Friday, June 06, 2008

Hints of Veep

This is the third time I've heard Obama say that he considers who he selects as VP as being "his most important counselor."

So, if we're going to weight the VP odds, I'd ratchet up the chance that Obama will pick someone with many years of sage "experience" over delivering strategic states or voter demographics. So this, in my mind, means:

trending up:
Joe Biden
Chris Dodd
Sam Nunn
Wesley Clark
Evan Bayh

trending down:
Ted Strickland
Brian Schweitzer
Jim Webb
John Edwards
Claire McCaskill
Mike Bloomberg

treading water:
Kathleen Sebelius
Bill Richardson
Janet Napolitano
Tom Daschle
Hillary Clinton (she'd be trending up if she hadn't been pushing so hard for it this week)

So, where would I rank the likeliest top 10 as of today? Here's my list:

1. Evan Bayh. Except for the military creds, this one has it all: Clinton supporter, speaks to white-working class voters, both extensive Governor and Senate experience. Could unite the party and quiet the experience meme in one swoop. Contrast to Obama's polished style rounds out the ticket nicely. Wouldn't have put him at the top a few days ago, but the calculus moves him up there now. Only problem: does anyone know who he is?

2. Jim Webb. Still the odds on favorite (delivers Virginia, military, go-getter, etc.), but, as I say, trending down. Has he proven himself enough yet? Plus, does Obama really want another author on the ticket? Won't that lead to competing book tours?

3. Joe Biden. Could hardly think of anyone better to go against McCain on foreign policy and the war. Probably the smartest guy in the Democratic party. Problem is, he's from a little state called Delaware that only five people have ever actually been to (if you don't count incorporating there). It's a little like having the treasurer of Narnia on your ticket.

4. Sam Nunn. His experience and military cred looks great on paper, but there's a difference between experience and "old school." Obama wants to reach out to Republicans, but if he's going to put one on the ticket, wouldn't it be better to pick an actual Republican? Yeah, he's not Zell Miller, but I still don't know if he'll click all that well with team Obama.

5. Hillary Clinton. Yes, all the negatives have been discussed endlessly, but it could all look different a month from now. If she quickly quiets all the "pressure," she's still the next best choice: and as Obama says, "on the short list." Five is short. But...on second of today, it's still hard not to think that Hillary totally blew it with that horror show called the last month of her campaign. And that comment about Bobby Kennedy. That would make me the littlest bit nervous.

6. John Edwards. There may not be a lot of logic in this choice, but I think the two men admire each other. Obama would heed his counsel, as he is a "counselor." And Edwards can successfully go after Hillary's demographic. But he's already lost one candidate his election. That gives him a bit of a tarnish: It's a little like borrowing a used hanky.

7. Bill Richardson. He has a lot of fans and a good level of experience across a range of issues. Getting Hispanics excited couldn't hurt. Problem is, he's just not that dynamic. Unless Obama's looking for someone soporiphic to bring his crowds down after their Obama high....

8. Kathleen Sebelius. Not as experienced, but still a very tempting pick: cements Obama's "newWestern electoral strategy" and adds a different kind of perspective to the ticket. But Obama already has a more experienced woman to choose from, and people will ask, why not Hillary? Sebelius would have to have a secret-service detail to protect her from vengeful Hillarybots.

9. Wesley Clark. Trumps McCain's strongest suit: military experience. Problem is, the war is being overshadowed by the economy. As far as politics go, not as experienced as Obama needs. And if you thought Richardson was stiff.....

10. Tom Daschle. Yeah, he's got a big strike against him: being kicked out as Majority Leader. But there hasn't been a more ardent or loyal Obama supporter. And losing is one experience that Obama doesn't know that much about. But let's face it. Putting Daschle on the ticket is a little like drafting a linebacker from the coaching squad: you want a rising star, not a setting one.

As for special mention -

Ted Strickland - was in the top ten, but his sycophantic embrace of Hillary and equally sycophantic distancing from her is making him seem a bit creepy. His lack of experience is not going to be that helpful to Obama.

Brian Schweitzer - getting lots of blog press as a new, up-and-comer, but Obama doesn't need a second Obama. Plenty of other older and wiser heads for him to pick.

Napolitano and McCaskill - in the "women who aren't Hillary" category, Sebelius is the favorite. Arizona isn't in play, and remember that Kansas City is the swing vote in Misouri: Sebelius has a better chance of delivering Missouri than McCaskill would, and she could even bring Kansas along. Plus, Governor is better than Senator.

Bloomberg - makes great sense for Bloomberg. Makes absolutely no sense for Obama.

Chris Dodd - yes, he's trending up...just not high enough to get into the top ten. Let me see....was there one lonely fan who caucused for him in Iowa, or did he not even get that far....?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're not giving Dodd enough credit. Catholic and fluent in spanish (two of the Hillary demos that need to be convinced) as well as serious foreign relations experience, not to mention the economic chops (chairman of the banking committee) to kick McCain in the teeth...

And on a family note, he also has two small girls and a pretty (smart!) wife...