Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So, considering Veeps for 08...

In an earlier post, I railed against the whole idea of needing a Vice President anywho. Still, the system is what it is, and the two designated drivers for the main parties - McCain and Obama - are in the midst of their respective vetting processes. Rumor has it McCain is selecting soon (although the rumor itself may have been scuttlebutt to keep McCain in the news while Obama's doing his overseas lovefest).

Anyway. Who do I think should be selected as running mates for McCain and Obama? Democrats first, since my earlier posts on Presidential candidates went GOP first...

For Obama, for starters all I can say is... No Hillary. Period. For the Love of God No.

A majority of voters just made it clear, they don't want her. Or her husband. ANYWHERE NEAR THE WHITE HOUSE. Again.

And do you even want someone like her on your ticket? She's gonna want to make input. She's gonna want to put HER people in charge of things. She's gonna end up backstabbing you in some form or another simply because she'll have to. It's in her nature. You can tell. It's like that story of a woman in the desert rescuing a snake and then the snake biting her: "But I saved you" says the woman. "I know," says the snake. "I'm still a snake."

Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way. Where else to look then?

The names I see the most (that are still in consideration) are Kathleen Sebelius, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Sam Nunn, and Bill Richardson. Of these, Nunn has the best resume and comes from a key Southern state: he's also been retired for some time and could be too old. Biden has a solid resume, but like I said during the primary evaluation the guy's flatter than drywall. Dodd has come on lately as a champion of civil rights against the unwarranted surveillance and telecom amnesty that the Bush people had been pushing the past year: his big knock is that he's knee-deep in lobbyist connections to Countrywide. Richardson's resume looks good, and he can solidify the Hispanic vote especially in the Southwest. Sebelius' name comes up as a possible caveat to feminists still dedicated to Hillary: she has Hillary's political skills without any of the baggage and ego that Hillary brings with her.

Dark horse names that come up, the real out-of-left-field stuff, are Chuck Hagel (who's Republican: the only things going for him are his anti-Iraq War and anti-stupid stances), Gov. Brian Schweitzer (a populist Dem, but he comes from a small-population state and is more of a rookie on the national stage than Obama), and mah fellow Gator Bob Graham (who would guarantee a Florida win for Obama, but has been retired for a good while and has an annoying habit of writing out detailed diaries... even an honest administration would be wary of a guy like that).

I'm putting my money on Sebelius: she's enough of a populist - and popular - figure to win over most of the undecideds among the Dems and liberal-leaning Indys. She would give at least the more moderate feminists still enraged over the shoddy treatment of Hillary during the primaries a graceful way to support Obama. And she may come from a smallish state (Kansas) but her brand of politics should attract voters across the whole Great Plains region (even down into Texas). Richardson may look good as a possible Veep, but Sebelius brings a little more to the table.

Okay, now to look at what McCain has to look at: Why is Mitt Romney standing here...?

If Hillary is a bane to Obama, Romney is the same for McCain. Ye Gods, the Republicans already had a shot at accepting Romney... and they REJECTED HIM OUTRIGHT. Huckabee ran a more successful campaign than he did, and with less money wasted.

Romney's still here because the party insiders still think Romney's a viable candidate 4 years down the road (McCain is expected, if he wins, to be a one-termer: nobody sees him running in 2012), and they want his resume burnished as best as possible. There are still people who think he's 'conservative' even though a majority of Republican voters didn't see that. Not to mention the fact his Mormon faith is still a sticking point for conservative evangelicals that make up the noisiest faction of the GOP.

That said, Huckabee would make more sense as a possible Veep... except that the OTHER noisy wing in the Republicans - the anti-tax crazies - aren't thrilled with him. There's a question if the Huckster and McCain get along well. And Huckabee has some baggage of his own...

The next set of names I hear are mostly Governors: Crist, Jindal and Pawlenty. Crist is popular among Republican Floridians (although some of his actions - Amendment One cough - is starting to catch up with him), but that popularity seems to end at the state border. The spectacle of Crist suddenly dropping his single lifestyle by getting engaged justkinda smacks of desperation to be more marketable to the social conservatives. Pawlenty is a major figure among GOP governors and his state is hosting the convention this year, and he tries to present himself as a big-time tax-cutter. The thing is, he's going to have to explain all the failures of funding road and bridge repair that led to people dying on the I-35 bridge. Jindal's name comes up because he's one of the few bright electoral successes the Republicans have had since 2006: winning the governorship of Louisiana (which conveniently shifted more Republican once all the poor Democrats got shipped out of New Orleans). His biggest knock is that he's 37: younger than Obama and even less experienced at being on the national stage. It would weaken McCain's arguments about Obama being inexperienced. It would look too much like a gimmick pick, rather than a pick based on performance/merit.

Past that, another name that comes up is Joe Lieberman. Okay. First off, while Lieberman has been incredibly friendly to the Republicans the past 8 years, his deal is that he's supposed to be the 'serious Democrat': the one guy the Republicans can point to and say "See? Not everybody hates Bush or the Iraqi occupation or the neocon foreign policy debacles." He's supposed to be on the Democrats' side of the aisle: the moment he takes the VP nomination from McCain is the same moment Harry Reid will be forced to kick Lieberman off the committees Holy Joe is chairing, and put someone less friendly to Bush in a serious investigatory role. It will actually diminish Lieberman's value and just make him yet another Angry Old Neocon.

Of the remaining possibilities... I admit, I was high on Sanford, the guy from South Carolina. Then he went and had a brainfart on national television that pretty much killed his reputation everywhere. Haley Barbour's name is solid among the Republicans, but his lobbyist history and the current scandals involving the apportionment of hurricane relief will draw the wrong type of attention. Governor Purdue (GA) is the next possible choice but lacks national recognition and there's no guarantee he would secure that state. Another possibility is John Huntsman out of Utah, but he's got the same problem Mitt has (Mormon) with the added problem that outside of Utah he's not going to improve McCain's electoral chances (Utah is so conservative it's the only sure state McCain has outside of Arizona). Grabbing any of his fellow Senators could cause repercussions with the fact that nearly every polling expert (including within the GOP) are predicting heavy losses for the party: if McCain should win, he'll be taking one more Senator without seniority/clout out of a branch of government that will be very low in membership and would be in dire need of leadership.

This doesn't leave McCain honestly with too many choices. Add to that the fact some Republicans see this as a failed election cycle anyway and would avoid accepting an offer, preferring instead to wait it out for 2012 (you don't hear from Kemp or Quayle anymore, do you? And outside of his anti-tax stances Kemp was/is utterly acceptable). Right now, all I see are Crist, Huckabee, or Jindal. If McCain takes Romney, he's doomed for certain. Everything else is a serious risk. Right now the smart money is on Crist being the pick.

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