On Choosing A Vice-President

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 14:38


Writing about potential Vice-Presidential selections is one of the more absurd realms of political speculation. Nonetheless, I wanted to present an idea that I hope will take Democratic approaches to selecting Vice-Presidents in a different direction than we have seen in most recent elections. Specifically, rather than choosing a running mate to create balance on a ticket for the purpose of shoring up perceived weakness in the Presidential nominee, it would be best to choose a running mate whose qualities reinforce the rationale behind the candidacy of the person at the top of the ticket.

Whatever people here may think of the Clinton Presidency, I think that Clinton's selection of Al Gore was the best running mate choice a nominee from either party has made in decades. Clinton ran on a dual platform of change, arguing that the country needed a shift away from Republicans and an older generation, and that the Democratic Party needed to shift away from traditional liberalism. He was a young Democrat proposing sweeping health care reform and a shift away from a Cold War national security budget, but he was also a DLC southerner who sought to make the party more "business friendly." Further, he won the nomination in 1992 largely on the strength of southern support on Super Tuesday and an electability argument that he could do the same in the general election. So, instead of "balancing" the ticket to compensate for his flaws by, say, selecting a member of the old, northern, liberal establishment as his running mate, he picked another young, white, DLC southerner who had run a virtually identical campaign four years earlier. Selecting Al Gore reinforced the message at the center of Clinton's campaign, rather than selecting someone who would balance and compensate for the qualities that Clinton lacked.

More in the extended entry.
Chris Bowers :: On Choosing A Vice-President
This strikes me as a smart approach, and different from the tactic employed by most other nominees. John Kerry, Al Gore, George Bush Jr., George Bush Sr., Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter all chose "balance" nominees that, instead of appealing to a broader range of voters, emphasized flaws at the top of the ticket. John Edwards was charismatic, populist and southern compared to the stiff, patrician, northeastern Kerry. Joe Lieberman was moralistic and anti-Clinton, supposedly "balancing" Al Gore's ties to Clinton scandals but instead emphasizing the Clinton scandals. Dick Cheney was experienced and accomplished, emphasizing Bush's perceived inexperience and incompetence, a problem Bush still faces. Jack Kemp was, well, I still don't get that one. Quayle was young and attractive, emphasizing Bush Sr.'s age and crust, a problem that helped to eventually undo him against Clinton. Lloyd Benson was southern and conservative, emphasizing the problems Reagan Democrats caused for Dems in the 1980's rather than helping to bridge intra-party gaps. Bush Sr. was viewed as a Republican moderate, emphasizing Reagan's perceived extremism ("voodoo economics," among others), a problem for Reagan that kept Carter in the campaign until the final two weeks. Mondale was a Midwestern populist, again emphasizing something that Carter was not.

Instead of shoring up perceived weakness in the top of the ticket, choosing a Vice-President on the basis of "balance" only seems to exacerbate those weaknesses. It makes more sense for a campaign to choose a Vice-President whose argument to become President is the same one put forth by the top of the ticket. Emphasize your strengths, not your weaknesses. Instead of publicly admitting to major flaws on your part, demonstrate comfort in your own skin, and with your rationale to become President.

Using this line of reasoning, here are some quick thoughts on who the major contenders should choose as their running mates:
  • Clinton is running on experience, leadership and the ability to get things done (including win elections). As such, she should probably choose Bill Richardson, whose campaign made a similar argument much of the year. Chris Dodd, Patty Murray and Wesley Clark would be other possibilities.
  • Edwards is running as a populist, progressive, anti-corruption fighter. As such, I think he should go with Eliot Spitzer or Russ Feingold, who have often run campaigns on similar platforms.
  • Obama is running on change, judgment and national unity. A little bit more difficult to figure this one out, but possibilities include Kathleen Sebelius (Obama has Kansas ties, and Sebelius is a red state Governor with lots of party switchers), new representatives like Patrick Murphy or Dave Loebsack (Loebsack was also a prof), and Republican Party switchers like Jim Jeffords and Jim Webb. This is a tricky one. What war opponents represent Obama's argument of both unity and change?

These selections are not meant to be definitive, but instead as a means of framing the Vice-Presidential decision process. Whoever wins the nomination should work to reinforce his or her argument to become President, rather than trying to balance it out.


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Very Interesting Perspective! (4.00 / 2)
I don't think I've ever heard anything like this argument, and it seems so damn logical the minute you articulate it.

It took me a moment to understand why--and it takes me back to one of your post-2004 election diaries, where you pointed out how the parties had become significantly more ideologically polarized, thus putting Dems at a disadvantage, given how many more people identify as conservative.

What's the connection?  Simple: In days of yore what people were doing was widely seen as reaching out, coalition-building.  This was a natural consequence of the kind of political universe they lived in.  The logic you point to would never have occurred to most people, because they took it for granted that no one person could be all things to all people, and the compelling logic was not that of the candidates, but of the coalitions, who the candidates embodied not so much in who they were, but in what they did--reach out to others.  That was the coalition.

All that has now changed, of course, which is why your logic makes such perfect sense.  It's not the sort of thing that someone born into the old logic would be likely to ever see for themselves.  But now, it is an extremely compelling insight, and I hope that someone is paying attention.

Of course, you'll note that there still is some balancing going on, especially in contrast to Clinton/Gore, whose only differences seemed to be temperamental. Clinton: white woman/Richardson: Hispanic Male, for example.  But you're absolutely right in that the pairings you suggest are fundamentally about reinforcing rather than balancing the most key aspects of the candidate's appeal.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


Balance seemed natural (4.00 / 1)
In the less ideologically coherent partisan coalitions of the past, balance was needed. Republicans needed a Rockerfeller type and a hard-core Goldwater type. Democrats needed a liberal and a Dxiecrat. It was necessary to keep the coalitions together, and had simply already been the case.

But the coalitions don't work that way anymore. No need to use the ticket to balance differernt branches of the party. Rather than balance, all it provides is confusion, dissension, and other problems.

[ Parent ]
But Balance Wasn't Necessarily Ideological--Rather Cultural (0.00 / 0)
I think it always had more to do with identity, defined in cultural terms.  Ideology could be part of that mix, but was not necessarily predominant.  Then, as the GOP became increasingly identified as conservative, the other aspects of identity diminished in significance.

The Dems are still less clearly defined, which is why you can describe three different candidate rationales, of which only one has what I would consider a significant ideological element.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Balance may not have been cultural OR ideological (0.00 / 0)
When I read The Making of the American President 1960 recently, I was struck by how similar and yet how quaintly foreign the process was.  For example, Candidates used many of the familiar considerations when deciding to run, but many didn't even make that decision until January 1960!

But the anachronism that seems to have really carried over from then to now is the usefulness of the coalition.  At that time, winning your party's primaries was only one of two paths to the nomination.  The other option was to wheel and deal with all the crazy interest groups and factions at the convention and get delegates that way.

I hesitate to attribute the whole vestigial logic to one process, but to me that would be the only situation in which the balanced ticket idea makes sense--e.g. 'us Southerners can support this boy from Massachusetts, as long as his ticket includes a New Deal Dixiecrat.'

Yes we Kang


[ Parent ]
But Bear In Mind (4.00 / 1)
There were no "New Deal Dixiecrats" on the presidential level. LBJ was no Dixiecrat. He was the Dixiecrats bid for xymbolic respect, but they knew darned well he was not one of them, and colluded with him to hide that fact when necessary.

Truman, Kefauver, LBJ, that's as "Dixiecrat" as it got, and the fricken Dixiecrats were the ones who walked out on Truman in 1948, so how much of a Dixiecrat could he be?

Now, you're absolutely right that until the primaries took over completely--not until the McGovern Reforms in 1972--the coalitions behind the scenes and their dealmaking abilities were much more significant, and functioned in a different modality.  But I think if you look at the deals actually struck, they will not be nearly as schematic as the terms we toss out.

I understand that we often toss out terms as a "for instance," but in this case I think that the crude nature of the "for instances" can seriously distort our image of the process.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Humphrey (0.00 / 0)
I don't think Humphrey won a single primary in 1968.  Bobby kennedy and Gene McCarthy won most if them and LBJ got a higher percentage of the NH vote (but well below expectations) than McCarthy while McCarthy won more delegates.

I vividly remmber a NY City borough boss named Matty Troy bragging that he could deliver more delegates than nearly any of the primaries.  He was right.  I think that was 1972. 


[ Parent ]
Obama/Edwards (0.00 / 0)
Perhaps you would disagree, Chris, but I think that some sort of mixture of Obama and Edwards (I personally would hope for Edwards as P and Obama as VP, though that is just my partisan view) could have a similar effect. While you might not view him as such Obama is PERCEIVED as being progressive, at least to the Left of Clinton, plus, while he is not so young, there is still a youth to Edwards that I think would definitely be matched with Obama (I already see the ticket being viewed as a "youthful force for change" or something along those lines in the minds of many). As such, I do think that the grouping of these two would well compliment itself as a young, progressive ticket. Thoughts?

Former Edwards Supporter, Obama Supporter since January 30, 2008

I was just thinking that! (0.00 / 0)
Edwards' focus on poverty, Obama's history organizing in the inner city.  The one catch I can see is the ego factor: Edwards might not be too excited about another VP invitation (always the bride's maid, as it were), and Obama doesn't strike me as someone who considers himself someone else's second either.

Yes we Kang

[ Parent ]
Edwards has killed the idea of him as a #2 again (0.00 / 0)
not by taking the same pledge he did in 2004 and every candidate has for fifty years ("I am not seeking/will not accept the nomination to be Vice President"), but by bashing his time as Kerry's running mate.  He talked about how much he disliked being the #2 on the ticket.  He tacitly acknowledged he thought Kerry ran a bad campaign.

If anyone chooses Edwards to be a running mate, suddenly all of Edwards' bellicose rhetoric this campaign season is used to draw a sharp contrast between him and the nominee.  It would be easy to talk about Edwards as "going along for the ride" or maybe "ambitious, pretty and dumb;" and even though I'd like to think these narratives wouldn't catch fire, look how easily the story about the haircut got around.  Superficiality plays right into the lazy media narrative about him, and what's more superficial than someone who plays along with a campaign he disagrees with, comes clean about it, and does it again for another chance to be Vice President?  Unwanted, predictable drama.


[ Parent ]
Obama/Sebelius (4.00 / 1)
Definitely.

Besides, I think if either Obama or Edwards get the nomination, the pressure will be intense to choose a female running mate - and rightly so.

http://www.ProgressFlorida.org


I am a big fan of that (0.00 / 0)
I think that Sebelius would be a great pick for Obama, and have been whispering that one for a while.  She is a red state governor who can probably cary her own state.  It speaks to Obama stated desire to unite the country and may heal the wound of the primary if that is needed.

I think that Sebelius would serve to emphasize Obama's message and strengths while shoring up his perceived weaknesses.  She is also a credible successor after eight years of an Obama presidency.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama


[ Parent ]
Kansas won't go Dem in a presidential election. (4.00 / 1)
Sebelius or no Sebelius.

Same with Indiana and Bayh.

For some reason, it seems that Obama has some pathological and deep-seated psychological need for Republicans to like him.  Seriously.  It's weird.


[ Parent ]
maybe but (0.00 / 0)
I think we should be past the age where we expect the VP to carry his or her state if it is strongly in the other party's camp.

Gore won in 2000 without winning Tennesee.  South Carolina wouldn't have swung the Election for Kerry anyway.

The upswing in linkage between party and ideology after the fall of the New Deal coalition means the days of swinging a conservative state to the Democrats to vote for a popular local on the ticket are done.  Republicans wouldn't take a strong blue state either if they chose a popular Republican governor from that state as their VP nominee either.

Just the way it goes.  I guess it would help with a swing state, but it shouldn't generally be the decisive factor in choosing a running mate.  Guaranteeing any one swing state isn't worth it unless the person is otherwise a sound choice for VP based on Chris' criteria above.


[ Parent ]
I agree. (0.00 / 0)
I like picking a VP choice that strengthens the top of the ticket and moves past the old bullshit of balance and trying to win a state you otherwise wouldn't win.  That's the key, these days.  The electorate is too informed (and polarized) to fall for the old trick of getting a state just because a favorite son lives there.

Someone could do very well with Sebelius on the ticket and win, with or without Kansas.

For some reason, it seems that Obama has some pathological and deep-seated psychological need for Republicans to like him.  Seriously.  It's weird.


[ Parent ]
I found this (0.00 / 0)
very interesting, and I think you may be on to something.  As an Obama supporter, I was always a big fan of an Obama-Sebelius ticket, and I think Sebelius could also be in play for Edwards.  I do think Obama is in a tough position, because someone like Jim Webb would be perfect, but I think Jim Webb is too independent to be an effective running mate; he's too much his own man for the role of vice president, for better or worse.  But I think the ideal VP for Obama is someone with experience, but not necessarily a ton of political experience, per se, and that's why Webb is so appealing. How about Tim Ryan from Ohio? Young, somewhat experienced, liberal (on most things), articulate, swing state? Perhaps Wexler as well?

I think Clark is a lock as a Clinton VP, and if not him, Strickland. I don't think any candidate will take Richardson on as a VP, given the fact that he's not a good campaigner and not a terribly effective debater, and there have always been lots of rumors and policy problems with him in the past.

With Edwards, I'm not sure Spitzer takes the VP position unless he genuinely believes that's going to set him up that much better to run one day, and I think that an Eliot Spitzer 20?? campaign is pretty much a mortal lock at this point.  Maybe Feingold, but I think he might feel he would be far more useful in the Senate, a sentiment I think I agree with.  Sebelius is definitely in contention for Edwards too, and I think someone like Kent Conrad could be a good pick for Edwards, though I suspect he's aiming to put either a minority or a woman on - maybe someone like Janet Napolitano, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Raul Grijalva or Charlie Gonzalez?


Totally agree, Chris (0.00 / 0)
and I'm glad that you laid this argument out in detail. Balancing a ticket seems to me like a relic of when there were regional splits in the party that could only be bridged by a marriage of convenience in the Pres/VP ticket, e.g. Roosevelt/Garner.

If Edwards should win the nomination, I'd look for him to pick someone like Sherrod Brown or Jim Webb. He has said that his VP pick would revolve around policy continuity, so I would expect him to pick an anti-war economic populist to press forward on his agenda, should something ever happen to him.

Join us at the Missouri community blog Show Me Progress!


A John Edwards - Sherrod Brown ticket is a natural match, and Ohio to boot. (0.00 / 0)
Although putting Sherrod Brown in line for the presidency in eight years... wow.


[ Parent ]
A woman is a fine Idea for vice president (0.00 / 0)
and I have suggested Boxer in the past.

Please, lets have some fun finding woman who are excellent choices for this post. Lets go a little further afield on this try. Academia, the business world, diplomats, whats your hope chest hold a perfect woman Presidential Candidate in 2016?

Hers another thought though, I think Edwards should make Albert Gore his Vice President.

This isn't as crazy as it sounds, he is respected and loved and has incredible credentials and street appeal.

It would be the cake on the cake, no icing.

Mr. Gore has a huge agenda, a mission a purpose and the skills to accomplish them. The role of the Vice President has been "rethought" by the present occupier. There is plenty of room for the action centered approach that Mr. Gore would need if he was offered the position. It would have to be the place were America rethought its economy, moving away from oil and carbon and toward renewal non polluting sources, and the other many goals Al Gore has set out over the last seven years. Like restoring Reason, facts and science, oh and democracy.

I would also suggest that he be made the official U.N. Ambassador, thus signaling to the world that we take the United Nations seriously, diplomacy seriously, treaties seriously, the rule of law, that America is not just back, but rising. Rising in the way that JRE uses the word. Getting up and committed to solving our problems. As in Rise Up America! What better way to signal the end of America's global warming denial, which is equivalent to holocaust denial. The world would recognize the signal and welcome it.

Second, to follow up on Chris's new thesis, which is excellent, John (ok I'm a big JRE supporter) has huge coat tails. He will drive millions to the polls, millions ready for the changes that are necessary. So does Al Gore, and tails that contain with them something even more important: a mandate. Edwards/Gore 08 would give the Presidency the legitimate right to say that the American people have made a choice. A big choice.

Asking Al Gore to complete his mission as he now see's it, saving the world, from the office of the Vice President is not insulting. In fact because we are asking him to help with the problems that we together have determined are the ones that he uniquely is capable of leading  the struggle on. "Would you like the powers of this office to continue your work Mr. Gore?"

He uniquely protects the Presidency.  He can step in and become the President if called upon to do so. He has the experience and skill set unlike any other human now living.
I think he has the sense of gravitas to see the offer as the call to serve that it is.

Is this crazy? I don't think so. The "occupier" has redefined the office of VPOTUS, Mr. Gore could restore the offices legitimacy and explore the boundaries of a "working" VP.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


Paul Waldman (0.00 / 0)
played this game over at the American Prospect, and had these choices:

Clinton-Janet Napolitano

Obama-Mark Warner (though a commenter suggested Jim Webb and made a good case for it)

Edwards-Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Sen. Sharrod Brown

Another smart point, I think, from that comments section:

2) Edwards alone of the three Democratic front-runners may under no circumstances choose a white male running mate. The symbolic impact would be devastating--just imagine what would happen if a major party had been on the verge of nominating a black man or white woman for the top half of the ticket, but ultimately given both slots to white men. There is nothing Edwards could do that would be more demoralizing.

This seems especially true on the racial front in light of recent events surrounding Obama/Clinton...

A lot of people on the Sebelius train too...


Re: Paul Waldman (0.00 / 0)
That comment was mine, and thank you for the kind words.

We'd like to be able to look past race and gender, but we absolutely cannot. Our ticket cannot contain two white guys this year--it would be a snub of epic proportions to the majority of Americans who don't look like every other president in history. "You thought you might be invited into the club this year? Dream on." There are several tremendous potential running mates for Edwards (Sebelius, Napolitano, Obama, Patty Murray, etc). He'd be crazy to look elsewhere.

Clinton would probably need someone enormously appealing on his own terms--Schweitzer, Clark, Strickland, Webb--who might get people to give the ticket a second look even if they're left cold by the nominee herself. (This is what Waldman was going for with the Warner idea, though I also pointed out that sacrificing our top Senate recruitment success would be an asinine idea.) She probably could *not* add Obama to the ticket, though, because there are already going to be enough idiots scratching their heads over the idea of a woman in the Oval Office.

And Obama would have the most latitude, since he's himself an enormously appealing figure (undeservedly so, in my opinion, but it's true). He could go in any of several directions and either broaden or deepen the appeal of the ticket--my preference would be for him to underscore the "change" theme by picking Sebelius or Napolitano, but I could also see him adding gravitas with Clark or making a bid for crossover votes with Schweitzer or Webb.

I imagine I'll be happy as long as no one loses their head and picks Richardson, the bottom of the barrel.


[ Parent ]
This is (4.00 / 2)
One of the best if not the best posts you or anyone else has made in a long time about the presidental race. Great thoughts.

I like the Sebelius idea. She's Midwestern and from a restate which plays to Obama's no red/blue states idea, she also has run as a kind of new politics canidate and didn't take lobbyist money. She's fairly moderate but she also doesn't support the death penalty and banned new coal plants so she would have appeal on both sides of the party.

Oh and her father is popular former Ohio governor John Gilligan. Her governing style and electoral approach fit right in with Obama and she would add a lot to the ticket.

For the other two? Wes Clark is a lock for Clinton I think. Edwards I would see putting someone like Governor Brian Schweitzer who is a moderate populist from purple state.

So I see Clinton/Clark, Edwards/Schweitzer or Obama/Sebelius. All of those are pretty good tickets if you think about years like Gore/Joementum.


John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


Edwards/Schweitzer... (0.00 / 0)
...would be an excellent combination, and a better on IMO than Chris' original suggestion of Edwards/Spitzer - much as I think Spitzer would be an excellent President/VP further down the road, NYS really, really needs the cleaning up after 12 years of Pataki and I'd hate to see the state lose him after just two years. 

OTOH, either Schweiter or Spitzer can be seen as a "balancing" candidate for Edwards, in that they both have executive experience.

Who I'd really like to see as an Edwards (or Obama) running mate?  Barbara Boxer... sure, she's not as progressive as Feingold, but she's been doing a lot of good the past few years.

For Hillary, I doubt Al Gore would accept the VP slot again, but it would be too funny to have 8 more years of Clinton/Gore.


[ Parent ]
Cognitively framing your ticket (0.00 / 0)
This is a very insightful post, and the point it makes is top notch.  It also serves as a good example of how cognitive framing is not just confined to language&Lakoff (although to be fair to the Rockridge Institute, they do make a pretty good case that they're not about sloganeering).

At any rate, maybe think of this using an analogy to linguistic framing.  Going for the "balanced ticket" is like arguing against the "death tax"--you may think you're proving a point, but you're really just reminding people of the opponent's argument.  You may think you're building a coalition, but you're really just making people wonder what you're trying to say.  That's the power of the cognitive frame.  You might as well run an ad about your tough record on crime with photos of Willie Horton running through the background.

Yes we Kang


Accent a strength or balance a weakness. (0.00 / 0)
The choice depends in large part on how big and serious your weakness is.

For instance, the Bush/Cheney choice was brilliant.  Bush could not have chosen a twin (like Clinton did) and made it.  His weakness on intellectual gravitas was SO GREAT that he had to cover his ass, and he did, so effectively that the argument was almost taken off the table.  People said "he surrounds himself with great people", and any further attacks on the point were mean.

Clinton, on the other hand, had no obvious weakness except for his hedonistic personality, and no VP choice in the world could cover up that.  Choose a highly upright and moral figure and that would just make the contrast worse.  So with no cover-up-able weaknesses around, Clinton chose to reinforce his strengths.  Besides, Clinton needed to argue that Bush was too old and out of touch, he needed the youth contrast to be strong, so choosing an old guy would have undercut his point.

Of our three candidates, the only one with a really serious weakness is Obama, on the inexperienced front, and even there only if he's running against McCain (I'm assuming Giuliani is out, and neither Romney nor Thompson nor Huckabee are strong enough on this point to attack Obama there).  He'll know the GOP nominee before he has to choose a VP too.  Obama v McCain is the only situation I can see where a candidate chooses a VP to cover a weakness, and even then he might choose not to.

The other plausible case is that Edwards has a weakness with the Establishment, and so like McGovern in 72 he chooses to throw them a bone with his VP choice.  I don't think he'd do it though, at least not in such a painfully obvious way as McGovern did.

Edwards/Gore is brilliant by the way.  Obama/Gore doesn't really work, perhaps because Obama has "getting past the past" as such a central theme.


If Gore thinks (4.00 / 1)
he can be more effective doing whatever it is he plans to do (I'm mystified, personally) than being President, I highly doubt any lesser position will be a better match.

[ Parent ]
Except That (4.00 / 1)
being Vice President can arguably be the best bully pulpit he could have on the world stage for moving the agenda on global warming, which is clearly something he's quite committed to.  So I wouldn't rule it out entirely.

With less formal duties than the President, but high visibility, and the opportunity to be a powerful point-person on a targeted subset of issues, it could really work.

It's worth noting that way back in 1984, futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard ran for Vice President as a Democrat, seeking support directly from delegates, promoting the idea of transforming the office into one dedicated to long-term problem solving, getting ahead of the curve.  She wasn't really trying to become Vice President, she was running to promote the idea, and she was savvy and gracious enough that even after Mondale surprised everyone with his selection of Geraldine Ferraro, Hubbard was still allowed to have her name placed in nomination, address the convention and present her vision, after which she withdrew in favor of Ferraro.

Well, 24 years later, maybe the party could think about catching up with her.  I can't help but wonder how much grief we might have avoided if her idea had been adopted when she first came up with it.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Been there, done that (0.00 / 0)
"being Vice President can arguably be the best bully pulpit he could have on the world stage for moving the agenda on global warming, which is clearly something he's quite committed to. "

True, but...

Gore doesn't need the US VP for a bully pulpit - and I don't think he should "sully" himself with the nasty "sausage making" that comes with a campaign, or being part of a the executive branch.  If he has dreams of running for President one day - he'd be better off staying the hell away from Washington for the time being.  I don't see the next 4, or 8 years as being particularly kind for whoever ends up in the WH come Jan. 2009. 


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Yeah but (0.00 / 0)
to be president, he'd have to run for president.  And then, after all that, he'd have to put up with being the president.  I can imagine him being less than interested in either.

Whereas, he could be coronated VP, and then focus on only what he wanted to.  He'd be like the Politician Laureate, like Mary Robinson in Ireland.  And, should something untoward happen to the president, he'd be fully prepared to ascend to the office and be good at it. 


[ Parent ]
Murphy (0.00 / 0)
Patrick Murphy would make an interesting choice for Obama.  He is working very hard to help him win the nomination right now heading up to New Hampshire on a regular basis.  Murphy has also been making some very courageous votes over the last few days in the House.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama


chiming in (4.00 / 1)
...to say this is an outstanding post, and a unique insight.

I commented above, but I'll repeat here - I think we also have to end the expectation that the VP nominee can carry a deep red state for the ticket.  This leads to VPs chosen out of electoral math calculus and this analysis is usually too narrow and limited to be of great value.  Carrying some red state isn't useful if the VP nominee will be dead weight everywhere else or simply serve to make some wish the ticket were reversed by highlighting flaws in the actual candidate.

This thinking also eliminates a lot of excellent candidates from strong blue states. 

The New Deal coalition is gone and isn't coming back.  The Democratic party cannot survive by trying to cater to conservatives anymore.  Republicans have a lock on that.  Yes, it's a big tent and all that and there will always be room for the few disaffected conservatives who come over here for whatever local reason that makes being a republican unpalatable, but it's time to recognize the Democratic party is, and should be a fundamentally liberal/progressive institution.  That's how it will win elections.

If anything, the wipe out of north eastern republicans in 2006 should cement this.  Elections are more ideological than regional now.  State elections will still elect popular democrats in Red states and republicans in blue ones, but these people will very rarely be able to carry those states in national elections (and that will increasingly include congress, not just presidentials).


Agreed. The days of the VP nominee... (0.00 / 0)
...being able to deliver their home state are long gone.

[ Parent ]
If Edwards somehow manages to pull this off... (0.00 / 0)
...he would be crazy not to go with Obama when you take into account both the reinforcing message and his need for either an African-American or female running-mate.

Good insight (0.00 / 0)
I never thought of this.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.

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