24 Of Barack Obama’s Top Potential Picks For Vice-President
Predicting whom a particular candidate will take as Vice-President is always difficult because so many factors play into it. Do both candidates get along? Is the presidential nominee looking to carry a particular state, region, or demographic group, is he looking to solidify his base, or is he just trying to add strength across the board in a general election?
Obama also has some unique needs. He has very little relevant experience, difficulty connecting with the older and middle class white voters he’ll need to win, and potential difficulties caused by a nasty primary fight with Hillary Clinton.
Put it all together and there’s no way to know which way Obama will ultimately go. Still, here are some of the most likely and/or discussed possibilities.
Evan Bayh: Bayh is an experienced former governor of Indiana and has been a senator since 1998. He has a reputation for being a moderate, being fiscally conservative, and he would likely be able to turn Indiana (11 electoral votes) blue. Bayh wouldn’t be one of the more exciting choices, but despite his lack of charisma, he would certainly be one of the stronger picks that Obama could make.
Joe Biden: Biden is very experienced, is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and has a certain sort of charm. He’s also gaffe-prone, including this humdinger about Obama from the Democratic primaries,
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy…I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Yeah — probably not.
Michael Bloomberg: The ex-Republican, Independent, Jewish mayor of New York is a down-the-line liberal on almost every issue, but his biggest asset would be deep pockets that he could use to finance the campaign. Given that Obama should have a much bigger warchest than McCain, Bloomberg probably couldn’t add much to the campaign.
Phil Bredesen: Because he’s the moderate governor of a Southern state, Bredesen has been discussed as a possible Vice President for Obama. However, Bredesen has only been in office since 2002 and probably couldn’t carry Tennessee. That would seem to make it unlikely that he’d get a serious look.
Sherrod Brown: Brown is a rabidly liberal senator from Ohio, he spent 5 terms in the House, and he may be popular enough to turn his home state blue. If polling data confirms that Brown can deliver Ohio (20 electoral votes) to Obama, B.O.’d have to give him a hard look even if he added nothing more to the ticket.
Wesley Clark: The former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO has military experience and is popular with the netroots, but he’s a novice politician with a knack for putting his foot in his mouth. His latest escapade, denigrating McCain’s military service, probably made him too much of a liability to be seriously considered as a VEEP.
Hillary Clinton: There are a list of reasons as long as your arm why Obama should steer clear of Hillary like she’s on fire: the baggage, the nasty things she and her husband said about him, her lack of experience, etc., etc. However, a lot of her supporters haven’t gotten on board the Obama express yet and she may be the only person who can get them on the bandwagon. What that means is that Hillary can probably deliver far more votes than anyone else Obama could select as veep — and that means that Obama will almost have to seriously consider her for VP.
Christopher Dodd: Dodd is experienced, but he’s also punishingly dull and is enmeshed in a Countrywide Bank subprime mortgage scandal. That would seem to make it unlikely that Obama would give him serious consideration.
Tom Daschle: His name is frequently mentioned as an Obama Veep possibility because of his experience and liberalism, but he has no charisma, he’s a lobbyist, and he’s as “old school” as it gets in politics. It seems unlikely that a guy like that would fit into a campaign that’s supposed to be all about “change” and a “new type of politics.”
John Edwards: Setting aside the fact that he added almost nothing to the ticket when John Kerry selected him in 2004, Edwards is the white Barack Obama. He’s an inexperienced, pampered, liberal wimp whose biggest assets are his charisma and how he looks. That means Edwards would be an unlikely selection.
Al Gore: Even though Gore couldn’t carry his own state when he ran for President in 2000, he would add some gravitas to the ticket. Moreover, he’d draw liberals out to the polls in an attempt to revenge his loss in 2000. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that Gore still has the fire in his belly necessary to take another run at the White House and even if he did, would he be willing to settle for being Vice-President yet again?
Chuck Hagel: He’s a rabidly anti-war, pro-illegal immigration Republican from Nebraska with military experience. At first glance, that might make him appear to be an appealing candidate for a man pledging to unify the country. However, Hagel’s lifetime ACU rating is 84.67%, which is actually higher than John McCain’s 82.16%. It’s hard to see Obama selecting a Vice-President who is actually to the right of the Republican Presidential nominee.
Tim Kaine: The current governor of Virginia is being widely discussed as a potential veep because he’s moderate and could probably help Obama carry Virginia (13 electoral votes). However, Kaine has only been in office since 2006 and it seems unlikely that a candidate as inexperienced as Obama would reach out to a similarly inexperienced governor.
Janet Napolitano: The Democratic governor of Arizona could be a go-to-gal if Barack feels like he needs a woman on the ticket, but can’t bear to reach out to the wicked witch of New York. On the other hand, Napolitano is a liberal governor, with almost no national name recognition, who has only been in office since 2002 and probably couldn’t even carry her own state for Obama. That would seem to make her an unlikely selection.
Bill Nelson: Florida Senator Bill Nelson has a lot of experience, a reputation as a moderate, and actually once flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia, which admittedly, is pretty cool. If Obama’s polling finds that Nelson will give the ticket enough of a boost to carry Florida, Obama would almost have to seriously consider him for the #2 slot.
Sam Nunn: The experienced former senator from Georgia has a lot of gravitas, a reputation for being moderate, credibility on defense issues, speaks Southern, and could very well turn Georgia (15 electoral votes) blue. It would be difficult for Obama to pick a VEEP who would be, at least on paper, a better fit for his campaign.
Bill Richardson: Richardson’s two biggest strengths would be turning New Mexico (5 electoral votes) blue in 2008 and helping Obama capture the Hispanic vote. However, Obama is already beating McCain in New Mexico and running strong with Hispanics, so that removes most of the upside from choosing Richardson.
Brian Schweitzer: Bush won Montana in a walk back in 2004, but now the state is close and uber-popular Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer would certainly be able to turn the state blue. On the other hand, Montana only provides 3 electoral votes and Schweitzer has only been governor since 2004. Pairing him up with someone as green as Obama might be frightening for voters.
Kathleen Sebelius: Look at the entry for Janet Napolitano and change the state to Kansas. You then have the Kathleen Sebelius entry.
Ted Strickland: Strickland has only been governor of Ohio since 2006, but he also has 5 terms in Congress under his belt. Although he has little national name recognition, he could probably deliver Ohio’s 20 electoral votes and that might be enough to merit his selection — if he would take the job despite his firm protests to the contrary.
Mark Warner: The moderate former governor of Virginia, Mark Warner, would likely turn the state (13 electoral votes) blue for the Democrats. Warner also “speaks Southern” and would be useful in states like North Carolina and Georgia, where Obama hopes to go on the offensive. On the other hand, Warner has minimal national name recognition and after only one term as governor of Virginia, he probably doesn’t have enough experience to be Obama’s Veep.
Jim Webb: This senator from Virginia might help Obama carry the state (13 electoral votes), is popular with the netroots, and as a former Secretary of the Navy, he would help shore up Obama’s non-existent military credentials. On the other hand, he’s a former Republican, is mistake-prone, and has only been in the Senate since 2006. Those negatives might be enough to force him into the 2nd tier of Veep candidates.
Make sure to check out Conservative Grapevine today, where you’ll find links like: Political Radar: The top 10 surprising facts
The title of this column is taken from Larry Elder’s superb book Ten Things You Can’t Say In America, even
There’s this thing about young voters. Most of them are liberal, mostly because most of them have had limited exposure