Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 7, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

WHO'S YOUR VEEP?....Assuming that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama chooses the other as their running mate, who would be their top choice? Lee Sigelman has applied Science™ to this question and concludes that the first pick for both candidates is.....

Ohio governor Ted Strickland.

The implicit electoral cynicism of this choice is pretty overwhelming, but still, I guess I'll buy it. A lot of people assume that one of the primary also-rans is the most likely choice, but in fact winning nominees rarely choose one of their erstwhile competitors. Kerry did it in 2004 and Reagan did it in 1980, and then you have to go all the way back to 1960 to find another example. That's a grand total of three times in half a century.

FWIW, Sigelman figures that Obama's top three choices are Strickland, Sam Nunn, and Jim Webb. Clinton's top three are Strickland, Sam Nunn, and (in a tie) Jim Webb and Mark Warner. (I assume that "John Warner" is just a typo....) He also notes that in his model, neither Joe Lieberman nor Dick Cheney made it into the top dozen in 2000. "One could take that as an indication of the weakness of our model, or — my preferred interpretation — as proof (as if further evidence were needed) that both presidential nominees that year chose the wrong running mate."

Kevin Drum 6:37 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (125)

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"One could take that as an indication of the weakness of our model, or — my preferred interpretation — as proof (as if further evidence were needed) that both presidential nominees that year chose the wrong running mate."

It's hard to argue against that logic!

Posted by: Davebo on February 7, 2008 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Barack Obama with Wes Clark seems to make sense.

Selebius and Napolitano make some sense too.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 7, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I said it before, Senator Claire McCaskill or Governor Kathleen Sebelius

Posted by: evermore on February 7, 2008 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Sam Nunn is too old and way too right-wing on social issues to be a likely running mate in '08.

Why would Obama pick Republican John Warner? Does Sigelman mean Mark Warner? If so, Mark Warner is impossible too -- he's in the middle of a Senate race that Dems are almost certain to pick up if he stays in it. There's virtually no chance of his being plucked out of that race to run for VP.

Jim Webb would be a poor VP pick for reasons outlined by Ezra Klein.

Ted Strickland would be a good pick for either Hillary or Obama, but he was only elected governor in '06 and it's not typical in the modern political era for governors to be picked only halfway through their first term.

I'd suspect Joe Biden will be a likely prospect for Obama, as would Wes Clark (a Hillary backer), Chris Dodd, Jim Webb (despite his weakness as a VP), and Kathleen Sebelius.

For Clinton, I'd imagine Wes Clark and Evan Bayh have the inside track. Vilsack might have too, had Hillary not done so terribly in Iowa.

Richardson strikes me as too much of a gaffe-machine to be a safe running mate, but who knows?

Posted by: Andrew on February 7, 2008 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Wes Clark has aligned with Hillary, so while she may pick him, I doubt Barack will.

I love Jim Webb and would like him to stay in the senate. I believe that he promised to serve out his first term.

Posted by: The Bobs on February 7, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

If Strickland can push us over the top in Ohio, I'm all for it. Picking a red state senator is a bad idea. We need them in the Senate. In fact, we need more of them.

Posted by: fostert on February 7, 2008 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Strickland? For Clinton, maybe. Obama/Strickland? No way. Obama needs somebody older, that the Village associates with foreign policy. Clark or Biden would work for either one. Ezra Klein laid out all the reasons Webb would be a terrible Veep choice. He convinced me.
Actually, with BombIran John on the other side, Biden looks like a smarter choice. If he can be persuaded to be critical of his "good friend". And speak in shorter sentences.

Posted by: Jim on February 7, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

He also notes that in his model, neither Joe Lieberman nor Dick Cheney made it into the top dozen in 2000.

Don't forget, Dick Cheney did an exhaustive examination of all of the available choices and decided that the best possible one was ... himself.

He is the King of Conflicts of Interest.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on February 7, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Jim Webb? That guy is a hothead with a right-wing past, it would never work.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, on the other hand, would be perfect. He would help with the white working-class demographic that Obama needs to do better with to win swing states.

Posted by: jlr29 on February 7, 2008 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Naming Jim Webb would bring a lot of paleos to Obama's side.

The multicultural Obama with the fiercly proud Scots-Irishman Jim Webb. Now that's a balanced ticket.

Scott-Irish meaning persons who's ancestors came from Ulster (like my wife for example) and were known as some of the fiercest, most war-like people in Europe. That's why Southerners (many of whom like Webb are Scots-Irish) disperportionatly join the military.

This history lesson was brought to you Kevin Phillips, author of The Cousins Wars and Chronicles magazine.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on February 7, 2008 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton's top three are Strickland, Sam Nunn, and (in a tie) Jim Webb and John Warner.

Clearly, if Warner's in the mix, then this fancy-shmancy Science™ stuff doesn't take into account actuarial tables.

Posted by: junebug on February 7, 2008 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

The more people say that Clark is on Clinton's side, the better he sounds for Obama. He'll be coming out of a tight nomination fight, possibly looking to seal the nomination with a VP pick. What better way to do that than by picking up key supporters of his rival? Perhaps a prominent Michigander or Floridian, to swing their delegation to him, clinching the nomination and giving him a strong surrogate for one of those swing states in the general election.

As an erstwhile Kansan, I'm happy to see Sebelius getting national attention, but I'd like to see her run for the open Senate seat Brownback will vacate in 2010.

Posted by: Josh on February 7, 2008 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm assuming you mean MARK Warner.

Posted by: gemini on February 7, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, Bill Richardson was practically begging for the job, and he's got everything a nominee could want--he's got foreign policy experience, he 's a western governor, he's Hispanic. And he wouldn't show up at a funeral wearing hiking boots.

Posted by: Bob on February 7, 2008 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ohio governor? How often do nominees pick someone who endorsed the other candidate?

Posted by: notme on February 7, 2008 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

I like the Schweitzer suggestion; it was one I hadn't thought of. I may have commented on this here before, but my dream ticket (now, anyway) is Obama-Richardson. Richardson has all the years of international, foreign policy, and executive experience that is a knock on Obama, so he would insure him on that score as Cheney insured GW (though that may be a chancy comparison). Also, he brings the Latinos that Obama hasn't really been attracting, and brings them in a big way. Obama does fine in the South and NE. Send Richardson to the SW and keep him there 'til the election.

But Schweitzer is a cool idea. I don't think Webb draws GOP votes, and Obama already does that.

Posted by: Daddy Love on February 7, 2008 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Dancing on the graveyard aka McCain victory in November.

Posted by: gregor on February 7, 2008 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

How about giving some consideration for how the name of the ticket sounds?

Obama-Akaka '08

Posted by: Mimir on February 7, 2008 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK
Wes Clark has aligned with Hillary, so while she may pick him, I doubt Barack will.

Wes Clark is aligned with Clinton, so is more likely to get a cabinet slot or other appointment for her, and more likely to get picked as a VP by Obama to shore up his support in the faction of the party that he has been competing against. Clinton gets no advantage from Clark at the bottom of the ticket, but is more likely to give him State or Defense.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm far more concerned about who McCain would choose as running mate. The odds that McCain's running mate will wind up as president are quite a bit better than the odds that either of the Dems candidates will.

Posted by: Lyle on February 7, 2008 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK
Actually, with BombIran John on the other side, Biden looks like a smarter choice. If he can be persuaded to be critical of his "good friend". And speak in shorter sentences.

If running for President can't get Biden to do the latter of those, I'm not sure a chance at the #2 spot will.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK
C'mon, Bill Richardson was practically begging for the job, and he's got everything a nominee could want--he's got foreign policy experience, he 's a western governor, he's Hispanic.

Having seen some of his public appearances and his debate performances, I think he's lacking one thing a nominee could want: the capacity to be any kind of asset on the campaign trail. Richardson is, I would guess, extremely competent in the wonkish sense, and a great candidate in a lot of ways on paper, but I don't think he holds up. His delivery and demeanor in appearances isn't great, and his foot lands in his mouth worse than even Biden.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary will choose someone mind-numbingly dull.

I didn't use Science to figure that one out, only history.

The President never chooses someone who will outshine him or her, so take the President's base level of charisma as the high point and work your way down.

Hillary is as dull as dish water, so my guess is that she chooses someone with the personality of a damp but cold towelette or Fred Thompson.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on February 7, 2008 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Russ Feingold. Somebody who actually believes in the Consitution.

Posted by: cousin vinnie on February 7, 2008 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Who thinks Joe Biden is a serious possibility? Are you the same people who told him he might get the nomination? Stop that. You're just getting his hopes up.

Honestly, I have no clue why anyone would think Joe Biden brings ANYTHING to a ticket in either slot. I mean, I thought Dodd running was silly, but he wound up making a credible case for himself. What's Biden's case? That experts think he'd be a good candidate? Look, you want Biden to be Sec of State? I can be fine with that. But he'd be a stunningly underwhelming VP candidate. He'd make Lieberman look compelling, for gosh sakes. Not going to happen. I'd be shocked and dismayed if it did.

Posted by: BStu on February 7, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sam Nunn? As a native Georgian, who lived in the state until Nunn left his Senate seat to the GOP, and Democrat I'm offended at the very thought. Nunn is no longer a Democrat, if he ever really was. What good could he possibly bring to the ticket? Sheesh, he is one of those Boren-ite "can't we all be bipartisan" numbnuts. If he is so all for bipartisanship, where the hell has he been for the past seven years. Making money and playing golf at Augusta National, that's where.

Posted by: redterror on February 7, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed. Obama-Dodd would be phenomenal.

Hillary will pick someone dull like Bayh. Maybe Clark if we're lucky.

Posted by: TR on February 7, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary needs someone to appeal to red staters and independents.

Barack needs someone with gravitas.

I think previous commenters have laid out some pretty rational choices.

I do think Richardson is a "gaffe machine." Despite his deep resume, he was surprisingly inept during the campaign. I would not advise either Dem to pick him.

McCain is in far more of a quandary when it comes to picking a running mate. If he goes ultra-conservative, he risks alienating the independents that he must win over to win the election. If he picks someone who doesn't appeal to the GOP base, you may have people staying at home - even if Hillary is the nominee.

I just hope the Hatfields & McCoys in the Democratic party will settle down, put aside their hurt feelings and wounded egos and voter for whomever is on the eventual ticket.

Woe to the Clinton or Obama supporters who choose to sit out the election because they were having their own private pity party. If you think Nader voters had it bad, just wait.

McCain is quite beatable. If the Democrats lose this time, then I must assume they were unfit to hold the office in the first place.

Posted by: lobbygow on February 7, 2008 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sam Nunn is already on the record as saying he won't accept a bid for Vice President.

Anyway, these choices kind of leave me cold.

Posted by: Caitlin on February 7, 2008 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton would be mad not to ask Obama. But I don't see the reverse.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on February 7, 2008 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Now I am an ol fart, but I seem to remember some tussle at one of the earlier debates where Hill mentioned something about VP and then looked pointedly at Bill Richardson. I like the guy, and was kinda rooting for him. But on the debate trail he did come out with some zingers that made me rethink. I think he would make a good VP, but then the other day someone mentioned to me that he would make a pretty good Sec State - and upon reflection I agree with that.

If Obama chose Richardson that would make it look too much like he was just pandering for the Hispanic vote. But that is JMHO.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 7, 2008 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Based on what I saw in the debates, I'd really like to see Chris Dodd. Coming from Virginia, I'm a little biased towards Mark Warner as well, but he's running for John Warner's senate seat, which I'd love to see him take.

Posted by: Quinn on February 7, 2008 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton would be mad not to ask Obama. But I don't see the reverse.

Agreed. Picking Clinton would sort of fly in the face of his message about new politics and changing Washington. I love Hill, but she'd just be too Establishment a choice for him. But Clinton/Obama? I like it.

Posted by: Caitlin on February 7, 2008 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Russ Feingold? Nah, he'll be Obama's attorney general.

Posted by: mosimea on February 7, 2008 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton should pick Clinton. If the ticket fails to get elected, make a pilot for a TV show.

Posted by: AJ on February 7, 2008 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose their choices will reflect their desire to clean up the White House. McCain is certain to pick a right winger in order to make a ticket alloy that is more GOP acceptable. So he will be a contender. Webb..etc as picks by Obama or Clinton would probably make a race out of it..maybe a race the GOP'ers could win. IF the Democrats are serious and want to make this thing a blow out its an Obama / Clinton or Clinton / Obama ticket. That is it. It's the first big move and they have to make it.

Posted by: Richard on February 7, 2008 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

"I just hope the Hatfields & McCoys in the Democratic party will settle down, put aside their hurt feelings and wounded egos and voter for whomever is on the eventual ticket."

Allow me to diverge a little bit here. Please, tell me if you agree with this statement: anyone who says that he or she would rather sit out this election than vote for either Clinton or Obama if the other is nominated is an asshole. (This statement is made on the idea that they actually do it.) Seriously, by doing that, these people are either aiding the win of the Republicans and/or giving them a bigger mandate.

Posted by: Brian on February 7, 2008 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Strickland should stay in Ohio and finish the job turning Ohio blue. To leave just two years into a term would send a bad message about Ohio Democrats that the Rethugs could easily manipulate, as they still hold a huge majority in the state house.

Posted by: Todd Cline on February 7, 2008 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

I forgive his model for the Cheney mistake - no model could predict the campaign advisor picking himself for VP.

I've been hoping and thinking Hillary would pick Wes Clark. Or, for a real bold pick, how about an African-American more qualified to be VP than Obama, like john Lewis or Andrew Young?

Obama needs a foreign policy heavyweight, but none are springing to mind - maybe Biden?

Posted by: Dawn on February 7, 2008 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

I do think Richardson is a "gaffe machine." Despite his deep resume, he was surprisingly inept during the campaign. I would not advise either Dem to pick him.

I agree. He looks a lot better on paper.

Posted by: Dawn on February 7, 2008 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

IIRC, Al Gore made a run at the White House in '92 and W J Clinton picked him as VP.

Posted by: goalkeeper on February 7, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

FearItself: your type is the reason that Obama will lose.

Posted by: eric on February 7, 2008 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Running mates (those that have any impact whatsover) generally get chosen to compensate for a candidate's perceived weakness.

Clinton needs help with white men and those opposed to the war. Jim Webb sounds like the right guy to me.

Obama's greatest perceived weakness is experience. Evan Bayh is a two-term governor and senator, a Clinton campaign co-chair and he is still young enough to reinforce the generational change msg.

On the GOP side, Huckabee is most often discussed but it seems to me that McCain may need something very diffeent to energize his oldest candidate in history campaign. If Obama is the nominee maybe he would think about Kay Bailey Hutchison, a solid conservative who could appeal to women disappointed that Hillary is not the Dem nominee. If it's Clinton, he may think about Condi Rice -- though that's a bigger stretch -- but who knows where we'll be on the war in seven months. I am amazed it is now all but ignored by the media, the campaigns and the voters -- at least according to the polls.

Posted by: Scott Farris on February 7, 2008 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Obama and Elvira Arellano. No woman is illegal, and politicians should allow illegals and foreigners to take their jobs as they encourage them take ours.

Posted by: Luther on February 7, 2008 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

So FearItself wants to see HRC assassinated? I think it's time to report people like this, Kevin. I'm not kidding. This is not funny. It's sick.

[That comment was not deleted. It was unpublished, which preserves the comment and the IP information. Such comments are not taken lightly. --Mod]

Posted by: vh on February 7, 2008 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

dyon.stefanon@montgomerycollege.edu

Posted by: vh on February 7, 2008 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

forget Dodd. I'd love to have him but CT has a repub governor and you can't give up that seat. Clark makes sense for both Clinton and Obama. People can see him as President.

Posted by: Tom P on February 7, 2008 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone interested in more details about Obama's run for the Senate etc, here's a link to a Globe and Mail article with an interview of David Mendell, a Chicago writer who has written a biography of Obama "Obama: From Promise to Power".

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080206.wobamadiscussion/BNStory/lifeMain/home

Posted by: Dilbert on February 7, 2008 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Mentioning Sam Nunn for both candidates disqualifies this guy as a serious analyst.

Not gonna happen.

Posted by: Trickster on February 7, 2008 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

Obama needs a foreign policy heavyweight

That would be Richardson--although I'm wondering about all the gaffes that people keep talking about. How did the guy ever get elected to Congress and governor of NM?

If Obama is the nominee maybe he would think about Kay Bailey Hutchison, a solid conservative who could appeal to women disappointed that Hillary is not the Dem nominee.

That sounds like one of the most far-fetched ideas I've heard so far--she's always been a loyal Republican.

Posted by: Ringo on February 7, 2008 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

winning nominees rarely choose one of their erstwhile competitors. Kerry did it in 2004 and Reagan did it in 1980, and then you have to go all the way back to 1960 to find another example. That's a grand total of three times in half a century.

Wasn't Al Gore a primary competitor of Bill Clinton in 1992?

Posted by: rufustfyrfly on February 7, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldnt mind seeing Feingold as a Veep.
[farflung...I know]

Posted by: Ya Know... on February 7, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

That Kevin would type the name Sam Nunn without attaching a sarcastic remark makes me concerned about his sanity.

Posted by: blindjoedeath on February 7, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't see the offending comment, and don't know what's considered appropriate, but maybe the commenter was referring to the Chris Rock stand-up routine about Colin Powell, where he says, "ain't never gonna be a black vice president, because a black man would shoot the president, become the king of jail, and get pardoned by the new black president." Or something like that.

Posted by: luci on February 7, 2008 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't Al Gore a primary competitor of Bill Clinton in 1992?

Gore ran in 1988, not 1992. Clinton's competition was Jerry Brown and Paul Tsongas.

Obama's most likely choice is Wes Clark. Appearing to let Hillary pick his VP will be good for party unity.

Clinton will make a boring pick like Evan Bayh. Thats what she does.

McCain will pick Joe Lieberman. Isn't that obvious by now.

Posted by: EB on February 7, 2008 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't Al Gore a primary competitor of Bill Clinton in 1992?

No, he didn't run that year. Ran in '88. Probably wishes he did run, but a lot of top candidates sat out because Bush looked strong at first, and by the time the Gulf War luster faded and the economy took a downturn, it was too late to get in.

Posted by: Ringo on February 7, 2008 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

JLR29:
Webb isn't right wing. He is an economic populist(see Andrew Jackson with out the racism). Also, before you spout off, know Webb's history. He was a Democrat who left the party because he was pissed at Carter over his pardoning those that left for Canada during the Vietnam War.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on February 7, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Who'd want to be Hillary's VP? Surely it would be Bill in everything but name. I wouldn't have thought Obama would be interested in being part of that, but would prefer to wait another four years.

Posted by: Andrea on February 7, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why people think Obama shouldn't pick Hillary as VP. She is a very sharp political fighter, allowing Obama to stay above the fray. As VP, the Bill baggage is also minimal.

Posted by: secdem on February 7, 2008 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why people think Obama shouldn't pick Hillary as VP.

You're kidding, right? The only reason that Obama would end up as the nominee is that he's not Clinton. And you're suggesting that he should turn around and lose that advantage? That makes no sense.

On top of that, these two don't like each other. If Edwards could be the nominee, he'd pick one of the other two in a heartbeat, but he's not and there a snowball's chance in hell someone will make him VP candidate again.

Obama should pick Sebelius, not Strickland. Strickland only positive--and a cynical one at that--is getting Ohio. But he does not help in any other state.

But Obama's chances of getting the nomination are still less than 50%. So if Hillary gets it, who's the VEEP? I just don't see Strickland, but her choice would be very pragmatic.

Posted by: buck on February 7, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Who'd want to be Hillary's VP? Surely it would be Bill in everything but name. I wouldn't have thought Obama would be interested in being part of that, but would prefer to wait another four years."

Because that supposes that Clinton would lose the election. If she wins, that means eight years before he can vie again for the nomination, and even then, he'd very likely have to contend with whoever was VP. I would think Obama would want to be VP because he would have nothing to lose. If Clinton loses, it really won't tarnish him much...he'll be able to run again in four years and very likely nab the nomination without breaking a sweat. Or Clinton wins and he becomes the presumptive nominee in 8 years. Small price to pay for having to play second (or third) fiddle. In the meantime, he'll do what he can to eliminate any lingering experience questions folks may have.

Posted by: Quinn on February 7, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't candidates choose their party runner-ups?

1964 (R) Political differences too large between Rockefeller and Goldwater.

1968 (D) Top two candidates represent the same state, so constitutionally impossible.

(R) Two out of three represent the same state, so constitutionally impossible.

1972 (D) None of the other candidates would go with McGovern.

1976 (D) Here is one case where Carter's refusal is odd: Brown, Udall and Church would have been just as acceptable as Mondale.

(R) Reagan was still running up to the convention.

1980 (D) Already an incumbent vice-president.

1984 (D) Hart was still running up to the convention.

1988 (D) Jackson was too radical.

(R) Again, why Bush I didn't choose Dole is odd. Dole was certainly a better choice that Quayle (and so was Lugar).

1992 (D) Tsongas and Brown hadn't held elective office for more than 7 years.

1996 (R) Buchanan too radical.

2000 (D) Bradley too weak a competitor to be considered.

(R) Another place where McCain could have been vice president (probably the two couldn't stand each other).

Posted by: partisan on February 7, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

SAM NUNN?!!!!! That homohating rat-f@cker?!!! That would be about the ONLY Dem VP choice that might cause me to sit out the election. Good Gawd! I detest that creep.

Posted by: Ian S on February 7, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Someone is seriously tossing Sam Nunn's name out as a possible Vice Presidential pick in 2008? Good god, what a ludicrous idea.

His stances on most issues are well outside the party mainstream; he's got no particular strength as a campaigner; he hasn't been in office for over a decade; he's made noise about running for president on a third party candidacy.

Neither Obama nor Clinton would ever pick this guy. The one thing he offers (supposed credibility on foreign affairs), he's trumped by much better options (Biden, Clark, Webb, you name it).

Posted by: jbryan on February 7, 2008 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

No to Sam Nunn. Ewwwww. I would love Webb or Clark and they are both great on teevee which is extremely important and I also think the visual of either of those two with Clinton or Obama would be great - even more so when faced with McCain/Huck. Young and healthy vs. ancient and decrepit. And either would give Huck a run for his money. Schweitzer would be good for HRC but I believe he's a tall guy and he's going to make HRC look like a dwarf. No foreign policy exp. so he's no good for Obama. Also some other names - Bob Graham(yeah, he's old), Lee Hamilton(also ancient), Gary Hart(also old),Shinseki(have no idea if he's interested but he's smart and also Asian), Webb's wife is also Asian which is a plus, Robert Rubin(the economy's going to be #1 issue but he's had his screw ups at Citi.)

Posted by: warren terrah on February 7, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

So just how much lint did Lee Sigelman find in his navel?

This is all getting sillier and sillier by the day.

Posted by: Chris Brown on February 7, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

I forgot the person who was on the top of my list - John Edwards. He would work well with either.

Posted by: Warren terrah on February 7, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

I love Chris Dodd too much to see him wasted as VP. I'd much rather he take over as Senate Majority Leader.

And the more I think about it the more I like Mark Warner for Hillary's VP. Youngish male from a purple state - could swing Virginia.

Bottom line is that whichever candidate gets this nomination will have proven themselves to be a much savvier politician than I could ever hope to out-guess. They will make the right choice.

Posted by: Dawn on February 7, 2008 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

If McCain is smart, he will pick Colin Powell as his running mate.

Posted by: Jim on February 7, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Biden would be a great attack dog (especially for Obama) and it would benefit the party to get him out of the Senate. Win-win!

Posted by: Aaron S. Veenstra on February 7, 2008 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

How 'bout Dave Freudenthal for Obama? As with the Schweitzer suggestion, I think some Mountain West might do the ticket good.

I could sort of see Hillary picking Ed Rendell, if she just wants to grab votes in a swing state. He's a corrupt ol' machine guy, so they'd get along just fine, and he was mentioned as a candidate for VP in '04.

Posted by: Vlad on February 7, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

If I'm Obama (and I am!) I'm choosing Hillary as my VP, as insurance against some Right Wing Retard trying to assassinate me.

Posted by: craigie on February 7, 2008 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that shoring up a perceived weakness is a good reason to pick someone as VP.

I think what Obama needs most is someone who can be a credible attack dog without him having to step into the fray. This is tricky for him, because he needs someone who can do this without undercutting his primary campaign message. Wes Clark could maybe fill that role, but I recall him just not being a very good competitor in 2004. It is too bad that Obama/Edwards has little or no chance of ever coming true. That would be a great ticket.

Clinton, on the other hand, probably needs a VP pick that would help her with independents and/or with electoral college math. Clark might help with white men. Bayh and Biden don't really seem to bring anything to the table, as Democrats are already winning Delaware and are never winning Indiana.

I actually think Brian Schweitzer would work well for either of them.

Posted by: Tim on February 7, 2008 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Scratch Webb and Warner. Both are needed to bolster the Senate Dem caucus -- which will need to be close to 60 members to beat the constant threat of GOP filibusters -- and the VA party doesn't yet have a deep enough bench to replace them. Neither would appreciably increase the prospect of a Dem presidential nominee carrying VA. Obama will or won't on his own. Clinton won't.

Posted by: allbetsareoff on February 7, 2008 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Allow me to diverge a little bit here. Please, tell me if you agree with this statement: anyone who says that he or she would rather sit out this election than vote for either Clinton or Obama if the other is nominated is an asshole.

Sorry, but that's an insult to assholes. Assholes actually serve a useful function.

"Hemorrhoid" might work.

Posted by: lobbygow on February 7, 2008 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

...forget Dodd. I'd love to have him but CT has a repub governor and you can't give up that seat. Clark makes sense for both Clinton and Obama. People can see him as President. -Tom P

Yep. Dems shouldn't lose ANYBODY in Congress for the VP slot. We need all the votes there we can muster in the months ahead. Wes Clark would be a good pick for either Clinton or Obama. It would counterbalance McCain's military experience.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 7, 2008 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Warren Buffett as Obama’s V.P. Outsider, old white man, good liberal, greatest economic mind in America and thus perfect as we will be in a recession by election day.

Posted by: E.A on February 7, 2008 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Did I miss it? How is it possible that no one said the obvious: if Hillary were the nominee, Bill would be her Veep. Her next choice would be Chelsea.

Obama will pick Barbara Bush.

McCain will pick zombie Patton.

Posted by: Orson on February 7, 2008 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with doc on this one. Before anyone's VP choice is made, a real careful analysis of the senate races has to be done to ascertain whether we would be risking a dem seat to a rep OR reducing a slim edge in the 100 vote count. Remember, with either HRC or BO in the cat-bird seat, already one dem seat is up for grabs. It may be the least of all risks to go with a dem governor or a former general.

Posted by: jcricket on February 7, 2008 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama wins the nomination, he'll have to appease a lot of disappointed HRC supporters, and some might deem Webb unacceptable because of his remarks about the Tailhook scandal. The reference to a "witch hunt" became an issue in the Senate race, and it could come up again.

For whatever it's worth, I think the attack on Webb was unfair, but then it doesn't matter what I think.

Posted by: awrbb on February 7, 2008 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Obama/Bloomberg. The two have met previously, Bloomberg has expressed interest in the VP slot in the past, he's a left-of-center Independent, and has expertise in business and economics which will become more important if the economy continues to decline. Makes corporate America somewhat more comfortable with Obama's liberalism. Racial harmony thing with AA and Jew working together.

Posted by: Elliott on February 8, 2008 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who was an early supporter of Webb and one of his most ardent volunteers, I used to scoff at the idea of Webb as V.P. Ridiculous! But I've been rethinking it lately--hear me out! This only applies if Obama is our candidate:

#1.Webb is pretty much the opposite of Obama in every way. Sure, lots of times the V.P. candidate is the cheerleading guy who is good at raising money. Webb is none of these things. Obama is! What does he need another fundraising orator for, anyway?

#2. Webb has the foreign policy experience and military experience that Obama lacks.

#3. Webb is older and whiter. He's got that whole "tough guy" thing going for him, and then there's the Scots-Irish-Southern-Mountain thing.

#4. Webb has the gravitas. Obama has hope and optimism. It's a match made in heaven!

I'd much rather keep our senator in Virginia, but would sacrifice him if necessary for the good of the country.

If it isn't Webb, it should be somebody very similar, if such a person exists.

Posted by: LAS on February 8, 2008 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Sam Nunn?!? SAM NUNN!?!

I'm not sure I can think of a worse choice, especially for Obama. What, Dan Quayle isn't available?

Obama MUST pick someone who was also against Iraq; otherwise it undercuts his best arguement - right from day one.

Posted by: Robert Earle on February 8, 2008 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

John Edwards for Attorney General!

Posted by: ctate on February 8, 2008 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

I think Wes Clark would be on Clinton's short list.

For Obama, I think the best choice is Bill Richardson. He needs Richardson's experience and resume to balance the ticket. Plus it would help shore up the Latino vote, and New Mexico is a swing state. Of course, this would be a multiracial ticket and the campaign will have to consider if there is a downside there (I tend to think not, but who knows?)

Posted by: G Spot1 on February 8, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Jim Webb would be an excellent choice, if he wanted the job. Even if it took him from us here in Virginia. We're talking about an administration of national salvation, here. The clock's ticking. Now is the time for all good persons to come to the aid of their country. This is the goal.

If not him, someone very much like him. We very much need to convince the middle and the thin reasonable fringe on the right that our goal is to save the country, not take away their hand guns and force abortions on their daughters. (That's intentionally foolish, don't yell at me because your fellow citizens feel that way.)

A very, very important, an overriding consideration, is developing a successor. We need a dynasty. There and there alone I feel Webb fails, because he's a great, great ally, but he's not the next leader of the Democratic Party.


Posted by: J. Myers on February 8, 2008 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

J. Myers, I agree completely, but can we have ANOTHER young man on the ticket?

Somebody like Jim Webb, only younger? Does such a creature exist?

Posted by: LAS on February 8, 2008 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

"Small price to pay for having to play second (or third) fiddle."

A person with presidential aspirations spends the minimum time necessary playing second string. A VP with ambitions is biting his tongue during his entire term waiting for his turn. This is what is so cruel about what the Clintons did to Al Gore. Eight years for nothing. I'm not sure anyone with serious ambitions would be eager to sign up with Hillary after that. It is probably an elder statesman, Cheney like role she should look for. Democrats will have to start from ground zero after her turn, like Republicans are now.

Posted by: J. Myers on February 8, 2008 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

LAS, Yes, we need another young man or woman on the ticket. But this is a big country, and I mostly just know my own back yard, and I'm already offering up Webb, so I can't say I have anyone else sitting here in my back pocket. I do believe that this country is full of remarkable people, though. Where the hell did Obama come from, after all? I'd have never of thought of looking for a mixed-race African immigrant's son from Kansas who grew up in Hawaii and Jakarta. Wouldn't have crossed my mind. With my limited imagination, I'd look for a veteran and start out by going south or west, and I'd want someone pretty punchy. But it's a person, not a demographic slice, we're looking for, and I don't know enough people well enough to say. Hope someone in this party does, though.

Posted by: J. Myers on February 8, 2008 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

What about Obama picking Colin Powell? Yes, Powell is nominally a moderate Republican, but what a great way to unify the country.

As a bonus, this would also negate McCain's status as a war vet as well as his percieved advantage on foreign policy.

Posted by: mfw13 on February 8, 2008 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary/Obama would be a great ticket. It would also be good for Obama. It would give him eight years establish his credentials and to learn more about running the country. Then he would be in the perfect position to carry on the torch for the next eight years.

If Obama wins the nomination I have no idea who he should choose.

Watching the debate we saw that Hillary and Obama seemed to get along fairly well. Sure they are competing but there doesn't seem to be terribly bad blood between them.

Kennedy/Johnson disliked each other much more than Hillary/Obama. Kennedy picked Johnson to strengthen the ticket. Johnson accepted because he liked the odds. Something like one third of the VPs who have run for office have won.

I don't understand why Lieberman is being talked about as a potential VP for McCain. He seems to be such a hated figure, such a bete noir that he would be a drag on any ticket.

Posted by: JohnK on February 8, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Colin 'Lie to the UN' Powell, you mean? NO WAY.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

I hope I never hear Joe Biden, the senator from Citi Bank, mentioned again as VP candidate. He's one guy that would keep me from voting for either of the contenders, if they picked him.

He's a plagarizing liar, as he demonstrated the last time he ran. Worse, he's a tool of the financial industy. He was a big proponent of the bankruptcy "reform" bill. He's fought tooth and nail at any attempts to reign in credit card abuses. Basically, he's the most anti-consumer Democrat in D.C.

Chris Dodd has been a strong consumer advocate, in addition to being a bright guy and generally in the right place on issues progressives care about. I'm not sure he has the gravitas Obama needs, however.

Previous posts offered a lot of interesting ideas. I could go for the Schweitzer suggestion, especially because of his ability to relate to blue collar voters. We'll need that in the South and parts of the West.

Thanks to Kevin for posting this topic . . . good ideas and thoughtful responses from the commenters on this one.

Posted by: DevilDog on February 8, 2008 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

Obama said flat out (in the interview with the San Fran Chron) he'd be looking for someone with military experience, and seemed to describe Wes Clark. He also mentioned economic experience, but really emphasized military experience.

Didn't mention political experience, which Wes lacks.

I doubt Jim Webb would be tempted to leave the Senate, since VA might revert to R hands.

Posted by: KathyF on February 8, 2008 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

I think that Chuck Hagel would be a tremendous running mate for Obama: (1) departing senator status can maintain sense of novelty in Obama campaign; (2) Republican affiliation can support the unity notion; (3) opposition against Iraq policy strengthens Obama's own position on the issue; (4) military background brings national security image to ticket; (5) straight and natural talker, befitting Obama's rhetoric but also complimenting Obama's tendency for high eloquence; and (6) a hard target for a McCain ticket to attack, since he and McCain have a good relationship in the Senate.

Posted by: Jeff on February 8, 2008 at 3:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Please, tell me if you agree with this statement: anyone who says that he or she would rather sit out this election than vote for either Clinton or Obama if the other is nominated is an asshole."

Not necessarily, depends on their motivation and the way they carry it off. If they honestly believe that one or the other would be a disastrously bad President, then not voting for that person (and not rubbing it in people's faces) is the only moral choice they could make.

Posted by: Vlad on February 8, 2008 at 4:37 AM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't dismiss Nunn so quickly. He has a lot of background in defense and intelligence. He also has a lot of alliances in the Senate, and would be a good counter to McCain re: defense. If Obama is the nominee, he would be a good choice.

Webb would be even better, but I would hate to see him leave the Senate. As for Strickland, he is my governor, and I like him-but he is not really known outside of Ohio, is he??

Posted by: Susan on February 8, 2008 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK

Sam Nunn?

He's a Democratic Dick Cheney.

We can do so much better.

Posted by: Auto on February 8, 2008 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

J Myers, what exactly did the Clintons do to Al Gore?

Posted by: coldhotel on February 8, 2008 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

Obama would need a pugnacious counterpuncher to take on McCain's claims of "surrender" in Iraq. Biden or Webb, not Strickland.

Posted by: bob h on February 8, 2008 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

If Hillary's the nominee, my guess is that she'll choose Wes Clark, but with Obama, I'm not so sure. Bill Richardson or Chris Dodd would be solid choices.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on February 8, 2008 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

I'd believe Strickland for Clinton...but Obama? Absolutely not. He'll need someone with a strong military/foreign policy background. I think Jim Webb is far and away his best bet. Sam Nunn would also be a good choice.

Or how about Lee Hamilton? Or, in a small attempt at a unity ticket, William Cohen the Maine Republican who served as Defense Secretary in a Democratic cabinet (Clinton's)?

Posted by: Wayne on February 8, 2008 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Just say NO to Nunn. Yuck. That would really be a downer, particularly if Obama were to offer the VP to that GA, industrial complex has-been.

Christ, it's not as if Nunn would put GA or any other southern state in play.

Posted by: Bragan on February 8, 2008 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

I've long thought that Hillary's best choice would be a retired general, even more so now, since it would probably help her with some downmarket male voters who are susceptible to McCain's tough guy appeal. Clark would be good if he can unleash some of the kick-ass that I presume a West Point 1st in class, 4 star general must have somewhere. In his present incarnation, he comes across too much as a think-tank type, but if he were to take the point on foreign policy, especially Iraq, and leave the domestic stuff to her, I think it could be a very good combination. My real choice would be retired general Anthony Zinni, (a REAL bad-ass, in contrast to all the Republithug faux bad-asses) but I think he has ruled it out.

Posted by: dcsusie on February 8, 2008 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Tough decision...

Clark would make sense for Obama (placating the Clinton crowd somewhat, and bringing somebody with foreign policy/military experience). Same thing with Webb to some extent. Richardson in theory would be a good candidate, but something about him doesn't thrill me. Bayh might be good, but geographically Obama may not want another midwesterner on the ticket.

On the GOP side, Hagel might further aid McCain's appeal with independents (enabling John to campaign in a more rightward direction) and they're supposedly good friends, despite a few foreign policy differences. But if McCain felt a need to shore up the conservative wing of the party, he might show interest in J.C. Watts...especially if Clinton wins on the Democratic side (I doubt Obama would be her running mate) and some blacks subsequently feel disenchanted.

Posted by: Vincent on February 8, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

I dunno, I think an Obama/Warner ticket would be unstoppable. Also, I predicted a Warner/Obama ticket way back in 2004, and I like to be semi-right.

Posted by: Stephen on February 8, 2008 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Webb is a militant Republican. Webb is one tenth of a degree from the insanity of McCain. The Democrats might as well offer to run as the VP for McCain and declare their nihilism has no bounds.

Posted by: Brojo on February 8, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

JOE LIEBERMAN? Please. Maybe he could be a running mate for one of the Republicans. But he is as much a true Democrat as Bush is a true Christian.

Posted by: Angela on February 8, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

And Richardson is as "Hispanic" as I am "Irish."

Posted by: Angela on February 8, 2008 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

I've been thinking about George Mitchell as a running mate for Obama.

Posted by: DP on February 8, 2008 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

For Obama:

Wesley Clark

Balances ticket by being
1. white
2. southern (kinda)
3. military
4. part of Clinton circle
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 8, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

If I am Hillary, I pick Richardson or Edwards. If I am Obama I pick Barbara Boxer. If I am McCain running against either Clinton or Obama, I pick JC Watts or Colin Powell. KB Hutchinson makes some sense as well. Although it might be counter intuitive, it might make sense for him to move to the center/left with his VP pick, not to the right. Therefore, he picks Liebermann or Powell or one of the moderate Republican females (Snow). If he moves to the center/left he undermines semi-Republican Hillary, especially if he picks a pro-choice Republican woman. Colin Powell undermines Obama 'cause he's a black guy with actual experience. JC Watts is a youngish black guy that is an arch conservative. The possibilities for McCain are endless and one is kidding oneself if one thinks McCain won't beat Hillary. Obama crushes McCain in a landslide.

Posted by: hawk on February 8, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama is the nominee, I think he'd be wise to choose somebody with a great deal of experience (foreign policy experience in particular) in order to undercut the "I've got the foreign policy experience to keep this country safe during dangerous times" argument that McCain is almost certain to make in the GE.

Am not sure who this would be, but I don't think Strickland fits the bill. Am not terribly keen on Nunn or Webb either. Wes Clark perhaps?

One would think that McCain's stubborn support for the war would have taken away some of the lustre of his so-called foreign policy wisdom, but for whatever reason, the biggest cheerleader of the Surge has been very popular among Republicans (and even some Independents) who are sour on the Iraq War.

Posted by: tworivers on February 8, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hilbot has to at least offer it to Obama - and when he turns her down, Wes Clark probably is a good choice.

Obama will surprise, but maybe Sebelius? Hagel? Hell I don't know...

Posted by: Cazart on February 8, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton / Clark
Obama / Biden
McCain / Jeb Bush

Posted by: PaulMoeller on February 8, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Given Hillary's stance on Kucinich's impeachment bill, I'll bet you she picks Cheney as VP.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 8, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary wins, she is dead unless she can persuade Obama to take the VP slot.

Posted by: brian on February 8, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

No one has mentioned George Mitchell as an option. He was a well-respected senator when in office and has recently been a voice of wisdom and sanity on the MLB steriods scandal. Is he too old? Been out of the picture for too long?

Posted by: ssg on February 8, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

a voice of wisdom and sanity on the MLB steriods scandal

I liked Clemens response to the accusations he used steroids or hormones by saying they were vitamin B shots. Vitamin B shots are performance enhancing, but the hysterical and alcoholic sports writers failed to mention that. Eating liver for breakfast is performance enhancing, too. Mitchell is an ass.

Posted by: Brojo on February 8, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

My two cents worth: Don't pick any Senators, they're needed to get the caucus numbers as far over 50 as possible. Some might be a bit wishy-washy, but they'll go along with the majority.
The exceptions, of course, are Senators Clinton and Obama. I would imagine that there is a slightly greater chance of Sen. Obama accepting the offer of the VP slot than Sen. Clinton simply because of the age difference; in eight years Sen. Obama would still be (relatively) young enough for his own presidency, while Sen. Clinton would be nearly seventy.
The advantage of being a VP (the heir-presumptive) though, has to be balanced against Senatorial rivals (see H. Humphrey v R. Kennedy).
Clark and Edwards lead my (very) short list. Richardson is a possible. Nunn would definitely be out.

Posted by: Doug on February 8, 2008 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

The Great Plains states are the most important play.

Berkley Prof. of Political Science, Robert O. Paxton in his book "The Anatomy of Fascism" gives a quick anatomy of Swedish Liberalism which was an alliance of rural and urban worker's interest.

This basic alignment works everywhere it's tried. It's why most of Europe is liberal.

The Great Plains states are in play. Imagine if Gore or Kerry had tapped into them. Bush couldn't get elected without them.

Some have suffered through a depression that's been going on for almost a century (see National Geographic).

However those same states are well positioned to contributing to the energy problem that the urban states need to keep their economies going, be it: liquified coal, bio-mass, nuclear, wind, solar, etc...

Imagine if the money we sent to the gulf was flowing into the Great Plains states. The long decline would be turned around.

The republican's can't tap into this latent possibility because they are captive of petroleum.

This means that Selebius would be the best possible candidate.

Obama could might sweep the entire upper-Midwest and Great Plains states from Kansas to all points north, and much of the inter-mountain states.

Clinton could pick Schwietzer of Montana.

The center of gravity of the Democratic party has to move over the center of the Country if it wants to prevail.

This new alignment might last several generations as it has in Sweden.

So its Selebius then Schwietzer, then Richardson, then Claire McCaskill, though that would put her Senate seat in jeapardy.

Posted by: Pallomine on February 8, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Clark. A much better choice than Liebermann...

Posted by: parrot on February 9, 2008 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

McCain / JC Watts

Posted by: db on February 9, 2008 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Obama/Gore

Posted by: drew on February 10, 2008 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Try Biden for Obama.

Posted by: robbie on February 10, 2008 at 4:37 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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