Monday, June 02, 2008

Ideas Man First Annual Discussion Forum (Part Two)

Ok, so I recognize that my last post was a little abstract and might have suggested a discussion that only appealed to me.


Here's a different topic.

Assuming, Obama clinches the nomination later this week, who should he name as Veep? (In the interest of full disclosure, I'd be delighted, but I'm 6 --- soon to be 5 --- years too young; so no currying points with Ideas Man, something that I know is a goal for all of you).

To get started, here are some of the "talking points" along with my 2 cents (adjusted for inflation).

First, let's dispense with:

Hillary Rodham Clinton. I've made no bones about my dislike for HRC. But the nomination has been incredibly close and, at times bitter, so this is the obvious way to "heal" that split. Now, leaving aside my personal feelings for HRC, I still think it's a bad idea insofar as their styles and messages don't just not mesh but are opposed (each would pretty clearly dilute the "brand" of the other). Plus would they really be able to conceal their hatred long enough to present themselves as a "unity" ticket? Plus, I really think in their hearts of hearts they both know it's a terrible idea.

So let's move into the first category of candidates, who seem to obviate the problem of personal rancor while attempting to "heal the rift." Clinton supporters:

Ted Strickland. A popular governor from an important swing state (Ohio) brings in executive experience (well 2 years of it ...). From what I know about him, he seems likeable enough and appeals to that all important consituency of blue collar whites, who are apparently the only real Americans (I am proud of my elitism).

I haven't heard of Ed Rendell being talked about (he has a little more experience and is a former DNC and perhaps the paradigmatic Clinton hack). It seems to me that he'd be good for the same reasons as Strickland, but I'm glad that he's not on the list, because I really dislike him, even though I voted for him twice (the alternative was always way worse). He did a goodish job as mayor of Philly when I first moved here, but his two big causes as governor have been: expanding legalized gambling and property tax reform. Really? These are Democratic issues (when they both involve transfers of money to the rich from the poor).

Then there's the ex-Clinton supporter (Judas) if you will: Bill Richardson. Great executive experience and Hispanic (his name is pronounced Beeel Reechardson --- just ask Al Gore); and Hispanics have been trending almost as much to Clinton as blue-collar whites but they apparently don't matter as much. Now, you might say that this is racism --- I won't, although I'll think it --- demographically, the more interesting thing is that it shows that Democrats still can't buy onto the notion that if they sweep the West they can lose the South... I like him, and he really fills the "experience gap" the best of three I've mentioned. Plus, I was favorably impressed by his early-ish endorsement of Obama when I had written him off as a Clinton hack (Beeel Reechardson Super Star ....)

Now let's move into earlier supporters of Obama.

Here, we include. Janet Napolitano, the popular governor of Arizona. I'll follow the news media in pointing to the two most salient facts about her: she is a woman (would this heal the "rift" without including a Clinton supporter? Certainly partially, but I doubt fully b/c I think that the rift is as much about the internal divisions of Democratic politics as gender. But I've been taking to task for this elsewhere so I won't push it). Don't know much about her except that she's done well in a conservative place without becoming a "blue dog Democrat" but I don't think I need to research much more b/c now that McCain is the Republican nominee she is a remote pick.

What about Jim Webb? Obama's representative among angry white Appalachian men. As a Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat again, good cross-over appeal (might do better among some Southerners than McCain --- depending on who he nominates for Veep and how much Veep actually matters). Great integrity and smart enough, but a little too conservative for my taste. Despite being part of the post-90s democratic party, he has good experience; but I"m not sure he breaks enough with the demographics that have scarred our party. And lets not forget that he was vocally against women in the military when he was Undersecretary of the Navy, and although he's been open about the fact that he's mistaken, that wouldn't do great things for the gender issues that have plagued the party ...

Ok, so what about the uncategorizable candidates?

Here, first we have John Edwards who might parlay his third place into the veep slot. I like Edwards a lot and probably think of my own politics as the closest of anyone I've listed. Of course, there's the "been there/done that" thing and he claims he doesn't want the vice-presidency (inside money says he wants to be A.G. which I think he'd be great at and would hopefully use to start more vigorously enforcing labor laws and business regulations).

Then there's Michael Bloomberg. I have to admit he's my favorite choice, assuming he wants the job. Unlike Rudy Guiliani, he's actually done a great job as mayor of NYC; he's been a technocrat in the best sense of the term: someone who tries to use the tools of government to solve problems in a non-partisan way. Even so, I'm not sure that I'd want a Democrat turned Republican turned Independent for President but I think that both in terms of what he brings politically to the ticket and as a future shaper of policy, he'd make a great vice-president.

Granted neither Edwards nor Bloomberg will get rid of the "elitist" charge, but it's a bogus charge in the first place. . .

Finally, there

Joe Lieberman. Of course, there's the been-there, done-that phenomenon. AND THE FACT THAT HE SUCKS. Fortunately he is not really in the running (too busy kissing McCain's ass and stirring up controversies over non-issues like whether or not to talk to Iran).

Any favorites on this list? Anyone I'm leaving out?


Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

BTW, In case anyone doesn't love musicals as much as me, "Beeel Richardson Super Star" should be sung to the tune of "Jesus Christ Super Star" (even though I dislike hippies ...)

DOCTOR J said...

My preference would be for Edwards. I don't think he would take the VP position at this point, but I think that has more to do with his wife's illness than anything else

I would still vote for him for President.

Heather A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather A said...

I'm guessing it's none of the above. He's going to pick an unknown so that he can shape him/her to the Obama brand. This person will still be picked based on geography and experience, but I think it will be a public servant that hasn't been in the public eye as much. This makes the most sense because despite the constant media drone to the contrary, Obama doesn't need another "personality" to attract the dumb white males from Appalachia who are apparently drawn to Clinton. Most potential running mates, in particular Clinton, are going to detract from the no-more-politics-as-usual message. Which is why I agree with Larry Wilmore, The Daily Show's senior black correspondent, that Obama should pick Obama in a fat suit.

That said, I think there is a chance he could pick Wesley Clark or Evan Bayh (with my prediction leaning Clark just because the Senate is getting picked over enough as it is) if he goes for the olive branch nominee.

And I really think there's no way in hell that he'll pick Bloomberg, despite it being an excellent choice (and would make an already well-run campaign unstoppable in the business sense), because Bloomberg is a short, rich, Jewish New Yorker with a funny voice who wears pink sweaters. He's just too slim, neat and single for the hillbilly demographic that Obama allegedly struggles with. But I agree that it would be an awesome choice, and appropriate given the cross-politics. I also think that Obama would still win in November with Bloomberg on the ticket because unless he picks someone (e.g. Clinton) who detracts significantly from his message, he is in many ways untouchable.

Also I love Edwards as the nominee, even with my slight superstition that he would bring the Kerry/Edwards curse, but think it's unlikely and that he would choose to run for Pres with a dying wife, but not Veep.

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

I had forgotten about Wesley Clark. That seems like a possibility except that he fizzled so much in 04.

Now it remains to be seen if he'll give the slot to Clinton and if she really wants it.

DOCTOR J said...

Too bad we can't have an Obama/Obama ticket. I think Michelle Obama is the shiz-nit.

Dr. Trott said...

I just want to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE VP speculation. I think it's more fun than primary elections. It's almost like watching the Oscars and trying to guess who's going to win.

I have been surprised by the way people are talking about an Obama/Clinton ticket as if that makes perfect sense and is the best thing to do. NPR was all over that yesterday and I was unconvinced. Even if we don't like HRC, I think it isn't even a good idea for her career to run as VP.

What I think is exciting is trying to predict the person who it would be the most fun to see as VP, not the most politically productive.

Here's my short list, I'll leave out any editorializing:
1. Katie Couric
2. Maxine Waters
3. Ralph Nader
4. Bill Clinton
5. Barbara Boxer

Heather A said...

I read in this article in the New York Times that Obama formed a 3-person VP selection committee that includes Caroline Kennedy. I think she should pull a Cheney and recommend herself.

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

I once saw Ralph Nader with a Nordstrom bag. He is such a phoney.

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

Also, I concur with both "Obama/Obama" proposals. We saw Michelle at VU (Jasper was about 5 weeks old at the time). She was great.

DOCTOR J said...

Are there more forthcoming "parts" to this Discussion Forum?

DOCTOR J said...

Hey you, get off your Wii and post something, will ya??!!

Anonymous said...

I do like Heather's "unknown" prediction. I'm interested in Brian Schweitzer, Gov. of Montana. I watched an interview online of him on Charlie Rose and while he did utter the words "I love guns," he also talked about authenticity and how it's OK if we don't all have the same views. Plus he wore a bolo tie. He seems to have the certain something that Westerners have (as you guys know) - an optimistic, do-it-yourself, unfettered-by-history quality. He also has extensive though unconventional international experience through working to develop irrigation in numerous continents, and he speaks Arabic! (Bolo tie cancels out any silly right-wing concerns with this.) I feel like he, as they say, "doubles down" for Obama on the authentic, page-turning, unconventional, optimistic, and non-demonizing-of-your-opponent fronts.
By the way, this is Mary from NC. Thanks; VP spec is fun fun fun.

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...


Glad to see you here! Back when Heather and I first moved to Philly, we used to have a joke about how we were gonig to combine West-Coast sensibility and East-Coast sophistication (some sort of play on Northern efficiency and Southern charm). I still feel like a Westerner, but recently when Heather and I were in Seattle her friends commented on our fancy affectations (like pea-coats ...)

So maybe we've arrived).

Jennette said...

As always I'm late in commenting - somehow I missed this post. I think I agree with Heather that it will be some unknown, but that worries me a bit. A lot of HRC supporters were only supporting her because of Obama's "lack of experience", so choosing an unknown seems like it wouldn't help him in that area. Please realize I do NOT agree with this argument, I'm just saying what other people might think. As far as what I WANT, I definitely want John Edwards, whom I love almost as much as Obama. But I agree that he would be excellent as Attorney General, and I also agree with Heather's point that he would probably rather take care of his wife (one of the many reasons I love him).