Thursday, June 12, 2008

Obama-[Fill-in-the-Blank] '08

There's been quite a lot of buzz in the media about the next step in the '08 pre-convention process: the selection of a vice president. McCain and Obama are keeping relatively tight-lipped about who they and their committees are considering (relatively meaning CNN had an article this week mentioning some names, and names have been floated of some people McCain invited out to his ranch in Arizona, many of whom would be likely VP candidates). This all of course means that the speculation is through the roof on who will be picked. So I thought I'd get in on the speculation too and make my suggestions for vice presidential candidates, in case someone on the search committee (Hello there, Caroline Kennedy!) happens to read this blog.
I have previously discussed my thoughts on the idea of a "unity ticket" with both Obama and Clinton on it, and I still hold to my belief that Obama should offer Hillary Clinton the nomination, and that Hillary Clinton should respectfully decline it, and that this should be publicized in the interest of party unity.
Instead of the vice presidency, I think that Obama, if elected, should nominate Sen. Joe Biden for Secretary of State and Gen. Wesley Clark for Secretary of Defense. Each of these men, to my knowledge, have impeccable credentials in the fields of international relations and national defense, respectively and collectively, and would serve well in these posts. I also think that John Edwards should be nominated for Attorney General, due to his experience as a prosecutor earlier in his life, and the fact that he could use the job as a platform to continue to be a spokesman for the poor, maybe push for increased justice for poor people in the legal system, where they are often shunted to the side because they can't afford lawyers.
I think it is plain to see that Obama needs a vice president with some serious experience in government/leadership. Aside from the need for an experienced sounding board, it would make up electoral ground for him with those who feel he is not experienced enough. My top two choices for him, in no particular order, would be Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. Both have gubernatorial (executive) experience. Both have legislative experience (Richardson served in the House of Representatives). Richardson was also UN ambassador and Secretary of Energy under the Clinton administration. Bayh is a moderate, fiscally conservative, different brand of Democrat that could bring some different perspectives to the campaign, who also prizes traditionally Democratic issues like education, which was a very strong issue for him while governor of Indiana. Politically, Richardson could bring in the Hispanic vote (previously strong for Clinton) and Bayh could possibly bring in the working-class vote, which was strong in Indiana (also a Clinton stronghold).
Other possibilities that I think could be good are Michael Bloomberg, the Independent mayor of New York City, Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia (strong record on military issues, although some of his past comments could be subject to negative scrutiny and be detrimental to the campaign), and possibly Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, another important previously Clintonite state. We will see soon enough, however, who will wind up being Obama's choice. Anyone else want to weigh in on their guesses and/or suggestions for Obama's vice president?

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