Picking Obama's Vice-President

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 15:08

Who should Barack Obama choose as his running mate? This question might be an example of moving ahead of the discussion a little bit, but I have always found that in order to help frame a discussion it is important to start early. This is why, for example, I pointed out the dilemma of superdelegates deciding the Democratic nomination campaign the day before Super Tuesday, not the day afterward. While bloggers have the ability to create buzz, we have a very difficult time shaping an argument once it has already been brought up in larger, more established outlets of political discussion. I doubt that we would have had the same, decisive impact on the superdelegate argument (see here, here, here, here, and here) had we waited until after Super Tuesday to broach the issue. Media outlets, voters, superdelegates, and even the Clinton campaign all eventually came to take our side on superdelegates because we pushed the issue early.

I think the same thing needs to be done when selecting Obama's vice-president. As I hae written in the past (see here and here), the key is that Obama needs to pick a vice-president that reinforces his strengths, not one who balances out his perceived weakness. With this in mind, I believe the following criteria are absolutely necessary for Obama's running mate:

  1. Opposed the Iraq war from the start. This has been a centerpiece of his campaign since the beginning, and a constant source of attack on Hillary Clinton. At this point, he can't go and pick someone who supported the war before it began.

  2. Has not spent a long-time in the Senate Again, Obama has discussed the need for a change in Washington, D.C., as a centerpiece to his campaign. If he chooses a member of Congress who has spent a decade or more in the Senate, at best he will look like a hypocrite, and at worst he will look like he needs help to do the job. The decision to choose Cheney to balance out perceived inexperience and incompetence has plagued Bush from the start of his presidency, and left an indelible mark of perceived weakness, incompetence, and stupidity on his national image.

  3. Did not endorse one of Obama's opponents in the primary. The last thing we need is to have Obama's running mate on record supporting someone else in the campaign besides Obama. That always leads to unpleasant questions and soundbites

Since both will be central to his 2008 campaign, Obama needs to choose a vice-president who reinforces his message of change and judgment on Iraq. These three criteria actually present us with a pretty short list from the get-go, as only the following three current Democratic Senators meet the above criteria: Sherrod Brown (OH), Ben Cardin (MD), and Jim Webb (VA). I don't mean to in anyway diss Cardin, but compared to Brown and Webb, he just is not as strong a choice. Brown is an economic populist from Ohio, while Webb was Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Navy from Virginia. Both would clearly be strong reinforcing picks, at least based on the criteria I presented above. Also, their Democratic Governors could replace them with another Democrat.

The list of potential Governors is longer, mainly because their record on Iraq is pretty much absent. Janet Napolitano (AZ), Bill Ritter (CO), Chet Culver (IA), Kathleen Sebelius (KS), Steve Beshear (KY), Deval Patrick (MA), Brian Schweitzer (MT), John Lynch (NH), Brad Henry (OK), Phil Bredesen (TN), Tim Kaine (VA), Chris Gregoire (WA), Joe Manchin (WV), Jim Doyle (WI) and Dave Freudenthal (WY) all meet the above criteria, as long as they opposed the Iraq war from the start. That almost certainly eliminates Henry and Freudenthal, given that they originally won in 2002 and in deep red states. Beshear is also a no-go, given that he has been Governor for about two months. Deval Patrick would be about as clear a reinforcing pick as one could find, however his approval rating is under 50% and is even causing potential electoral problems for Obama in Massachusetts. In fact, Culver and Gregorie all have iffy approval ratings, so it might be best to cross them off the list as well. Of the remaining group, Napolitano, Sevelius and Schweitzer are the strongest candidates, although once again I have to emphasize that I don't know where they stood on Iraq before it began.

So, unless Obama picks someone who is either not currently serving in office, or who is in the U.S. House, this already gives us a pretty short list of Sherrod Brown (OH), Janet Napolitano (AZ), Kathleen Sebelius (KS), Brian Schweitzer (MT) and Jim Webb (VA). Of these five, Sherrod Brown is unquestionably the progressive choice, and also comes from the most important state. By comparison, everyone else is pretty much a Blue Dog, even Webb and Schweitzer. I also like that Brown is an economic populist in a campaign where a weakening economy is a concern to many voters, but I do question the wisdom of a ticket entitled "Obama-Brown." (although that does reinforce Obama, in a certain way.) If someone can show me that Schweitzer opposed the war before it began, he might be an appealing option. Webb has a certain appeal to Obama's "unity" message, since he was a former Republican and a member of Ronald Reagan's cabinet. However, like Sebelius, he is also older than the rest of the group, to the extent that he probably does not make for a very good successor. Sebelius comments seems to pop up online here and there, but am I the only one who thinks it would be strange for Obama to pick an older woman from Kansas, given that his mother is from Kansas?

Surveying the field, I think that Sherrod Brown appears to be the strongest pick, with the other four worth consideration. Brown works well as a reinforcing pick, as suiting the needs of the ticket in the 2008 election, and as a successor who can build the progressive movement in the decade to come. Hopefully, his name will start to pop up some more once this discussion really gets underway in a couple of weeks.

Update: Discussions like these are inevitably rich, but I wanted to pick out some of the choicer bits that I have seen so far:

  • Commenter Ron argues that Sebelius is actually pretty progressive. However, many others have been arguing that even if she is, her SOTU response was so poor that she might not be a strong national campaigner.
  • Larkspr argues that Schweitzer did oppose, or at least probably opposed, the war before it began. That would make him a stronger candidate.
  • Several people are arguing for Feingold. While he has served in Washington, D.C. for a while, he remains the epitome of the outsider despite it. I'd be cool with that.
  • jlkenney argues that Sherrod Brown actually has been in D.C. for 16 years, if one counts his experience in the U.S. House.

Also, consider that whoever is chosen will be viewed as Obama's successor. What image do we want to present as the future, post-Obama face of the Democratic Party? It strikes me as very, very important that whoever is chosen is a progressive.

Update 2: The discussion has persuaded me to drop Napolitano from the short list in favor of adding Feingold. I don't get the idea of putting Gore on the VP slot. At all. Brown, Feingold, Seblius, Schweitzer and Webb are all interesting, and possibly quite strong, picks.  

Chris Bowers :: Picking Obama's Vice-President

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NOT Sherrod Brown! (0.00 / 0)
We need him here in Ohio!!!!

Plus, he doesn't "balance the ticket" at all...  

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

No balancing the ticket. (0.00 / 0)
Geography can play, and gender can play.

But no balancing, unless you mean going south and populist, I'd love to see Edwards.

But my favorite right now is Gore.

Back in December I said this

I supported Edwards until he sensed the will of the party membership, now I support Obama. Please replace JRE with Obama where appropriate.

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

[ Parent ]
I would love to edit comments. (0.00 / 0)
Everything from "I supported".. to "where appropriate." should not be included in the blockquote.


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

[ Parent ]
Get over Gore (4.00 / 2)
You people with your Gore-fixation drive me up the wall!

Gore's VP was Lieberman. Lieberman endorsed McCain. Lieberman was fine with Iraq. Gore is tainted on Iraq.

And news flash Gore was ALREADY VP!!!

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

[ Parent ]
hahaha well at least Im nmature enough to drive you there (4.00 / 1)
Try and be polite. Please.


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

[ Parent ]
lieberman was the result of ticket balancing. (4.00 / 1)
and he used to lie better.


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

[ Parent ]
so very wrong (4.00 / 1)
Read Gore's speech to the Commonwealth Club (a week before Obama's career-maker) and then tell me he's "tainted" on Iraq.

[ Parent ]
word (4.00 / 1)
the Gore thing really needs to go away. the man would not be VP again, its a dead slot.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
I apologize (4.00 / 2)
For the harshness of my tone.

I really meant in sarcastic jest--but that does not translate online.

I get the excitement behind the Gore VP idea, but I think it has no practicality at all.

And what happens when Gore comes up again to run for President? Do the Republicans run Jeb Bush and beat us again?

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

[ Parent ]
I actually kind of suspect (0.00 / 0)
...that Gore could get more done as the head of the EPA, almost.

[ Parent ]
Although Gore is brilliant on climate change (0.00 / 0)
He is also very strong on a national science agenda, on engaged foreign relations, on the re-establishment of civil rights and promotion of human rights.

I relish the idea of putting the power of the VPOTUS (post cheney) in the hands of someone who loves to work, loves to serve and loves  reasoned debate over heat and can be counted on to produce progressive policy.

Can serve Obama in almost any capacity.

Has a tie breaker in the Senate, can work well with Senate Majority Leader Clinton.

Gore is my first choice.

The only other suggestion I like is Clark, but I would prefer him at State.

The VP choice should produce the strongest possible ticket.

Winning is our goal, and then governing brilliantly. We can't get there, without winning.


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

[ Parent ]
Obama should look for someone who has no political (4.00 / 3)
ambition, no longer in politics to head his vice president search committee. And that would be Al Gore, who after some deliberations, picks himself to be VP. Gore would be 60 in 2008, about same age as a VP at the beginning of a recent administration with an inexperienced president. From the veep's, Gore runs a secret green, climate change task force, inviting scientists and climatologists ...

[ Parent ]
So (0.00 / 0)
Opposed the Iraq war from the start... Did not endorse one of Obama's opponents in the primary.

I imagine that, say, Bill Richardson would be excluded under both these rules?

Has Bill Richardson endorsed? (0.00 / 0)
Did I miss something?

Wasn't sure about his Iraq war support...

[ Parent ]
well (4.00 / 1)
he did endorse himself for a while. :)

[ Parent ]
He Sure Loves To Talk About It! (0.00 / 0)
He should get off the pot or, you know....shit.  

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
He was against the war (0.00 / 0)
He also has recently said that he didn't even vote for himself. I wonder who he voted for.

I think he is seen as experienced and would be an asset.  

[ Parent ]
Richardson (4.00 / 8)
Richardson should be excluded for no other reason than he is an incompetent campaigner. I'll be honest, I've never seen his stump, but I've seen him in many debates and interviews - the guy just doesn't have what it takes for the national stage.  

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Sec of State (4.00 / 3)
Richardson - Great resume, terrible campaigner and has tendency to stick his foot in his mouth. Strong possibility for Sec of State given his obvious and proven strengths in diplomacy.

[ Parent ]
actually... (4.00 / 1)
he's great on the stump (i interned in iowa for obama this summer), so he must get nervous in pressure situations or something.

either way, it's a national campaign, so i'd say he's an accident waiting to happen

[ Parent ]
WBR (0.00 / 0)
WBR (that's Richardson -- I had to look it up myself), seems to be a case study in... something.

His resume is great.  I admire the guy.  He is obviously very popular in New Mexico.  And, taking the poster at his or her word, not normally a bad campaigner.  I was never a "Richardson voter," but seriously considered him early on.

I'm certainly willing to believe that presidential campaigns are unique and experience in other campaigns may not be predictive.  Having said that, I'd love to see some detailed and insightful analysis for What Went Wrong.  

[ Parent ]
Feingold (4.00 / 6)
While he has spent a long time in the senate, his record is pretty clearly that of an outsider.  Of course it is a pipe dream anyway - my money is on Tom Daschle.

Feingold (4.00 / 3)
Here! Here!
By what means does Feingold not fit the aformentioned criteria? You are right about his outsider rep.

[ Parent ]
I thought about that (4.00 / 1)
And wasn't sure how to phrase it. Feingold is one of the long-term Senators who could still be a face of "change."

[ Parent ]
wisconsin (0.00 / 0)
borders Illinois.  So does Iowa.

I very much doubt that Obama will pick someone from a border state.  

I'm sure it'll be a white man also, so there goes Napolitano, Sebelius, and Patrick.

[ Parent ]
Wisconsin is a swing state (0.00 / 0)
Also, Clinton and Gore were from bordering states.  I don't think this is an issue.

[ Parent ]
Why not a white woman? n/t (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
I'm being very much cynical (0.00 / 0)
but I just don't see it.

A black man and a white woman?  I can't see it.  It would be too risky.  Our society is still way too geared toward the white male patriarchy for both a black man and a woman to be on the same ticket.

If Clinton were the nominee, I'd say the same thing.  White guy as running mate.

[ Parent ]
Feingold, more than anyone (4.00 / 4)
...stood up to the Bush Administration after 9/11 and in the run-up to Iraq.  I consider his lone vote against the Patriot Act to be the single greatest act of political courage in my lifetime.  He continues to be the strongest, most articulate defender of progressivism in Washington.

More than anyone, Feingold is change.  He can shore up Obama's experience weakness with the right kind of experience:  The experience of being on the right side of every argument John McCain was wrong on.  Feingold's record is the epitome of change from the status-quo.  Obama could ask for no better vice president.  A Feingold selection would be a progressive victory that has the potential to pay dividends for years to come.

[ Parent ]
You just sold me. (0.00 / 0)

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
why would Obama pick Daschle? .. (4.00 / 3)
what does it get him? ...

[ Parent ]
Agreed (0.00 / 0)
Tom Daschle is a symbol of timidity in the face of Republican onslaught. He may be a good person, but we need someone with impeccable ethics and morals who is ALSO bold and motivating rather than kindly and mannered.

I'm not sure how I'd feel about a Jim Webb presidency, but I think he would definitely be strong on the ticket.

Feingold would also be an interesting choice. I wouldn't be unhappy with Dodd, though I'd rather see him as Majority Leader.

Either way, I think Obama might want to start floating cabinet positions closer to the GE to show himself in the context of a full, vibrant, and capable team.

Help support "CRASHING THE STATES"--a Netroots Film!

[ Parent ]
Definitely Not Daschle (0.00 / 0)
He voted for the Iraq war resolution.  As Dem leader, he was the icing on the cake for the sellout crowd.  No, not Daschle, ever!!

[ Parent ]
fine with me (4.00 / 4)
Feingold is my favorite of all. I wouldn't stand in the way.

There are, however, personal issues that might come into play, such as that he is twice-divorced and currently single. But it in terms of Obama's emphasis on judgment and ethics, he works extremely well. And I would love for Feingold to be the face of the future party.  

[ Parent ]
yes (4.00 / 4)
personally, my worries about Obama's true desires and commitment to progressive values would be massively assuaged by a choice of Feingold.  It would be an instant sign to the party's progressives that he's on our side.

[ Parent ]
Feingold Is An Ideal Pick (4.00 / 5)
As someone who's been in Washington for some time, but clearly never been swayed by it.

As for being twice divorced, I don't think he was anywhere near as gauche as McCain.  Even with Tweety & Co working it for everything its worth, I can't help but think it doesn't carry much oomph! anymore.

Besides, Feingold vs. McCain?  C'mon!

"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 ]
Disagree (4.00 / 1)
I like Feingold, but he's not seen as an authority in either the economic or foreign policy realms.  Also, he doesn't make for the kind of attack dog on the stump that Obama would need.

As disappointed as I am with Webb's FISA votes, I still think he would make for an ideal running mate for Obama.

An unconventional pick would be Max Cleland, a stand-up guy who was swift-boated by the Bushies before the term existed.  If only he'd voted against AUMF.

Obama-Webb sounds good to me.

P.S. If McCain picks a female running mate, it could spell trouble.

[ Parent ]
Unless it is Condi Rice (4.00 / 2)

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

[ Parent ]
Yes, but his areas of focus (4.00 / 2)
are ethics and civil rights, which will play a role in the campaign.

He has also shown better judgement on Iraq than anyone else. Not only was he opposed to the war from the start, but in June 2005 he was the first to introduce a timetable for withdrawal.

There are downsides to a Feingold pic, but his authority on policy is not one of them.  

[ Parent ]
Webb's A Militaristic Loose Cannon (4.00 / 2)
Don't get me wrong, he's great as our Senator from Virginia, in place of theirs.  But putting him up top is just nuts.

OTOH, your objections to Feingold are nonsensical. "he's not seen as an authority in either the economic or foreign policy realms."

Well, excuse me!  But in case you hadn't noticed, the "authorities" in foreign policy haven't been worth a bucket of warm spit over the past 8 years.

And I can't for the life of me remember any VP nominee being touted as an authority on economic policy, other than maybe Lloyd Bentsen.  It's just not the sort of thing people pick VP nominees for.  It's what you pick Secretaries of Commerce and the Treasury for, or more to the point, heads of the Council of Economic Advisors.

But VPs???  Not so much.

"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 ]
Webb's a Warrior, Not a Loose Cannon! (4.00 / 1)
Webb is an example of the archetypal warrior. He comes from a family with a history of professional military service and his son has followed in his footsteps. He would have been a career Marine except that he was medically "boarded out" of military service because of his wounds in Vietnam.

He is also a genuine national security intellectual, unlike the faux national security intellectuals (Wolfowitz, Feith, etc.) who ran the Department of Defense and the Army into the ground in Iraq.

Andrew Bacevich and other conservative national security analysts who are part of the reality-based community have pointed out that, since the end of the Cold War 20 years ago, the professional military leadership have been very conservative and skeptical about initiating the use of military force.

Webb would be the best qualified vice-president or president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to make intelligent, prudent judgments about the advice he got from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

[ Parent ]
Oh, Please! (0.00 / 0)
A few reality-based points to consider:

(1) Whatever the professional military leadership may or may not think, we've just been on a binge of reckless warmongering whose ruinous impacts we will be living with for the next 50 years or so.  So, not impressed with them as a whole.  (None of this would have happened if Colin Powell were still alive.  Oh, wait....)

(2) Webb still thinks the Vietnam War was a nobel enterprise. 'Nuff said.

(3) There is no indication whatsoever that military might will play any significant role in enhancing our security in the century ahead.  This could well change if we screw things up diplomatically, of course, and Bush has certainly moved us significantly in that direction.  But the odds are still pretty good that we can totally avoid such scenarios--if we are wise, and strategically far-sighted enough to recognize the shifting world realities around us.

The old warrior class is among the last places we should look for this vision--no one's in a class with the chickenhawks, obviously--although, of course, there are some notable exceptions.  Webb, however, is not one of them.  (See #2 above.)

I am all for doing everything right by those who have sacrificed for their country, and I think it's very good to have Webb as a presence in the Senate to make sure this doesn't slip as a priority.  The sense of loyalty he has to those who've served is well-directed in that sort of role.  But in terms of guiding our national policy at the highest levels... Not so much.

"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 ]
Why give up the entire senate for a VP. (4.00 / 3)
We aren't going to get another senator there for a bit (well actually it's looking like 8 months away).

[ Parent ]
Webb's a conservative!!!! (0.00 / 0)
You want the winner of an all-progressive primary series to choose a conservative?  What a really, really bad idea.  I'm tempted to paste my post about Webb as VP from before, except I have too much respect for this board to do that.  But let me reiterate some of my arguments.  Conservatism is close to death.  Picking a conservative VP is one of the only things progressives could do to revive it.  Webb is all talk, no action.  He has not raised a finger to oppose the administration on any of their flagrant trashing of the Constitution.  He has done NOTHING to stop the occupation of Iraq.  Except talk.  He was recently a Repig, and I now consider him a DINO.  Please don't talk crazy anymore.  NO WEBB.

[ Parent ]
McCain-Feingold (4.00 / 1)
Could be almost as distracting a comparison as Obama-Brown.

But my real question is about Feingold's future...Has anyone been mentioning him as a possible Supreme Court nominee?  He's a lawyer, and I believe there is a possible vacancy anticipated.  Oh, and he's awesome.  I might rather have him there than as VP, in an ideal world.

Yes we Kang

[ Parent ]
Justice Feingold (0.00 / 0)
Justice Feingold would be a fine replacement for 71 year old Antonin Scalia.

[ Parent ]
Although I was an early 'draft Feingold' enthusiast, (4.00 / 2)
I think that Feingold would make THE ideal AG.  I know that Edwards has been tossed around for this position, but I cannot think of a single elected federal official who has been more vociferous in his defense of the rule of law during the Bush years than Feingold.  Let's remember--he was the only Senate vote against the Patriot Act.  I mean, that singular Nay amidst all those Yeas...  Makes me tear up.  

...anyone have a tissue?

Kicking it in the NY-25.

[ Parent ]
Good points (4.00 / 3)
The reason I like Feingold as VP is his possibility to ascend to the presidency after an Obama administration.  That said, if he's not selected for VP, he would be one of the finest Attorney Generals this nation has ever had.

[ Parent ]
Well, Taft Served As President AND SCOTUS Chief Justice (0.00 / 0)
I wouldn't mind him as VP, then President, then Chief Justice.

After all, as VP, he could always just advise the AG.

"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 ]
Sorry to say folks (0.00 / 0)
If Barack Obama becomes president then Eric Holder will be the Attorney General, either that or the first SCOTUS appointment.

He would be the first black AG and is a close adviser to Obama. He is part of the inner-inner circle for Obama and is one of his most trusted friends and advisers. He will be AG. However he doesn't seem to be as into civil liberties issues as much as Obama so Feingold could make the choices there. And I'm hoping that Steve Novick is the head of the Environmental division of the EPA if he loses his Senate race.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Please, not Russ (0.00 / 0)
If Russ goes to the Executive Branch, we lose a Dem Senator. I can see Doyle replacing Russ with Obey, and maybe Dave could hold the seat... But Russ has worked harder than any Wisconsin politician at building a network across the state and maintaining it than any other statewide pol.

In fact, we just had a steering committee meeting two days ago, looking forward to 2012 already, as well as helping out other Dems running for office (disclosure: I'm one of those Dems). People drove for two hours to attend this meeting!

There isn't any other politician I can think of here in WI that would draw in the Bush-Feingold voters. Moderates that would vote for McCain would also vote for Russ, Obey can't lay claim to that.

Assuming Russ were to go, picking Barb Lawton to replace him would help. She's from the Green Bay area, which would give us living "up here" representation in the Senate for the first time in quite some time. She's a great speaker and widely popular among Dems.

[ Parent ]
I don't think those kinds of attacks will stick (0.00 / 0)
Russ Feingold is a man of honor. I don't know about his personal life but I doubt he's a Rudy type.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Isn't Daschle a lobbyist these days? (0.00 / 0)
and wouldn't that be a guaranteed strike against him? Maybe Dodd will become to Obama what Cheney was to Bush, the older steady hand.

[ Parent ]
Dodd is disqualified (4.00 / 1)
Under Bowers' rules.  Dodd voted for the AUMF on Iraq in the beginning.

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

[ Parent ]
Dodd (4.00 / 1)
If he became VP it would mean the loss of a Senate seat to the Repugs so that eliminates him for sure.

[ Parent ]
Doesn't there also have to be a Dem Gov (0.00 / 0)
to appoint the replacement if s/he wins?  Jodi Rell (R) is CT Gov.  Is she up for reelection?

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

[ Parent ]
Feingold Could Be the Non Cheney (4.00 / 3)
Feingold could serve as an insurance policy against impeachment or other damaging shenanigans performing a similar function for Obama that Cheney does Bush.

Obama could task Feingold to dismantle the Unitary Executive sleeper cells, executive order and etc. He could work to undo all the damage Darth Vader has wrought.

I will leave it to the eventual nominee to pick the person they think will help them get elected, but I could get excited about Vice President Feingold.

[ Parent ]
We need Feingold in the Senate (0.00 / 0)
too much to make him VP.  He's just to valuable there to part with.

[ Parent ]
There's a chance Schweitzer isn't even on record on Iraq (0.00 / 0)
until after it began, right?  He was originally elected governor in 2004, and the press doesn't exactly run around to state senators in Montana, demanding stances on foreign policy.  

I could be wrong, but I think I might actually be guessing that he has no record on Iraq before it began.

Sebelius might be an interesting choice, inasmuch as it might allow him to deflect some accusations of sexism lingering from the nomination contest.

Sebelius (4.00 / 1)
As a former Kansan and a supporter of a mixed gender ticket, I thought Sibelius would be the perfect choice. That was before I actually watched her speak (SOTU response). I was more than a little disappointed.

She is clearly older and not a 'match' in my mind for Obama - though she certainly fits the bills in several other ways. As for Bower's mommy-issue comment - I don't think that kind of thing should be a consideration.

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Yeah (4.00 / 1)
I think having someone to be able to respond to McCain's attacks should be a primary concern right now, anyway--Webb makes a lot of sene from that angle

[ Parent ]
I'm starting to regret (0.00 / 0)
that remark I made about having too much respect for this board to . . . well, never mind.

Think a little harder about Webb.  Oh, he's former military! He can negate the "Dems are weak on defense" meme.  Just like Kerry did!  Let that reverberate in your mind for a moment.

The tactic did not work.  What's the name for the guy who keeps trying the same losing tactic?  Whatever it is, he's among those pimping for Webb. You are not going to "neutralize" the military's prejudice for Repigs by offering them Webb. If Bush's destruction of the military has not done that, nothing can. Come back into reality.

And the fact is, it did.  A recent poll showed that Democrats now rate BETTER on defense than Repigs.  Even if Webb was the cure, the disease is gone. Even in the military, the Dems are being looked upon with unwonted favor.

Webb won in Virginia in large part by the lucky macaca event, and the fact that it became clear that Allen was human slime. In no way is it a sure thing that he will help carry Virginia. Also, he pulled lots of money from out of state due to the testimony of certain people who shall remain nameless that he was a progressive.  Well, the results are in.  He's not a progressive.  

Besides, if you look at Dem/Repig turnout in the primaries, it becomes clear that it's going to be a Democratic landslide.  Obama doesn't need Webb to help him with Virginia.  Look at his numbers vs. McCain's numbers. I can't find the raw numbers, but I bet Obama got more votes in the Democratic Primary than McCain got in the Repig primary.

You are basically suggesting that we offer the electorate a fake Repig.  Have you noticed that that is another tactic that NEVER WORKS?  Why not run a ticket on unapologetic, unashamed progressive values? Snap out of it.  Get over this "Webb" bullshit.  Without meaning to get insulting, you need to drop this idea like a hot rock.

[ Parent ]
I finally found those numbers. (0.00 / 0)
Good thing this site loads so slow.

This link:


shows that Obama got more than twice as many votes in the primaries as McCain.  So Webb has NOTHING to offer.

[ Parent ]
I don't know if this fits your rules (4.00 / 1)
But I'm going to say he'll pick Tim Kaine.

He's boring, from Virginia, popular, religious, appeals across party lines. That's what Obama will be looking for. Boring white guy, unless the party is so divided that he needs a woman. Then he goes for Sebelius. Napolitano wants to be AG, not VP.

On your choices, Brown isn't a bad idea, but he might be too interesting. Webb is a loose cannon and, while I love the guy, you can't have someone like him on the ticket. (Although he is the perfect foil for John McCain.) And Schweitzer just doesn't give you anything but a bunch of money from the coal industry.

Obama's looking for milquetoast and he'll get that in Kaine.  

Webb (4.00 / 1)
(Although he is the perfect foil for John McCain.)

That is Exactly why I want to see Webb as VP. He is almost custom made to be the attack dog on McCain - a role that will be hard to fill. Unfortunately, I agree that he comes with probably a bit too much baggage and uncertainty.

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Webb & the Military Vote (4.00 / 3)
With Webb on the ticket, the GOP stranglehold on the Military Vote could be broken.

Webb has progressive instincts, although his blue dog tendencies are troubling.

But it's his straight talk on how the GOP has screwed the Military and Veterans that would shatter the GOP pro-military myths.

Webb isn't glamorous, but he's solid where Obama needs it most. Plus, he is a perfect fit for the traditional attack dog role for a VP.


[ Parent ]
Obama- Webb impressive pair, IMHO (4.00 / 1)
and how can the President not know that the price of gasoline is almost $4.00/gal?  I screamed at no-one as I drove home, like his dad and the "supermarket scanner!" How many more days?

[ Parent ]
And Webb's a Genuine Populist (4.00 / 1)
With Webb on the ticket, we would get a three-for.  Webb would be bullet proof on military and national security policy. In 2007 Webb also gave the best Democratic rebuttal to a Presidential State of the Union (SOTU) address that the Democrats have offered to any Bush SOTU.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6293231.stm (Text.)

As Webb's SOTU response shows, he can speak eloquently from the heart about the plight of the average working family. Since leaving the military he has been a professional writer and he can craft words and phrases to evoke true empathy. Instead of the crushing boredom of the typical Democratic laundry list of this policy initiative and that policy proposal, Webb sympathetically showed that he understands how the average working family thinks and feels about living not in economic security, but on the edge of a precipice. Every working family knows of at least one other working family that has fallen off that precipice.

Webb is an authentic "Reagan Democrat" who has come back to the Democratic Party. Webb's being on the ticket would prove to white working class males and to all rank and file members of the military that Obama is respectful of them and of their opinions on the issues they are concerned about.

In The Nightingale's Song (1995), Robert Timberg traced the careers of five graduates of Annapolis through the post-Vietnam years of the 1970s and 1980s - Webb, John McCain, Ollie North, Bud MacFarlane and John Poindexter. For those readers under 30, North, MacFarlane and Poindexter all went down in flames in the Iran-Contra scandal in the Reagan administration. In the Epilogue, Timberg told the story of Webb's break with Bush 41 - Webb opposed the attack on Iraq in 1991.

One of the most appealing aspects of Obama is that he still appears to be an authentic human being. Webb does not reach the oratorical heights of Obama's rhetoric, but Webb does convey that essential quality of still being an authentic human being, even after years in public life.

Webb is by far the best choice for Obama's running mate.

[ Parent ]
The Third of the Three-for Virginia's 13 Electoral Votes (4.00 / 1)
Oops, left out the third point. Webb would add support to the Democratic ticket in Virginia. Obama was recently reported as beating McCain in Virginia, but Webb could help close the deal.

[ Parent ]
I can see an argument to McCain (4.00 / 1)
But man, that would be really boring. He is kind of right-wing, too. I don't want that as the future face of the party, like at all.  

[ Parent ]
I mean Kaine, not McCain (0.00 / 0)
bit of a freudian slip there....

[ Parent ]
How is Tim Kaine kind of right-wing? (0.00 / 0)
Chris - I live here in VA and I really don't think of Tim Kaine as right-wing.  He's stood up to the wingnuts when he's had too, and he doesn't reinforce right-wing values.  What's your problem with him?

P.S.  I actually don't think he should pick Kaine because I think he should pick a woman to accentuate his image of change.  But, I really don't see Gov. Kaine as right-wing at all.

[ Parent ]
See comment below (0.00 / 0)
On taxes, reproductive rights, gun control, war on drugs, and gay marriage, he is quite right-wing.

He also is far more willing to talk about faith and values than to champion any progressive cause. I can't think of a single thing he has done that makes him left-wing, although I admit I haven't followed his career closely.  

[ Parent ]
Tim Kaine I think is (0.00 / 0)
up there with Bill Richardson in terms of being a poor campaigner.  Every time I've seen him be a surrogate for Obama he's fallen completely flat.

[ Parent ]
I agree (4.00 / 2)
Webb has right wing tendencies and that isn't great (FISA, etc). But is kind of our John McCain.

I still think that Obama is going to be looking for boring. V is for Vanilla.

I did find Sebelius woefully boring in her SOTU response (my girlfriend made me turn it off it was so bad). So she could get it. And I found Kaine to be intensely boring in 2005. The most exciting thing about his speech was the People's Eyebrow he kept giving me. (Maybe he can give the Republicans a People's Elbow, what do I know.) Both were still marginally better than Gary Locke - who? - but they did not send thrills up my leg.

Obama won't pick someone more liberal than he is. And no one will choose Feingold, even though we all think he's the shit. Ain't gonna happen. The Republicans might spontaneously explode if they had to run against a black guy with a funny sounding name and a twice divorced Jew.

I don't know enough about Jim Doyle, he's a not too terribly exciting white guy from a potential swing state. Maybe he'll get it.

[ Parent ]
He could make the Republicans spontaneously explode (4.00 / 3)
AND we'd have Feingold as vice president?!!

[ Parent ]
Would Feingold help with Jewish voters? (0.00 / 0)
If this is true:
The Republicans might spontaneously explode if they had to run against a black guy with a funny sounding name and a twice divorced Jew.

It would be worth having Feingold on the ticket just to see all those Republican innards.

You know the Republicans are trying to paint Obama as antisemitic and as anti-Israel. Would Feingold help deflect that?

[ Parent ]
Egads, not Doyle (0.00 / 0)
Yes, he's a "not too terribly exciting white guy" but he's beyond that. He's bored me to the point of tears at functions I've attended. He makes me want to vote for someone else, just so I don't have to listen to him any more. He's more than once made gaffs that would hurt a campaign this important to our country.

Having said all of the above, his speech in Milwaukee to introduce Obama was the best I've ever heard from him. He must've had someone other than his usual speech writers work on it.

[ Parent ]
Right-Wing? (0.00 / 0)
As a Virginian, I'm not sure if I entirely agree with "king of right-wing."  The problem is that he doesn't push progressive issues, although standing up against abstinence only education was a surprisingly progressive move.  

[ Parent ]
Several things (0.00 / 0)
Let's see: he is pro-life ("anti-choice"), pro tax cuts, pro banning gay marriage, racheted up the war on drugs, and singed a law banning gay marriage as one of his first acts as Governor.

There might be more too, since I can't think of a single progressive cause he has championed, while he drolls endlessly about values.

He has always seemed quite right-wing to me. Keep him away from the head of the Democratic Party. I'd rather have Hillary Clinton.  

[ Parent ]
Tim Kaine's pro-choice... (4.00 / 1)
Tim Kaine's pro-choice.


He's also pro-immigrant, having strongly opposed a ton of anti-immigrant legislation that the Republicans here tried to pass.  

He also opposed the anti-marriage amendment that passed here in 2006.


I also wouldn't call him a drug warrior, not compared to the wingnut Republicans in the VA House.

So, calling him right-wing isn't right, but Tim Kaine is DLC, and therefore you are right that he shouldn't be on a short list for VP.


[ Parent ]
Same Kaine? (0.00 / 0)
Are we talking about the same Tim Kaine?

He has personal reservations about abortion, but will uphold the law and hasn't pushed for any change.  The same as his position on the death penalty, and he has blocked an expansion of death penalty.

As I said, he seems passively liberal.  He is not the type of politician to push the envelope.  He hasn't done it as Governor and he'd be a poor VP choice.  A transformational progressive he is certainly now.

But as my Governor, I do feel compelled to stand up for him.

I don't know where you get pro-tax cuts, he's been pushing for tax increases to fund transportation.

He campaigned against the amendment to the Virginia constitution that banned gay marriage and civil unions.

Given that gay marriage was already banned in the 1990s, and banned against by the Amendment, I'm not sure what law you're referring to either.

[ Parent ]
What about Mark Warner? (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
Busy running for Senate (0.00 / 0)

One Million Strong --- Join up!

[ Parent ]
Strategically (4.00 / 2)
Polling right now shows Florida a lost cause (Obama is down 10 in a poll today, and was down 13 in a previous poll).

It makes sense to look where the field can be enlarged and Virginia is an obvious place to do it.

I saw Webb give a speech at the JJ dinner in Manchester last October and was very impressed.  Kaine strikes me as dull and has no foreign policy/military credentials.  

[ Parent ]
Bob Graham (4.00 / 1)
Graham is a former governor and Senator and the most popular politician in the history of Florida.  I really can't figure it (I lived there when he was Governor) but it's a fact.  He also opposed the war as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee and basically called out Bush and the neo-cons from the start.

Yes, he's old, white and kind of boring but the experience plays well on this ticket.  And he still looks younger than McCain.

Given the nature of Florida, I don't know who he supported but this would be a needed healing move for the Florida Democratic Party.

[ Parent ]
Graham (0.00 / 0)
had health problems in 2003 - I don't think he would be a good choice.

Of course, had he been the nominee for VP in 2000, President Gore would now be trying to decide who to endorse.  Polling taken at the time of the Democratic Convention in 2000 showed Graham giving Gore about an 8% boost in Florida.

[ Parent ]
Webb Kills McCain (4.00 / 2)
Or at least neutralizes him on not just Iraq, but the whole direction of the military.  Both (will) have sons in the theater (McCain's is going soon, I believe).  Alone among the possibles, Webb has the credentials to call McCain on all things military, the area of Obama's greatest weakness among indy voters, so a must for the ticket.  That, and he (along with Kaine and Warner) hopefully seals Virginia.  He is a little Blue Dog, but let's face it, so is Obama (or so he can seem), which isn't necessarily a bad thing come November.

[ Parent ]
Why do you need credentials to call somebody on (0.00 / 0)
military policy when 70% of the public disagrees with him on the Iraq occupation?  Why isn't playing the tape of McCain in that flak jacket and helmet shopping with the military escort and the helicopters overhead, and then saying it was safe not sufficient to call him on it?

Webb is a conservative.  A conservative cannot be VP in a progressive administration.  I'd rather have Hillary.  At least we would know for sure that Obama would hold her in check.

[ Parent ]
I'm from CT but love Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) (4.00 / 2)
Schweitzer opposed the Iraq War.  I don't have a link or a direct quote, but David Sirota was one of his aides and David has heaped praise on Schweitzer many times over.  Go ask David Sirota if Schweitzer opposed Iraq War from the beginning or near the beginning.  I do know that Schweitzer basked Bush a lot when first running for US Senator and then for Montana's Governor.

If that is true (0.00 / 0)
Then I think Schweitzer would be a decent pick. Certainly short-list material.  

[ Parent ]
Bola's in the White House (4.00 / 1)
that would be cool.

Bola ties rock!

[ Parent ]
What about Gore? (0.00 / 0)
Assuming he'd even take it.

He was once being described as a living window into what could have been. Having Gore on the ticket would, symbolically at least, make this election even more of a referendum on Bush. This is precisely the frame we need.

Also never mind that he's another rockstar, novel laureate, and I can't think of anyone in the Democratic party that doesn't love him. And this is anecdotical, but even my politics-hating brother likes him.

He's obviously been around Washington a while, but he's been out long enough that he would be seen as a reformer.

As far as Gore making Obama look inexperienced, I don't know if he really would, because he wouldn't be picked to balance that out. The "Obama doesn't have enough experience" meme needs to be killed anyway, independent of his VP choice, and it needs to be killed quick.

gore? Seriously? (0.00 / 0)
As a vice-president, yet again? As someone who has been in Washington forever? As someone with a bigger image than even Obama himself?

The pick doesn't make any sense at all. Sticking a retread on the ticket who would overshadow Obama just doesn't make any sense to me, as much as I like the guy.  

[ Parent ]
GORE yes GORE! (0.00 / 0)
Sorry Chris,
I have to disagree, he hasnt been around for ever, hes been away for ever getting things done.

Thats One)

Two) Nobel Peace Prize
Three ) Oscar
Four ) He won the election for President, it was stolen this allowing him to serve is "Justice!" (even mythical)

Five) It would be seen as service. writ  large SERVICE
Six) who could McCain Nominate that has that kind of Gravitas
Seven) Obama would be seen as very confident to name him

Eight) The VPOTUS has chnaged since Cheney took over the country, as I posted above and last year.
Nine ) He has completely changed his manner and speaks with charm and connection


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

[ Parent ]
I Dunno. Don't You Think He's Too Inexperienced? (0.00 / 0)
Guy's got an Oscar, after all.  Wife used to play rock 'n roll.

"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 ]
It meant even more acclaim (0.00 / 0)
OK so I saw that the oscar was silly too but I can't edit my comment.

He has amazing additions to the ticket.

I dont think this could be beat. This is the huge ticket, that captures even more attention.

It says Obama is a confident guy. And voters would feel very very assured about dealing with the unthinkable.

ANd think what a Gore could do with a Cheney VPOTUS.


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

[ Parent ]
He Wouldn't Do It (0.00 / 0)
But he will no doubt campaign hard for Obama.  For Hillary?  Not so much.  In fact, I bet he's about to bust a seam from withholding an endorsement (again, not for Hillary).
Question is, whether he'd take a Cabinet or UN post.

[ Parent ]
if you had been VP for 8 years (4.00 / 1)
and could have run for Prez this year, and had won an oscar and had won the Nobel Prize, and can get media attention for you pet issues any time you want just by making a phone call, would you take a VP slot AGAIN? and why on earth would you, when you can do so much more by being outside the system?

The Gore fanaticism was great when people were trying to get him to run again for Prez. But its gone on now in such a way that is completely divorced from reality. Even all the speculation about Gore could get the nomination in a brokered convention was off the charts unrealistic. It's over Gore fans, its over. We know you love the man; he's not going back to the White House; ever.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
not yet (0.00 / 0)
We know you love the man; he's not going back to the White House; ever.

If the Democrat loses in 2008, Gore is the obvious nominee in 2012, assuming the country still exists.

[ Parent ]
Thank you so much for your kind words (0.00 / 0)
I see that the discussion we will be having won't improve much despite the fact that we are no longer arguing about the Presidential Nomination.
I had hoped it would but, possibly I'm a fanatic about being respectful.

Do you really think insults convince other readers? It does not convince me ever.  


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

[ Parent ]
Sometimes insults are necessary, (0.00 / 0)
like for those people who insist on Webb.  Good thing they don't really have a voice.

[ Parent ]
I don't think Gore would overshadow Obama.... (4.00 / 1)
he would probably overshadow anyone else, but Obama -- for better or worse -- has become a phenomenon over the past few months.  

I like Gore as a pick because he was against the war, he is seen as someone who has been "refreshed" since his time in Washington, he has a nice blend of hip and elder-statesman, he reinforces Obama's environmental and energy strengths....

I think there is a lot to like here; but it may just be wishful thinking on my part.  

[ Parent ]
Too much inexperience? (0.00 / 0)
While I don't think Obama should pick someone who's been in Washington for awhile, I'm not sure Brown is the best way to go, here.  First of all, wasn't he in the House for several years?  Wouldn't that count as being "in Washington"?

Also, I think we get to a point where there may be too much inexperience... It seems like if both of the candidates are pretty "new" Senators, that may make it easier to paint the whole ticket as just inexperienced fools who don't know what they're doing.

With that in mind, I'm thinking that looking for a governor may be the best thing to do.  They can still be a Washington outsider, but they have "experience".  Whether or not Bush's choice of Cheney made him look stupid and weak, he ended up winning (or cheating just enough to win), no?

Why is Richardson excluded from this list, btw?  Was he Pro-war?

Richardson favored the war at first (0.00 / 0)
And he also ran against Obama. That, and he was in Washington forever.

He misses all three criteria, not just one.  

[ Parent ]
And he was in Bill's cabinet ... (4.00 / 1)
and he's probably refrained from endorsing Hillary .. because she's been losing .. and endorsing a loser now doesn't look good

[ Parent ]
What's wrong with Bill Richardson? (4.00 / 1)
Geographic balance, foreign policy smarts, solid experience, Hispanic voter appeal. Seems just about perfect to me.

I think Obama will need somebody solid and experienced to balance his perceived brashness and inexperience, and neutralize the temptation of McCain's "trustworthy, experienced, elder" appeal. Brown might make a great prez nominee some day, but he'll just reinforce the "lightweight" attack line right now. JFK didn't pick LBJ for nuthin'. He'll also need a fierce attack dog. Brown doesn't appear to fit that bill, either.

Clark would be a rational choice that would dampen the enthusiasm of voters like me, but not enough to cost him our votes.

I don't really see why his choice couldn't have endorsed somebody else in the primary. It would just reinforce the "bringing together" meme. Happens all the time.

Richardson (0.00 / 0)
Geographic balance, foreign policy smarts, solid experience, Hispanic voter appeal. Seems just about perfect to me.

Richardson ran against Obama, repeatedly attacking him on Iraq and other topics. That will play well in the press.

Richardson favored the war when it began. Undercuts Obama's argument on judgement.

Richardson is the exact opposite of Obama: endless experience. It would make Obama look like he needed a Cheney.

It doesn't make sense. Try to think outside of the traditional "balance" model. Think about reinforcing qualities.  

[ Parent ]
Come on Chris... (4.00 / 2)
How can you not add that the guy is a piss-poor campaigner? He has no place on the national stage or, IMHO, even in the cabinet.

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
I apologize (4.00 / 1)
for not rebuking the Richardson argument strongly enough. :)

there are some skeletons for Richardson, too, that could cause problems.  

[ Parent ]
That's the strongest argument (0.00 / 0)
against him, I think. Like I said, Obama will need a real attack dog if he wants to run hard against Bushism and still keep his "reaching out" image.

[ Parent ]
Same argument would have applied (0.00 / 0)
to JFK's choice of Lyndon Johnson. I don't see this as looking like he needs a Cheny at all. It just looks like he's practicing the diversity he's preaching, and reassures this very conservative country that he does respect experience and expertise. I think it's crucial that he do this.

I'm not stuck on Richardson, but feel strongly that Obama needs to find somebody as "tough" and weathered as McCain. Having two young pups on the ticket will dangerously reinforce the inevitable longing for somebody more "solid" when election day comes around.

As the post below says, Edwards might fit the bill very well. I just wonder if he's lost too many runs now to be an effective help to Obama's campaign. The populist plus experience combo could be quite effective, even though he doesn't meet your criteria.

[ Parent ]
Wasn't the Kennedy/LBJ thing partially an effort to bring the party (4.00 / 2)
back together after a fractious nomination campaign?  

[ Parent ]
Why would clark dampen your enthusiasm? (0.00 / 0)
I love Clark. He would heighten the excitement of people like me.

I blog on InnermostParts.org

[ Parent ]
Because he's solid DLC (4.00 / 1)
and (understandably) pro military. I think he'd make a good Sec Def or maybe even State, but sends the wrong message about Iraq -- the only criticism I remember from his was on the execution, not the immorality and self-destructiveness of the attack.

[ Parent ]
Wes is solidly pro-Hillary (0.00 / 0)
I sat at the same table with him. He was showing off his Hillary button on his sweater. He went on stage and flashed it to the crowd to make his message clear.

I like Wes. I respect his service. He doesn't meet the criteria established above.

[ Parent ]
I suppose Richardson would be OK, (0.00 / 0)
as soon as he's finished having his lower leg surgically removed from his throat.  He would be a hundred times better than Webb.

[ Parent ]
Edwards!!!!1!1!1 (0.00 / 0)
I'm kind of kidding, but why seriously, why not take on Edwards under the condition that Obama adopt his healthcare plan.  Face-saving for everyone.

Edwards anyway. (0.00 / 0)
Don't force him to shutup about healthcare. Go ahead and let them continue that debate. All the news would focus on them and then focus on the fact that McCain hates you and wants you and your children to get sick and die. You don't need to save face as to whether or not Obama or Edwards has the best healthcare plan, they HAVE healthcare plans. They can't attack you on it without turning attention to health care. Which, under the Bush, administration hasn't even been a priority for soldiers.

Honestly, Edwards is hands down my choice. Hillary would overshadow him, other senators aren't worth it, they are either from a state they can be replaced by (blue and thus no ticket balancing/screw that anyway) or you're handing over the senate.

Edwards doesn't have a job, he has a great message, a long time was spent weighing over Edwards vs. Obama because their messages are so similar. He's young and after 8 years of Obama would be the shoe in to run for president. The question you should be asking yourself is who would you want for president in 2016?

[ Parent ]
I would love to see Edwards as VP (0.00 / 0)
if he would take it.  I doubt that he would take it.  He would be the perfect choice for AG, and I think he might take that if he was offered a free hand.

[ Parent ]
He Would Take It in a Heartbeat (0.00 / 0)
He's got nothing better to do.  Only thing is, nobody's gonna offer it to him.  He's got the taint of loser about him.  That doesn't mean he wouldn't be an effective AG, however.

[ Parent ]
He may need to pick a Vet (4.00 / 1)
One thing I've noted is that there hasn't been a ticket without a veteran on it since Adlai Stevenson ran in the 50s (and had zero chance of winning the veteran vote against Ike, anyway).  In '60 we had two (JFK and LBJ), in '64 we had one, in '68 we had one (Muskie), in '72 we had three (counting Navy vet Eagleton), in '76 and '80 we had two (Carter and Mondale), in '84 we had one (Mondale), in '88 we had two, in '92 and '96 and '00 we had one (Gore), and in '04 we had one who damn near made it his entire platform (Kerry).

All of which makes me think that Obama will want to pick someone with some military credibility as a running mate, which makes Webb or Clark look more likely.

Yeah I blog.

Partly the WWII effect (4.00 / 1)
The GI Generation had a phenomenal run of candidates for Pres and VP.  And since so many people had served, it was natural that everyone had been a vet (even if, like reagan, they only made movies).  Dukakis was a vet because he did his 2 years while the draft was still in effect, though he only made Pfc.

Now that we are getting beyond the Vietnam era, it isn;t so likely.  More impt is support for the military in terms of benefits, pay, health care etc.

I'd like to see some more adventurous choices.  Someone who speaks well, has an agile mind, and is well versed in a variety of areas, most importantly foreign affairs and national security.  Not necessarily a politician, but someone with a feel for where the American people are.  

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

[ Parent ]
Muskie wasn't on the ticket in 68. It was Humphrey/Mondale. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
I guess I won't put money on it , since you seem to have proven your point. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Does it have to be a governor of Senator? (4.00 / 3)
Why not someone from the House of Representatives? I've always liked Tim Ryan, he endorsed Dodd (point 3 is a relative non-factor), young, popular progressive from a swing state - but hard-core pro-life, so he's out.  How about Robert Wexler? Experienced but not too experienced, from a swing state, progressive, Obama endorser, but he voted for the war.  

My last (and best) suggestion, though at terribly risk of being a homer because he's my congressman, is Rush Holt.  He's pretty much the typification of the creative class - physicist, professor, decidedly progressive, highly educated, etc. He has a patent for his own solar energy device and won Jeopardy five times. He's great on open government, voting rights, civil liberties, FISA, the environment, etc. His campaign slogan is "My Congressman IS a rocket scientist!" He was against the war from the start.  Not a single skeleton to be found in his closet - he's a Quaker (the only one in Congress), with unquestioned integrity.  He's also chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee of Select Intelligence and he's been around since 2000, so he's experienced but not too experienced, and he has yet to endorse.

Lastly, is it possible that there are potential VP candidates who are not presenting serving in Congress or as governors who aren't senior citizens? Any ideas?

Good to look into other areas (0.00 / 0)
But I also don't know where to start looking at that point. Hard to say where one draws the line at a certain point.  

[ Parent ]
Thinking outside the box :) (0.00 / 0)
I'm not a knowledgeable enough guy to comment - but I too would love to hear people's ideas of running mates outside of governorships and the Senate.  

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Holt is a strong contender. (0.00 / 0)
I like that, I like that a lot.

[ Parent ]
House is where to go (0.00 / 0)
I was going to suggest Tim Ryan, but the pro-life thing is a definite disqualifier.

Rush Holt definitely seems like a good idea. And if we want strong progressive VPs, then the House is the best place to look.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
Rep Wexler D-FL may be great if we go to the house (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
I can see the Wexler ads already (0.00 / 0)
Forgive me for not having the exact quote memorized.

"Cocaine and hookers are fun..."


[ Parent ]
this is a bit off topic but... (0.00 / 0)
since you mentioned Rush Holt I thought I'd ask: I'd heard that Holt has his eye on the Senate and might challenge Sen. Lautenberg in 2008.  This seemed a little silly to me since Lautenberg doesn't seem like the sort of Democratic Senator who should be primaried (He's no Lieberman or Feinstien) but then again I dont live in New Jersey so there might be something I'm missing.  thoughts?

[ Parent ]
The reason for the potential primary (0.00 / 0)
is that Lautenberg is 84 years old, and has pretty awful approval ratings (but right now, his re-elect in the low 40s is the best of any New Jersey politician, actually).  

The other thing is that if someone did challenge him and win, they would probably have the Senate seat as long as they wanted it, which is something you can't put a price on in New Jersey politics, because there are five Congressmen and dozens more state legislators competing over that one seat, and probably more in 2014.  That said, Lautenberg is not going to be primaried, because no one wants to lose, he has a ton of money, and they know he won't run in 2014, and so they'll take their chances against the field then.

[ Parent ]
Are Dems going to take a pass on national security AGAIN? (0.00 / 0)
At a time when the US is waging two wars, and its military is falling apart, and there is a chance of more audacious terrorist attacks, I can't believe you're advocating a ticket with no (and I do mean NO) national security or foreign policy expertise.

Wes Clark is I would say an obvious choice.  So he endorsed Hillary.  So you don't want to bring the party back together after this long primary?

Clark also brings executive experience.  Remember, this government is badly broken in many ways, including being infiltrated with Bush kool-aid drinkers from top to bottom.  

Put military expertise at the Pentagon (0.00 / 0)
Obama can put competent, defense- and military-oriented policymakers at Defense, Homeland Security, and/or State to shore up this flank.

I actually think Webb would make a great choice for SecDef (if he doesn't want to stay in the Senate), and Clark or Biden at State.  

[ Parent ]
Biden? At State??? (4.00 / 3)
Joe Biden has been snookered by Republicans in Congress for decades (he's the man who Fed Ex'd Clarence Thomas onto the Supreme Court, and scared off further witnesses to support Anita Hill).  Why do we want him at State getting snookered by the Chinese?

"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 ]
He's somewhat kooky (4.00 / 1)
But I think he's fairly solid on foreign relations issues and is a well known commodity around the world. SecState needs to be able to interact and negotiate with other diplomats, and I think he has good attributes in this area. He also strikes me as the type that would take seriously filling the position that Jefferson once held and would temper his eccentricities accordingly.

I confess that this is more a general inkling, and I probably need to do a lot more research into his specific foreign policy views on a range of issues before I endorse him. But he had a lot of good things to say in these areas during the debates early on, and I just kind of like the guy (despite his legislative proclivities in some areas).

I'd vastly prefer Clark. I think Clark would knock it out of the park. He's dashed any hope of being VP by backing Hillary so strongly, but maybe not State.  

[ Parent ]
Biden Does A Very Good Imitation of A Sober Statesman (0.00 / 0)
But then someone hits a hard grounder up the middle, and he doesn't just kick it into right field. He kicks it into the right field bleachers.

"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 ]
Clark (4.00 / 1)
endorsed Clinton, but I agree, this would be an excellent choice.

[ Parent ]
do you remember Clark in the primaries in 2004? (4.00 / 1)
he was a terrible, and I mean terrible, candidate.  I like the guy but he's not exactly good at running for things or dealing with reporters.  I think Obama does need to assuage some fears about his experience with the military but I think Webb is a better choice than Clark for Veep (though I also have to admit I dont like the thought of Webb for President someday)

[ Parent ]
Sebelius is a Blue Dog? (4.00 / 2)
Chris, my impression is that she's actually pretty progressive, especially for Kansas.

What's your reasoning behind calling her a Blue Dog? She's strongly pro-choice and anti-death penalty, she's been fighting the construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Kansas, and she's in favor of card check and has a good labor record.

I don't see a Blue Dog there.

I really, really like the idea of Sebelius as Obama's running mate.  

Hmmm... (4.00 / 1)
Perhaps I am wrong. It is more difficult to get a complete picture of a Governor's ideological range than it is of a Senator.  

[ Parent ]
Point us to more of her speeches (4.00 / 1)
The one time I've seen her speak was the SOTU response, and it was awful. She'll have to do a lot better than that.

[ Parent ]
Well, I don't work for her, but I'll try! (4.00 / 1)
I didn't see the SOTU response, but know it was universally panned. But those are almost always universally terrrible (Jim Webb's last year being the exception). I've seen her speak on C-SPAN a few times, and I liked what I saw/heard both times.

Here are a few links I dug up:

Employee Free Choice Act: http://www.ksworkbeat.org/Issu...


Article about her election victory:

Ye Olde Wikipedia:

A couple other articles I saw labeled her as "pro-business, fiscally conservative" -- but almost all Governors label themselves such, because they HAVE to balance their budgets. Furthermore, as insurance commissioner she seems to have stood up rather forcefully to health insurance companies.

So, by no means is she a slam dunk progressive, but she's interesting. She meshes well, generally, with Obama's message of pragmatic liberalism that manages to win over voters in red states that normally wouldn't vote for such candidates. Very good on choice, capital punishment, energy, was against a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Kansas (which passed with 70% of the vote), vetoed a concealed carry bill in Kansas (which was over-ridden by the legislature), seems otherwise sensible.

[ Parent ]
If you're interested, here's a recent interview (0.00 / 0)
of her from Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post.  She's a very effective surrogate for Obama, very warm, very down-to-earth.  Her "He was raised by Kansans" line is worth a lot.  Talk about Midwestern values wouldn't hurt in a general election campaign in Missouri.

One Million Strong --- Join up!

[ Parent ]
I agree (0.00 / 0)
The other thing I like about her being on the ticket with Obama, is that I think she could help drag a few more Democratic Senators over the line -- Kleeb and whoever runs in Kansas especially come to mind, and maybe Rice in Oklahoma. I think she helps solidify or bring into more contention both Arkansas, Colorado, and Missouri in the presidential election, and maybe even Kansas.

I think she also helps Obama in his best area, strengthening his biggest strength -- potential crossover appeal from disilluisioned independents and Republicans, especially women. A smart, successful, popular female governor is an enormous plus on the ticket.

[ Parent ]
I think all of that is (0.00 / 0)
the purest speculation, and is probably worth about what we paid for it.

[ Parent ]
In conclusion, (4.00 / 2)
It would be easier to pick Obama's nose than it would be to pick his VP.

Er. (4.00 / 1)
If time in Washington is a problem, why are you talking about time in the Senate?  Ben Cardin was a congressman for 20 years before being elected senator.  Sherrod Brown was one for 14 years.  They are hardly fresh faces new to Washington.

Why not Claire McCaskill? (4.00 / 2)
She endorsed Obama early and has been a fabulous surrogate for him.  She was just elected to the Senate in 2006, but did serve as Missouri State Auditor for 8 years and served as the Jackson County Prosecutor for 2 terms . She might move Missouri into the Dems. column. Not sure what her position on Iraq was before the invasion though.  

She is a total Bush Dog (4.00 / 3)
That's why. Making her the face of the future party, or even of judgment on Iraq, is a frightening thought.

[ Parent ]
And allow me to point out that her voting record on national security/foreign (0.00 / 0)
policy is identical to Webb's.  Another strike against Webb.

[ Parent ]
McCaskill voted for telco immunity (4.00 / 2)
I don't want someone who won't stand up for civil liberties and the rule of law to be the head of our party.

Likewise, all of the senators who voted the wrong way on this core issue are poor choices IMO:
Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Max Baucus (D-MT), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

[ Parent ]
Reinforcement (4.00 / 1)
I was thinking about Bower's reinforcement pieces just the other day and it really rang true with me. Just imagine Wes Clark (whose name is interestingly absent from this thread) running with Obama. It is the equivalent of Obama stating, in no uncertain terms, "I am too inexperienced to be President!". Sure, Bush got away with using Cheney - but there is a big difference in perception of the two candidates - primarily that Obama is perceived as very young, not just inexperienced.

So, just as I was coming around to Chris' view of the VP choice, we get this post - and it has me worried. None of these people seem to be the right fit. (to be fair, there are certainly a few I am not familiar with). None of these seem like a power ticket. Maybe Obama is all the power we need in one ticket? Personally, I think Americans like personality and celebrity - they want to see dynamism at the top AND bottom of the ticket. Not one superstar and his boring sidekick. Why do you think so many people throw around the near-impossible idea that Obama and Clinton could run together? Not because it makes sense, but because people like the concept of two big names - titans among the rest - uniting and conquering.

Obama has succeeded in part by capturing people's imagination and being a once-in-a-generation charismatic leader. I think if he aims to reinforce his campaign with his VP pick, he should be less concerned with reinforcing his war position and outsider-status and more concerned with reinforcing his capacity to inspire and motivate. Only one name comes to my mind, and that is John Edwards.  

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

Two senator ticket? (0.00 / 0)
While I really like both Brown and Webb, do we really want to remove two good senators from the Senate right now?  

I do think a military person would help in the fight against McCain.  What's wrong with Wesley Clark?  Didn't he oppose the war from the start?  Too closely tied to Clinton?

Schweitzer would be an interesting choice, but isn't he a blue governor in a red state?  How would his replacement be picked?  (And would he really want to move from Montana to Washington?)

VA and OH both have dem governors (4.00 / 1)
So, at leas theoretically, we'd be replacing them with, at least another democrat, if not another good democrat.  Hell, if it's Brown, maybe his replacement could be Paul Hackett, and we'd have a chance to get rid of whatever bad blood is left from that mess.

[ Parent ]
Webb's not much of a senator either. (0.00 / 0)
He's better than Allen.  That's not saying much.  Getting him out of the Senate would only be a good thing if we had somebody better.  In four years.

[ Parent ]
There is a Somebody -- Mark Warner (0.00 / 0)
And he's already running for the seat.  Kaine would appoint him in a heartbeat.  

[ Parent ]
Endorsements Won't Matter come Summertime (4.00 / 4)
I believe Obama will consider those who endorsed somebody else in the primary season as long as they were not an attack dog.  It will be a plus to have endorsed Obama, but I really doubt that will be a make or break factor.  It will make sense to reach out to the sizable number of Edwards & Clinton supporters.  There is a long history of using the Veep slot to unite the party.  People like Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Wes Clark, Ted Strickland, Martin O'Malley & Ed Rendell should be considered.

I think that Kaine & Sebelius are clearly in the top tier. A governor makes more sense than a Senator but, again, that is just a factor not a requirement.  Among Senators Chris Dodd, Jim Webb, Claire McCaskill & Russ Feingold might get serious consideration (I know I'm leaving out a lot).  Of the Clinton supporters, Clark would be an interesting choice.  The General has been an aggressive campaigner for Clinton but I don't think he ever crossed the line into truly negative rhetoric.  

Not Rendell .. (0.00 / 0)
he's too DLC ... and just look at this recent comments

[ Parent ]
Probably Napolitano or Sebelius (4.00 / 1)
I think that if Obama is the nominee, then the pressure to select a female running mate will be overwhelming. White females have been Clinton's base, and they make up a large portion of the Democratic Party.

At the same time, you're right Chris, Obama shouldn't choose someone who "balances" but rather "reinforces." So I think Napolitano or Sebelius would be good VPs. I'm leaning more towards Napolitano right now simply because Sebelius' Dem response to the SOTU was abysmal. Plus, Napolitano one the Governor's office in Arizona by clean elections, which is pretty cool in my view. Her fundraising prowess would be much smaller compared to other candidates, but with Obama at the top - that really doesn't matter.

An Obama/Napolitano ticket, while tough to fit on a bumper sticker, would demonstrate the "transformational change" that Obama is trying to paint with his campaign.


Yes (4.00 / 1)
Sibelius and Napolitano are at the top of my list. I think reinforcing the message of change is the key thing to aim at and having a woman on the ticket would certainly do that. And both of these women have been extremely effective governors. I have seen a number of posts on Daily Kos which have argued that if Napolitano were on the ticket the Dems would carry Arizona even against McCain. I don't know that I believe that but I think she is probably more popular than McCain. Sibelius would reinforce Obama's message of transcending partisanship because she has brought over a significant part of the Kansas Republican establishment to the Democratic party, and in doing so has left the Republicans in shambles. I have never seen the idea of transcending partisanship as at odds with a strong progressive agenda; I think Obama has both. Whether or not Sibelius is as strong a progressive as one would wish I don't know. But that would be worth exploring.  

[ Parent ]
I like Janet and would support the pick. However, ain't gonna happen. (4.00 / 1)

I'm originally from Arizona and there has always been rampant speculation on Janet's sexuality.  As a gay man, I hate that people's sexuality and personal lives are discussed, but it is reality in this country.

No way would an almost acknowledged lesbian be on the ticket in this country in the year 2008.  Sad but true.

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 ]
Well, maybe if McCain picked Crist :P (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
yeah, everyone in Florida knows Crist is an insatiable chicken hawk. Not unlike (0.00 / 0)
David Geffen.  haha.

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 ]
We need Webb and Brown in the Senate... (4.00 / 1)
at least for another election cycle. Those aren't reliably blue seats yet. Same argument may apply to Sebelius.

I like what I've seen of Brian Schweitzer, and the media would love him.

Feingold would be my pick, though.

Kaine appoints Warner (0.00 / 0)
to serve the balance of Webb's term.  
Webb makes more speeches like his 2007 SOTU response (youtube it if you haven't seen it), and with any luck, he also threatens to knock GW's lights out again.  At the very least, we get to re-live that moment several times.

[ Parent ]
Why? (0.00 / 0)
Warner is goiung to win his own full term.  The VP cnadidate doesn't have to quit the Senate (or House) until elected.

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

[ Parent ]
Is Brown's approval an issue? (0.00 / 0)
Sherrod Brown's approval is around 44% right now. How does that compare to more popular Senators and/or historically successful VP candidates? I've got a suspicion that as much as I might like to see Brown picked that he simply isn't popular enough to be considered a viable contender. I'm looking for but haven't yet found the numbers to test this out; if I do, I'll post another comment with them

Interesting Arguments you make (0.00 / 0)
I wouldn't rule out Wes Clark even though he was a Hillary supporter or other Hillary supporters - as long as they didn't lash out at Obama in the process of supporting HIllary  He's a Washington outsider, he would help provide support on defense issues, etc.

I would argue for anything OTHER than another sitting Senator.  Perhaps a George Mitchell or a Robert Rubin?

Never happen, but Michael Bloomberg would be a fascinating choice.  

George Mitchell (0.00 / 0)
Then I will have decided that we officially are back in 1992.  It's going to suck wearing all of that flannel down in Texas.

an interesting choice, though.  He could reinforce some of Obama's post-partisan messaging with his elder statesman image.  

[ Parent ]
As long as we're going the "bipartisan" route... (4.00 / 1)
If we can't have Tancredo-Sharpton, we can still get Obama-Tancredo. Unity '08 lives! Our country is saved!

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
-Lawrence Summers

[ Parent ]
NEVER Robert Rubin (0.00 / 0)
Too conservative.  Citigroup is knee-deep in the mortgage mess.

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

[ Parent ]
Why Not Bozo The Clown??? (0.00 / 0)
Heck, he's far more popular than Bloomberg ever dreamed of being.

"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 ]
Two Thoughts (0.00 / 0)
Has the criticism of being inexperienced hurt Barack Obama enough to matter in this primary season?  No.  So picking an elder statesman-type isn't going to drive a damaging narrative.  People aren't, apparently, caring enough about that right now, so don't think it's magically going to grow to a big concern in the general.  I think Wes Clark is a good choice here for Obama's VP.  He'll bring Clintonites back in with Obama, among many other fantastic qualities.

Second point - I would LOVE for Sherrod Brown to be the future of the party.  And I was literally thinking last night about him on the ticket.  But I just have a gut feel that he's not the one.  That said, I am officially starting the Draft Sherrod Brown '16 group.  

If you want to bring Clintonites back into the party (0.00 / 0)
post-Obama nomination,
why not have Hillary Clinton herself as VP?

[ Parent ]
That's the idea I've been wrestling with. (0.00 / 0)
She dramatically violates Chris's criteria, and I doubt Chris would want to think of her as the future of the Democratic Party.  But I also think Obama's got some work to do to win this election, and Clinton might have some upside on that front.  She's a good campaigner, and I can imagine that, if she were willing to play ball, the Obama campaign could work wonders with her (in contrast to Penn and the gang).  She also would help to keep the strong Clinton supporters energized about November, which is something I definitely worry about.  I know many of them (here in Arkansas, which may not be a fair sample) that are drifting in to Taylor Marsh territory--they're not party activists, but mainly middle-aged women who really bought into Hillary's campaign.  If Clinton were on the ticket, that trend might be neutralized.  And it would be a nice rebuke to the "Democrats Divided storyline"--especially since the Republicans are likely to be relatively divided themselves. It would reinforce Obama's "uniter not divider" campaign theme, and it might be good for the party in the long run.  

I doubt she'd want the job, and I'm not even saying I advocate her for VP.  But I do think it's worth considering.

Great discussion, team!  

[ Parent ]
Agree, but Disagree (0.00 / 0)
I agree with all your arguments and so I've also considered Hillary might be a good choice. She is smart and knows a lot about how Washington works.

But I don't want Hillary to be the future of the Democratic Party. And I don't want Bill hanging around too much -- he certainly doesn't represent change. If we need a white woman to help heal the wounds of the primary campaign, then let's go for Sebelius or Napolitano.

[ Parent ]
NO NO NO (4.00 / 1)
That would make a threesome (with Bill).  I want her in the Senate.

I'd rather see George Clooney than Hillary as VP.

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

[ Parent ]
I could support Brown, or Sheldon Whitehouse. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Brian Schweitzer (0.00 / 0)
Will not be the pick. He would not take it. He HATES everything and anything Washington. He says he shows if he spends more then 24 hours there he scrubs himself to rid him of the stink of Washington. He will not be Barack Obama's vice president. I love him very much but he will not be. Plus he then would have to stop running for governor. It just doesn't make sense.

I really like the idea of Brown but oddly it doesn't seem to fit his message much. Brown is a true populist not a Obamaequse pol like Patrick or Sebelius.

A interesting pick I've been thinking about is Patrick Murphy. It would make the election about Iraq again and he fits Obama's message perfectly. You interviewed him recently. What is your take on that?

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

I'd say too inexperienced. (0.00 / 0)
Murphy is young, was relatively low rank (right?), and only in politics for two years.  I think it would be a mistake, as much as I like him.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
Lincoln Chafee (4.00 / 1)
He wouldn't necessarily be my first choice, but he was against the war and reinforces the post-partisan approach (and we all know he's to the left of a lot of Dems, including Webb).  

Corzine also voted against the war and would bring a strong economic resume as a former CEO of Goldman-Sachs.  

I like the idea of Feingold, but other beat me to that.  I also think that a Jewish VP could potentially shield Obama against some of the Muslim bullshit that will get tossed-around below the radar.  If he decides he needs a woman, Boxer wouldn't be a bad choice.

I like the idea of picking someone who isn't from a key state or key group and who did not run for President because it makes the choice look more principled.  

I completely agree about choosing a reinforcing choice, I have been saying this since 2000.  It send that message that Obama believes that he is the best guy to run the country, and that if he dies, we should get someone else just like him.  I've never understood the logic of candidates essentially saying to the American people: "If I go down, you get someone who is the opposite of what you just elected in terms of strengths and weaknesses."  

A vote against Health Care Reform is a vote for ten 9/11s every single year!

Corey Booker (0.00 / 0)
Newark's mayor is like Obama and Patrick--reformer, next generation black politicans.  Booker is charming, young, and trying to clean up his city.  He lives in a housing project still to make a point.  Booker endorsed Obama for Super Tuesday, I don't know how he stood on the war in 2002 but he is definately an outsider with "executive experience" and fits in nicely with Obama's biography of being an inner city organizer between college and law school.

If we are going to hold up Clinton/Gore '92 as the a model "mini-me" ticket that reenforces the best parts of the presidential nominee, then Obama/Booker seems to me the best fit.  

Truth over balance, progress over ideology

lol (0.00 / 0)
Well I needed a laugh today.  Way to go from Dem landslide to McCain landslide.

[ Parent ]
Bwaha (0.00 / 0)
You must be kidding.  I live in a nearby town.  I am a fan of Corey Booker, but he has work to do to show he can fix Newark before anybody will give him a shot to try to fix the rest of the world.  

Is he even old enough for the job?

[ Parent ]
Going out on a limb here (4.00 / 1)
My first comment even...

Are there any moderate Republicans to consider?  Or is this just beyond the pale?  Would Democrats balk?  Hasn't there been talk of Hagel, for example, leaving the Republican party?  Or is there someone akin to Arnold out there...a moderate Republican from a blue or purple state?  I always liked the idea of Unity ticket.

Also just a little commentary on Schweitzer for those who don't know him...the man has is just about as charasmatic as Obama - in a different way though.  He is cool as a cucumber and funny as all get out.  The first time I heard him interviewed on the radio I came in in the middle and thought he was just some average Joe.  I was shocked when I learned who it was.  He has a way of laying an arugment out that makes you totally jump on board.

Jim Jeffords? (0.00 / 0)
He's retired (and thus, wouldn't remove a good Dem from office), he reinforces the notion of taking principle above partisanship.  I haven't heard him speak much.  I can't say I'd be overjoyed, but it would make some sense.

[ Parent ]
no Republicans (4.00 / 3)
1.  If Obama wins and is successful, his natural successor would be from other party!  Disaster.  (Unless you think this guy will somehow change the Republicans into a non-conservative party, which I doubt.)

2.  We need to reinforce the Democratic brand.

3.  I don't want to come out and say it, but I do not want Obama in the position that if something happened to him, he'd be replaced by a Republican.  That would be asking for trouble.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
Hmm, disagree on some counts (0.00 / 0)
If a Republican accepts the Democratic Veep slot, then their career is basically over.  The Dems won't nominate them next cycle, and the Republicans certainly won't.  So I wouldn't worry about, say, Hagel becoming a shoo-in for 2016.

[ Parent ]
Hagel for Sec Def (0.00 / 0)
Saw him on Lehrer the other night, and he seems to have taken a Bhudda pill since deciding to retire and ruling out a prez run for himself. He's been right on the war since almost forever.  No publikans for VP, though.

[ Parent ]
I'd like somebody progressive too. (0.00 / 0)
But does anybody think there's a chance we'll get somebody as progressive as Brown or Feingold?  Or even as progressive as Obama for that matter?  I hope so, but I have my doubts.  I think we should spend some time thinking about who would be possible a Liebermanesque terrible pick.  Evan Bayh?  Who else should we look out for?

Evan Bayh ,, (4.00 / 2)
he's too DLC and in the Hillary camp ..  hell .. Bayh old man is tons better ... too bad Birch Bayh isn't 20 years younger

[ Parent ]
Jack Reed (4.00 / 1)
He's been in office for 12 years, although, his strength on national security could be viewed as a balance.  

He voted against the war.  Also, being a West Point grad really shouldn't disqualify him.  Boring could be good for someone like Obama...

A vote against Health Care Reform is a vote for ten 9/11s every single year!

Best idea yet (0.00 / 0)
Clark is too old.  We need a face that is new to the national scene.

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

[ Parent ]
I'm a former Clark guy too (0.00 / 0)
I was the director of UVA Students for Clark (not officially part of the campaign).  I'm a huge fan of his, but he's a lousy candidate.  He consistently had trouble letting go of attacks on him, and, surprisingly, had real trouble pivoting during interviews and debates once he became a candidate.  

As strange as it sounds (and with Obama it just won't be possible), I think that as a general rule VPs have to be better, more disciplined politicians than the person on the top of the ticket, because VPs are expected to go out and spew the campaign's message, whether they like the assignment or not.    

A vote against Health Care Reform is a vote for ten 9/11s every single year!

[ Parent ]
What about John Edwards? (4.00 / 2)
Next to Feingold, John Edwards strikes me as the best choice for VP.  We need to consider who we want to be the incumbent nominee in 2016.  

Edwards voted for the war, but I think he has successfully transitioned into an opponent of it.  He otherwise reinforces Obama very well.  

He would be a strong attack dog, and we wouldn't lose a senate seat or governorship by picking him.  

Russ Feingold, hands down n/t (4.00 / 1)

People I'd much rather see than anyone on your list (0.00 / 0)
John Edwards
Russ Feingold
Barbara Boxer
Al Gore (not that he would accept)

Jack Reed (0.00 / 0)
He is a little bland, but as an anti-war veteran with strong national security credential, I think he should at least be on the long list.  

Lee Hamilton (0.00 / 0)
"The decision to choose Cheney to balance out perceived inexperience and incompetence has plagued Bush from the start of his presidency, and left an indelible mark of perceived weakness, incompetence, and stupidity on his national image."

The problem with Cheney hasn't been that he makes Bush look weak and incompetent, the problem is that he's a dumb-ass that keeps pushing horrible ideas.

An older, experienced statesman wouldn't necessarily hurt Obama, IF they matched up with other requirements of having opposed the Iraq War and not supporting Obama's opponents.

Lee Hamilton of Indiana would be a great pick, but unfortunately is probably too old.

Lee Hamilton is a rightwing old man. Did I stumble upon the DLC website? (0.00 / 0)

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 ]
Foreign Policy (0.00 / 0)
He's been opposed to the Iraq War and highly critical of all aspects of the Bush Administration's conduct of foreign policy.  Fits in well with Obama.

[ Parent ]
Ummm... (0.00 / 0)
You realize that politics is about a LOT more than foreign policy, right?

[ Parent ]
Claire McCaskill (0.00 / 0)
anyone see her on Bill Maher the other night?

She's a little too rough around the edges (0.00 / 0)
for the national arena.  Her inexperience comes through on a national stage.  She's not very good, yet, at answering hard questions.

[ Parent ]
You want out of the box? (4.00 / 2)
Terrorism cred, attractive, smart, female, nationally known:

Valerie Plame Wilson.

Think about it.

and a strong one at that... (4.00 / 2)
Joe Wilson is a regular Clinton attack dog.

[ Parent ]
How about Richard Clarke? (0.00 / 0)
You want national security cred?  Nobody else has as much as Richard Clarke.

[ Parent ]
Strategy question (4.00 / 1)
If you're Obama, do you

a.  make your pick before McCain
b.  make your pick after McCain
c.  make your pick at the convention no matter what
d.  make your pick to avert the MSM's negative discussion on some topic.

Good question. (4.00 / 1)
After McCain, because if McCain chooses a woman then it's demographically troubling for us.  A LOT of women will be let down by Hillary not getting the nomination, and some will be tempted by the idea of a woman getting her foot in the door even on the Republican side.

An even better question is whether a female VP on the Republican side would be their nominee in 2012 or 2016.  My guess is unless McCain died in office, she would not.

[ Parent ]
Mondale's victory (0.00 / 0)
Proves that having a wwoman as VP doesn't get you the election.  Besides, all McCin has are Condi Rice, Liddy Dole, Elaine Chao, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who else?

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

[ Parent ]
He could pick (0.00 / 0)
Jodi Rell from Connecticut.  Moderate, well regarded female Republican governor from the northeast...it makes a ton of sense for McCain, though he'll probably lose whatever support he has from the base.

[ Parent ]
I disagree (4.00 / 1)
I think very few woman who supported Hillary would be swayed to McCain in the general simply because he put a woman on the ticket. Yes, women are naturally attracted to the idea of a woman in the Oval Office but like all voters they are driven by the issues, party loyalties and the likablity of the two candidates.  Certainly no fervent supporter of Hillary is going to switch to McCain in the general simply because his VP is someone without a Y chromosome.
I voted for Hillary in the primary for a number issues (her health care plan, her knowledge of the issues, her experience and willingness to fight, her work ethic etc).  Certainly I liked the idea that her Presidency might help some little girl realize that she really can do anything and might help break down the patriarchal assumptions and attitudes that still exist in our society.  But that alone wouldn't have secured my vote for her.  If something should happen to McCain and Condi became the Repub nominee I wouldnt even consider voting for her over Obama.

[ Parent ]
Some thoughts on Sherrod (4.00 / 1)
As a life-long Ohioan, I think I have a pretty good feel for Sherrod Brown.  He is a progressive populist, not just in opinion but in voting record.  I've never had the privilege of meeting him, but I hear from those who have that he really is a great guy in politics for the right reasons; he care about policy and making lives better for the kind of people he grew up with in small town (Mansfield) Ohio.

A couple of concerns, however.  Although one can justifiably say this about just about any VP candidate, I'm not sure that he would help Obama win in Ohio.  And, Chris's concern about putting a man with the last name "Brown" on a ticket with the first African-American nominee isn't invalid.  Sherrod has always been well to the left of Ohio's political center; so much so that I refused to believe he would really oust Mike DeWine until the networks called it a Dem pickup.    (OTOH, I don't think Chris's concern about Oedipal vibes from a Sebelius pick matters).  Brown is likely to receive a very stiff re-election challenge in 2012, assuming he hasn't been elected Vice President.  

Here's another big thing, about Sherrod, though, which would be me foremost concern and I don't think was noted in the original post.  He has a very strange speaking voice.  It is scratchy to the extent many voters might find it irksome, and, without sounding crass, it's always made me wonder whether there is some underlying medical issue there.  Sounds petty, I know.  But it's worth thinking about.  

Brown's speaking voice (0.00 / 0)
Is that true? Can you post a link to a clip? That would be unfortunate, because he does appear to be a good choice otherwise.  

[ Parent ]
Try this clip from two weeks ago in the Senate: (4.00 / 1)
Senator Brown speaks on the Senate floor about Rural Priorities in the President's proposed budget.

I dunno--funny affects might be endearing(?).  We've had 8 years of Stewart doing a quacking Cheney, why not 8 years of Amy Poehler doing a gruff Brown?  It might actually make him seem like more of the proverbial 'VP attack dog'...(?)

Kicking it in the NY-25.

[ Parent ]
Hmm (0.00 / 0)
That is unfortunate, but in a press that drools over the quality of "sounding presidential," Brown really doesn't.  He certainly wouldn't reinforce Obama's eloquence and smooth speaking style.

[ Parent ]
True, and yet (0.00 / 0)
whereas 'balancing' a perceived weakness of Obama with a strength in a VP would reinforce Obama's weakness, in this case, balancing someone with a perceived weakness against Obama's strength might have a reinforcing effect on Obama's strength.  In other words, Obama would sound all the more 'eloquent and smooth' when juxtaposed with Brown, no?

Kicking it in the NY-25.

[ Parent ]
well (0.00 / 0)
It could be worse, but you are right that it isn't a great speaking voice. Sounds like he smoked for a long time (so did Obama, but it didn't seem to impact his voice). At the same time, it is kind of a "salt of the earth" or "regular Joe" sort of sound. I don't think it disqualifies him, but it doesn't really help him much, either.  

[ Parent ]
Indeed--'salt of the earth' graininess (0.00 / 0)
That's the way I've always perceived it, particularly in view of the fact that he's a world class fighter for working class interests.  He almost sounds like he's 'suffered a few scrapes back in the day' or something.  Heck, I think it might even work to sonically 'ground' the perception of Obama's rhetoric as 'lofty.'

Kicking it in the NY-25.

[ Parent ]
Sherrod Brown would do... (0.00 / 0)
One hell of a Tom Waits impression.  

[ Parent ]
Sherrod Brown Is Great, But... (0.00 / 0)
Having met Sherrod several times and from talking with a lot of people who know him, I can affirm that Sherrod would be great from the perspective that he is a true populist and fights for what he believes in. He has been in Washington for a long time, but because of his politics he definitely comes across as an outsider. He's also very smart and a good debater. His voice is fine when he is not overworked -- it is just that he is almost always overworked and then his voice gets raspy. His wife is Pulitzer Prize-winner Connie Schulz who writes an opinion column for the Plain Dealer. She would definitely be an asset too (though I doubt she wants to put her career on hold again this soon to help Sherrod run for office).

The biggest problem with having Sherrod run for VP is that Ohio really needs Sherrod right now. The state is still largely controlled by Republicans and turning that around requires everything we can put into it. Sherrod is a good campaigner and holding his Senate seat is really important. Hopefully, in 8 years, the political situation in Ohio will be much better.

Also, Sherrod loves working on legislation so he is much better in Congress than he would be as VP. He turned down running for governor partly because it just doesn't fit his personality as well as being in Congress. That might change, but I think he enjoys being in the majority in Congress.

[ Parent ]
That's helpful information. (0.00 / 0)
I wonder, though, if it wouldn't actually make Brown an even better candidate for VP.  Part of the potential power of the position (especially as President of the Senate) is an ability to push the President's agenda in the Congress--a goal that may actually be harder than we might like to think it will be if Obama actually does follow through on some massive progressive legislation.  If Obama picks a good SecDef and SecState (and an overall strong Cabinet), perhaps he won't need a Cheney-like second executive in his White House(?)

Kicking it in the NY-25.

[ Parent ]
Like He's Worked A Day (0.00 / 0)
Sherrod Brown sounds to me like he's actually worked a day in his life.  I like the voice.  

[ Parent ]
VP? (0.00 / 0)
I like the idea of expanding the range of possibilities to include people who don't necessarily come out of the world of politics.  We've got plenty of great academics, businessmen, educators, etc.  Somebody fresh would appeal to me.

A short list of "non-political" VP candidates (0.00 / 0)
My extremely brief and perhaps not so prudent thoughts on "outsider" nominees:

Academic:  Laurence Tribe (all around brilliant mind)
Legal/Counterterrorism: Merrick Garland (share Chicago roots, Unabomber/Oklahoma City prosecutor, federal appellate court judge, also a brilliant mind)
Economics: Robert Reich (loads of experience but not in Washington; emphasized McCain's weakness on the economy)

But are any suitable for 2016?

(Two) Additional Congressmen:

Brad Miller (young guy, hasn't endorsed anyone, progressive from a swing state)

Earl Blumenauer (great progressive, endorsed obama, against the war, but maybe not 2016 material)

[ Parent ]
I Love Robert Reich! (0.00 / 0)
Just checked and he is 61 years old. Not unreasonable. I honestly don't know a ton about him, but I do know he is an economist (big + in my book) and is widely respected.

He is a VERY short man. But a fantastic speaker and very funny.

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Robert Reich is a corporatist. He was (0.00 / 0)
one of the architects of NAFTA.  He might be a worse choice  than Webb, if that's possible.

[ Parent ]
I know this is sacrilege (0.00 / 0)
in many corners, but (despite its many flaws), NAFTA is not the reason a lot of jobs left places like Ohio.  It didn't help, but it's not as if there would be millions of saved (or new) manufacturing jobs and whatnot if NAFTA hadn't been enacted. I'm not saying it's great, and I'm not saying we should keep it as it is, because it does need a lot of reform, but in a fundamental sense NAFTA isn't responsible for problems in Mexico or the U.S.

Indeed, America's reluctance to be a truly free trader and Mexico's inability to invest in education and infrastructure have had as much to do with economic problems as NAFTA.  Our relationship with a lot of Asian economies, particularly China, have been far more destructive to American workers than NAFTA.

[ Parent ]
I did not know that! n/t (0.00 / 0)

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
here are my thoughts. (0.00 / 0)
Schweitzer (I don't think he'd do it)

Barbara Boxer(!!!)
(yes Ahhhnold is still Governor, but our Strongly Dem Legislature could very easily call for a special election)
Jim Webb
Sherrod Brown
Jon Tester (remember him?)

In the house:
Rush Holt
Tim Ryan
Patrick Murphy

outside the box:
Ned Lamont
Oprah Winfrey??

Well, as you said earlier (0.00 / 0)
and you could probably guess, I'm with you on Holt.

Tim Ryan is pro-life, unfortunately.

Patrick Murphy - definitely, if he had one or two more terms.  There is such a thing as being too inexperienced.

[ Parent ]
ugh... I think you mean Anti-Choice. (0.00 / 0)
I did not know that.


[ Parent ]
SORRY CHRIS (4.00 / 1)
I think you've got some priorities wrong:


- This isn't a joke office (George Bush notwithstanding). Some people clearly don't deserve to be anywhere near the oval office. Being against the war is important, but demonstrating SOME foreign policy acumen beyond opposition is important. I would even argue that war opposition isn't even paramount. In the event of a tragedy befalling Obama, the VP has to be someone with sufficient gravitas to handle the various foreign policy dilemmas facing the U.S. Presidential candidate have this 'foreign policy gravitas' precisely because it is a prerequisite to being a credible candidate. They had to educate themselves about the various issues, isn't isn't clear that JUST ANY MEMBER OF THE SENATE is equally adept. I would trust Joe Biden and Chris Dodd with the controls before Ben Cardin or Sherrod Brown.


If more than one candidate fits the above billing, who offers the most help to winning the immediate election. Re-election is for years away and the hand-off to a successor is eight years away. Neither of those two things happen if you don't win in 2008. Worry about today, today.


This should be a tie-breaker. Nothing more. Do we more than two candidates who fit #1 and #2?  

Schweitzer on Iraq: (4.00 / 2)
Schweitzer also claims the administration has refused to let him visit the region:

I've lived there. I've been asking for the opportunity to visit my troops. I am the commander-in-chief of my national guard. We have a large number of them over there and they never allowed me to go. Now they have congressmen and senators coming and going. And other governors coming and going. The Hooters Girls and Jimmy Kimmel and championship wrestlers and everyone you can imagine. But they told me that we're concerned about your security, governor.

Well, it could be that I lived in the Middle East for six and a half years. Maybe they know that I understand Arabic. Maybe they have a fair understanding that I might know as much about that area as any other public policy makers.


Might be nice to have a VP who has intimate knowledge in that part of the world...  And understands Arabic apparently.

I'm doing some reading on this guy (4.00 / 1)
and the more I read the more I like.

[ Parent ]
A good choice (4.00 / 1)
My question: is he too vehemently anti-Washington to work? Maybe, maybe not.  

[ Parent ]
Good question (0.00 / 0)
Somebody from the state or with some more intimate knowledge of this guy needs to chime in.

Maybe Sirota can enlighten us.

How anti-Washington is too much?  Who would be an example of somebody you think is just over the line of too anti-Washington?

[ Parent ]
That's my fear (0.00 / 0)
I think he'd be a great pick, probably the strongest pick for Obama but I fear he wouldn't do it. Also he can be somewhat conservative on issues like energy and that's one of Obama's biggest issues so he'd need to learn to shut up.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Ixnay on the Arabic (0.00 / 0)
One of the most damaging charges the Republicans have against Obama is the whisper campaign that he is a secret Muslim.  While we laugh at that, selecting an Arabic speaking running mate could turn up the volume on the whispers dramatically.

[ Parent ]
There's no way that this guy (0.00 / 0)
could be perceived as a Muslim.  He's a bolo tie wearing, gun loving, god fearing, church attending, shoot from the hip, white, western plains farmer.

If speaking Arabic is a hindrance to a candidate, then this country's fucked.

[ Parent ]
I disagree with Chris' thoughts on the Iraq war. (4.00 / 2)
I think having a senator who voted for the war but now admits it was a mistake on the ticket actually reinforces Obama's message about his foreign policy judgment.  Having someone on the ticket willing to say, "I was wrong and Obama was right" might be really effective.

Second, this might hold true for a long-time senator on the ticket --- having a Washington liberal establishment figure endorsing Obama's fresh leadership as what is needed.  That's what was so effective for Obama about Kennedy's endorsement.  Indeed, Kennedy's liberal lion endorsement actually reinforced Obama's freshness and cast it in a more positive light.

For these reasons, I wouldn't count Chris Dodd out, for example.

One Million Strong --- Join up!

I disagree with #2 (0.00 / 0)
In order to counter the experience argument, somebody kinda crusty might be a good idea.

Durban is out because they are from the same state, but somebody in that mold would be ideal.