And Now…

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The following is from Reuters today – would love to hear some thoughts on the choices…

Here is a list of some possible Democratic vice presidential candidates, in alphabetical order:

* Joseph Biden, 65 – The senator from Delaware, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is a respected foreign policy expert who would give Obama authority on the issue. But Obama might not want to add a second senator to the ticket, and could be looking for a fresher face to reinforce his message that this election is about change and the future.

* Wesley Clark, 63 – A retired Army general and former NATO commander who ran unsuccessfully for the presidential nomination in 2004, Clark is a supporter of Hillary Clinton who could help rally the party and provide a boost on national security issues. But he did not run a strong campaign in 2004 and he would be unlikely to generate much enthusiasm among party activists.

* Hillary Clinton, 60 – Polls have shown strong Democratic support for a “dream team” ticket of Obama and Clinton, his top rival for the nomination. Obama has not ruled out the option, which would help unify the party after a grueling nominating battle. But Clinton also would bring complications, including the return of former President Bill Clinton to the White House. A joint ticket could help attract some of Clinton’s supporters — including women and white working-class Democrats — who have been reluctant to support Obama.

* Chris Dodd, 64 – The Connecticut senator, a fluent Spanish speaker and expert in Latin American issues, is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a former foe for the presidential nomination who quickly endorsed Obama after dropping out. He would help bolster Obama’s foreign policy and economic credentials, but presents many of the same drawbacks as Biden.

* Chuck Hagel, 61 – The Republican senator from Nebraska, a conservative Vietnam veteran but outspoken critic of the Iraq war, would help Obama reach out to independents and Republicans and reinforce his promise to bridge partisan divides.

* Tim Kaine, 50 – The Virginia governor was one of Obama’s earliest and strongest supporters and could help him in a state that traditionally has been Republican in presidential elections but has been turning Democratic in recent years.

* Sam Nunn, 69 – The former Armed Services Committee chairman from Georgia is a respected foreign and military policy voice, but his age and conservative view on some social issues might make him an awkward fit with Obama.

* Ed Rendell, 64 – The Pennsylvania governor has been one of Clinton’s strongest campaigners and he could help woo her supporters and help deliver a key state. A former district attorney and the mayor of Philadelphia, Rendell has executive experience that could help Obama.

* Bill Richardson, 60 – New Mexico governor, a Hispanic, could help with Latino vote — the fastest-growing segment of the electorate and a potentially vital voting bloc. A seasoned negotiator, the former energy secretary and U.N. ambassador would also bring foreign policy experience to the ticket as well as inside knowledge of how Washington works.

* Kathleen Sebelius, 60 – Two-term governor of Kansas could bring some vital elements to the ticket: she’s a woman and as the leader of a mostly Republican state has shown she can work across party lines. But she is largely untested on the national stage.

* Ted Strickland, 66 – The governor of Ohio is another strong Clinton supporter who comes from a battleground state. A former U.S. congressman, the first-term governor is not well-known nationally.

* Jim Webb, 62 – The first-term Virginia senator, Vietnam veteran and former secretary of the Navy has written seven novels, including “Fields of Fire,” considered one of the best novels about the Vietnam War. Webb could help Obama in a state that has turned more Democratic in recent years.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles and John Whitesides, editing by David Wiessler)

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10 Responses to “And Now…”

  1. michaellasley Says:

    At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot…….how much does the VP candidate matter? Is it a make or break decision? Because, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever decided who I would vote for based on their VP nomination. Maybe I’m not a good citizen.

  2. alsturgeon Says:

    You are SUCH an idiot. 🙂 Just kidding, of course…

    I think it can be a make or break decision, specifically in close elections. If you are torn between voting for Obama or McCain (and there might actually be some of those people out there), then the VP choice might swing you that little bit one way or another.

    And… I think it is the first time people get to see what kind of people you will choose to lead in your administration. If you suck at this choice, then there’s a pretty big indicator that you’re going to suck even worse when you get down to picking folks in charge of cow manure removal, and other necessary jobs like that.

    But I think you’re implication is well taken: I doubt it ever makes much of a difference in an actual election.

    Still, I’m interested for some warped reason.

  3. urbino Says:

    It seems to sometimes matter. JFK’s selection of Lyndon Johnson helped him in rural areas and, obviously, Texas. Bush’s selection of Cheney (or, actually, Cheney’s selection of Cheney) gave the ticket foreign policy heft that Bush himself couldn’t provide, allaying concerns on that front.

    Cheney’s also a good example of a Veep under-delivering. He turned out to be not so great at foreign policy, after all, but that wasn’t the expectation back in 2000.

    An opposite example would be FDR’s selection of Truman in 1944. FDR frankly didn’t care who was on the ticket with him. He was sick, tired, and focused entirely on the war. His advisers picked Truman, in one of those “smoke-filled rooms” at the Dem convention, and FDR said, “Eh, okay.” As it turned out, of course, Truman was a very important choice.

    As for the list above, my preference would probably be Wes Clark, for a few reasons. One, he brings military and foreign policy heft to the ticket. Two, as a Clinton campaign surrogate virtually throughout the primaries, his presence on the ticket would tend to neutralize her ability to continue sniping from the sidelines. Three, he has presidential campaign experience.

    I like Bill Richardson, and in a lot of ways he’d be a brilliant choice, but, honestly, he said some pretty flaky things during his primary campaign. I worry about him saying more, or about those getting dredged back up.

    Joe Biden would be an excellent choice, I think. He’s got the foreign policy cred, he’s a good speaker, and whoever McCain picks, Biden would probably eat him/her for lunch in the VP debates. OTOH, Biden is a guy whose mouth sometimes gets him into trouble.

    Jim Webb is an interesting possibility, but he does have a misogynistic past. That’s a really bad thing in itself, never mind how the already-angry Clinton supporters would react to Obama choosing him over her.

    As for Clinton, I don’t see how he could pick her. The only argument for it — the ONLY argument — is the re-unifying the party argument, and I think that can be done in other ways. If she’s on the ticket, Bill’s essentially on the ticket, and the two of them would tend to overshadow the person at the top of the ticket.

    Sebelius could be helpful for the reasons already mentioned. Beyond that, I don’t know anything about her.

    Also, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the Obama campaign came up with somebody nobody’s thinking of, but when their name is announced, everybody smacks their forehead and says, “Oh, yeah! Of course!”

  4. alsturgeon Says:

    What about my man Hagel?!!!

    Any of Biden/Clark/Richardson sounds smart to me.

    Is there someone with a good Muslim-sounding name?

    If he picked Chris Dodd, the team would sound like the capital of Pakistan (Vote for ObamaDodd!).

  5. urbino Says:

    Heh. True.

    Another problem with Richardson: the Clinton people would go apey.

  6. alsturgeon Says:

    Here’s a smack-your-forehead possibility that nobody’s thinking of (yet).

    California has all those electoral votes and would strike a nice geographic balance with Obama being from the Midwest (how Chicago is Midwest I’m still trying to figure out). Anyway, there’s this guy from Bakersfield, CA, whose name is Ben Loden. Now, other than the California residence I know nothing about the guy, but…

    Imagine the campaign signs:
    Obama Ben Loden

    Now THAT would be fun.

  7. unicorntx Says:

    I can think of one other argument for Hillary – put forth here with some trepidation – In the event of something happening to Obama, (not so far-fetched, since it only takes one crazy to make “something” happen) she would be a good person to take the reins.

    Just for the record – Al can bear me out – I’ve been an Obama supporter, but would happily have voted for Hillary if she had become the nominee.

  8. alsturgeon Says:

    Point well taken.

    BTW, Unicorntx and I are walking on eggshells in our respective homes right now. Both of our wives wanted Hillary to get the nomination, while both of us pulled for Obama! 🙂

  9. unicorntx Says:

    So Far, So Good. I’m neither in the dog house nor the guest bedroom.

  10. urbino Says:

    she would be a good person to take the reins

    I suppose. Honestly, my opinion of both Clintons has steadily dropped since the 90s. They are so enmeshed in the big-money power brokering game, I just don’t see either of them as in any meaningful way liberal or progressive, anymore. They’re too invested in the status quo.

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