Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Getting Close

With the days beginning to dwindle away until convention time, both candidates find themselves searching for a colleague to place on the lower half of the ticket. A ticket must be well-balanced, countering strengths and weaknesses in order to sell it to the American electorate. What McCain needs at the bottom and what Obama does however could not be more different.

Senator Obama is in the tougher position of the two. He is severely limited by the Clinton machine and not selecting her would deal a serious blow to his self-touting "uniter" image. For a show of party solidarity he needs to choose her and let bygones be bygones. However there is the risk (I'd say a fairly sizable one) that the Clintons would outgrow the boundaries of the Vice Presidential office which would result in a co-presidency and needless to say a Constitutional crisis.

Senator Obama's people know this and understand the risks associated with adding a Clinton name to the ticket. For this reason they are creating a short list of their own with another woman's name near the top, Kathleen Sebelius.

Sebelius is the current governor of Kansas in her second term and has massive popularity in a traditional red state. If Obama is serious about his 50 state victory strategy then she needs to be considered. She also has ties to Ohio as her father was governor there in the 1970s. As all the pundits know, no republican has won the presidency in modern American history without winning Ohio.

While there are several other candidates being tossed around as potential VP nominees, one of the most interesting comes from Nebraska in the form of Chuck Hagel, a republican senator.

Hagel has a very distinguished career in public service and has worked inside the Senate with Obama in the past. Again this would drive home the point Obama is trying to sell as "uniter"; a man beyond partisanship who nominates a member of the opposition party to be his VP. While I do not see this as a feasible scenario it is worth contemplation.

McCain has solidly outlined what he needs after he made his gaffe several months ago to a room filled with New York Times "journalists" (using that term quite loosely) while admitting his lack of knowledge on the economy. Unless this summer offers up some miraculous economic turn around it is destined to be the primary issue come November. McCain, a man so qualified in terms of foreign policy expertise, needs to select Governor Romney to balance the ticket.

Romney knows the economy and can win over disenchanted conservatives who need to rally around the GOP nominee. However Romney might have personal objections to joining the maverick. The primary became quite bitter and personal towards the end and I am not yet convinced all wounds have healed. Romney surely has presidential aspirations of his own and he might choose to prepare for 2012 rather than having to stomach a second loss in 2008.

While McCain does not have a lot of diversity within the party to work with if he so chooses, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas would have to be near the top. She is a very accomplished woman who would certainly be able to handle herself against the barrage of attacks the moveon.org liberals will engage in during this election cycle.

There are a number of other governors (Pawlenty, Jindahl, Crist) but I do not see them as viable options. Senator Lieberman is also mentioned in many circles but McCain would not want to alienate the party even further by choosing a northeast liberal.

Obama is in the more complex scenario as his list of accomplishments is non-existent. He needs to choose a veteran of the political arena who knows the system and can sell it to the people. In short, an elder white statesmen who has a wealth of foreign policy experience and is part of the Democrat establishment.

Take away the teleprompter from Obama and listen to the train wreck which ensues. Take away his "original" ideas on health care, the economy and climate change which have so obvioulsy been plagiarized from any Ivy League civics textbook. The people are not left with very much. The Dems know this and will be pushing hard for Mrs. Clinton to join in and coach the freshman to victory.

1 comment:

Charlie said...

Senator Clinton does bring a large amount of baggage to the ticket if Obama picks her. I agree that Senator Hagel would be a fascinating choice.