The Deep Logic of Edwards For VP-Part 2

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sat May 24, 2008 at 20:06

In Part 1, Chris Bowers, Psychic Pundit!, I argued that Obama's candidacy had fulfilled a need that Chris had pointed to within a few weeks of the 2004 election--the need to supplement the Democratic base with an appeal to those who were non-ideological in the traditional liberal/conservative sense, but rather, were ideologically committed to reforming government to make it more responsive to the people.  I further showed that the geographic distribution that Chris had found for such sentiments, stretching back over 100 years was also present in Obama's pattern of primary victories.

I now want to turn to Chris's more recent writing about choosing a VP as a reinforcing, rather than a balancing candidate, an idea that he clearly developed in his diary,

In his classic presentation of the "reinforcing" idea, ("On Choosing A Vice-President"). Chris wrote:

[R]ather than choosing a running mate to create balance on a ticket for the purpose of shoring up perceived weakness in the Presidential nominee, it would be best to choose a running mate whose qualities reinforce the rationale behind the candidacy of the person at the top of the ticket.

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

I've written before about extending Chris's argument, following up the above quote with the following argument...

Paul Rosenberg :: The Deep Logic of Edwards For VP-Part 2
My proposition here is that there actually were differences between the two men, but they were relatively very minor compared to what they shared.  This was immediately obvious to anyone in politics at the time, because of how it was commonly contextualized.  This was a fairly simple matter revolving around cultural identity and geographical politics.

Similarly, I would argue, the differences between Obama and Edwards are also relatively very minor compared to what they share--but this is not immediately obvious to anyone in politics today.  Again, the reason for this is because of how our politics is contextualized, but it's due to a more complicated matter of contextualization.  It's because our politics is so cramped, so distorted, so lacking in vision, so trapped in the failures of the past, and so out of touch with the root sources of past successes. This is essentially the same critique that the two men have shared, but they have made their critiques using different terms, different arguments, different examples, and different angles of attack.  

I had forgotten the details of Chris's argument in his earlier diary when I wrote those words, forgotten that he had pointed out how the ideologies adopted had varied, while the reform intent had remained content.  Taking this back into account makes my initial argument both stronger and more direct.  In fact, it makes me think that the person I was trying to convince here was actually me, and that the sort of voters an Obama/Edwards ticket would appeal to probably didn't need it explained to them at all.

And, indeed, there seems to be some very strong evidence for this in the first round of VP polling from Survey USA, covering the five states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico and California.  It's unfortunate that SUSA did not choose a very good selection of possible Democratic VPs.  Both Clinton and Edwards would seem to be obvious choices to test.  Still, the relative strength of Edwards--and how it manifests itself--is truly impressive.  Let's take a look.

To being with, here is how SUSA itself presented its results in


Complete crosstabs here.

The Pennsylvania results show that Edwards is exceptionally strong compared to other VP candidates.  The only other candidate to markedly help Obama is Governor Ed Rendell, but even he does not help when Huckabee is McCain's running mate.  The 20-point spread between McCain's best showing (up three with Huckabee against Obama/Sebelius) and Obama's best showing (up 17 with Edward against McCain/Pawlenty) indicates a great deal of potential play in the electorate, at the same time that it suggests that the right VP choice could considerably narrow that play.

Given that Obama has been perceived as particularly vulnerable in Pennsylvania, he has two reasons to be pleased with this poll.  First, he is comfortably ahead of McCain, even before the expended bump he should get once the primary contest is over.  Second, he does not need favorite son Ed Rendell to give him an added edge.  If he should want more of an edge, he can turn to Edwards--and, thus, possibly to other candidates as well, though not to Sebelius or Hagel.


Complete crosstabs here.

Looking backwards, Ohio is ground zero of battleground states, which makes the polling here particularly important.  The results are almost exactly what one would expect in light of the Pennsylvania poll: Ed Rendell recedes as a factor, and everything else is pretty much the same, overall.  Ecwards is the only running mate who helps Obama, and he does so rather dramatically, doubling the margin of victory from 9 to 18 points against McCain's weakest VP.  

There is an ominous note here, however.  With Huckabee on the ticket, McCain either leads or ties Obama, unless Edwards is on the ticket, in which case the lead increases by 3.  Taken by itself, as the bellwether for the rest of the nation, Ohio sends a very strong signal that Edwards is the candidate for the number two slot.  Again, the range between McCain's strongest showing and Obama's strongest showing is a substantial 20 points.


Complete crosstabs here.

If Ohio is the battleground state of the past, Virginia beckons as the battleground state of the future--and if it can become so, then the Democrats will be in a very strong position.  Once again, Edwards shows that he can deliver--all four match-ups show him increasing Obama's lead.  But the bad news is even more dire--three of McCain's four VP possibilities give him victory against at least some of Obama's VP choices.  The range of flexibility is significantly decreased if Obama wants to begin the general election campaign with a decisive edge in Virginia.

This time, the range between McCain's strongest showing and Obama's strongest showing is an even greater 24 points.

New Mexico

Complete crosstabs here.

New Mexico is another old battleground state--but one that is widely expected to be safely Democratic this time, with enough hard work.  It's not a given--but it's a given that it can be taken.  And yet, at this point in time, it's a toss-up and only Edwards puts Obama into the lead.

This time, the range between McCain's strongest showing and Obama's strongest showing is an even greater 26 points.


Complete crosstabs here.

Caliufornia is safely in Obama's column, by a margin of 8 points, and only Huckabee gives McCain any chance.  Yet, his margins in most match-ups are thin, and once again, only Edwards gives him a bigger margin against McCain and his running mates than Obama has by himself.

This time, the range between McCain's strongest showing and Obama's strongest showing declines to "only" 19 points.


From all the above, Edwards' superior showing is impossible to miss.  Of course there could be other strong VP candidates.  Clinton is a natureal choice who would almost certainly do as well, if not better in some states.  But we cannot be sure she would do as well in all of them.  And, of course, there is the very real concern that Obama could seem weaker if he takes her on as VP, particularly with Bill Clinton back in the picture.  It's virtually certain that Richardson would do as well as Rendell did in his own home state, if not better, but it's uncertain how much he would help elsewhere.  Beyond that, there is little reason to believe that any Democrat would make much of a difference at this point.  To see what that means, let's take a look at some summary charts.

First we look at McCain's VPs, and the impact they have vs. Obama's VPs.  That is, we combine how well each of McCain's VPs in turn does against all four of Obama's VP choices:

Obviously, this shows that McCain's VPs are stronger as a group.  Almost without exception they drive up McCain's margin   Pawlenty is the only truly anemic one.  Both Lieberman and Romney do a respectable job.  Huckabee is formidable.

Now let's turn it around, comparing Obama's VPs individually to how well they do against all four of McCain's VPs:

Here we see what we already saw above, only more clearly: Edwards is the only one who consistently helps Obama, and he does so in a consistently big way--4% is not chopped liver--that only seems small because of the enormous deficits in how badly the others perforn, most often losing ground by over 6 points.

Having made this "perfectly clear," it's time to take a closer look at how Edwards performs across the board, since he's the only one of this field seriously worth thinking about.  

First, here are the margins that Edwards runs up against each of McCain's running mates in each of the states:  Clearly, Huckabee is the strongest Edwards foe, but not only does Edwards best him across the board, Edwards delivers the largest gain where it is the most needed--in Virginia.  This is a truly impressive performance.

Finally, we look not at shifts in margin, but at the vote total that an Edwards VP help to hold McCain to.

There are undecideds, of course, so the Obama/Edwards ticket does not get every vote that McCain doesn't.  But with totals this far from 50% consistently across the board, it is obvious that Obama/Edwards would put McCain into a deep defensive hole across a wide range of states.  There would be no doubt from day one who was playing offense and who was playing defense.


The data presented here makes it abundantly clear how strong a VP candidate Edwards would be overall.  Perhaps Clinton would as strong or stronger, but it's highly doubtful that anyone else would be.  And it's also possible that her presence would help motivate the GOP base.  Even though they seem pretty demoralized, the weakness of most VP choices shows that McCain can make up a lot of ground under the right conditions.

What the above date does not give us is a detailed look at the inside dynamics.  For that, we will need to look at crosstabs, and that's what I'll do in Part 3.

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Excellent Analysis (4.00 / 6)
It is annoying that SUSA did not include Clinton because I have a hypothesis that I would like to see tested.

I believe that Clinton's strength in places like PA, OH, WV, and KY was attained by default and not through affinity. I would wager that a large percentage of her support (even a majority in some places) would have been solid Edwards supporters had he still been in the race. As evidence of this look at states where Edwards had just dropped out by Feb. 5. In IL, the only counties Obama lost were in southern IL. And in all these counties Edwards, even though he had been out of the race for almost a week, still got between 7 and 12% of the vote. This area of IL (I'm from central IL) is very much like the coalfields of KY and WV.

The same holds for OH and PA. Hillary racked up her biggest totals in the Appalachian parts of those states (and she even won Toledo and Dayton, the only large cities she won in OH). Toledo especially would have been an Edwards city with its union voters. He may not have won it, but I guarantee he would have made it so nobody would have gotten a majority in Lucas County.

You can also see this in SC; the last state where Edwards competed. While Obama's support was concentrated near the coast, Edwards's was concentrated upstate, esp. near the mountains. Hillary's was fairly uniform throughout, indicating Edwards had strong appeal with working class whites. Once Edwards dropped out, those voters moved to Hillary by default. With Edwards on the ticket, they could move back again.

I Believe You're Right (4.00 / 4)
And I'm glad you've made this argument.

But I'm trying to be as generous to Clinton as possible in this analysis.  Why?  Because I think it's simply impossible to be certain of how things might play out, and because there are plausible arguments to be made in both directions.  This contrasts sharply with Edwards, who has no virtually downside whatsoever that I can see right now.

Yeah, I know the press really doesn't like him.

Like I said, no downsides.  The more they would go after him, the more they would undermine the incessent babbling about the "liberal media," and more effective Edwards would be with the demographics he's most effective at bringing on board at this point.

"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 ]
Yes (4.00 / 1)
I think you've effectively established the logic and come as close as possible (damn SUSA for not polling Hillary!) to proving your argument.

To me it's an open and shut case. Now I move onto disappointment land because even though I know he would be the absolute best pick, I also know that there really isn't anything at all I can do to make it happen. I can't canvass for the effort. I can't organize. I can't raise money, etc. It really comes down to a personal decision between three people, Barack, John, and Elizabeth.  

[ Parent ]
not necessarily (0.00 / 0)
It's been a hell of a long time since the first primaries, with Edwards still in, but Clinton was outperforming him even then. I think it's affinity for the good economic conditions of the 90s.

[ Parent ]
not really (4.00 / 1)
I don't think that's really the best analysis. I was going off of Geography. You also have to factor in that Clinton was the front-runner and had more money. Also, the only state that really pertains to my argument of those in that analysis is SC. And he clearly did very well there amongst working class voters. Hillary's strength was actually in suburban areas. So if you control for her front-runner status and her winning a high percentage of women voters, then Edwards looks even stronger. And once again, look where his strength lies within SC. The analysis you cite does not do that.  

[ Parent ]
Same could be said in Southern IN (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Yes (0.00 / 0)
Except I'm an Illini fan so I can't say it :).

[ Parent ]
Trash IU all you want, I'm a Boilermaker (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
How much of this polling is name recognition? (4.00 / 6)
Liberman, Edwards, Huckabee and Romney are all nationally known names, thanks to their past involvement in Presidential politics in the past, and they are the ones that all consistently help on the ticket.  In PA, the only state where on of the others has a past history with voters (and thus, name rec), he becomes a plus to Obama, rather than a detractor like all of the others.  Furthermore, it seems like a the traditional 'coming out' media blitz would pretty much erase this effect.  

I think to trust these data, it might be necessary to only look at the subset of people who know who the vp nominees are.

yup (0.00 / 0)
Which is why it's annoying that SUSA didn't include Hillary.

[ Parent ]
I completely agree... (4.00 / 8)
I made that same argument when Chris posted about the same surveys.  Look at the numbers... Edwards polls better than everybody with Obama.  Why? Because people know who he is.  99% of the people in the US have no idea who Kathleen Sebelius is.

Also Tim Pawlenty (who is a great candidate for McCain) has the worst polling against EVERY Obama VP.  Why?  Because NOBODY knows who he is, but they all know Leiberman, Romney, and Huckabee.

It's like polling for President before anyone begins campaigning, it means nothing.  I wish we'd stop referencing these polls.  The only accurate way to poll VP is to poll for a description of the VP.  War Hero, Gov, Bi=partisan, etc....  Not name recognition.  It's useless when it's 100% name recognition.

John McCain believes "Women shouldn't have a choice."

[ Parent ]
I disagree (4.00 / 2)
Let's face it, name recognition is %80 of the battle with most voters.  They don't have a lot to learn about those candidates.  An unknown like Sebelius, while she may have a lot to offer, most people will have to learn that while also hearing negatives from the GOP.

[ Parent ]
you honestly think biographies matter more than name recognition and popularity? (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
President Kerry Assures Me That They Do! (4.00 / 2)
And who am I to doubt him?

"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 ]
Look.... (0.00 / 0)
Believe them if you want.  I'm not saying name recognition, etc have no effect.  But if the only thing that mattered was name recognition then Clinton would be the Dem nominee.  It's just a silly argument to make in my opinion.  I would like Edwards to be VP.  I think they would work well together, but I'm not going to look to a very small sample of polls that seems to just be a bunch of name recognition to tell me who should be on the ticket.  By November everybody will know the VP of both candidates pretty well, and nobody will care who they care because they are voting for the President, not the VP.

John McCain believes "Women shouldn't have a choice."

[ Parent ]
You Aren't Listening To The Arguments (4.00 / 1)
You are just repeating your favorite talking points over and over again, and not engaging with what others are arguing.

First of all, the premise that it's just name recognition does not explain why the support shifts so dramatically.  Those shifts only happen because (1) people have not formed strong presidential preferences yet and (2) the VP choices influence them significantly.  If either of these was not so, then you'd only see a couple of points variation between VP choices--probably all within the MOE.

Name recognition would be a credible (not proven) explanation if the question was, for example,  "Would you be more likely to vote for John McCain if his running mate was Mike Huckabee."  But name recognition alone cannot be assumed to explain shifts in who one supports.

This is not to say that name recognition is not a factor in these polls.  Clearly it is a factor.  But it is not the whole story, as you carelessly assert.  In fact, as noted elsewhere, Huckabee is still unknown to a sizeable chunk of people.

Second, this is an argument about the campaign process.  The argument that it won't matter because of how things stand in November completely ignores the fact that how things stand then is dependent on the process from now until then.  Starting a campaign with a relatively unknown VP candidate has very real risks because of how that candidate may come to be known.  The mere fact that everyone will know there name by election day is entirely beside the point.

Third, the claim that everyone will be voting for President anyway overlooks the fact that part of what affects the choice of President is the assessment of their character and judgement.  Since picking a VP is the most important single decision a candidate makes, it would be quite unsurprising to find that VP choice is a significant factor, even if most people don't realize it has influenced them.

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

[ Parent ]
They Aren't Ciphers, However. (4.00 / 3)
Even virtual unknowns like Pawlenty and Sebelius produce movements.  A five point pro-McCain movement in PA, 2 points in Ohio, 5 points in Virginia, 7 points in New Mexico, 4 points in California.  If Sebelius losses consistently vs. another unknown like Pawlenty, I think that says something.  And it's not something good for any lesser-known female VP hopeful.

Your faith in the power of a coming out media blitz is touching.  Do you have any data to support it?  Look, Rendell runs 4 points behind Edwards in his home state. He's hardly unknown in Ohio, which is just next door. Yet he gets creamed by Huckabee, worse than any other Dem, in fact.

I agree that the selection of Dem candidates was dreadful, but that doesn't mean we can't learn anything.  Edwards shows us what can be done, and Rendell doesn't even do it in his home state. What other Dem would do better than Rendell outside their home state? Whoever that is would still be running a distant second to Edwards.  

"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 ]
And I said above that the Rendell data point is useful (4.00 / 1)
I'd be interested to see how Sherrod Brown would do vs. Edwards in Ohio, Warner/Webb in VA, or Clinton in all of the states.  And the VP nominee often goes from about 15% name rec to 100% on the brink of the election.  We don't know the effect that the semi-unknowns will have until they actually get up to a reasonable name rec.  That's really all I'm saying.

[ Parent ]
Also, if you want to doubt the effect of a media blitz (4.00 / 1)
the conclusion probably should be "nominate someone near 100% name rec," more than anything else, which shortens the list to Edwards, H. Clinton, Dean, Gore, Carter, Mondale, Kennedy and maybe Richardson and Clark.  But clearly there are choices that are better than most of the names on the above list that aren't Clinton and Edwards.

[ Parent ]
good point (4.00 / 1)
I don't like the idea of putting someone on the ticket with low national name recognition.  I think it's important that the Republicans don't have the opportunity to define the public understanding of the pick in a short period of time (like, say, between the convention and the GE).

[ Parent ]
But The Point Is (4.00 / 6)
This is where the race would start. If the race starts here, and McCain is totally on the defensive, then what chance does he have?  That hardly compares with someone who ends up being well-liked the first Tuesday in November, but took months to get there.

Edwards, in contrast, starts out being well-liked, and transferring that to Obama for a good chunk of people who aren't quite sold on him yet.

I'm pretty darned sure that there is at least one favorite son or daughter who can out-perform Edwards.  The point is, however, what's the point?  If Edwards can deliver in virtually every state, while a favorite son or daughter delivers in just one, then that state alone has to be crucial, and that candidate has to outperform Edwards by a crucial amount.  Well, right now neither condition is met for Brown in Ohio.

So, sure, I'd like to see the numbers.  I'd like the numbers for everything.  But to be honest, those particular numbers wouldn't really mean much.  If Obama/Edwards were trailing McCain badly in Ohio, and none of these new battleground states were in the picture, then it would be quite different.

Likewise, for national comparisons, who else should they be polling, aside from Clinton?  I'd like to see Richardson, just as a benchmark, but I don't think his atrocious campaign skills are quite what we need now, do you?  You could argue Wes Clark, Joe Biden or Chris Dodd, I suppose.  But I doubt that they'd make much of an impact, either.

The Dems really don't have a deep bench of familiar names and faces.  So it's highly unlikely that anyone can significantly help Obama at this point.

OTOH, the degree that Huckabee can hurt him does suggest that McCain would be smart to announce Huckabee as his running mate now, and do his best to put Obama on the defensive on a state-by-state basis.

But, of course, that was a sentence with the words "McCain" and "smart" both in it.  So it couldn't have been in English.

"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 ]
Bingo (4.00 / 3)
The point is where we start in the race. Often times Democrats have been left on the defensive, while the GOP candidate has played offensive. With all other advantages we have going into the general, being able to keep the other team on the defensive gives us better control of the game. The GOP isn't good at defense.  

[ Parent ]
Yes, because Edwards added so much to the ticket last time (0.00 / 0)
About a thousand words and not one mention of Edwards' lackluster performance as John Kerry's VP pick, nor his annoying habit of trash talking Kerry afterwards? Really?

Really! (4.00 / 3)
See these comments from the previous diary in this series:

"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 ]
Where's your data? (4.00 / 2)
Pointing out that Edwards was on the ticket isn't data. Without you adding circumstances of the race versus this one, your coments aren't very useful.

[ Parent ]
Missing the point (0.00 / 0)
First, and less importantly, you'd need to present some data to support the conclusion that Edwards hurt Kerry, or didn't help him.  Kerry was a pretty bad candidate and certainly could've lost the race on his own.  Maybe he'd have done even worse without Edwards?  Who knows.

But more importantly, you missed the entire point of this post, and the previous one that this one is part 2 of.  He's making the case that a VP choice has to reinforce the message and identity of the presidential nominee.  Hence, a VP choice does not help or hurt in a vaccuum; the whole ticket matters.  Someone could be a very poor VP choice for one nominee and the same person could be a great VP choice for a different nominee.

He's made an argument as to why Edwards would be good for Obama (see part 1), and also by implication why Edwards wasn't as good a fit for Kerry.  He didn't reinforce anything about Kerry, he was meant as a balancing choice - exactly the strategy this series of posts is arguing against.

But now you say that because Edwards was a bad choice for Kerry (something you haven't supported, but that if true would support this post), that is counterevidence to this post?  No.

[ Parent ]
And there's also... (0.00 / 0)
my DailyKos diary, in case anyone tries to say Edwards couldn't win North Carolina for Kerry.  I show that he already did help North Carolina stop the national trend of Bush improving his vote margin in 47 states.  Gore actually did better in Massachusetts in 2000 than Kerry did in 2004!

[ Parent ]
i wanna know (0.00 / 0)
why bloomberg isnt on the list. i think with his money and following he would actually do better than edwards in the actual general bc i think alot of this is name recognition and that seems pretty obvious by these numbers to me anyway.

i think bloomberg would help obama more than edwards but id be happy with either.  

"His Money + His Following" = His Money (4.00 / 3)
The only following Bloomberg has is in the media.  He was willing to spend whatever it took to run for President this year, but he couldn't find an opening.

Because there was none...for him.

"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 ]
Bloomberg is a dangerous choice (4.00 / 8)
considering that he'd be equally happy being McCain's VP nominee.  And you'd be setting him up for an independent run in 2012

[ Parent ]
Again excellent post. (4.00 / 7)
My comment would be to go beyond the polls for a moment.  What I saw when Edwards endorsed Obama, was enough for me to put him high on the list for VP.  While the polling backs up my feelings,  what I saw from Edwards that day really eliminated all the doubts I had about him.  All of the talk about what he didn't do for Kerry, I probably would have agreed with until he gave his speech endorsing Obama.  I can't explain why he seemed so different to me, but his message came across as clear as a bell that day.  Their styles are clearly different.  While Obama is more lofty in his speech, Edwards was more 'street level' speech.  Yet their message was pretty much the same.  From this prospective, I think Edwards clearly would help where Obama needs it the most.  I say all of this as someone who never really got Edward's appeal to start with.  They just looked and sounded damn good together.      

This Goes Back To My Earlier Diaries (4.00 / 1)
I did right after that speech.  And I agree 100%.  There is a real confluence of their messages that came through very powerfully in Edwards' endorsement speech, and their differences serve almost entirely to complement one another.

"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 ]
Agreed (4.00 / 2)
They made great music, playing the same song that said different things to different people.  I just could not get over why Edwards sounded so much different to me that day.  It was the first time he ever made me feel like he wasn't just saying it to get elected.

Now that I have read both of your posts today, I agree that if not Edwards, then he sets the benchmark that all others should be compared to.  I played around with the electoral map and Chris's most recent projections and I think Obama/Edwards gets us to 313 (I hesitate to say easily but barring a major shift in the world).  I leave out NC, FL, IN, NH, and NV.  All of these states could go dem, but I didn't want to be greedy.  If McCain doesn't pick Huckabee, I think Edwards could help pick up SC and GA.  I could shuffle states for hours based on possibilities, but Edwards definitely puts dems over the top.

Hillary, right now is the only other VP candidate that comes close to or even betters Edwards.  However, I have stated my dislike of that ticket before.  Who will be the Big Dog.  Both of them could handle the situation perfectly and it could still go all wrong.  

[ Parent ]
John Edwards is magic (4.00 / 1)
What is it about John Edwards that magically makes Obama poll so much higher in states with vastly different demographics such as CA, NM, VA, and OH? Name recognition? Rendell polls high in PA but among the low elsewhere yet he's the same Rendell everywhere. This suggests to me that people who hear Obamasebelius think it's either a distant cousin of Snuffaluffagus or a skin condition. Edwards was already the on the ballot as VP in VA, OH, and NM and his magic effect was not evident. I'll take that evidence over a single SUSA poll.

John McCain

This Seems Extremely Arbitrary To Me (4.00 / 2)
First: Rejecting any poll because you don't like the numbers seems pretty arbitrary.  Rejecting five polls seems, well, almost like a tv pundit.

Second: Joking about folks not comprehending "Sebelius" hardly explains how much easier it apparently is to grasp "Pawlenty."  Again, it sounds like something a tv pundit would do.

Third: Certainly name recognition means something. But Edwards outpolling Rendell in his own backyard shows the limits of that.  It's not just name recognition, but the fact that people like what Edwards is saying.  And this was evident in his head-to-head polling last year.  He outperformed both Clinton and Obama.  What he couldn't do was out-fundraise them--big surprise for such an outspoken populist.

Fourth: People are reacting to Edwards running as his own man this time around.  That hardly equates to him running as Kerry's VP last time.  You are comparing apples and purples.  Oranges aren't even in the picture.

"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 ]
But arbitrary is the norm isn't it? (4.00 / 2)
I feel it therefore it's true is the way many have come to view discussions.

[ Parent ]
I Feel You're Right... (4.00 / 2)
Or is it your left?

"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 ]
Give me one moment in tiiiime.... (0.00 / 0)
Your "5 polls, not one" argument is a bit misleading because you count the individual states as indepedent data but it's all one snapshot in time (5/16-5/18) from one firm (SUSA). At a glance, Rendell does significantly better in PA, Sebelius ever so slightly better in OH. This suggests to me that the polls are simply guages of name recognition. I'm not hating on John Edwards (even as I do snark on him). I'm just saying he's got a track record that doesn't match this giant VP bonus that's shown in the polls and that historically VP choices don't cause 20 point swings in voter behavior on the top of the ticket.

There is a good case to make for John Edwards as VP, I just don't think it involves polls 6 months out from an election. In October 1980 Jimmy Carter was up 7 points on Reagan in Gallup. Carter lost by 440 EVs. I'm happy to read why you think Edwards should be VP and maybe he should be VP. I just happen to think that any argument that starts with a smattering of state polls taken over a few days in May as a foundation is an argument built on a weak foundation.

John McCain

[ Parent ]
But that's why this is called Part 2 (4.00 / 1)
This wasn't the foundation of his argument.

[ Parent ]
These Polls Aren't The Foundation of The Argument (4.00 / 3)
These polls simply show that the already recognized--and poll-tested--strengths that Edwards brings are still intact, and that Versailles flavor-of-the-week (weak?) VP wannabes are pathetic by comparison.

Is name recognition a factor?  Sure.  But if Obama didn't need help, then that wouldn't be the case!  So the argument you're making doesn't go where you seem to think it does.

For the umpteen millionth time, this is not an attempted prediction of what must be in November.  I'd just like to see the Democrats start and stay on offense for a change.  And the evidence is pretty damn overwhelming that Edwards would position them to do just that.

p.s. I'm sorry you don't like the fact that five different polls are, in fact, five different polls.  In fact, SUSA is doing seventeen state polls.  These are just the first wave to be released.

I eagerly await your proof that 17=5=1.

Number theory will never be the same.

"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 ]
Another plank in the foundation... (4.00 / 3)
I don't think it was coincidence that the noise machine took on Edwards before either Obama or Clinton, or that the corporate media ignored him with a vengeance when haircuts, hedge funds, and house weren't enough to eliminate him from the running in Iowa.  

The corporate bosses were scared of Edwards' populist reform message and the effective and passionate way he delivered it.  They figured they'd get rid of him first, then tackle Clinton and Obama later.  

I agree 100% about the complementary nature of Obama and Edwards as a one-two reform punch.  I also agree that Edwards can attract many of the same voters Clinton would. Before Edwards dropped out, he and Clinton were splitting many of the same group of voters -- ESPECIALLY PARTISAN DEMOCRATS -- who didn't find Obama's concilliatory rhetoric and post-partisan vision as appealing as the notion of expressing some righteous anger and kicking some GOP butt.

Those voters are still out there, and while many of them will probably come home to Obama in the fall regardless of whom he picks for VP, they will probably do so more enthusiastically and in substantially greater numbers if their emotional truth has a passionate representative on the ticket in the form of Edwards.

John McCain doesn't think kids need health insurance

[ Parent ]
Very Well Put (4.00 / 1)
Edwards is our best VP choice for precisely the same reasons that the media turned on him first.

"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 ]
Name recognition (4.00 / 2)
Here's the latest name recognition polling for a few possible VPs from Polling Report.

Edwards - 4% never heard of, 10% unsure (14%)
Lieberman - 10% never heard of, 4% unsure (14%)
Romney - 7% never heard of, 13% unsure (20%)
Huckabee - 16% never heard of, 26% unsure (42%)
Hagel - 42% never heard of, 26% unsure (68%)
Rendell - no data
Sebelius - no data
Pawlenty - no data

If you want to control for name recognition see how Edwards performs vs. Lieberman in the various polls. It's a weird comparison because Lieberman isn't a member of the GOP (yet) but let's just note that and go ahead with the comparisons.

Edwards vs. Lieberman VP boost(equivalent name recognition)

PA - Edwards +4
OH - Edwards +3
VA - Edwards +2
NM - Edwards +6
CA - Edwards +6

How much of this is Joe Lieberman being a drag and John Edwards being a boost? I have no idea. Let's try..

Lieberman vs. Hagel VP boost (+54% name recognition to JL)

PA - Lieberman +9
OH - Lieberman +7
VA - Lieberman +12
NM - Lieberman +9
CA - Lieberman +6

Again, I think John Edwards is a solid choice for VP and a much better choice for Obama than Lieberman for McCain according to this one poll. I just think arguing from this poll you can show that Joe Lieberman gives John McCain a 12 point boost in Virginia over Chuck Hagel and that doesn't really make sense. Virginia just sent Jim Webb to the Senate as a Democrat so former Republican military vets should get a warm reception in that state. And I imagine Hagel WOULD get a warm reception in VA, if Virginians only knew him.

John McCain

[ Parent ]
bb-b-b-b-but lieberman can get us conservative votes!!! (4.00 / 1)
Obama-Edwards is too liberal!!!


[ Parent ]
I grew in Virginia- your logic flawed (4.00 / 1)
Webb won due to votes he gained in the NoVa area and the Washington DC suburbs and exurbs. I in fact followed the race very closely on sites like Not Larry Sabato , a local state blog.Your argument seems to be based on a faulty understanding of how Webb  one and what is the make up of the forces changing VA. I grew up in a mostly red part of the state. So, again I am very familar, and your argument is just wrong.

[ Parent ]
I'm not arguing about Webb and Hagel (0.00 / 0)
I'm not trying to get into a discussion about how Webb and Hagel are different or the '06 VA Senate demographics. I'm simply arguing against this poll being an apples-to-apples comparison of VP candidates. If you are familiar with Virginia what would you point to about Joe Lieberman that provides such a bump to John McCain's chances in VA over Obama-Hagel?  

John McCain

[ Parent ]
The central problem with your argument (0.00 / 0)
is that even if it's right- it doesn't matter. Even if its name ID- who cares? Does that mean it's still not an advantage? Paul doesn't rely on just this reasoning, but I really don't understand even taking your arguments on its own terms what you think it changes.

[ Parent ]
By the way, if you weren't arguing (0.00 / 0)
about how Hagel is like Webb, then i don't underestand why you brought Webb up regarding how Hagel should (implict in what you wrote) appeal to Va. Afterall, why then is mentioning Webb important?

[ Parent ]
Don't Look Now, But You've Just Undermined Your Argument (4.00 / 3)
Huckabee scores pretty damn low on name recognition for being the strongest VP choice for McCain:

Huckabee - 16% never heard of, 26% unsure (42%)

I'd say that blows the hell out of your argument.

As for Hagel's projected VA lovefest, you seem to overlook the fact that it takes effort to make things happen, and that the other side can exert contrary effort at the same time.  Given that Hagel has been in DC for 12 years, and a good chunk of Virginia is in the DC media market, I'd say his lack of name recognition is at least partly his own fault.

Bottom line: Not impressed.

What doesn't make sense to you makes plenty of sense to me.  You've got two long-term media darlings running against some new guy and someone who doesn't much register at all.

My advice:  it would be a good idea to try taking the data at least somewhat seriously, and ask yourself, "What could this mean?  What could it be telling me?"  Don't just assume that it's gobbledegook, just because you don't see it right away.  Data is supposed to make you think.

"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 ]
But would Edwards do it? (0.00 / 0)
1. Has anyone EVER lost for VP, run for President, lost that, and then gone back on the ticket for VP?  It seems like the kind of thing no self-respecting pol would do.

2.  Would Elizabeth, with her cancer, be as down for another run for VP as she would for the run for the White House?

I don't know the answers, and I realize it's sort of beside the point of your discussion, but man I wish there was someone else who could deliver close to the plus factor you say Edwards would.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

Well, Have You Considered This (4.00 / 2)
What if the fact that no one else can deliver like Edwards were a sufficient reason to help change his mind?

We really have no idea if this could happen any more than dozens of other hopes, rumors and speculations that people waste endless hours chewing over.  One thing we know for certain: these are very turbulent times, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Edwards were to end up on the ticket.  It's not that I'm expecting it.  I'm just saying that it wouldn't surprise me.

I think his speech caused an instantaneous outbreak of speculation, and I think he wanted to quash that, quickly, if for no other reason than to take the pressure off of Obama.  But I don't think he necessarily was making an absolute pronouncement, no matter what he said, because I'm not sure that these are the sort of times in which such pronouncements make sense.

The bottom line is, if Obama came to him and said, "Look, the only way I can be a successful President is to have a resounding mandate.  And the only way I know I can do that is if you're on the ticket."  Do you honestly think he could turn Obama down?  Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I think he could.  But I think it would be highly unlikely that he would.

"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 ]
Not to Beat a Thoroughly Well Flogged Horse (4.00 / 1)
You've never really answered this in any of the other threads regarding these SurveyUSA polls, but I'll bring it up again:

Just the very nature of these poll questions puts unrealistic and disproportionate weight on the VP slot, and there's no way I can see that around that to get an accurate picture of what Edwards would be worth in terms of actually moving votes in November.

I don't have a problem with your drawing the conclusion that Edwards, at the outset, helps Obama more across the board than a generic Democrat. He's a candidate with high favorables who will reinforce Obama's narrative and who has high name ID. And for those reasons, I wouldn't have a problem with Edwards being Obama's choice.

However, I don't think you should be falling into the trap of claiming (by implication) that Edwards is the only candidate who can safely deliver these swing states or that the magnitude of his impact on election day would really be on the order of 6-7 points.

Do you honestly think Obama/Rendell would lose California to McCain/Huckabee? Really? Tell the truth. And if the answer is no, and it ought to be, then I think that should be proof enough that it's time to back away from treating these SurveyUSA VP polls like gospel.

We're gonna need a really big pitchfork (4.00 / 3)
to tear down all those straw men you set up.

[ Parent ]
If They're So Abundant... (0.00 / 0)
Feel free to list them.

[ Parent ]
nah. (0.00 / 0)
Go ahead and reread what you wrote, then read what Paul actually wrote and I think you'll see them.  

[ Parent ]
Nah. (0.00 / 0)
You threw out the accusation. I'd like to see you see it through. Finish what you started.

[ Parent ]
Your post says contradictory things (4.00 / 1)
And it misses the point. The point isn't that others couldn't help, but the degree and also messaging how they would fit into Obama's GE strategy. All you managed to say was that "yeah, but he's not the only one" and "anyway, the numbers are an illusion." Maybe to both, but it doesn't override his arguments because you provide no countervailing evidence. What you do is to say you don't believe, and then say no one answered you regarding your disbelief.  

[ Parent ]
I Offered Two Points of Evidence (4.00 / 2)
1.) That the nature of the polling question itself puts unrealistic and disproportionate weight on the VP slot. Do you disagree that asking someone 16 seperate questions testing potential VP matchups creates an artificial emphasis on that part of the ticket? Yes or no? I believe the answer is, obviously, yes.

2.) And the evidence that the polling is unrealistic is in the result in the SurveyUSA poll claiming Obama/Rendell would lose to McCain/Huckabee in California. Honest question: Do you believe Obama and a generic Democrat would lose to John McCain and Mike "Someone just pointed a gun at Barack, ain't that funny?" Huckabee? And if your answer is no, then I believe that's also proof that these SurveyUSA polls inflate the importance of the VP selection.

So when we're talking about whether or not Edwards should be the selection, let's not premise that decision on the unrealistic proposition that he really would mean a 6-7 point swing in Obama's favor or that he makes all of these swing states a lock. Let's also not pretend that choosing a generic Democrat for Vice President would somehow put California, (California!), in jeopardy on election day.

I believe Edwards would help consolidate whatever Democratic support Obama hasn't already moved back into his camp at the end of this nomination process. I believe Edwards has high enough positives and name ID that he might even help move a few more independents into Obama's camp. But would it move the electorate in Obama's favor by the tune of 6-7 points? No. My guess is he might mean 2-3 points at most, and that might be generous.

I don't believe these SurveyUSA polls are a terribly compelling reason to select Edwards, and I believe that the number one criteria that needs to be considered is which candidate best fits Obama's narrative and brings strong credentials on kitchen table economic issues. And, like I said, Edwards fits that narrative pretty well. Others like Sherrod Brown or Mark Warner might fit that narrative even better (and might, you know, actually have a history of successfully waging winning campaigns on those grounds).

[ Parent ]
I'm Afraid You Have A Poor Grasp Of What Constitutes Evidence (0.00 / 0)
Your own personal opinions are not evidence.

The fact that a poll has some unlikely (to you) results is not evidence that it is a bad poll, much less that other polls conducted by the same organization are also bad polls.

In fact, unlikely things happen all the time.  One has to look at things in terms of the larger patterns they are part of.  Rendell seems particularly week in California, for whatever reason. It's the only state in which he is noticably weaker than Sebelius.  Thus, while his extremely poor showing in that matchup is surprisingly bad, it's not out of line with the larger pattern of things.

"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 ]
OK, So Lets Get That in Writing (0.00 / 0)
You're saying that Obama and a generic Democrat (like Rendell) would be in danger of losing in November to McCain/Huckabee? Correct? That's what you're saying, right? I just want to get that nailed down before we move on.

[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 1)
But poll results like this in California this far out are not unheard of.  There is nothing inherently suspect in the SUSA poll.

McCain is widely seen here in much the same way that Schwarzenneger is, and his popularity has only plunged in the last two months or so, despite the fact that he's been talking about gutting public education, public health, state parks, etc., etc., etc. since his State of the State last January.

There's a tendency for public opinion in this state to move slowly, and to be subject to lots of superficial manipulation.  Edwards as VP cuts through that.  Rendell does not.  And that's a significant finding of these polls.

It's a feature, not a bug.

"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 ]
But It Isn't Showing Up in the GE Matchup (0.00 / 0)
But it's not showing up in the Obama v. McCain head to head matchup in the poll, is it? It's only showing up in the 16 VP questions, and I have to believe that's because asking 16 consecutive questions asking "What if the election was held today and the choices were Republicans John McCain and X and Democrats Barack Obama and X." And when someone hears 16 consecutive questions like that, surely that puts disproportionate weight on the VP slot in the poll.  

[ Parent ]
As Paul said- you still don't provide proof (4.00 / 1)
Just how you feel. i feel the earth is flat. Am I right just because I feel it?. Do I believe that Obama would lose in CA? No, but polls aren't supposed to be the perfect truths you keep claiming. Paul certainly has made it clear they aren't. So why are you making an indicator out to be an absolute? What we are looking for are trendlines and indicators.  

[ Parent ]
By Your Own Admission (4.00 / 1)
By your own admission it's unlikely Obama and a generic Democrat would be in danger of losing to McCain/Huckabee in California, and if we opened that question up to every person on OpenLeft, I'm willing to bet 99% of the commenters here would have the same instinct. I'll stake that collective instinct against one poll with some obvious methodological weaknesses any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

I don't have a problem with saying the SurveyUSA polls are a relative indicator of Edwards' strength right now to a generic Democratic candidate. But that's not how Paul's been using these polls in his Edwards boosterism, and he has been playing around with these numbers as if they are perfect truths in his posts and the comments. I was snarked by Paul in another thread for the mear suggestion that Edwards' poll impact wouldn't really be on the order of 5-6 points in Pennsylvania. Something along the lines of, "And yet the poll says it's so, to the tune of 7 points! It's like Bush and the WMD's, just in reverse." Am I right, Paul?

And if he doesn't really believe that they're perfect truths, then he needs to stop playing both sides of the fence, and he needs to acknowledge that these SurveyUSA VP polls have some very obvious deficiencies and need to be taken with the appropriate sized shaker of salt. That's all I'm saying. No straw men. Nothing personal. I just want Paul to come out and nail down his position.  

[ Parent ]
It's not an admission. It's the reality of the limitations of polling (0.00 / 0)
He also makes it clear that he doesn't believe what you people are writing. However at this point, I am not going to continue to argue with you other than to say read what people have written ratther than shit you are making up. It makes for a discussion rather than what we are having now.

[ Parent ]
You People? (0.00 / 0)
Geez. So sorry to have, apparently, done something inappropriate to your corn flakes.

[ Parent ]
Not Even Close to What I'm Saying--Or What The Polls Are (4.00 / 1)
(1) I'm not saying these polls are gospel.  I'm saying they're the best we have.  And I'm reading them in light of other data as well--such as the head-to-heads from last year that showed Edwards outperforming both Clinton and Obama.  They do not tell the future, but they are the best info we have about the present on the subject at hand.

(2) I'm not saying that Edwards is the only one who can deliver these battleground states.  But I am saying he's the only one we know of who can put them out of reach at this time.  And putting them out of reach at this time puts McCain at a tremendous disadvantage, forcing him to play rather desperate defense.  That, in turn, has a strong tendency to produce even more mistakes on his part, and further opportunities for us.  So, it's not about November, which none of us can know.  It's about the road to November, and which path taken now is clearly superior to the others.

(3) There is nothing in "the very nature of these poll questions" that "puts unrealistic and disproportionate weight on the VP slot."  That's what they were interested in, so that's what they asked about.  If the VP slot didn't matter; if 95% of the people had firm presidential preferences, then all you would find would be slight variations.  There is nothing in the poll questions themselves that caused the large variations.  The large variatios are the result of (1) genuine fluidity in presidential preference and (2) the impact of different VP choices.  You need both these causal factors to produce the sorts of results we see here.

In short, you seem to be looking for absolute knowledge in a field that is inherently plagued with uncertainty, where there's a premium on being able to judiciously assess the various forms of uncertainty out there.  And you are groundlessly attributing to me the very same belief in absolute certainty that seems to be obsessing you.

None of this has any basis in reality.  It's all inside your head.  

"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 ]
Easy, Tiger (0.00 / 0)
[quote](2) I'm not saying that Edwards is the only one who can deliver these battleground states.  But I am saying he's the only one we know of who can put them out of reach at this time.  And putting them out of reach at this time puts McCain at a tremendous disadvantage, forcing him to play rather desperate defense.  That, in turn, has a strong tendency to produce even more mistakes on his part, and further opportunities for us.  So, it's not about November, which none of us can know.  It's about the road to November, and which path taken now is clearly superior to the others. [/quote]

So you really believe if Obama were to select Edwards tomorrow that he'd see an immediate 6-7 point bounce in the polls in those states?

(3) There is nothing in "the very nature of these poll questions" that "puts unrealistic and disproportionate weight on the VP slot."  That's what they were interested in, so that's what they asked about.

Asking 16 seperate polling questions testing VP matchups doesn't put undue weight on the VP slot? Come on, you're better than this, Paul.

In short, you seem to be looking for absolute knowledge in a field that is inherently plagued with uncertainty, where there's a premium on being able to judiciously assess the various forms of uncertainty out there.  And you are groundlessly attributing to me the very same belief in absolute certainty that seems to be obsessing you.

Not at all. I'm just troubled that you seem to really and truly believe Edwards gives Obama a 6-7 point bounce overnight, and that you're advancing it as one of the central reasons to choose the man for the VP slot. It seems to me to be analogous to the thirsty man in the desert who wastes his energy slogging miles in the sun only to find that the oasis was a mirage.

There are plenty of plausible, powerful reasons to advocate Edwards for VP. These SurveyUSA polls aren't among them.

[ Parent ]
The First Law of Holes: Stop Digging! (4.00 / 1)
(1) Repeating a discredited claim does not make it true.

(2) VP announcement bounces are common, but the full extent of the VP impact does not necessarily show up immediately.

It's nice to see you branch out from staw men to red herrings.

"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 ]
Touchy, Much? (0.00 / 0)
1. Claiming someone's point of view is discredited doesn't make that true either.

2. I don't disagree that VP announcement bounces are common, it's the magnitude you're claiming that I am taking issue with. You're advancing the idea that simply by selecting Edwards, Obama is going to run out to huge leads in all of these states. There are some flaws that I feel are pretty obvious in that theory, which apparently makes me a farmer or a fisherman to you. That's ok though, I happen to like farmers and fishermen.

I mean, don't you think if that were true Obama would be in North Carolina with roses in his hand as we speak? Spa day coupon for Elizabeth in his back pocket? If only it were that easy!

It's nice to see you branch out from staw men to red herrings.

Don't get all indignant just because someone disagreed with you. It's not a good look, Paul.

[ Parent ]
Job Description (4.00 / 2)
While it is clear that you need a VP for what he can bring to the campaign, I think equally important is the way the job description is framed for the electorate.  If elected President, what does Barack Obama want the VP to do over the next four years?  How will the Presidential and V Presidential offices be organized?

There are distinct Democratic and Republican models for this, and we need to consider this in this process of developing an analysis of who would be the best pick.

We can look at the Republican Model as one where they elect a relatively weak President, at least weak in day to day administrative skills along the model of the Highly Public Corporate CEO, who depends on his VP to run the details in the back office -- reference GHWBush as VP to Reagan, and Cheney to Bush. In fact over the past 8 years the model has put what policy development work in the WH in the VP's office and staff in a near totally unaccountable way.  

In contrast, the Democratic Model in the instances of Mondale and Gore position the VP as the leader of project teams within the Office of the President.  Neither VP had much of an independent staff beyond personal staff, but took up responsibilities using the shared staff.  Mondale's VPship gave him significant responsibility for coordination with Congress -- thus he used the Congressional Relations staff in significant ways.  Gore's projects in Clinton's first term were primarily domestic, leadership of task-forces and commissions, for instance -- but in the second term he moved into Foreign Policy in a significant way, taking responsibility for relations with Russia, NATO, and the International Environmental issues such as Kyoto negotiations.  While Gore had a quite public role leading these efforts, it was always clear these were extensions of Clinton's policy positions.  

All this to ask the question -- if Edwards, or if Rendell, or if any of the others -- how would Obama use them as VP given the assets and experience they bring to the ticket and the program that Obama would want to execute?  Would Obama more or less follow the Democratic Mondale/Gore model as Job Description?  

I tend to think McCain probably will be attracted to the Bush/Cheney model -- perhaps making his VP more responsible for Economic Policy matters as he sees this is as something he is less interested in, while he is campaigning more on Foreign and Military Policy matters, on which he professes certain expertise.  I do tend to think McCain will be attracted to the Republican Model, the Corporate CEO public President, and the VP as Chief Operations Officer.  

This Is A Fascinating Question To Analyze And Debate (0.00 / 0)
But it's pretty much off topic of my diary.  If you'd like to work it up into a diary of your own, I would almost certainly be willing to frontpage it--especially if you could tie it back into what it means in terms of campaigning, since that's foremost on everyone's minds right now.

"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 ]
This is exactly (4.00 / 3)
what I come to Open Left for: smart, well researched, and useful analysis.

There are some excellent questions among the comments that challenge the premise, but this is the strongest case I've seen anybody make for any VP candidate.

Name recognition is clearly a factor in the "Edwards Advantage", but I guess the reply to that is: Exactly! With Edwards you hit the ground running rather than spend weeks introducing a Kathleen Sebelius or Sharrod Brown to the American public.  

I'd still like to see some data on a progressive yet "balancing" candidate like Wesley Clark...  

Clark Is One Of The Candidates I've Mentioned (0.00 / 0)
But I'm afraid that outside of political junkies like us, most of the public wouldn't recognize him very well.  Knowing he was a general vs. knowing which general would probably be a significant breakpoint in public knowledge.

Still it would have been much better to ask about him than Hagel or even Sebelius.

"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 ]
That's probably true... (0.00 / 0)
as Clark's profile would initially certainly be lower than Edwards, but  higher than Sebelius, Brown, etc.

Interestingly, one place where Clark already does have some name recognition is through Fox News, where he's been a commentator for the past couple of years, and has spent a fair amount of time undermining and refuting right wing talking points.

What that might be worth remains to be seen, I suppose, but my larger point was more that I'd like to see how Clark fared in such a poll because I consider him to be possibly the most viable and attractive Veep candidate from among the "balancing" group.

Anyway, like I said, fascinating data here.

[ Parent ]
Yes, The Democratic Vote-Mine That Is Fox News! (0.00 / 0)
I've seen polling info that says Democrats watch Fox News.

But how many cousins does Zell Miller have?

"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 ]
Exactly! What's wrong with name recognition? (4.00 / 2)
Do you think the lack of name recognition makes the other picks somehow better?

Edwards is one of our best progressive advocates AND he has huge name recognition. Ain't nothin wrong with that.

[ Parent ]
clearly you have given this a lot more thought than i have :) (4.00 / 3)
I have a few rough criteria forming in my head for a VP candidate, all in the context of the person largely being irrelevant:

1) Can help push a specific state over the edge into the Democratic column (not in theory...actually!).
2) Pro-choice
3) More broadly, can win back the portions of the democratic constituency and activist base that supported Clinton and are now thoroughly alienated.
4) Can help win over people who are on the margins in terms of who to vote for (economically down and out, not really strongly affiliated with either party, some segments of the Latino population, etc.)
5) won't damage an Obama presidency through undercutting and other moves.  The last thing you need is a trojan horse.


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