Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 23, 2008
By: Neil Sinhababu

VEEPSTEAKS: THE BIG JUICY PART....Here's where I go through a long list of potential VP contenders for your amusement! And you get to throw stuff at me in comments! First, the ones which I recommend to you, my fellow netroots progressive:

John Edwards: His plans on health care and global warming moved the entire race to the left, and he had an astonishing number of good proposals on everything from making sure poor people could get fresh produce to regulating hog waste. I don't think that anybody available would use the VP media spotlight as well as Edwards would. And after two and a half years of repenting his war vote and rejecting the 'War on Terror' framework, he's a fine partner for Obama on foreign policy issues.

Not only will he (and Elizabeth!) push hard for universal health care within the Obama administration, but he's about the best weapon you can imagine to sell the plan. If Judd Gregg or George Voinovich are filibustering health care reform in 2010, Obama could send Edwards to NH or OH and have him spend a week telling stories about little girls who died because they didn't have health care coverage. That's what he used to do for a living, and he did it pretty darned well.

As far as electability goes, take a look at the recent OH and VA polls that included VP candidates. Sure, Edwards' advantages over the other Democrats are mostly name recognition. But I didn't expect any VP possibility to move the numbers this strongly. When you add on Edwards as a VP, he adds between 3 and 9 points to Obama's total in Ohio, depending on who McCain is paired with. He adds between 2 and 11 points to Obama's numbers in Virginia. None of the other Democrats added anything to Obama's numbers (no strike against them, because nobody knew who they were). I look at this as a favorability test, and it's one that Edwards passes. Furthermore, McCain has a pretty terrible anti-worker voting record, and the mill worker's son is exactly the guy who could drive that home.

Kathleen Sebelius: Her story in Kansas is a barrel of awesome. She's a popular pro-choice Governor who fought with unprecedented success against health insurance companies (from whom she refused to take contributions). The best thing -- and the part that fits best with the Obama message of national unity -- is her uncanny ability to turn high-profile Kansas Republicans into Democrats. The former GOP state party chair? Now her lieutenant governor. The formerly Republican Attorney General? Turned into a Democrat. Six GOP members of the state legislature became Democrats under her watch. Of course, part of that is because the Kansas Republican Party came apart over teaching evolution in the schools. But she was there to pick up the pieces and take them home with her.

The downside to Sebelius is that picking her deprives us of an potential Senate challenger in Kansas when 2010 rolls around. And I hear that her State of the Union response wasn't so hot. If anyone knows more about her speeches, please do tell -- the SOTU response is a weird gig and maybe it wasn't representative of her real talents.

Sherrod Brown: Okay, nobody is mentioning Sherrod Brown. But I will! He's the Ohio Senator who refused to accept his Congressional health care package back in his House days, in protest of the fact that all Americans didn't have health care coverage. If you think, as I do, that Obama would be well served to add individual mandates to his health care plan, Brown is (like Edwards) the kind of guy who might be able to get that going. He's a straight down-the-line progressive with a 100% NARAL rating, and any of us on the left would love to see a Brown administration in 2016. We should be able to replace an Ohio Democratic Senator reasonably well, too.

Brian Schweitzer: Not many people are talking about him either, though Markos would sprout wings and fly around with joy if he were selected. Schweitzer is a Montana Democratic governor with a whopping 70% approval rating. He's pro-choice and pro-gun. I'm told that he has a pretty solid economic populist streak. Believe it or not, he speaks fluent Arabic -- he worked in the Middle East on irrigation projects for several years.

Montana is represented entirely by Democrats at the Governor and Senator levels, so it's not like we need him to run for Senate soon. One of those Senate Democrats is the conservative Max Baucus, who could use some replacing, but I don't know when he'll retire. If you're partial to macho-man Western Dems, you might enjoy David Sirota's article on him.

Now for the VP picks whom I think are overrated. (By the way, I just don't know enough about Janet Napolitano to have any idea what to say.) Not that I dislike all of these folks -- it's usually that I think they belong better somewhere else:

Jim Webb: Look, he's a wonderful Senator -- one of the best we've got on foreign policy, and a solid economic populist as well. Let's have him on TV more often. But when we're trying to get 60 votes for health care reform, we can't afford to lose a Democratic seat in Virginia while Tim Kaine is still ineligible to run. There's also the matter of his past negative remarks on women in the military -- I'm quite optimistic that Hillary's most committed supporters will come around and support Obama, but I don't want to add insult to injury.

But above all, I wonder if he's really up for life in the presidential fishbowl. With career politicians, you can usually have more confidence that they'll be able to put up with all the BS that comes with running for national office. I've talked to a couple people who watched his Senate race, who say that campaigning 24/7 for months on end isn't really his forte. So let's keep him as a general-purpose foreign policy spokesman in the Senate.

Another thing is that I'm usually not a big fan of ticket-balancing, especially for something like credibility on foreign policy issues. Mori Dinauer is right that if Obama picks Webb for those purposes, the media narrative becomes "Obama lacks credibility on foreign policy issues -- that's why he had to pick Webb!" Given that people tend to think much more about the top of the ticket than the bottom, this can actually do more to hurt you on an issue than to help you.

The times you see ticket-balancing succeed are when you balance to satisfy your base (by picking a more extreme person who makes you look more moderate) or when you pick someone boring who has more experience (because Presidential voters don't care about experience anyway, and usually pick the candidate with less experience). I'm confident enough in the Iraq War poll numbers, in Obama's instincts on the issue, and in the impressiveness of his smart decision in 2002 that I think he'll be able to handle the politics of foreign policy on his own.

Bill Richardson: This man belongs in the Cabinet, not on the campaign trail. He's kind of a gaffe machine. Remember the 'Whizzer White' remark, the line about homosexuality being a choice (in front of gay rights organizations), and the time he forgot which labor union he was addressing and called them by the name of their rivals? And this time, if he gets asked a question about Katrina and he wasn't paying attention, he won't have Obama to stage whisper to him. I hope he gets a good place in an Obama administration, but I don't want it to be VP.

Hillary Clinton: Her voters will come back into the fold without her in the VP slot, her poll numbers are icky, her consultants won't play well with Obama's people, she'll mess up the Obama antiwar message, and won't it be sweet to see all the money the GOP spent smearing her go to waste? I present these arguments... and more! in detail here.

Now, I don't have the personal dislike of her that some people do. I really liked her during the 1990s, and there's no denying that the sexism thrown at her by the media has been repulsive. But she's just not the person we need at this time (that bizarre assassination remark definitely doesn't help).

Joe Biden: He's not the worst choice by a long shot, but I'll have to disagree with my esteemed host on this one. Yes, the guy often comes out with good quips and says awesome stuff. On the other hand, he sometimes comes out with gaffes (remember that one about the Indians at 7-11s?) and embarrasses himself. Will the memorable quip to embarrassing gaffe ratio remain above 1? That's the question. I also worry about him as a vehicle for Obama's antiwar message.

And his performance at the Alito confirmation hearings was deeply disappointing. Sure, I'm confident that if he becomes president, he'll appoint judges who are good and pro-choice. But after that I don't see him as the kind of guy who'd ever be on a mission to move the judiciary seriously to the left.

So that's that... what do you think?

Neil Sinhababu 11:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (142)

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Comments

The argument for John Edwards sounds interesting. He has national name recognition, not much in the way of negatives, and picking him doesn't deprive us of a Democrat anywhere as he currently doesn't hold office. Given the trend toward a more active VP John Edwards' progressive tendencies could really help an Obama administration stay on track.

Kathleen Sebelius should stay in Kansas just because she does so well there. Actually, the same goes for Hillary Clinton. She does very well in the senate.

Posted by: JohnK on May 24, 2008 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Another great advantage of Kathleen Sebelius is that having a woman as his running mate might do much to mute the feeling of many Hillary supporters that history has been torn from their grasp. This has the potential to mend the polarization of the last five months, particularly among second-wave feminists who really want to see a woman in the White House...

Posted by: Osama Von McIntyre on May 24, 2008 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a name that's not on any list but should be: Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill

She's woman, she's white, she's Scots-Irish and comes from a swing state. She has everything that could balance the ticket.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on May 24, 2008 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Janet Napolitano would be a fantastic choice for VP, if Obama can't get Edwards (my #1 choice) or Clinton (my #2).

http://www.governor.state.az.us/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Napolitano

Posted by: No Car, Too Expensive on May 24, 2008 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards is my first choice, and your analysis of his pros and cons was good, but I wished you hadn't left out Gen. Wesley Clark (my second choice) or Al Gore (my pie-in-the-sky-you-can't-be-serious choice).

Posted by: Howard on May 24, 2008 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Webb is not balancing on foreign policy, he's reinforcing. They both opposed the war, and had the guts to speak about it, early.

Posted by: Sam on May 24, 2008 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

The thing about Edwards, isn't continuously running for *vice*-president an ongoing joke used (and possibly started) by Bloom County in the 1980's?

Posted by: Kolohe on May 24, 2008 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Napolitano is one smart, quick-witted charmer from a Western state. I'd love to see her get the veep spot. Problem is she's a kind of butch 50 year old woman who has never been married. But, you know, so what if people might talk? I think most folks would like her in the end. And like her a lot.

Posted by: Callimaco on May 24, 2008 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

I agree about Richardson. He's so not smooth. I was really disappointed in him during all the debates, although i love his policies.

I disagree about Webb. But while we're in Virginia...

Mark Warner's name will come up eventually. I know he's a lock to take a Republican Senate seat but if you wanna discuss 2016, Mark Warner is the man.

Posted by: glutz78 on May 24, 2008 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Gov Ted Strickland of Ohio. Same arguments as Sherod Brown without having to think about the Senate balance. Let Brown have a little more time in the Senate.

Posted by: scott on May 24, 2008 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

I been telling people for two months that it is going to be Napolitano and I'm sticking to that story. It is a just Rovian enough a plan for me to see Obama doing it. Imagine sticking it to McCain and make him have to spend precious energy fighting for his home state (or the one he originally carpetbagged in).

Posted by: flounder on May 24, 2008 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Although I don't particularly like him, I think Edwards has to be the obvious pick here. Given that Obama's candidacy is looking pretty strong, he doesn't need to gamble with someone who might either:
a) not go down well with the electorate once they got to know him/her
b) turn out to have hidden flaws or scandal material that will turn up in the campaign

Edwards is a safe bet who has been through the process before and is polling well, especially with some of the demographics that Obama is having a hard time reaching.

And assuming she was willing and able to campaign, wouldn't Elizabeth Edwards be the perfect person to bring around the remaining disaffected Hillary supporters?

Posted by: Edmund in Tokyo on May 24, 2008 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

John Edwards -- He withdrew from the race, nominally because of family concerns. Being on the ticket as VP puts him back in the spotlight. Why would he do that? In any case, probably better to give him the Attorney General spot.

Kathleen Sebelius -- She may have a great story in Kansas, but her response to Bush's last SOTU address was pathetic. We don't need more feel-good join-together pablum; Obama provides more than enough of that without the pablum.

Jim Webb -- He has some past hiccups, but that doesn't necessarily eliminate him, especially if he had a Sister Souljah moment. If Edward's and Clinton weighed in to help bolster his domestic policy creds he'd be a great choice.

Posted by: has407 on May 24, 2008 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know but I certainly think Hillary blew it today for her VP chances.

I don't know what the super delegates are waiting for? More like todays comments I guess?? Whatever happens, Hillary isn't getting any nicer, she just keeps getting uglier and uglier.

Posted by: Me-again on May 24, 2008 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Allow me to point out, after a few beers, that Alegre, Susanhu and Larry Johnson for one, will not be coming around to vote for Obama. It seems pretty obvious they'd rather spork their eyes out.

Of course, I doubt those people would vote for Obama/Clinton ticket where SHE wasn't the top either.

Overall I'd go for Edwards from this list, except for one thing: he's tied to the failed Kerry run and despite being the "safe" choice (white/male/southern) he never got any traction. He has the smell of a loser about him and I'm not sure if that's something he'll be able to shake. He's also more confrontational than Obama which would be good for parts of the base but bad for the indies as Obama functions the same way but is about 10 times more palatable about it.

I suppose if Obama can keep him under control, and depending on who McCain picks (Huckabee?) he is who I am pushing for out of this list....

....though I am really holding out for Gore.

Posted by: MNPundit on May 24, 2008 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Oh and Janet Napolitano? I think the TV media people were right, if Obama picks a female VP - it should be Hillary. But Hillary ruined it for a women period, at the least term.

Posted by: Me-again on May 24, 2008 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

One word: Hickenlooper.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 24, 2008 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

David Cook

Posted by: Urk on May 24, 2008 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand the fascination with Edwards. I have nothing against him personally, but he has lost two national primary elections, and one general.

Why would anyone want him on the ticket?

I think Mr. Obama will/should engage in some affirmative action and select a white male from some swing state with some military service to his credit.

Posted by: gregor on May 24, 2008 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

The thing about Edwards that I think you are overlooking is how the choice would go over with Hillary people. Not well is my guess since she would literally be seen as having been passed over in line for the white male behind her in line. Even more so than with Biden or Richardson who would be seen as more idiosyncratic choices, an Edwards pick would really seem like giving the silver medal to 3rd place to a lot of her supporters.

Posted by: whalt on May 24, 2008 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

whalt, I think that's a risk - and he'd run a similar risk if he picked a non-Hillary woman. (Tokenism etc) But whatever he does, I can't see how Obama satisfies people who think Hillary was robbed of her rightful position by sexism; Better to send John and Hillary Edwards out on the stump to try to give them a positive reason to vote for the ticket - even at the risk of making some Hillary supporters feel even more slighted than they already did.

Posted by: Edmund in Tokyo on May 24, 2008 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously that should be "John and Elizabeth Edwards" not "John and Hillary Edwards"...

Posted by: Edmund in Tokyo on May 24, 2008 at 4:01 AM | PERMALINK

Senator Webb has a profile that will greatly enhance the Obama ticket before the electorate.

The ticket desperately needs his military/combat and national security experience to counteract the hero club that the McCain campaign will wield this Fall.

He arose from southwestern Virginia, part of the Appalachian region that seems to be a problem for Sen. Obama. His values are their's. He is licensed for concealed carry of a handgun, since some idiot threatened his life. His book, BORN FIGHTING, celebrates the history of the Scots-Irish Americans who populated that region. He is one of them.

He is married to a beautiful Vietnamese/ American woman. For a minute, picture the two families - the Obamas and the Webbs - a mixed race man, his black wife and kids, and white maternal grandmother, with his running mate, a white Scots-Irish American, his lovely Asian wife, his strapping young Marine Iraq vet son. This a picture of the diversity that is become America.

Posted by: EndgameAK on May 24, 2008 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

"a barrel of awesome"? I really don't even know what that means. I gather you are impressed by her.

That being said, I was for Edwards originally. As for Hillary, I have long believed she was hanging in there in case something happened to Obama. Then she could say... "Hey, I'm still here and I'm the choice of the Democrats."

Posted by: Clem on May 24, 2008 at 4:56 AM | PERMALINK

"a barrel of awesome"? I really don't even know what that means. I gather you are impressed by her.

That being said, I was for Edwards originally. As for Hillary, I have long believed she was hanging in there in case something happened to Obama. Then she could say... "Hey, I'm still here and I'm the choice of the Democrats."

Posted by: Clem on May 24, 2008 at 4:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going to have to agree with End Game. I think Webb is a very very strong choice. I think he will guarantee Virginia votes Obama. He will soften up Appalachia like no other candidate could for Barack, particularly in the countryside of Ohio and Pennsylvania where they abut Appalachia.

My only two concerns about web is that he is prone to gaffs (sort of like McCain). But the big reservation about Webb is that Virginia would lose that democratic senate seat. That would be a big loss for democrats.

Posted by: troll_bait on May 24, 2008 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going to have to agree with End Game. I think Webb is a very very strong choice. I think he will guarantee Virginia votes Obama. He will soften up Appalachia like no other candidate could for Barack, particularly in the countryside of Ohio and Pennsylvania where they abut Appalachia.

My only two concerns about web is that he is prone to gaffs (sort of like McCain). But the big reservation about Webb is that Virginia would lose that democratic senate seat. That would be a big loss for democrats.

Posted by: troll_bait on May 24, 2008 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not necessarily recommending him, but I don't see how you can make such a long list and not even mention Evan Bayh.

It's a Democratic year. Obama doesn't need to do something daring or exciting with his veep pick. He needs to do something safe and uncontroversial, and on those grounds Bayh makes all sorts of sense. He's a tested politician, he looks "presidential", he's charismatic but won't steal the spotlight, he has plenty of experience, and he reaches out to the Hillary camp without actually being Hillary.

I agree with you about Webb. He's a fascinating guy, but he's not cut out to be a running-mate.

Posted by: mdl on May 24, 2008 at 5:31 AM | PERMALINK

Berkley Prof of Poli Sci, Robert Paxton, in his book "The Anatomy of Fascism" also defined the anatomy of Swedish Liberalism as an alignment between urban worker and rural interests. This same alignment is behind liberal Europe, and world wide, where ever liberalism is strong. Agriculture interests are the tail that wags the dog. Bush could never have gotten elected if he hadn't bagged every single agricultural state.

I believe the best future for a liberal nation is for the Democrats to secure the Great Plains + Eastern Slopes of the Rockies + the West Bank of the Mississippi MidWest States, in that order, - these are the low hanging fruit for flipable states and I believe these states, a few having 85 year depressions going on (ND) can contribute to the energy crisis, be it wind, solar, biomass, nuclear, liquified coal, or other, and so massive energy investments here would turn things around there, and in the country overall, and fuse this region to the Democrats for two generations. The Republicans could never approach this region this way because they are captive to the petroleum interests.

This suggests Sebelius or Schweitzer in Montana.

Pick up Kansas as roll north and west. Make the necessary investments, then secure this region for 20 or 40 years.

Posted by: Bub on May 24, 2008 at 5:40 AM | PERMALINK

troll_bait....

If Sen. Webb becomes the V.P., .Virginia Governor Tim Kaine (Democrat) will appoint another democrat to Webb's senate seat. What's not to like.

The McBush campaign will have no luck in "swiftboating" Jim Webb.

In the Sunday paper insert of May 18, 2008, their was an excerpt from Sen. Webb's new book, A TIME TO FIGHT: RECLAIMING A JUST AND FAIR AMERICA. It was moving and displays the humanity of a warrior who is not a war-lover. He is a fine man.

Posted by: on May 24, 2008 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

I used to think Wesley Clark was Obama's best VP choice, but he is getting a little long in the tooth. The more I ponder it, I think Jim Webb might be the ideal choice. Smart, military experience (although I don't think that should have a damn thing to do with it - but we do live in militaristic times) and not afraid to come at the GOP bastards head-on.

I also believe that Webb thinks John McCain sucks dirty green donkey dicks in Hell, which is a big plus!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 24, 2008 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

Schweitzer seems like the most obvious "change" pick, or perhaps Sebelius. I don't see Obama picking his VP based on a particular state's arithmetic. It would not be in his style. My guess is that he will go big picture with his choice.

The other way to go is with the "team of rivals" concept he has been talking up lately, because it not only will make him seem like Abraham Lincoln to the voters, but it reinforces his work across the aisle message. That pick could have been Hillary, but yesterday's events may have thankfully put that to bed. The next obvious choice in tis vein would be retiring Senator Chuck Hagel, a disaffected Republican. Or perhaps Bloomberg, but I can't see that billionaire settling for that job.

Posted by: swarty on May 24, 2008 at 7:03 AM | PERMALINK

First, the Virginians. I may live in MD now, but I'm still far more a VA expat than a Marylander.

Jim Webb: I love the guy, and I'm extremely glad he's in the Senate. His skin-of-the-teeth victory over George 'Macaca' Allen was easily the happiest political moment of the past two years. Like Montana's Schweitzer and Tester, he's a great economic progressive who is pro-gun and doesn't rile the cultural conservatives.

He's blunt and outspoken, but in a good way relative to the Senate. I'm not sure that works as well in the veep spot. And I really DON'T want to see us lose that Senate seat.

Mark Warner: Like Chuck Robb in 1981, Warner in 2001 was the perfect Dem - cautious and centrist - to begin the reversal of a conservative tide in Virginia. The way Robb cleared the way for Baliles and Wilder, Warner made Kaine's and Webb's victories possible.

But I'd like to see him step beyond that before putting him on a national ticket. Let's see what sort of Senator he is, first. If he's a cautious centrist at heart, he'll be out of step with his times, both now and in 2016.

Sherrod Brown: Whaddaya mean, nobody's mentioning Brown? I've heard lots of people mentioning both him and Strickland.

I think he'd be great. Very progressive, good candidate, would likely nail down Ohio, and the odds favor our being able to hold onto his Senate seat, especially with the Ohio GOP still being somewhat in disarray.

Ted Strickland: he sounds good, but I have to admit I've paid little attention to him, so I don't have an informed opinion about him.

Kathleen Sibelius: what Neil said. I have nothing to add.

Hillary Clinton: just in case the RFK-assassination reference didn't kill that prospect, let's not forget that that's hardly her first serious gaffe (or fabrication - remember the Bosnian snipers!) this campaign season.

Plus, if there's any veep choice this side of Al Sharpton that would get the GOP base to the polls in November, Hillary's the one. I think we want to preserve the GOP base's lack of enthusiasm as a hole card this year.

Janet Napolitano - like Strickland, she looks good to me on paper, but I don't know that much about her.

Claire McCaskill - she's been a great spokesperson for the Obama campaign this spring. But her background at the national and statewide levels (2 years in the Senate; 6 years as State Auditor in MO) is pretty thin.

Al Gore - let's not be ridiculous. If he wasn't interested in running for President, he damned sure isn't interested in another eight years of Veephood. The office is WAY too small for the man.

John Edwards - aside from the niggling oddness of his running for veep a second time, I think he'd be a great veep candidate. He's a solid progressive, his policy views are deeply thought out and would be fundamentally in harmony with Obama's, he'd be a good Presidential candidate in 2016, Elizabeth (barring health problems) would be an asset to the race, he's a strong enough figure to be an asset to the ticket without overshadowing Obama. And if someone makes fun of his haircuts, it's really a so-what, since he's just running for veep.

Brian Schweitzer - another good choice. Like Webb, an economic progressive who doesn't make cultural conservatives uncomfortable. And he wouldn't cost us a Senate seat.

Bill Richardson - gaffe machine, long rumored to have a problem with wandering hands. Let's appeal to Hispanics by having nonpunitive immigration policies.

So my top tier would be Edwards, Schweitzer, and Sherrod Brown, in no particular order. McCaskill, Sibelius, Napolitano, and Strickland would be in my second tier, mostly because I know less about most of them, and because of McCaskill's thin record.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 24, 2008 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards.

Posted by: John McCain: More of the Same on May 24, 2008 at 7:15 AM | PERMALINK

Neil-

Yes! I've been talking up Sherrod Brown for a while. A popular Ohio Senator whose front page has him a huge picture of him speaking for "fair trade"? He's perfect.

I'm still pretty skeptical that Edwards wants the VP slot, but obviously I'll support him wherever he goes. Still kinda prefer AG.

On some of the names Neil didn't mention that are getting attention:

-Ted Strickland is pro-life. He's out.

-Evan Bayh? What is with nominal progressives and ultra-conservative Democrats? A war supporter and business advocate, I'll take Bayh as an Indiana Senator, but he should be nowhere near the veepstakes.

Posted by: DivGuy on May 24, 2008 at 7:26 AM | PERMALINK

The safest thing for the country is for Obama to have someone as VP who will challenge him. I think we are in for the second coming of W with his arrogance and the press and his supporters inability to maintain critical distance. The Obama campaign is very similar to the Bush 2000 campaign; pleas for a different type of politics while sticking the knife, ability to close down discussion and the tactic of embarrassing an opponent out of a race you can't win without the courts/superdelegates.

Posted by: UnusMundus on May 24, 2008 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

Brian Schweitzer get plz.

Posted by: mudkipz 4 america on May 24, 2008 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone, but please not Evan Bayh!! He is sooo lame . . . seriously I would have to question the campaign's judgement if it went for him. He is anti-charismatic.

Posted by: trixi on May 24, 2008 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards and Webb are the two strongest picks. I think Webb would be great. Although his candor would be sorely missed in the Senate.

Thank god we can put the Clinton VP talk to bed now.

Posted by: SW on May 24, 2008 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a huge Edwards supporter, but I'm not sure that (a) he would be a great help on the Obama ticket, nor even that (b) this would be the best use of his potential future policy & organizing leadership.

The posted analysis above makes me lean toward Sebelius or Schweitzer.

And I think we can now pretty much forget the outside pressure on Obama to accept Hillary Clinton as VP since the "Hey whenever I think of nomination fights which run into June I always think of 1968 since that turned out so well for Democrats, right? Right?" comments she's been making since March.

Posted by: El Cid on May 24, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting posts and comments. You all have convinced me both ways on Webb. My thoughts; Sebelius bombed in the only national exposure of which I'm aware. I believe it was the Democratic response to Bush's last state of the union. I won't hold that against her forever, but just saying. I'm not sure an occasional gaffe by the VP candidate is such a bad thing. A certain segment of the electorate seems to like it thinking it makes the team more human and since Obama is almost too perfect Bidenesque soundbites might be helpful. My favorite idea above is by Bub. Add that region he describes to the Blue bloc. Schweitzer is my new favorite.

Posted by: dennisS on May 24, 2008 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Following up on my take-out-a-Republican-Senator suggestion yesterday -- someone should look at the law in Virginia. I remember LBJ ran for the Senate [as insurance] and VP in the same election, if that could be done in Virginia Warner would be the ideal pick, much better than Webb. Warner has much more to offer on his resume [economy/business experience, governor, etc.] to the national audience, and his personality would be a much better foil for Pawlenty or whoever McCain picks. If he wins the Senate nomination, then gets picked for VP, the voters wouldn't hold it against him, and hopefully Tim Kaine would get to fill the Senate seat if Warner wins both offices he's running for.

Posted by: loki on May 24, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Sebelius remains my first choice. Her being a woman doesn't hurt, and she brings many positives. In addition to her Kansas credentials, don't forget she has strong Ohio ties--she's the daughter of a former governor, John Gilligan. I think she reinforces the Obama message of solid progressivism blended with bipartisanship--a bipartisanship that doesn't mean rolling over to Republicans, but rather seeking true, sensible common ground in a way that ultimately redounds to Democratic goals. Her lack of foreign-policy experience doesn't trouble me, since Obama shouldn't acknowledge that as a weakness, per se. His judgment and thoughtfulness will serve us far better than the experience of Cheney, Rumsfeld or Rice.

Possibly safer would be one of the Ohio men, either Brown or Strickland (the pro-life thing is worrisome with Ted, though). I love Schweitzer, but he might be a little rough-hewn to sell as a potential president. Warner's a strong choice, though I'm concerned about throwing a wrench into the Virginia Senate race. Not Edwards, please--have him campaign vigorously, and make him attorney general and a general Cabinet force on poverty issues, but the last thing Obama needs is a been-there-done-that effect with what amounts to his first "presidential" decision. Not Richardson, who was buffoonish in his presidential race. And not Bayh, who is terminally boring.

Wildcards: Brad Henry of Oklahoma, Mike Easley of North Carolina.

Posted by: Vineyarder on May 24, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

I knew almost nothing about Schweizer before reading your post, but the fact that he speaks Arabic (while impressive to an internationalist like me) would be catnip to the rightwing email purveyors--further proof that Obama's candidacy is part of a massive plot to sell America to the Islamists.

Posted by: Karl Weber on May 24, 2008 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

My first choice would be Wesley Clark. A sterling military record that will match up and surpass McCain's own honorable but not distinguished service. Clark's the last American general to truly win a peach. His membership on the ticket will do a lot to solidify Obama's chances among those who place security above the economy. Then he can run on the economy alone, which is where the republicans are now the most vulnerable.

Posted by: Independent Voter on May 24, 2008 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

And I forgot to mention that Sebelius is Catholic, which also doesn't hurt.

Posted by: Vineyarder on May 24, 2008 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Gore. He's beyond universally respected. Put him in charge of the effort to combat global warming. There's no question he passes the commander-in-chief test, and picking an elder statesman makes Obama look confident.

If not Gore, Webb. Obama needs to pick someone who will be perceived as "tough," a fighter. Edwards' record in this regard is not particularly good. Webb is a tough motherfucker. This cannot be denied.

Finally, Hillary. Appoint Bill as the new Senator from New York to keep him busy. She campaigns hand-in-hand with Obama, and then is (practically) shut out of his administration completely.

Posted by: ethan salto on May 24, 2008 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards's appeal isn't just due to name recognition. In Pennsylvania he added a lot more than Ed Rendell, who should, you know, have pretty good name recognition in Pennsylvania.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on May 24, 2008 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Let's face it, John Edwards is the heart, soul, and essence of what the Democratic Party ought to be all about!

Posted by: Ray in Maine on May 24, 2008 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards? Look, Edwards might be the veep candidate that we would most like to have a beer with , but the FACTS are that Edwards has tried repeatedly at the national level and been rejected repeatedly. Time to move on. he can be AG in the Obama admin, though.
I like MaCaskill- she has been a great spokesman for Obama- would but a black man-white woman ticket represents too much change for much of the national electorate. Again, we aren't talking about what liberals would like but about winning

You need a veep who can bring votes to the table-the kind of votes that Obama can't get on his own. The ideal Obama vice presidential candidate should be white, male, able to deliver a swing state, and and be a loyal attack dog for Obama.It would also be good if he is from the Clinton wing of the party, so as to fully unite the party.

my top 5:

Strickland
Schweitzer
Webb
Kane
Rendell


Posted by: stonetools on May 24, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

VA Governor Tim Kaine is one of the earliest prominent Obama backers; shares much of Obama's basic approach; speaks Spanish; and would help deliver a swing state that would destroy the Republicans. Map. Smart, human guy who'd be a fine President himself.

Posted by: Sean on May 24, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

How can anyone say that Mr Webb is a tough "motherfucker". What an ugly ugly ugly image. Tough, yes. But everything about the word "motherfucker" is so ugly, from its casual use to denigrate someone to its casual use to praise someone, that it should never be used in reasoned discourse.

Posted by: Carol on May 24, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Whoever is puffing Wes Clark must not be aware he was sacked (OK, relieved early) by Clinton for wanting to attack Russian troops at the Pristina Airport -- only the mutiny of his British second in command stopped him. Too much baggage for a VP.

Posted by: loki on May 24, 2008 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

The thing about Sebilius is, she didn't have to do much in order to turn Kansas Republicans into Democrats. Generally, if you are to the left of Rush Limbaugh (and ESPECIALLY if you are not hard-core anti-abortion), the conservatives in the KS GOP will do everything in their power to throw you out. RiNO (Republican in Name Only) is a common insult in political dialogue in Kansas. If you haven't read Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas?" it explains this phenomenon in more detail.

Don't know if that says anything about Sebilius as veep, just getting it out there.

Posted by: mmy on May 24, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards is my first pick. However, he has said that he will not run on a ticket as vice -president again. I'm also torn because outside of winning in the general, once he becomes the v.p. what else would he do? I mean, is this really the best use of his talents? He would make an awesome AG, and it would definitely allow him the latitude to do something that seems to be a passion of his, that being taming big corporations. So, if he does'nt come through, Schweitzer, would be my second pick. I think the country would quickly fall in love with him.

Posted by: onlinesavant on May 24, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK
John Edwards -- He withdrew from the race, nominally because of family concerns.

First, I don't think that's true; none of the things I saw from the Edwards campaign suggested that family concerns were why he was withdrawing. Even if they were the nominal reasons, those were among the reasons Al Gore cited in 1992 for not running for President despite considerable enthusiasm for him to do so; this did not stop him from accepting the VP nod.

Publicly, Edwards has said he doesn't want the VP nod but would be interested in the right role in an administration; there are reports (e.g., in the New York Times) that he has privately said that while he would prefer the job of Attorney-General, he would accept the second place spot on the ticket

Posted by: cmdicely on May 24, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards! Part of the bump he gives Obama comes from name recognition, sure. But part comes from the fact that he's a good campaigner, solid progressive on policy, perceived as a strong advocate for worker's rights, good on healthcare, the environment, energy policy, etc. Yet, the southern male candidate puts these policies in a down-to-earth package. The notion that choosing him might roil Hillary supporters because he's a white male might be true up to a point, but Hillary herself has made the case in no uncertain terms that the ticket will have to appeal to white working class voters (sometimes too explicitly). Edwards (didn't his father work in a mill or something?) should be able to help here. If the polling through the summer continues to show him helping Obama the most, then the point of this election is to win. Let's do it.

Posted by: edwardian on May 24, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

While I would vote for a ticket headed by either Obama or Hillary at the top with most any of the discussed VPs I would be very turned off if Obama offers Hillary the VP slot. That menage-a-trois with Bill would be a nightmare and a total sell-out to politics as usual on Obama's part.

Posted by: pterosonus on May 24, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton: Her voters will come back into the fold without her in the VP slot -- Neil Sinhababu

I hope you don’t plan to hold your breath waiting for Hillary’s supporters to fall in line and support Obama. I certainly have no plans to do so.

The vicious, sexist campaign waged against Hillary by Democratic men this year has amazed me, since women make up a majority of the party. The men have acted like abusive husbands who think that they can mistreat their wives, because the women have no other choice but to accept it.

I do have a choice.

Posted by: emmarose on May 24, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I've been plugging for Schweitzer for a while, but I also think that Howard Dean would be a good choice. He's got executive experience, and his 50-state strategy matches nicely with Obama's attempts to work for a broad consensus. ("The scream" is old and explainable.)

Posted by: N.Wells on May 24, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

The country can go to hell but emmarose has her principles.

Posted by: Lucy on May 24, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

After the NATO effort in Kosovo was winding down I watched the Frontline retrospective with my wife. After watching several hours of footage and interviews with Clark and Holbrook I turned to her and said, "I could quit my job to go work with someone like that." Meaning they both came across as leaders with enormous integrity, honesty and deeply held convictions.

I was really, really disapointed when Clark didn't run in this primary and then further rocked when he lined up just this side of a Clinton shill.

Still and all, I think Wesley Clark as a rough and tumble, quick-witted, down-to-earth running mate makes an Obama/Clark ticket pretty hard for ANY McCain combo to match up against. An eloquent spokesman who can don armour and attack with the best of them and who will appeal to residents in the socially challenged areas Obama solo didn't do well in.

Posted by: Bigsky in Iowa on May 24, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Two things about Webb. First, the Democrats _cannot_ afford to lose that Senate seat in VA; the chances of winning again prior to a successful 6-year Webb term are very low.

But most importantly, it says something about how successful that Radical Right has been in dragging the perceptions needle over to the right side of the dial that no one seems to recognize that Webb is essentially a traditional conservative (in the actual sense of conservative, which basically doesn't exist any more) Republican who has been socialized with a moderate (and moderating) dose of civil rights and concern for the working class (then again, Henry Ford was, somewhat, concerned for the working class too). He is a REPUBLICAN who had to run as a Democrat because the Republican Party has been dragged so far into radicalism by the Norquist/Scaife ilk.

We need actual Democrats on our ticket, not Republican lites.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 24, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

I was an Edwards supporter who reluctantly voted for Obama when Edwards dropped out. I still think he would make a better President than any of the contenders. So, those are my prejudices coming into this.
Here are some lesser reasons for Edwards:

He already has considerable name recognition.

He's young, it's easy to see him as President 8 years and 12 years from now.

He shores up some areas where Obama is politically weak (7% of the vote in West Virginia).

He's married to a very smart and assertive woman which may have some pull with Hillary's diehards.

He speaks well, debates well, and is very unlikely to do or say something that could hurt Obama in November.

But in the end, the real question is, who would make the best President if the need arises ?
I think it's Edwards. Of all the candidates he has done the most homework for progressive causes and issues. And he completely owned up to and understood his mistake on Iraq. Learning from mistakes is a great quality in a leader. In fact, it's one I'm looking for a little more of in Obama. When Krugman points out you're wrong about something, don't attack Krugman, go back to your policy assumptions and re-evaluate.
So, in a way, picking Edwards, particularly after the arguments on healthcare policy (where the Edwards's were right), would also be a sign that Obama is less brittle than he sometimes comes off.

And I think Edwards might accept.

Posted by: Ralph on May 24, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Schwietzer wants to convert shale to gasoline. That strikes me as a sstep in the wrong direction. We need to get serious about the environment.

Posted by: Danp on May 24, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Al Gore

Posted by: Paul Moeller on May 24, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

The US is a conservative, anti-intellectual, racist country scared to death of terrorism, and the Democrats are running a cerebral black man for president whose foreign policy is popularly conceived as a willingness to use soaring rhetoric with our enemies.

We need a veep candidate who can push Obama over the line. Any woman is going to make the ticket more exotic, so no to a barrel of awesome. I still like Webb, but Brian Schweitzer sounds interesting--it would be great to have a veep who speaks Arabic. Clark would be OK, too, although he was a lackluster presidential candidate. Edwards has lost too many races, and Obama needs a national security counterweight. Needless to say, no to Hillary for VP--that would be a mockery and a disaster.

Posted by: Lucy on May 24, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Emmarose:

The vicious, sexist campaign waged against Hillary by Democratic men this year has amazed me, since women make up a majority of the party. The men have acted like abusive husbands who think that they can mistreat their wives, because the women have no other choice but to accept it.

Oh yes, that's it. It's the fault of teh men.

What a tired and unsophisticated meme.

Posted by: keithg on May 24, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

No, Edwards for Attorney General.

America needs an AG with a populist streak. Let him go after Big Money interests, from war profiteers to Wall Street crooks to health insurance/Big Pharma scumbags. Making him VP wastes his talents.

As for Webb, I like him but don't trust him. Who knows if in a few years, he evolves back into a Repub. He's an oddball much like Arianna Huffington. Or Madonna -- a new persona every few years to stay in the media spotlight.

Richardson and Biden are gasbags. Can't beleive anybody takes them seriously.

Most of the other names are ciphers. I and the American public know too little about them to have strong opinions. Which is good and bad.

Posted by: Auto on May 24, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

No one has mentioned Sam Nunn of Georgia. Outstanding foreign policy creds (currently heading a nuclear proliferation prevention foundation), excellent realtionship with the military, from the South and very well respected there.

Posted by: Bill H on May 24, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

...but a black man-white woman ticket represents too much change for much of the national electorate.

Black men and white women combined are a majority of voters. Throw in the occasional white man who doesn't care if there's a white man as POTUS/VPOTUS, and you have a comfortable majority indeed, at least in theory.

I don't dislike Edwards, but putting someone on a ticket whose lifetime record in elections is 1-3 just strikes me as a bad idea. Did Edwards help Kerry win even a single state in 2004? Time to turn the page on that one.

I'm not seeing a lot of support for Richardson, and I don't even disagree with the negatives mentioned by Neil, but a VP who could lock down New Mexico and Colorado and tilt Nevada blue can't be overlooked. Though I agree that Obama's choice probably won't be on those geographic grounds--I suspect he'll go with a "message reinforcer" type like Gore was in '92. No one would say change more than a woman.

McCaskill is an interesting possibility. From a neighboring state (as was Gore), and from what little I know, she seems to make a better impression as a speaker than does Sebelius.

Posted by: Hyde on May 24, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton is still the natural choice for VP. She brings in bunches of voters that Obama just can't (she's even beating McCain in hypothetical contests now). If we don't want to make this thing a nailbiter, Obama is going to have to do the smart thing and put Clinton on the ticket. That's a huge margin of victory for Dems.

Posted by: on May 24, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Thoughtful comments here, many of them. I'm a huge fan of Edwards, so I'm a really easy sell for him as VP, but I had no idea that he could have such a significant effect on the numbers. Yeah, it's hypothetical, but it's awfully encouraging.

I'm with Bill H -- the former Senate Armed Services Chair from Georgia, Sam Nunn, would be a really good choice. As Bill says, his work on nonproliferation of weapons -- chemical, biological, & nuclear -- is important, and it plays to one of Obama's expressed interests. He may well be a little too centrist for many here, but that's certainly in keeping with Obama's talk of bipartisanship. Food for thought.

Posted by: junebug on May 24, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

If Webb becomes vice president, Virginia does not lose a Democratic Senate seat. Kaine will be governor throughout 2009, and he of course would appoint a Democrat. (Conversely, if Kaine became vice president, the Republican lieutenant governor would be promoted to governor, a disaster for Dems.) Webb's seat isn't up until 2012. Mark Warner is running for the Senate seat John Warner (no relation) is vacating this year, and is a pretty good bet. He's okay, but Webb brings far more to the table, especially where foreign policy is concerned. And in my mind, that's the crucial area for an Obama running mate, which is why I might toy with the idea of Chuck Hagel. And let's not automatically reject Casey and Strickland because they're anti-abortion; it's as stupid to be as doctrinaire on this issue as the GOP is on the other side. Women don't vote in a one-dimensional, one-issue vacuum.

Posted by: Vincent on May 24, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Janet! Napolitano. She has prevailed and kept her sense of humor while governing a border state, populated by right wing extremeists, religious nut cases, and represented by the likes of McCain, Kyl, Renzi,and (former rep) JD Hayworth.

She's every bit as tough and smart and wonky as Hillary sans the naked lust for power.

Posted by: bcinaz on May 24, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Um, except that Janet Napolitano brings nothing to the table in terms of votes. She's not going to help carry the Southwest against McCain. Let's give up on that fantasy. We are going to need the votes of OH, PA, MI, FL.

Women don't vote in a vacuum. Except when men are trying to use their ovaries to ensure their ownership of female bodies. Then we vote in a vacuum. Talk to me when you've wanted to have an abortion.

Posted by: on May 24, 2008 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Hillary is the best choice. She has gotten half the votes of the party. 80%+ who think she is the better candidate. That's an awful lot of people to ignore in claiming "she's not what we need".

I am less and less impressed with web pundits who try to manufacture reality.

What you have to understand is that this is not a normal primary where the candidate is decided by February and the VP is decided in some anonymous back room. With two candidates with half the votes each and a margin of victory that looks to be less than 1% you can't run a ticket without both of them.

And that means that the nasty people in the Obama campaign and the stupid advisors in the Hillary campaign will be forced off the bus.

Posted by: patience on May 24, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

No one has mentioned Sam Nunn of Georgia. Outstanding foreign policy creds

(1) Too old
(2) Nasty homophobe.
(3) Neocon.

So yeah, if Obama wants a VP who opposes everything Obama claims to stand for, Nunn is the guy.

Posted by: rea on May 24, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

John Edwards: His plans on health care and global warming moved the entire race to the left

Edwards' work for a hedge fund in 2006 moved the race to the far right. He speaks to the left and works for the right. Even the lowest information voters can recognize his hypocrisy.

she's a kind of butch 50 year old woman who has never been married

Napolitano is a Democratic Gauleiter, who used to be a federal prosecutor, that knows how to call out the National Guard to arouse racist populism. If an English version of 'Seven Beauties' is ever made, and Napolitano dies her hair blonde, Napolitano would be perfect for the role of the concentration camp commandant. Instead of VP, she might be a better Sec. of Homeland Security.

Posted by: Brojo on May 24, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

John Edwards is the heart, soul, and essence of what the Democratic Party [is] to be all about!

So true. His work for the hedge fund and his vote for the AUF is the essence of what the Democratic Party represents.

Posted by: Brojo on May 24, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

In order of preference:
1.Edwards
2.Webb

But...if either is ruled out or rules himself out, then my number 3 choice (actually my fave) is:

3. Christopher Dodd: Uber-competent, Irish Catholic, trustworthy, laser-sharp fast-talker, virtually gaffe-free. Great chemistry. Top-shelf attack dog. Fluent in Spanish. Champion of the Constitution. Brings necessary metabolism and urgency; his general sharp, fiery mien complements Obama's cool reserve perfectly, but with none of Webb's awkwardness. Like Clinton, recites policy in his sleep. Like Biden or Clinton, eminently ready on Day One. Will likely solidify MA and NH support. Has two young daughters similar in age to Malia and Sasha.

Downsides: Senator; loss of CT Senate seat; no potential for continued leadership post-Obama.

I see Dodd as an anti-Cheney: he can go in with the explicit portfolio of restoring the Constitution, and destroying the structural framework of the unitary executive. Given his institutional knowledge and respect, he can completely realign the lines of power and communication among each branch of government, and with a great AG help rebuild the necessary walls between politics, policy, and prosecution. In essence, he and Obama will reassemble what John Dean rightfully calls our "Broken Government."

re his Senate seat: he is fairly firm that he is resigning in 2010 anyway. So if he's the choice, I say he resigns his seat upon accepting his place on the ticket. This would allow Gov. Rell to appoint a temporary replacement, but the next special election would be on Nov. 4. I think Ned Lamont would have no trouble ramping up a new Senate run within 30 days of Dodd's resignation, and his numbers against an actual Republican would be very strong.

Posted by: along on May 24, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent points by along. If Dodd had gained any traction in the primaries I might have supported him with the hope that he'd pick Obama for VP. Nice scenario there for Lamont as well.

Posted by: Lucy on May 24, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Small-bore considerations:
- Bayh's Senate seat is unlikely to be available to a Dem if he leaves to become VP--Indiana's governor is a Repub and the state leans substantially Repub as well.
- A fair proportion of Kansans are part of the Kansas City (MO) media market, which, although I have no personal experience with it, I'd imagine would therefore have material on Kansas political news, and so Missourians would be more exposed to Sebelius than they would, say, the governor of Iowa. Thus while Sebelius would probably not be enough to swing Kansas, she might tip MO toward Obama, if not for victory, at least enough to force McCain to spend more time there campaigning.

Posted by: Jason on May 24, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Janet Napolitano would be a great Attorney General, far better than Edwards and perhaps one of our best ever. She was a successful litigator in private practice before serving as U.S. Attorney and then Arizona Attorney General before becoming Governor in a state that's tough for Democrats. She's smart as hell, has good instincts, and doesn't make mistakes. She also endorsed Obama early, before the Arizona primariy, even though it was clear Clinton would win the state primary. Brojo is mistaken: her actions have confounded racist anti-immigrants and diffused calls for more extreme action.

Posted by: CDT on May 24, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Chris Dodd. His "championing the Constitution" record (what is that about, by the way) is a good fit with Obama. It's the Abe Lincoln strategy, by the way. (Plus log splitting) Running on a platform of restoring the values the country was founded on isn't a bad idea.

Posted by: emjayay on May 24, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The primary role of the Veep is hatchetman. Particularly for Obama, who cannot afford to be seen as negative. He will need somebody downticket to swing the ax.

Edwards would be a disaster. His skills play well in the closed, ritualistic environment of the trial. Unfortunately, he's not going to have the voter's attention for days at a time. He will not have the opportunity to build a rapport through expressions of sympathy and kindness. In a 30 second, sound-bite environment he will look weak and indecisive. Remember, he got pwned by cheney in the debates in 2004. Way too many Dan Quayle moments.

Webb is a far better choice. Nonsense about alienating women demonstrates the author has spent far too much time in the blog-bubble. America is not Hillaryis44.com. People likely to defect in November are people marginally associated with the party to begin with. Democratic women have far too many genuine reasons to vote democratic. They are not going to switch because of something Webb said 30 years ago.


I realize there are a lot of Democrats out there who are uncomfortable with the role of overt aggression in politics. Deal with it. As others have pointed out, picking a candidate is not about who you would invite to a dinner party.

Posted by: Adam on May 24, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

The primary role of the Veep is hatchetman. Particularly for Obama, who cannot afford to be seen as negative. He will need somebody downticket to swing the ax.

Edwards would be a disaster. His skills play well in the closed, ritualistic environment of the trial. Unfortunately, he's not going to have the voter's attention for days at a time. He will not have the opportunity to build a rapport through expressions of sympathy and kindness. In a 30 second, sound-bite environment he will look weak and indecisive. Remember, he got pwned by cheney in the debates in 2004. Way too many Dan Quayle moments.

Webb is a far better choice. Nonsense about alienating women demonstrates the author has spent far too much time in the blog-bubble. America is not Hillaryis44.com. People likely to defect in November are people marginally associated with the party to begin with. Democratic women have far too many genuine reasons to vote democratic. They are not going to switch because of something Webb said 30 years ago.


I realize there are a lot of Democrats out there who are uncomfortable with the role of overt aggression in politics. Deal with it. As others have pointed out, picking a candidate is not about who you would invite to a dinner party.

Posted by: Adam on May 24, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Larger-bore consideration:
This is looking to be a big Democratic year. One of the stronger explanations I've heard for why Clinton is still in the race is that she thinks that 2008 will be so good for Democrats, that the value of the Democratic nomination is great enough that even a nominee damaged in the primary will still be able to win, and so if she has to hurt herself for the general to maintain even the thinnest of reeds of hope for the primary, it's still worth it. If the year is as good for the Dems as this explanation holds that Clinton thinks it is, then Obama doesn't need to try to pick someone to swing a single state or to try to give him a couple extra percentage points in the national popular vote, he needs to pick someone who (1) is unproblematic, and (2) will help expand the progressive movement and the Democratic party.

Regionally, the key areas seem to be, for the mid term, the Mountain West (which basically means the Southwest plus Montana) and Virginia + North Carolina. These are more dynamic and fast-growing areas of the country than the also-electorally-important IA-MO-AR column or the Rust Belt.

But perhaps regional concerns are not primary here. Are there more experienced politicians out there who nonetheless share Obama's emphasis on moving past the divisions of the 60s--someone to reinforce Obama's successful and forward-looking message, but who isn't too fresh-faced as to make the ticket seem *too* inexperienced?

Posted by: Jason on May 24, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I think Hillary gets the nod in one case and one case only: if Obama becomes convinced he can't win in November any other way.

Because you have to keep in mind that it's not merely about winning the election; after it's won, you actually have to work with the VP. Does anybody see the Clintons performing the traditional subordinate role of the vice presidency with grace and loyalty? Besides, if the Clintons had really wanted the job, Hillary would have dialed things back long before now, the way Huckabee did. Instead, she's out there pushing the buttons of Michigan and Florida, and laying the groundwork for her supporters to make the insane claim that she's been robbed.

Posted by: Hyde on May 24, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Adam's post sounds like it comes from someone who's never seen a trial except on tv. Closed, ritualisitic? Sorry, too much Perry Mason.

And comparing Edwards to Quayle is really a stretch, especially for anyone that actually watched Quayle debate (or even speak). By all the polls and focus groups done after the Cheney/ Edwards debate, Edwards won. Remember how the media tore up Cheney's lie about having never met Edwards?

There are possibly legitimate reasons not to have Edwards on the ticket, but those 2 are pretty simplistic and imo don't pass the smell test.

Posted by: Josh Medeiros on May 24, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Obama should focus on picking someone who is solidly and unquestionably qualified to be President, and forget all the rest. This is particularly important because Obama has fewer qualifications / accomplishments than any President in modern US history, and will no doubt spend a good deal of time responding to that fact during the campaign. Having a VP candidade who IS clearly qualified will make it slightly easier.

Posted by: Pat on May 24, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

No one has mentioned Sam Nunn of Georgia. Outstanding foreign policy creds
Posted by: Bill H on May 24, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

(1) Too old
(2) Nasty homophobe.
(3) Neocon.

So yeah, if Obama wants a VP who opposes everything Obama claims to stand for, Nunn is the guy.
Posted by: rea on May 24, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

(1) One of the points of tapping somebody like Nunn is to shore up Obama's experience gap, relative to McCain, particularly when it comes to military issues. So, yes, he's going to be older. As long as he's in good health, there's no reason he couldn't be a very effective Vice President. Your point is relevant, though, insofar as where it leaves Democrats at the end of Obama's term, since he clearly wouldn't be running for the Presidency himself.

(2) Yeah, some of the stuff he pulled in the Don't Ask, Don't Tell fiasco was inexcusable. I don't know if it's born of bigotry or some weird deference to military culture -- and it probably doesn't matter, but realities like the brain drain this has caused in the military (how many vital translators have we lost now???) and changing attitudes among the electorate may well put the issue to rest, once & for all. Your point is taken, though.

(3) I'm not buying the neocon label. After all, a Senate Armed Services Chair who opposed the first Gulf War makes pretty clear that he's not itching to get involved where he doesn't think it's necessary. I can get down with that kind of independent thinking.

Finally, he's an internationalist, he's big on nonproliferation, he's fiscally responsible, and he's big on civic engagement, so he's clearly aligned with Obama on several very important issues.

Posted by: junebug on May 24, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

I missed where Brojo put a name in the ring. Other than making casting decisions for movies and casting one line aspersions on Edwards and Napolitano - aspersions he might show the courtesy of explaining in a little more detail or at least providing a link to something substantive - I'd like to hear who he/she thinks would be a good choice for vp ?
By the way, if I wanted to hear unsupported innuendo about people in the public eye I'd watch Fox news and MSNC for insight.

Posted by: Ralph on May 24, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Um Josh.

I worked for national litigation firm. A trial is a very structured environment. Making a case in a trial is extremely different from attacking an opponent's policy on national TV.

In blog-land, or on the daily show, people might remember Cheney's lie. Most voters only watched the debate and paid no further attention. Cheney forcefully delivered his "you're inexperienced and the nation is at war" message in the time he had.

My basic point is that Edwards tries too hard to build a rapport with his audience. His audience isn't paying attention. I liked Edwards, and supported him in the primaries. The movement Obama built convinces me that Obama is a better Edwards than Edwards. Edwards might be a good presidential candidate, but the ticket won't work as Good Cop-Good Cop.

Posted by: Adam on May 24, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Um Josh.

I worked for national litigation firm. A trial is a very structured environment. Making a case in a trial is extremely different from attacking an opponent's policy on national TV.

In blog-land, or on the daily show, people might remember Cheney's lie. Most voters only watched the debate and paid no further attention. Cheney forcefully delivered his "you're inexperienced and the nation is at war" message in the time he had.

My basic point is that Edwards tries too hard to build a rapport with his audience. His audience isn't paying attention. I liked Edwards, and supported him in the primaries. The movement Obama built convinces me that Obama is a better Edwards than Edwards. Edwards might be a good presidential candidate, but the ticket won't work as Good Cop-Good Cop.

Posted by: Adam on May 24, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

...no one seems to recognize that Webb is essentially a traditional conservative (in the actual sense of conservative, which basically doesn't exist any more) Republican who has been socialized with a moderate (and moderating) dose of civil rights and concern for the working class (then again, Henry Ford was, somewhat, concerned for the working class too). He is a REPUBLICAN who had to run as a Democrat because the Republican Party has been dragged so far into radicalism by the Norquist/Scaife ilk.

Spot on Cranky. Webb is an "old school" Republican. But, what better way to destroy the current Republican party than to bring the fiscal conservative/social moderate ranks into the Democratic party? They really have no home. And going hard left (all change) will just send them back to the Red side.

Posted by: Ex - Republican Yankee on May 24, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

OK, emmarose, what IS your choice? It better be stay home, as any feminist that votes Republicrat is a FINO.

As to VP, John Edwards, unfortunately, is a loser, and his electoral experience, in case anyone cares to remember, is less than Obama's.

Now ELIZABETH Edwards I'd go for as despite her lack of "in office" experience, she's the best spoken, most humanistic person in the public policy spotlight. She IS John Edwards' "testicular fortitude" as far as I can tell.

Re female politicians, I'd have to go with McCaskill. She's been a great, articulate spokesperson for Obama and would be an ethusiastic addition to the ticket from an important swing state. If she could reasonably secure MO for the D column, she'd be a shoe-in.

I, too, was sorely disappointed by Richardson. I'd like to see a Hispanic person on the ticket. Are there ANY Democratic Cuban-American politicians in Florida?

I tell you another Floridian I like (tho perhaps anethema to Obama because of her strong support of Clinton) is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She's a firebrand could, I think, assure the Jewish vote and perhaps add Florida to the win column, too.

Like others, I'd like to see Webb on the ticket just to see him stick it, again and again and again, to St. John.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 24, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

To continue succeeding, Obama needs to continue his message of rejecting "old politics". To do this, anyone from the DNC school of politics could muddy his basic message. Plus, for every "hardworking-white dem" who refuses to vote for him, he needs to pick up at least one moderate republican who is aghast at what the conservatives have done to their party. Picking a moderate republican - Chuck Hagel, for example, might be able to do this.

As for those who insist that Hillary would supply those "hardworking whites", no she won't. These people will vote against color on the ticket, period, regardless of the #2 spot.

Posted by: jcricket on May 24, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Webb's war novels include long passages about prepubesent boys used as sextoys, passed around and having oral sex performed on them -- not the kind of detour you want to take or have to explain away in a Presidential campaign. The most important job of a VP pick these days is do no harm, and Warner is the best man in the country on that score, as well as solidly helping add Virginia to the playing field. Before her asinine assassination comments I would have agreed with the idea of a unity ticket, but from now on Hillary would be painted by too many people as hoping Obama gets whacked if she's gets the second spot.

Posted by: loki on May 24, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK
... but the fact that he speaks Arabic ... would be catnip to the rightwing email purveyors

LOL. Because it's not just important that we never talk to terrorist regimes; it's important that we don't legitimize them by even understanding their language!

Posted by: mdl on May 24, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

When picking a VP nominee, why would you even consider someone who starts with a 50+% negative poll rating? Plus a husband who is being sued for fund-raising fraud in connection with his library? And who will have to testify herself at the trial?
So she beat Obama in Appalachia. He's now polling 7% ahead of McCain in Ohio and holding his own quite well in Pennsylvania against McCain. Remember, the race is against McCain, not Hillary at this point.

Posted by: Ralph on May 24, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'm convinced Chuck Hagel is on the short list right now. He might be on the bottom of the short list, but he's there.

Picking Hagel would reinforce the idea that an Obama presidency would transcend party and ideological labels, which is his big selling point right now.

I'm not sure I support him because he is such a conservative, but I'm intrigued.

Posted by: Josh on May 24, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Evan Bayh? Please, no DLC Dems.

Sam Nunn? Besides being 70 and off the political map for years now, does anyone know where he stands on current foreign-policy issues? Desperation choice.

Joe Biden? Would be 74 in 2016, so he'd just be a first-term veep, probably. But he's demonstrated the combative spirit of late that makes for a good veep candidate. Still, definitely second-tier.

Chuck Hagel? NO. You don't want someone a heartbeat from the Presidency who is diametrically opposed to most of what the President stands for. I can't believe this bit of lunacy is getting serious play, even amongst a bunch of retards like the Villagers.

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Posted by: dee559 on May 24, 2008 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Why should we have to choose a VP based on calming down the Hillary supporters? Don't we have bigger issues to deal with right now? The VP slot should go to someone who will be 100% supportive of an Obama administration. I for one don't believe "The Hillary Show" will ever be over. That said, I like Edwards or Schweitzer.

Posted by: pb on May 24, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

"The country can go to hell but emmarose has her principles."

No, she doesn't.

Posted by: John Smith on May 24, 2008 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I've been engaged in a similar exercise over at The Left Anchor. We've been digging into the numbers of the top candidates for the VP slot and have found some surprising results with some of the current favorites. We'll be looking at John Edwards in depth on Monday. I'm like Neil, I think he'd add a lot to the ticket, though I do have some concerns.

Anyway, you can check out what we've got so far here:

http://www.theleftanchor.com/vice_president_profile/index.html

Posted by: Big Blue on May 24, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

What does Edwards add to the ticket? A $400 haircut and a bowl of arugala in the first Republican attack ad. I agree he'd make a great AG, but not VP.

Posted by: loki on May 24, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure why nobody mentions Lee Hamilton. But he would give BO the cover he needs to get us the hell out of Iraq.

Posted by: Awk on May 24, 2008 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

emmarose,

Instead of just piling on, let me ask you to look at it from the other end.

There have also been racist attacks on Obama, and some of them have come from supporters of Sen. Clinton. That's undeniable.
Does this mean that Hillary has suddenly joined the Klan? Of course not. If Hillary became the nominee, and someone told you "I'm not voting for her because she's a racist," what would you say to that person? Would you urge them to stick to their principles, and give us 4 years of McCain by default? I didn't think so.

Ignore the obnoxious supporters -- any candidate, in any election, has plenty of those -- and listen to the candidate him or herself. And if you really think there's no difference between McCain and Obama, then stay home.


Posted by: thersites on May 24, 2008 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wes Clark. He won't bring any bad surprises (always a risk with new players to the game), he works like a dog for the Party, his military credibility can swing a whole lot of voters to our side. Not incidentally, he would be excellent in the typical v-p role of traveling the world in the place of the president, with his knowledge of 5 languages and considering the great respect he has from leaders around the world (just take a look at the medals they've given him).

Posted by: catherineD on May 24, 2008 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary as the VP is a waste of her talent. Although it seems most of you have an irrational hatred of her, look at the positive side. She has more tenacity, balls and vindictiveness than anyone else in the race

So put those qualities to good use and make her the Attorney General. Turn her loose on Cheney, Feith, Rove, etc. There is so many Republican crimes that she will be busy for two terms. Torture, war crimes, profiteering, the list goes on and on. She can get her revenge on the VRWC and she will not rest until she has prosecuted them all.

Obama can remain the instrument of change and doesn't have to get his hands dirty bringing down the Rethugs. And, we can get to see the lot of them frog marched off to jail. Poetic justice.

Posted by: MLuther on May 24, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

I would put someone on the ticket who is tested and traditional. A black candidate is enough innovation and newness for one cycle. It needs to be someone who helps eases divisions. We need a fresh face.

I'm hoping with the help of increased black voter turn-out, a new Democratic coalition will emerge. I'd look for someone who could help pull some new states over the line. I'd like someone who could help in the West.

Howard Dean is just old news. Sorry.

To pick HRC would be utter insanity. Way too many distractions going on there. You'd have a total circus. I can't imagine going there. She and Bill would be the focus for eight years. The whole country would need therapy.

I like Edwards but he lacks gravitas in my view. And he was pretty reluctant to endorse. Obama flew down to talk to him and got nothing. What happened?

I'd certainly think military experience would be important with what is expected from McCain. I'd think credibility in the South would be a big plus. Someone like Clark or Webb might be a good choice.

Webb seems to appear a little course at times which people pick up on real quickly. Wes Clark, having supported Hillary, might have some advantage there. He's also well known.

Posted by: samirkand on May 24, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if Hillary were picked as VP, then the NSA would have to tap the phones of all the Detroit hit men for the next four years.

Posted by: El Pollo on May 24, 2008 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

yu know why no one will take this seriously? the absence of any mention of webb's GOP/boomer marine veteran/son in iraq credentials, plus unsourced gossip about how he doesn't have it in him. that's when i stopped reading: this isn't even pretending to be thoughtful about one of the ones you picked as an also-ran, so why should i trust any of it?

ps: yeah, right women will vote for mccain because webb said something about women in the military.

Posted by: bing bong on May 24, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

No to Hillary for VP, no matter what the cost. It is utter poison. Let her forge ahead with her own political career in the Senate.

So far I'm leaning to Webb for VP. His short political career reinforces Obama's outsider message. He also would give a boost in some key demographic/electoral areas. A ticket like this would more than make up for the vacancy of Webb's prime senate seat, which will be filled by a Dem anyway.

I don't think he'll take it, however. Plus there's the stuff in his novels someone has mentioned above and his appalling comments about women in the military. Even George Allen campaigned against the man as a misogynist. And when George Allen attacks you from the left on anything, you have problems.

Posted by: sweaty guy on May 24, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

One serious VP pick, + one off-the-wall VP pick:

Serious: Richardson. As I've said elsewhere, the man's done virtually everything you can possibly do in government *other* than be President or VP. Is he perfect? Of course not. But his knowledge + experience certainly would give him the ability to be a Gore-level VP.

Off-the-wall: George Clooney. No, really- I'm semi-serious about this. Clooney's been politically-active for years- his Darfur involvement + production of _Goodnight + Good Luck,_ to name to examples- is ridiculously well-spoken, and is clearly bright. Name recognition wouldn't be a problem either. Look at it this way: if being a bad actor was enough experience for Reagan to become CA Governor + then President, then surely being a good actor has to be enough for Clooney, right?

Like I said, I'm only half-joking,
-Z

Posted by: Zorro on May 24, 2008 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

George Clooney might also help carry his birth state of Kentucky, and possibly give Obama boost in the rest of the Appalachian r - oh hell, I can't type this with a straight face.

Posted by: sweaty guy on May 24, 2008 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

George Clooney might also help carry his birth state of Kentucky, and possibly give Obama boost in the rest of the Appalachian r - oh hell, I can't type this with a straight face.

Posted by: sweaty guy on May 24, 2008 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

I have a hard time going with failed presidential candidates from this campaign cycle, as they've already been passed over by the voters.

To toss out some more possible names: Dick Durbin or Nancy Pelosi strike me as reasonable options, if they'd be willing to give up their seniority in the legislative branch. Bob Kerrey, perhaps.

Posted by: N.Wells on May 24, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Webb's war novels include long passages about prepubesent boys used as sextoys, passed around and having oral sex performed on them -- not the kind of detour you want to take or have to explain away in a Presidential campaign.

That bs that made George Allen lose his senate seat and probally his Senate career.

Posted by: Andr Kenji on May 24, 2008 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

The Obama Cabinet Unity Ticket 2008 to be presented to the Democratic National Committee in two weeks:

VP--Webb (Senator from VA)
AG-Edwards
Defense--H. Clinton (offered, I mean, only a rumor mind you, but how could she turn that down if the VP post isn't in the cards, right?)
Deputy Sec Defense--Clark (offered, would he accept? If Clinton turns down Sec, offer it to Clark?)
Sec. State--LEFT OPEN TILL AFTER ELECTION...as are all other Sec positions in the cabinet.

That basically lines up the Dem party behind Obama pretty well heading into the general election. This gets Edwards, the Clintons, and Webb onboard all at once. If the Clinton's don't want SoD then, well, it was offered...I mean, sure, you can have one of the softer cabinet posts. Plus, if the appointment to be Sec of Defense for Clinton leaks, think of how the Republicans will switch and waste their money campaigning against Clinton instead of the actual ticket that is running! It doesn't get better than this--even the rumor of it will waste millions of Republican campaign dollars!

Posted by: parrot on May 24, 2008 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

MLuther: So put those qualities to good use and make [Hillary] the Attorney General. Turn her loose on Cheney, Feith, Rove, etc. There is so many Republican crimes that she will be busy for two terms. Torture, war crimes, profiteering, the list goes on and on. She can get her revenge on the VRWC and she will not rest until she has prosecuted them all.

This is a joke, right?

N.Wells: Dick Durbin or Nancy Pelosi strike me as reasonable options, if they'd be willing to give up their seniority in the legislative branch.

Pelosi would be stupid to quit the Speaker job for VP. She's too old to run for president in eight years, and she has more power now than she would as VP. Plus, whether or not the Dems retake the presidency, they're virtually guaranteed to pick up seats in Congress.

Besides, I can't stand the thought of hearing homophobic conservatives repeat the phrase "San Francisco values" every day for the next five-and-a-half months.

parrot: AG-Edwards

I realize that Gonzales lowered just about everyone's standards, but I think the nation can do better than a limousine liberal with no judicial experience and a tendency to vote the way his consultants tell him to. Why not appoint a committed civil libertarian for a change? Or is giving a shit about the constitution less important than suing Wal-Mart?

Defense--H. Clinton

Yeah, great, let's make the SecDef who thinks the president should have more power to wage war. And of course Hillary will have the courage not to sell out to defense contractors.

Posted by: Nat on May 24, 2008 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards would enforce the idea that Obama is too weak to lead the country.

Posted by: André Kenji on May 25, 2008 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

This is off topic, but there's something I see here that I don't think I like. Have you noticed that a lot of folks in the Democratic blogosphere (and maybe the Repubs as well, but I don't spend much time over there) tend to refer to the two Democratic front runners as "Obama" and "Hillary"?

Both of these candidates have a first name and a last name. Why are we calling Obama by his last name but Clinton by her first? Some may contend that this is just to distinguish her from that other famous Clinton, but I don't buy it. I strongly suspect that the writers who follow this pattern are allowing their preference for Obama to subconsciously bubble to the surface in a weak, subliminal message that they don't think she has the gravitas that Obama has. Please understand that I think Obama is the better candidate and I'd very much like to see him prevail. But if he doesn't, and Clinton becomes the Democratic candidate, I will support her vigorously. At that point, I think all of us on the left would like to see her portrayed in a favorable light. Can you think of any other presidential candidates who were routinely called by their first name? I can't. Now let's remember where this habit came from. I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that the people who first began calling her simply "Hillary" were the Republicans who wanted to denigrate her efforts toward a national health care program. So they called her something that made her seem less like a serious player. Why exactly should we go along with that? Let's all call her "Senator Clinton" or, as with male candidates, simply "Clinton".

Posted by: Paul Harder on May 25, 2008 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

How about if Obama picked Gore as his running mate with the implicit understanding that as soon as he finished his oath of office, he would resign and give the job to the man who should have had it eight years ago. His magnanimousness would guarantee him a victory in 2012.

Posted by: jim on May 25, 2008 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

I'm tellin ya - look at Phil....

Posted by: orion on May 25, 2008 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

Mario Cuomo

Helps with old people, Catholics, snowbirds and I bet Latinos and Jews. Is the non-evil version of Dick Cheney with executive experience and gravitas. Not a Beltway type. Best 1-2 in terms of oratory ever. Spoke out against war with Iraq in 2002-03.
Ask him to serve one term and replace with heir apparent on ticket for 2012.

Drawbacks: old, light on foreign policy, Bills fan

Posted by: left field on May 25, 2008 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

> Both of these candidates have a first
> name and a last name. Why are we calling Obama by
> his last name but Clinton by her first?

Because that is what the majority of their campaign materials say? I have an "Obama" yard sign, obtained from the campaign, out front; my neighbor (otherwise a decent chap) has an equally official-looking "Hillary" sign.

I have seen both "Clinton" and "Hillary" signs and materials, but in my experience anyway the "Hillary" stuff has the edge.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 25, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

What Cranky said.
At every Clinton rally I've seen, there are signs everywhere that read "Hillary." There are lots of legitimate complaints about the way Senator Clinton has been treated in the media, but the fact that people refer to her as "Hillary" in an informal medium like a blog's comments section isn't one of them.

Posted by: thersites on May 25, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not entirely sure that Pelosi would be too old in eight years (she'd be 76; Golda Meir was about 72-76 when she was Israel's premier). But even if that were a problem, she'd get to be memorialized in history as the first female VP (who remembers Speakers?), and she could be very powerful as the Obama administration's ambassador to the legislative branch. Obama is not weak on getting things done, but he is perceived as strongest on goals and tone, so his public image could be effectively balanced and strengthened by a legislative nuts and bolts specialist. They could be a great team, and at this point in the process many Hillary supporters could probably find more to support in Pelosi than in Clinton (all the advantages of a powerful woman, who has broken more barriers than Clinton and has risen higher, completely under her own steam, and she hasn't got any of Clinton's negatives). I think she could do successfully for Obama what Lloyd Bentsen didn't quite accomplish for Dukakis. She was right on the original Iraq resolution and the surge, and is in line with Obama's foreign policy goals.

As fine a governor as Mario Cuomo was, he's 75. This is a huge drawback in this campaign. Obama has a huge age advantage versus McCain, but Obama plus a 75 year old pretty much balances out McCain plus Romney-aged VP. How can anyone argue that McCain is too old if Obama is effectively saying that if he fell ill it would be okay for him to be replaced by someone four years older than McCain?

Posted by: N.Wells on May 25, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Paul Harder: Why are we calling Obama by his last name but Clinton by her first? Some may contend that this is just to distinguish her from that other famous Clinton, but I don't buy it.

I dunno - that's why I call her Hillary, although I admit that it does sound much less distinguished than "Senator Clinton" (and I'm not exactly a fan either). And I think her campaign does it mostly for the same reason. But I'd also add that since one of her main selling points is that she's a woman, broadcasting her first name emphasizes that. As for calling her "Senator Clinton", you're probably right that it's more respectful, but people don't refer to senators that way in casual conversation (or quickly-written blog comments). They're always "Webb" or "McCain".

Besides, I don't consider politics an honorable job, so affixing the title doesn't do much for me. I don't call the president "President Bush". It'd be like calling our building janitor "Janitor Steve". Except I think the janitor performs a more useful and less destructive role.

N.Wells: But even if that were a problem, [Pelosi would] get to be memorialized in history as the first female VP (who remembers Speakers?), and she could be very powerful as the Obama administration's ambassador to the legislative branch.

You're right that it would be a more prestigious role. But that's the only benefit: it would still be less power and influence than speaker. I personally respect Pelosi more than Sen. (ewwww) Clinton, but I don't think her public image is necessarily one that would support Obama's campaign. She always struck me as more of a political fighter than a wonk; Hillary is very much a wonk, and that reputation preceded her when she became Senator. And I still think that under an Obama administration Pelosi would become immensely powerful as Speaker.

And Pelosi *is* polarizing, simply because of the nature of her job. That said, attempts by Republicans to paint her as a scary, extremist San Francisco liberal (cue Eric Cartman: "Fag!") haven't done them much good, and I can see that totally backfiring when Pelosi starts making campaign appearances surrounded by grandkids. (From her first and only marriage, too!)

Posted by: Nat on May 25, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

It will be Webb, bet that stash you're saving for Vegas. No doubt about it.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on May 25, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well now we know where Keith Olberman spends his free time. Posting his pompous anti-Hillary vitriol here when he is not on the air talking about Obama as if it is the "second coming."

Maybe he (and others) should save the Hillary as the Anti-Christ segments for Fox News.

A fractured Democratic party benefits who exactly?

Posted by: MLuther on May 25, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

How about Lee Hamilton? Not super-old, great on foreign policy, a rock in Indiana for 40 years, a member of the Iraq study group and one of the voices of reason in Congress when Bush was pushing the war. Extremely non-controversial (boring, sure), but with real cred.

Posted by: itsmekaren on May 26, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards is overrated too. Remember how "stellar" a job he did in the 2004 campaign?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 26, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Huge Edwards fan here and still was stunned by the polls showing his effect on the ticket.

Having said this, I wonder how temperamentally suited he is as number-two to Obama. It rankled him with Kerry in 2004 and suspect he'd bridle in 2008 as well. I'd rather see Edwards at Justice.

As for Webb, although my mom is usually right about such things, I've been getting righter through 2008 than she, who opines that Jim Webb would be a mistake for Obama. I say go with the guy. As a decorated Scots-Irish marine (and Reagan secretary of the navy), he'd be the perfect foil for the increasingly ersatz McCain.

And where Edwards was a reluctant attack dog in 2004 (he'd probably be less inhibited in 2008), Webb has demonstrable skills in this capacity and has a forceful, gritty, intelligent way with the verbal shiv.

My sense is that Obama and Webb need to determine their comfort levels with each other personally and politically. Respective spouses are obvious intellectual equals with interesting life stories too.

I guess, finally, I'd take issue with just one of Cranky's points @11:11 that

" . . . Webb is essentially a traditional conservative (in the actual sense of conservative, which basically doesn't exist any more) Republican who has been socialized with a moderate (and moderating) dose of civil rights and concern for the working class (then again, Henry Ford was, somewhat, concerned for the working class too). He is a REPUBLICAN who had to run as a Democrat because . . ."

Webb has spoken to this, most recently on MTP, where he correctly identified himself not as a conservative Republican but as a Reagan Democrat--one of millions who went over to the GOP in 1980 and 1984, like most of "his people."

Yes, Webb's not the liberal most of us on the left are yearning for (and I agree his Senate seat would be a sore, sore loss). But in 2008 he'd speak to and reach our lost lambs . It's time for them to come back to the fold. Webb could do that.

Finally finally, as for the substitute women (Sibelius and Napolitano), wouldn't this merely provoke Clinton's supporters who'd respond, "Why not Hillary?" Napolitano is a forceful advocate, a great speaker but vulnerable on fronts mentioned above. Just my opinion, but Sibelius strikes me as too polite.

Posted by: paxr55 on May 26, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Even if he has the disadvantage of being an white male, Wes Clark is an obvious choice. He would attract the Hillary supporters - they love him, and he would attract red states. He's a war hero- a real war hero, and a natural leader. His views are remarkedly similar to Obama's. He's not a Washington insider. He approaches issues with reasoned analysis. He's got a great wife. He works on his own car. He's an athlete. And his IQ couples with Obama's would equal more than all of the Bush admins put together.

Posted by: Dru on May 26, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo is mistaken: her actions have confounded racist anti-immigrants and diffused calls for more extreme action.

That is straight from Napolitanpo's justification for signing into law the no job for immigrants bill instead of vetoing it. There is also Napolitano's militarizing the border, which was an extreme policy the governor used to make herself appealing to the racist anti-immigrant electorate. Establishment, win at any cost Democrats are happy with that, but liberals, progressives and even humanist moderates should not be.

Posted by: Brojo on May 26, 2008 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well thanks for speaking for all Hillary supporters, but I won't be voting for Obama in Nov unless shes on the ticket.

Posted by: hrclady on May 26, 2008 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Mrs. William Jefferson Khane supporters will vote for McCain just like their favorite senator from Connecticut will in 2008.

Posted by: Brojo on May 27, 2008 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

sOFoL3 comment4 ,

Posted by: Bgjvwonq on June 28, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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