Veepstakes

Don't blame me--I didn't come up with the word. But since political punditry means (apparently) bloviating on things over which 1) you have no control and 2) you have little, if any special knowledge, I'm going to chime in with some thoughts on the VP spot for Barack Obama.

First of all, via Bark Bark Woof Woof, a game from Salon where you get to answer some stupid questions and they'll tell you who you should favor for the VP slot. It follows a pretty basic process-of-elimination algorithm--what do I care which side the nominee parts his or her hair on, or even if there's hair to part? But it did get me thinking about ways to narrow the field, so I've come up with some basic--and fairly obvious, I think--ground rules for selecting a running mate.

1) No Republicans.
Salon's list includes Colin Powell, which I find appalling for a couple of reasons. Even if I chalked up his speech to the UN to being misled, the story about how he was in the meetings where the "principals" discussed torture disqualifies him. The last eight years have been an unmitigated disaster, and the vast majority of it has been under sole Republican rule. The idea that we should put a Republican on the ticket is Rush Limbaugh quality stupid. Obama would be shot within a week.

2) No Senators from states with Republican governors
The rules vary a bit from state to state, so there might be room here for an exception, but in general, the governor gets to choose the replacement for a Senator who leaves his or her seat. And while the Democrats will likely enlarge their margins this year, those seats are really hard to come by. So sorry, Chris Dodd, much as I love you and respect you, you have to stay in the Senate. The same goes for you, Claire McCaskill. Even though there's a good chance the Democrats will win that governorship this November, it's not a sure thing, and it was too tough to get that seat in the first place. Same goes for Bill Nelson (though at times I wonder if it would be a real loss) and Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Those are my rules. Now for suggestions.

1) Ask Clinton first
She's earned at least the offer, even with the race-baiting slip today. While the race is all but over, she represents an awful lot of motivated people. I don't think she'd take the slot, but she deserves at least the consideration.

2) Ask another woman
Lots of people have been worried about this, that Joe SixPack will look at it, scream"too much change!" and run into the waiting arms of John McCain. I don't think so--I think that Clinton has inured enough people to the idea of a woman in the executive that that's not going to be an issue. What's more, it may invigorate those Clinton supporters who are afraid that a woman won't get a shot in their lifetimes. The two big names being thrown around are Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius, and both should get major consideration.

3) Avoid a military man
This goes against the conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom got us into Iraq. You were right on that, Senator Obama, so continue to trust your instincts. We already have one crappy war to get out of--no need to feed the fears that we might end up in another.

4) Don't count on the candidate bringing you a state
It's nice if it happens, and if you're stuck between two candidates, maybe use it as a tiebreaker, but don't make it the priority. People are voting for President, not Vice-President.

That's a lot of bloviating. If you have any suggestion for additions to this, please leave them in the comments.

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