explain why the man is not being seriously considered. Then again, it may not.
©2008 Keith Berner