Friday, June 6, 2008

The Veepstakes

Now that the presidential campaign has officially begun, the obvious question of who our Democratic and Republican nominees will choose as their right-hand man (or woman) will dominate the headlines and pundits.

Today, lets take a look at some of the Obama options. As it seems like Hillary Clinton will finally concede the Democratic race to Obama, the question arises as to whether Barack Obama will select her for VP. The Clintons' and their cohorts will campaign hard for her to get the #2 slot but none of the smart money is on this bet. As we all know from this campaign and earlier ones, the Clintons' are a set. Buy one, get one free. Before the primaries began, there was some (albeit idle) concern about whether Bill Clinton would be essentially a co-president if his wife won. Now if Hillary Clinton ends up as vice-president, so does Bill. After the Cheney years the vice presidency has new powers and Bill, as surrogate vice president, would not hesitate to dip into them. The vice-presidency has virtually no constitutional powers so on paper this really should not be a dilemma. Remember, pseudo-despots like the Clintons' are not governed by paper, they are governed by ego and the lust for power. Circumventing the Constitution was never a major concern for Bill when he was in the Oval Office, so why would it concern him as co-vice-president? So, a President Obama would also have to contend with the power struggle. While he's president, there would be two others who simultaneously thought they were the president. If Obama has any political smarts then he will not name Hillary his VP. Unless he wants to end up in the testicle lockbox.

There are murmurings that our potentially second black president might pick John Edwards, Bill Richardson, former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, Virginia senator Jim Webb, or current Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius. Edwards has that arm-candy VP appeal that worked so well for John Kerry and more importantly he knows how to smile and look good.

Bill Richardson might prove himself worthy having had more federal government experience (Secretary of Energy for 3 years and 14 years in the House) and more executive experience (5 years as New Mexico's governor) than Obama would have after 8 years.

Sam Nunn is a former Georgia senator who was known as a somewhat conservative Demorat. Obama may want to snag this guy because he's also in consideration for McCain, as Jonah Goldberg at National Reivew Online suggested. Picking a southern man would also help Obama paint himself as the uniter so many people are still hypnotized into believing. It's not coincidence that the only two Democratic presidents post-JFK were southern boys. Contrary to popular belief, Obama is not a compromiser and could not be expected to name a Republican for his ticket. In this area, Sam Nunn could be the closest Obama can come.

Or maybe Jim Webb. Webb is a former marine, former Republican with time in the Defense Department and Secretary of the Navy for President Reagan. Webb is from a red state, Virginia, and a gun-owner who can appeal to the Reagan Democrats that McCain desperately needs. And a Republican who can't win Virginia is as good as dead. He is also a fighter, someone who might complement Obama well who all too often has appeared weak.

Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius has appeal, if for no other reason, because she is a woman. But Obama would be smart to pass on her and any other woman this election year in spite of all the charges of sexism that have been issued. He will certainly be pressured to pick a woman because of the sexism charges, especially after liberal icon Geraldine Ferraro was thrown overboard for essentially telling the truth about Obama's most indispensable quality. But, picking a woman could also backfire as a shallow move, unless it's Obama's selection of Hillary Clinton. After all, Hillary was supposed to be the first woman president. If (God forbid) something happened to President Obama, and another woman became the first woman president, expect a full-out revolt from the Clinton wing of the party. The Hillary feminists already feel that Obama stole the nomination from her because people wanted to vote for a black man more than they wanted to vote for a white woman. If another woman sneaks into the presidency before Hillary, cover your head and anything else valuable because there will be a civil war.

So, expect Obama to pick someone older and wiser and who brings little baggage with them. Joe Lieberman would have been a good selection if he wasn't already McCain's BFF. It will likely be someone, like Sam Nunn or Jim Webb, or someone who has been around and has more government experience than Obama, which, of course isn't asking for too much. Nunn or Webb are smart people who would be good choices for Obama. Then again, Obama hasn't shown too much wisdom in picking his friends, why might his VP be any different?

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