More On Choosing A Vice-President: Seek Reinforcement, Not Balance

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:29

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is set to endorse Barack Obama today. Such an endorsement is bound to create buzz around Napolitano as a possible Vice-President for Barack Obama if he wins the nomination. Following the most common rationales pundits use for running mate selections, an Obama / Napolitano ticket creates a nice "balance": male / female, Senator / Governor, Midwest / Southwest, blue state / red state, etc. However, as Vice-Presidential speculation inevitably heats up, once again I want to emphasize a point I made last month. The Democratic nominee should seek reinforcement from his or her Vice-Presidential selection, not "balance"

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.(…)

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.

The tendency to seek "balance" on a Democratic ticket is a relic of the Dixiecrat era of the Democratic Party, when there was massive disconnect between the northern and southern wings of the party. While there are obviously still divisions in the party, current gaps simply do not compare to the chasms that once existed, where Huckabee's voters were about one-third of the party. We should resist the tendency to have our cake and eat it too, or to paper over differences in the party by throwing defeated primary opponents a Vice-President consolation prize. Rather than making our divisions the basis for forging our ticket, the Vice-Presidential nominee should instead serve to reinforce the rationale the Presidential nominee is offering for his or her candidacy.

More in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: More On Choosing A Vice-President: Seek Reinforcement, Not Balance
It is easy to think of possible nominees for Hillary Clinton under this rationale. Clinton's argument to become President is basically experience and competent, technocratic liberal governance. Chris Dodd, Patty Murray, Wesley Clark and a wide range of Democratic Governors, including Bill Richardson, seem to reinforce this argument for Clinton. It isn't hard to find Democrats who embody these qualities, and Clinton should have no problem finding a reinforcement running mate.

By way of contrast, finding a reinforcing running mate for Obama is trickier. Obama is running on judgment, unity and change. Change isn't a quality one will find in many elected officials, since they have all been in office for a while (and since many of them are older white dudes.) Can Obama choose another new officeholder who has only been in office for a short period time? Judgment basically means that person must have opposed the war from the start, which cuts the Democratic pool in half. Further, many of the most outspoken critics of the war who are elected on a statewide level, like Russ Feingold, are not known as unifiers. "Unity" too often means people like Joe Lieberman, who are the opposite of those with good judgment to oppose the war in the first place. Further, Obama running on these qualities in a quasi cult of personality style that emphasizes who he personally symbolizes and embodies all of these qualities. Howard Dean was like that too, but should Obama choose another cult of personality figure, or instead an insider like Tom Daschle won jumped on the Obama train about as earlier as possible?

The problem seems to be that Obama is running a set of qualities that are often contradictory ("judgment" and "unity" for example) and, as such, rarely found in individual Democrats. In many ways, Obama is running on his background and unique blend of attributes, which makes it very difficult to find a "reinforcing" candidate. It also, unfortunately, makes his argument to become President a little muddled. The combination of "change" and judgment" implies getting rid of the insider elites who got us into the mess, but "unity" implies just teaching the insider elites who got us into this mess to get along. By choosing Al Gore as his running mate, Bill Clinton made it perfectly clear what his argument to be President was, and what sort of President he would be. After all, only four years earlier, Al Gore had run exactly the sort of campaign Bill Clinton was then engaged in: a young, southern, electable, "New Democrat." If there isn't an obvious reinforcing running mate for Obama, it might mean that his argument to be President isn't as obvious as it should be. That could cause problems for his campaign, and in more ways than simply selecting a Vice-President. 

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Sure, but (0.00 / 0)
Napolitano would both balance and reinforce Obama - she is a DC-outsider who supports public financing, after all.

In a way (4.00 / 1)
Obama's reinforcement might actually be balance, since he is running at least partly on unity.

[ Parent ]
Good point (0.00 / 0)
That makes sense.  I just hope he doesn't balance himself out with someone who supports the war.  :-)

[ Parent ]
This sounds bad but... (0.00 / 0)
Do you all think it is a liability to have a black man and a woman on the same ticket? I would love the ticket personally-- and I do not want to reinforce here the mantra of not being electible for being a woman or a minority, I just wonder if that would be an issue at all.
I don't think so, but I am curious to hear what others think.

Does anyone think we will see a Edwards-Obama or Obama-Edwards?

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join and fight for progressive change.  

[ Parent ]
Re: Picking an old white Southern male as balance (4.00 / 3)
It would be the CW choice, and IMO, the clearly wrong one. It would basically betray discomfort with Obama's candidacy. "I know you can't vote for a black man -- so ignore me, vote for my veep"! That's going to backfire.

On the other hand, as it's been clearly shown that women are willing to vote for another woman on that basis (even in Iowa, Hillary Clinton got 7% more votes from women than men -- Obama just outperformed her overall), with someone like Sebelius or Napolitano as veep, there's a very good chance that we could get the youth vote, the minority vote, the female vote, and the indy vote, leaving the Republican ticket with only two natural constituencies -- old conservative white men, and bigots. The latter of whom would never vote for Obama or HRC, or any other Democratic candidate really, anyways.

[ Parent ]
Yup (4.00 / 1)
I actually think either Napolitano or Sebelius would be great picks for Obama -- they are both non-establishment Dems that found a new way to forge a coalition in red/reddish states.

The only other candidates that make sense to me as VP picks for him are Webb or Clark.

Obama would be smart to try and get as much support as he can from the popular Democratic governors around the country as a balance to his DC insider endorsements. Napolitano is a great first step in that process. If Sebelius, Gregoire, and/or Granholm endorsed him, too, I think that would help him immensely against Hillary.

[ Parent ]
How do candidates pick VPs? (0.00 / 0)
Chris, I appreciate your post and have always wondered how candidates pick the VPs. I have come to understand that it is more of a strategic alliance than a friendship or even partnership. The more I read about this pairing, the more I learn the two rarely get along as well as some would assume.

I would be curious to hear the strategic reasons and gains/loses for vp choice for recent candidates.

The balance arguement certainly makes sense.

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join and fight for progressive change.  

[ Parent ]
He's not running on "unity" in the (4.00 / 2)
Bloomberg sense.  He's running on less ideology, more listening and dialogue to allow for real problem soplving, not just food fights and shouting.  He's seeking pragmatic negotiation rather than knee-jerk opposition by the GOP, and more coming together on the Dem side than Bill Clinton got.  I really don't think he is a Lieberman.  With Joe it was always all about Joe, and I don't sense that from Obama.  I think his message is really anti-GOP without seeming to be so to those who don't share our great antipathy for them.  It is really dialogue for the sake of solving problems not dialogue because you hate conflict or extremes. 

I think you are right about balance in his case, but I'd look in addition to someone like Jim Webb or someone who could give him life insurance.  How about Al Gore playing the role on the environment that Cheney played on nat security??

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
If Al Gore doesn't want to be President, (4.00 / 1)
I doubt he wants to be Vice President, either.

[ Parent ]
What if conservatism is the problem? (0.00 / 0)
If one assumes conservatism is the problem and liberalism is not only good politics but also good policy, what then?  It seems Obama doesn't care to fight for policies that are "ideological." (i.e. usually progressive).  The Bush years have shown that conservatism--it's mindset, assumptions--is the problem in terms of national security and domestic policy.

On the VP front: I agree with another poster that a woman VP would be amazing.  I can't think of any better candidate than Kathleen Sebelius, not only as a woman, or as a great governor of a red state, but also the fact that she has shown solid leadership, holding her own against the right.  Any negative consequence of having two candidates that epitomize "change" would be more than offset by the benefit of energizing the base.

I also like Governor Christine Gregoire (WA).

[ Parent ]
Perhaps we should be looking to this sort of logic (4.00 / 1)
as a way of reading the tea leaves about what a President Obama would be like, rather than using it to predict who Obama will pick--when Gore picked Lieberman, it gave me a bad feeling that President Gore would be more concerned with Clinton-style corporate governance and Tipper stickers than he would be with the more populist type arguments he was making around convention time, for example.

Rather than trying to predict who Obama will pick, perhaps it's best to just wait for him to pick someone, and use that a s a starting point for approaching his potential Presidency, which as of now, has a bit of a nebulous air about it in terms of policy.

Not sure Napolitano would make a smart VP choice (0.00 / 0)
Here's my beef with Janet Napolitano.  Instead of taking a stand against the nativist right wing here in AZ, she like most of the rest of the Dem establishment here caved in.  Her signing of the most draconian employer sanctions law in the country targeting businesses who hire undocumented workers would make me think twice about Napolitano. 

How this law works: you get caught once, your business license is yanked for 10 days.  Caught again: yr license is yanked forever.  Just wait until a major chain is forced to close its doors, throwing 100s out of work.  All this for a law that will do no more than to force undocumented workers into a more tenuous economic position in a cash only economy, allowing their vulnerability to further erode the wage floor.

For this reason, I really hope it's not her.  She's really not going to help with the Latino vote (she may not hurt it, since the Latino community is AZ is somewhat divided on this issue).  And she caved in to a law written by folks, who frankly are as close to explicitly white supremacist in this country as you can get.  I want a fighter by Obama's side, period. 

My 2 cents, from deep in the heart of sunny Phoenix. 

If it would steer the debate (0.00 / 0)
into a debate about the relative merits of employer sanctions vs. 'border security' and dumb fences and forced deportations, then I'm all for it--if someone is going to get punished over illegal immigration, I would rather it be the people who are actually exploiting the labor, rather than those who are just desperately trying to make ends meet.

Now, the enforcement arm would make more sense in terms of stiff fines than an outright seizing of a business liscence, but making the illegal immigration debate one about corporate greed (and not about scary people crossing the border) will cut off the republicans at the knees on their best issue, without alienating any democratic base group.

[ Parent ]
Not so sure (0.00 / 0)
I don't think Napolitano would do that.  She had her chance when she signed the sanctions bill.  Besides, it still has a deep and profound impact on a group of voters (Latinos), we are going to want on our side in the future.  Finally, I think Democrats need to look beyond electability issues - this is really human rights issue. 

The only real solution is to bring these workers into parity with other workers so they could seek the protections of the law and unions just like anyone else.  Putting businesses out of work like this will hurt a few rich people, but it will cause much more suffering for the workers (with and without documents) who are thrown out of work.  What will emerge in its place will be a black market for cash only labor, in which workers (again, with and without documents) have fewer rights, are more exploitable and hence preferable to employers seeking to avoid unions, paying decent wages, etc. 

What would really change the debate is to embrace these folks as new citizens and treat them as such, and come to terms with the fact that a large number of Americans are going be Mexican and Central American.  We've done this before with the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, Catholics.  We can do it again, but only if we don't push people into a lower caste. 

[ Parent ]
Draconian, yes...but it is a better step than what you suggest (4.00 / 1)
The problem with the de facto Democrat/pro-corporate position on amnesty is that it only deals with those here now.  The problem with amnesty alone is that those given amnesty and legal status will just become the new unemployed as businesses replace these newly legal and entitled employees off their payrolls to bring in more undocumented workers.  The '86 (?) amnesty has only proved this in spades as legal Latinos continue to have a hire unemployment rate than the average and the fact that number of undocumented workers has skyrocketed since that last law passed.

This Arizona law is indeed too draconian.  It should start with heavy fines, especially for companies that are reporting the income.  These draconian measures should be reserved for repeat offenders or those engaging in the black market or cash-only domains since their illegal intentions are more obvious.  I truly believe our border issues are almost entirely based on the fact that people here will higher undocumented labor if it will save them a buck.  Change that dynamic and the flow will abate.

[ Parent ]
Please switch 'hire' and 'higher'! (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Correct approach, if overly draconian (4.00 / 1)
This seems particularly draconian, I'll admit, but this is how Democrats should approach illegal immigration.  Don't target the people, target the companies.  I don't consider this caving it at all. 

(I'll admit to not following this at all, I'm only going by your description.)

[ Parent ]
Youth, newness (0.00 / 0)
More than anything, Obama represents generational change.  The old guys are doing it all wrong and we need a fresh approach to do it better. 

I got one for you: Jim Webb (4.00 / 1)
Although he's not my first choice for Obama's VP, I think Webb would fit all of your criteria. He's only been in Congress for two years, so that gives him a great "outsider" label, especially given the ruckus he's caused during his short time in DC. He certainly fits the "unity" bill, as he was a Republican and a player in the Regan administration, for goodness sake.

Also, Webb was against the war and has a personal stake in the conflict, which will really bolster Obama's anti-war cred. It will really highlight Obama's #1 policy advantage in the general election.

As an added bonus, you really can't doubt Webb's foreign policy credentials. It's not his main selling point, though. The Obama campaign would emphasize his Republican ties, his anti-war stance, and his outsider demeanor.

I think Webb would be a VP that fits all your criteria.

puts the Senate seat in greater jeopardy (4.00 / 2)
My substantial hesitation about Webb as anyone's VP pick (besides his relative conservatism on many issues important to me) is that it very much puts his VA Senate seat back in play - something I'd love to avoid for a while. 

Same goes for Tester (who wouldn't make much sense anyway, I suppose). 

[ Parent ]
That, and it puts Webb in line for the presidency. (4.00 / 1)
I like Webb a lot, but I'm not necessarily comfortable with him being president in 8 years.  He's great on some issues, but he's not really your typical orthodox Democrat.  He's for Don't Ask Don't Tell, for instance.

[ Parent ]
Though I agree (4.00 / 2)
with the commenter that suggests it would suck to lose his Senate seat, I also think Webb would be disinclined to accept (and Obama disinclined to offer).  While on paper it looks like an amazing fit, and with that I agree, Webb is always going to be his own man, more comfortable sniping from the outside than working on the inside...his whole career has been shaped by that demeanor, for better or worse.  The VP role especially requires deference to the Presidential nominee and a willingness to carry a line...I'm not sure Jim Webb is necessarily cut out for that, but I would encourage someone else to dispute that, because I could be wrong and am open to a counterargument.

[ Parent ]
What about Powell? (0.00 / 0)
I thought of this the other day when I heard that Colin Powell was talking positive about Obama on the Tavis Smiley show.  I figure it breaks down the following:

Reinforces:  Bipartisanship, Good Judgement, Moving Beyond Race

Balances: National Security Experience, Military Experience, Iraq

It seems like it could be a pretty dynamic ticket and Powell left the Bush administration on far from friendly terms.  Obviously it sets up a contradiction in that Powell made the UN speech that damaged his reputation, but I think he has acknowledged sufficiently the regret he has tied to that speech.  Interesting thought.

I think the UN speech (4.00 / 3)
Showed terrible judgment--about the worst possible. I know that Powell has since expressed regret, but I don't see anyway he could be Obama's veep based on that speech.

[ Parent ]
one way... (0.00 / 0)
I'm thinking rather imaginatively here of course, but Powell could theoretically give a big Obama-endorsement speech not just expressing regreat, but renouncing his way of working in the system and getting sucked along like a good soldier, and saying that his ideals were better served by Obama's approach of rallying the people for change. Such a move would definitely remove my reservations and help make the case for an Obama presidency, while setting the stage maybe even for him as veep. After all, my biggest problem with Powell is that he really has the platform to help sway the debate but consistently hasn't used it at maximum volume.

As I said, that's rather fantastical. Every bit of what we've ever seen of Powell indicates that he'd never do something like that, not to mention that I'm not sure he'd want to be Obama's veep anyway. Most likely, he'll continue on with his tacit support/advice while keeping another foot firmly planted with the GOP, or at the very most just endorse Obama down the line.

[ Parent ]
Bob Kerrey was involved in the actual event somehow or other. (0.00 / 0)
Colin Powell was involved in the administrative whitewash of the event, somehow or other.

And Arlen Specter wrote the Warren Report single-bullet stuff.

[ Parent ]
Powell lost all of his credibility (4.00 / 2)
when he lied to the UN in support of the Bush League.

(If he ever had any)

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

[ Parent ]
Unity v. Change (4.00 / 2)
The unity argument is not inconsistent with the change argument, at least according to the logic of Obama's own rhetoric. He has clearly been saying that unity means bringing citizens together (with him as their leader and spokesman) and thereby effecting pressure on the political class, rather than dividing groups of people in the service of political ends. That has nothing to do with bringing the insider elites together.

Whether this is a plausible gambit is another matter - but this, at least, is his argument.

There are many possible ways of viewing "reinforcement" (0.00 / 0)
in this context.

For example, Obama might want to reinforce the fact that he really is committed to progressive change and to overcoming entrenched interests. This would really help him among the activist base, who could be a major asset to him in the general election if they (we) become convinced that his "post-partisan" message isn't a "conciliation" message. This could conceivably be done either by picking someone who has been in office for a long time but remains "unstained" by the establishment, or by choosing someone who has not been in politics very long.

Feingold strikes me as the paramount example of someone who has been in office for a while but is still a beacon for progressive causes.

And for the latter option, frankly -- though I have made this suggestion before and been scoffed at -- I think in many ways the ideal running mate for Obama is Edwards. If the scenario Jerome Armstrong has mapped out on MyDD comes to pass, and nobody has the delegates to declare outright victory, then Johnny Ed truly becomes the kingmaker. If Obama announced IN ADVANCE of the convention that he would have Edwards as his running mate should he win the nomination, look what that would accomplish:

a) the anti-establishment (anti-Hillary) forces unite on a ticket
b) the liberal base gets excited seeing that there is a true committed fighter for progressive economic causes on the ticket
c) it's certainly the only way that John Edwards will ever get to be President -- and he is obviously an ambitious man (I don't mean that as a negative, BTW)

Yes, I know the objections. First, Edwards has said that he hated being #2. Well, that was under the old-style Kerry campaign. I bet he wouldn't mind half so much with somebody fresh doing things differently. Also, see point (c) above. And besides, all of them say they don't want to be VP until the nomination is settled.

Second, how do you reconcile Obama's "post-partisan" message with Edwards "fight them to the end" message? To be honest, I'm not even sure that you have to reconcile them. As many have averred -- including Edwards and Obama themselves -- they basically share the same goals. It's just a question of means. With a little rhetorical creativity -- something neither of these guys ever runs short on -- you could come to some sort of common core set of talking points, and then let Obama make the points inspirationally, and let Edwards make them more confrontationally.

The more I think about this the better it sounds. All the people looking for inspiration would get the message from Obama and be inspired. All the people looking for a fired-up fighter would listen to Edwards and get fired up. And if anybody tries to point out a contradiction... "What contradiction? Both of us want exactly the same things, and we've been consistent from Day 1 of the campaign. There's no contradiction! We just have different styles for making the same points."

I'm telling you, call me nuts, but this really could work . . .

I Like It (0.00 / 0)
Part of what made Bush palatable to the public was that he was "a nice guy." All of the nasty stuff was done by Rove, Cheney, etc. behind the scenes.

Similarly, I could imagine a situation in which Obama talks about unity and moving beyond conflict and VP Edwards serves as attack dog going after corporate lobbyists, militarists, right-wingers, etc. Obama gets to be the "good guy" but Edwards would make sure that we actually challenge the entities that need to be challenged.

Also, having a VP to the left of Obama would provide some assassination insurance.

[ Parent ]
John Edwards (0.00 / 0)
would be a reinforcing Vice President for Barack Obama.

He could use the office to become a kind of anti-Cheney - taking on the corporations, instead of feeding them steak.

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

Indeed. (4.00 / 1)
Unless, of course, he relapses back to his pre-2004 self.

[ Parent ]
Edwards isn't reinforcing at all... (0.00 / 0)
Edwards is not a 'uniter' in the sense that Obama expresses in his rhetoric.  Edwards is a fighter and a populist, who blew the Iraq vote.  Obama was on the right side of the Iraq debate, but his candidacy seems to have little to do with righting the wrongs of our class divide or ensuring we have a universal safety net rather than one cobbled together by a coalition Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.  This would be an extreme attempt at balance.

We all have to hope that we will get someone more like the pre-Senate Obama rather than the one whose policies fall short of Clinton's DLC message.

[ Parent ]
Older, white man with FP experience = Obama VP (0.00 / 0)
Webb could work, as would several others.

Obama VP (0.00 / 0)
I think Wes Clark would be a great choice for VP on any Democratic ticket. But some other ideas -

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. I think he comes pretty close in reinforcing judgment, unity and change, yet also has the balance of being a governor.

Virginia Sen. Jim Webb. Hits the unity, judgment, and change marks as well, gives balance on national security.

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh - Would reinforce unity (in the Beltway sense), as well as reinforce Midwest Democratic appeal. However, though Bayh is young, being a 2nd generation pol is not exactly ideal to reinforce the message of change.

I don't want Clark (0.00 / 0)
But I have sort of a knee-jerk reaction against soldiers entering high public office and blurring the line between military and civilian.  If he spent more cooling-off time running for a lower office or doing something more significant in the public sector.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
err (0.00 / 0)
I meant private sector.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
Bayh is DLC ... (0.00 / 0)
Obama would never pick him .. besides ... Bayh is a Hillary supporter .. he was TV the other day schilling for her ... and the last thing .. Bayh isn't even half of his old man .. Birch is awesome .... Evan .. he fell pretty far from the tree

[ Parent ]
Veep Balance (0.00 / 0)
Webb, from Va. for Obama. He reinforces Obama's postion on the war,is an economic populist and has experience as former army secretary under a repub

Hillary Clinton as Obama's VP -- reinforce "unity" (0.00 / 0)
Obama's entire argument is that he can bring unity; if he were to pick Clinton (and she were to accept), it would unify the Democratic party and thereby prove his point.

If this were to be the outcome, I would love to see it happen fast enough after the nomination were determined so that the Clinton campaign's infrastructure -- field offices, etc. -- could be folded into the presidential campaign rather than being dismantled.

The standard objection to this possibility is that Clinton wouldn't take it.  (And of course when you're running for Pres you have to deny any interest in the VP spot.)  But (a) it's a whole lot easier to run for president as the incumbent VP than as a Senator, and (b) they could negotiate a portfolio that would allow Clinton to focus and be visible on the issues she's most passionate about, e.g. healthcare.

Want Blue States? ActBlue.

I want 2 things in a VP (0.00 / 0)
I want an Arabic speaker with a dog named Jag.

On twitter: @BobBrigham

A Third Possibility--EXTERNSION (0.00 / 0)
AKA "Variation on a theme."

It's a good idea, IMHO, not to implicitly emphasize deficiencies at the top.  But no one person can possibly embody everything, and it's impossible to try.

Therefore, it makes good sense to choose a running mate who embodies the same core message the top person seeks to embody, but expresses it in a somewhat different way, or in connection with a different community or constituency.

The most obvious implication for Obama would be a young, dynamic woman for VP.  But there are surely other possibilities as well that would do more than simply reinforce, and make more people feel that his candidacy was more directly related to them.

"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

Which brings us full circle (4.00 / 1)
I agree, which brings us back full circle to Napolitano, who is only a few years older than Obama.

Technically, Jennifer Granholm is a legal choice, right?  She'd be the perfect choice, if allowed.

[ Parent ]
Granholm?!? (0.00 / 0)
Perfect? In that she's better than Posthumus or DeVos? Or that she's actually a good governor?

Cause from where I sit south of 8 Mile and east of Telegraph, she is NOT a good governor. I'm glad she's Canadian.

[ Parent ]
image (0.00 / 0)
I'll freely admit I was just talking about image.  I have neither knowledge or opinion about how good a governor she actually is.

[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
Same thing for President applies for VP. She's also a horrible governor and probably resents Obama because he was picked over her for the Keynote.

Kathleen Sebelius would make a lot more but she's kind of old.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
She'll be 60! (0.00 / 0)

That's not that old; she'd be 68 in 2016 assuming two terms, 76 at the end of two terms of her own. Women live longer than men, so I think that's a very good age range for a prospective female President.

I've heard her speak a few times on CSPAN. She's the real deal, and quite progressive to boot.

I think it'd be a fantastic choice.

[ Parent ]
can you imagine the punditry? (0.00 / 0)
If Obama picked ANY woman other than Hillary as his VP, particularly someone younger/"less experienced," you'd hear endless chatter about how the Clintons must be flipping out and jealous. It'd be this week's insanity times ten...

[ Parent ]
Mark Warner? (0.00 / 0)
The con side--

He is in line to run for John Warner's seat and picking him as VP might jeopardize winning the open seat in VA. 

He also bowed out of the presidential race citing his family life, but would he really turn down the chance to be VP? 

The pro side--

Reinforcement: he's young(ish) and as someone who came from a non-political background, he reinforces Obama's outsider cred., very popular in Virginia, so also has this post-partisan ability to appeal in a once-red/now-purple state. 

Balance: Southern, white.

I think if this were to happen, it would have to happen in such a way that he could finesse the Senate race question, but given that there is a democratic governor of VA, if he won both races, couldn't a replacement be appointed?

I don't know how feasible that question is, but if it worked, I think Warner would be a great candidate who both balanced AND reinforced Obama's perceived appeal. 

Clark as Obama (or Clinton) VP (4.00 / 1)
He brings national security cred, and someone like him will be needed to rebuild the shattered military.

He is for national healthcare, based on his experience in the military.  He seems to get this better than Obama, frankly.

He has executive experience from the military, a major deficiency for Obama right now (remember the chaos of the first few years of the Clinton administration, and he had been governor for several years beforehand).  Whoever gets in will have a hell of a job rooting out the Bushie moles in the civil service, while trying to fix the mess that Bush and Cheney will have left.

Let President Obama carry on with the soaring rhetoric, let Clark get on with the job of getting things done.  It's what they've shown they're good at.

Even Clark's ties to the Clintons would help an Obama administration in dealing with Congress, assuming (in this scenario) that HRC would be Leader of the Senate.

Clark Fan (0.00 / 0)
I'm a big Clark fan and my fantasy ticket is Clark/Obama and I really wish Kerry had been smart enough to go with Clark last time, but I'm not sure of this.  For one, I'd rather see Clark as Sec of Defense (he'd need special approval for the first two years) so he could actually clean up all the internal garbage that has gone on in our military the past 8 years.

Clark does nothing to push the idea that a new generation is taking over.  (Particularly since Clark always felt like a WWII vet, even though he is a boomer.)  Also, the Veep usually is the nominee once the president's terms are up; Clark will be too old for that.

Being a Clark guy, I'd love this; but I don't actually think it is the correct choice.

[ Parent ]
Sebelius! (4.00 / 4)
I think Obama needs to pick a midwesterner to emphasize his brand. Plus she rocks out the unity - half the Kansas GOP became Dems working for her.

You also get contrast, though, because she is a white woman from a red state. It's the best of both worlds.

Napolitano basically gets you the same, with a really interesting immigration dynamic, as discussed earlier (I agree with people who said her plan is great spin on the issue for us).

Does anyone know Sebelius' position on the war? (0.00 / 0)
Couldn't find it on wikipedia, but she's prochoice and anti-capital punishment, which reinforces Obama's work on the same issue.  And very good on education funding, apparently. 

She's a second-generation politician, which I always think is a bummer, but other than that she's pretty cool.  (She was a badass as insurance commissioner apparently.)  And I'd be comfortable with her in the White House in 8 years too.

Leaving aside Gore and Edwards, I think she's the obvious choice.  Lack of foreign policy experience is kindof a bummer though.

Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon is someone I never hear talked about.  He's good on health care I hear.

[ Parent ]
I spent a bunch of time looking too (0.00 / 0)
and didn't find anything about the war, other than the national guard equipment flap. Maybe, being a state level rather than national politician, she just didn't feel like she had to articulate an opinion at all?

She's also cooperated with the DLC on some issues, but far as I can tell, isn't a member. (another bullet dodged)

If the Republicans don't nominate McCain, I'd agree she seems like the obvious choice. If they do, I'd also give serious consideration to someone who can trump him on national security/foreign policy/military/terrorism issues, because that's obviously going to be their primary line of offense all through to the election, depending on how potent that offense is estimated to be.

[ Parent ]
I think the ideal would be (0.00 / 0)
to have Sebelius as veep, and as the foreign policy establishment is reportedly lined up behind him, get the lot of them to campaign for him and tie down McCain.

[ Parent ]

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