The long awaited VP Blog. Who is it going to be? I appologize in advance, but this is a long one. These are just my random thoughts, it is most likely the case that I will be completely wrong and will have to sing a new song once the Vice Presidential Nominees are announced. So do not hold this against me. I don’t expect McCain to announce his pick until after Obama announces his. I think the Republicans want to wait and see what they are up against and how to balance that ticket. However I do expect the nominees to be announced in the next month (mid-Aug).
I am a believer in picking a VP candidate that balances your ticket. So when I look at Obama he needs someone with more experience and a background in foreign policy or national security. He could also use someone from the South and a moderate Democrat. Senator McCain needs to find a young (but not too young that it highlights his age) Governor of a swing state. He also needs a strong conservative who has economic and domestic policy experience.
I am also a believer that it is not a good idea to have two Members of Congress on the same ticket. It is too easy to construe the way someone has voted on a particular bill as negative. For example, when you see an ad that says, “John McCain voted against providing healthcare benefits to poor children” what they don’t tell you is that was part of a larger bill and it was a bad bill. It is too easy to pick one small aspect of a large bill and use it against a Member of Congress running for the Presidency. And let’s face it; your average citizen doesn’t do the research on these legislative issues rather they walk away thinking Senator McCain hates poor children.
So, when I have a member of Congress on the ticket I like to balance them out with a Governor. I think experience running a state government might be similar to the experience needed to run the country. Again, this is just how I look at potential nominees.
Okay, let us look at the field:
The Dream Ticket – is dead. The minute Obama started helping Hillary raise money to pay off her debt it was over. She will not be the VP nominee (nor do I think she really wants it). She may become a cabinet secretary. I have also heard rumors of a possible appointment to the Supreme Court, should an opening become available. However, there is a part of me that thinks she wants to go back to the U.S. Senate and see how well Obama does in his first 4 years (if elected). She may not want to be too closely attached to his administration so she can be a future challenger should things not go well.
Kathleen Sebelius – Gov. of Kansas. I don’t think she has a shot in hell. Hillary supporters are not going to allow Obama to put a woman on the ticket who is not Hillary. How do you justify that? Not with Sebelius. Additionally, it is not likely Kansas will vote Democrat in the presidential election and she lacks foreign policy experience necessary to round out the ticket. If it were me, I would cross her off the list.
Joe Biden – He has served is the Senate for 36 years representing Delaware. He is well respected and chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is very strong on foreign policy and national security. He is also in his 60’s. He provides balance to Obama’s ticket by countering the youth and in-experience charge. He is also relatively moderate. One problem is he doesn’t want to be Vice President. He has publically stated he hopes Obama does not ask him because he does not want to serve as VP. However, he did say that if asked, he would serve his party and his country on the Democratic ticket.
Evan Bayh – is a US Senator and former 2 term governor of Indiana. (Some people think Indiana is in play in the election…I am not so sure). He is well respected, has experience running a state government, and was the youngest governor of Indiana. He is good looking and relatively young. He was also a big Clinton supporter, which could help appease the Clinton contingent of the party.
Bill Richardson – Gov. of New Mexico and former Secretary of Energy under Clinton. He has a lot of foreign policy and executive management experience. He is Hispanic and could help with Obama’s Hispanic problem. However, I don’t think he has a shot in hell because he really angered Clinton supporters when he decided not to back Hillary. Many supporters felt that since he was a close friend of the Clintons and former Secretary in Bill’s Administration he should have backed Hillary.
Mit Romney – Former Governor of Massachusetts. He is viewed as a fiscal conservative and has economic experience. He is a Mormon. This could cause problems for McCain as the conservative base of the Republican Party is already concerned that McCain is not “religious” enough. Adding a Mormon might accentuate this problem. Additionally, Romney has a history of changing his position on key Republican issues (abortion, gun control). Also, I just think he is plain boring.
Charlie Christ – He is the Governor of Florida, a major state in presidential politics. He is well loved by Floridians, former state Attorney General and is viewed as tough on crime. He also has a background in education policy. He belongs to a church and would be seen as “religious.” Would he help deliver Florida? I kind of think McCain will take Florida anyway.
Rob Portman – He spent 12 year in Congress representing Ohio. He also served in the Bush Administration as head of the Office of Management & Budget. He is viewed as strong on economic issues. He is from Ohio, a major swing state in the upcoming election. He is in his early 50’s so he is old enough to be viewed as wise and experienced, but young enough to contrast with McCain in a positive way. He is well liked and is also strong on trade policy. My only concern with Portman is that as a former member of the Bush Administration a McCain-Portman ticket could easily allow the D’s to continue saying that if elected it would be another Bush term. This type of ticket could be easily tied to an unpopular President.
Bobby Jindal – His is 37 years old and serving his first year as Governor of Louisiana. He is an Indian-American Rhodes scholar who has served as Assistant Secretary for the Louisiana Health & Human Services Department as well as a Member of Congress. Jindal is seen as an up and comer in the Republican Party. He would be an out of the box choice for McCain which is appealing when you are running against Obama. McCain doesn’t need an experienced person to round out his ticket so a young guy like Jindal might be okay. However I worry the contrast between Jindal & McCain standing side-by-side might highlight McCains age…not a good thing. And let’s be frank here…how many people have heard of a non – corrupt politician from Louisiana. I mean I give him the benefit of the doubt…but they better vet him good. We don’t need a scandal.
Joe Lieberman – Not going to happen. It sounds exciting..to have a mixed ticket…a Republican and an Independent (former Democrat) on the same ticket. Lieberman is well respected on the Hill and a close friend of McCain’s. However he is socially liberal, wasn’t a very exciting VP nominee for the Democrats last time around, and the Republican Conservatives would freak.
Tim Pawlenty – He is a relatively young two-term Gov. of Minnesota, an important battleground state in this year’s election. He paid his dues in the Republican party when he stepped aside (at the request of Dick Cheney) and let Norm Coleman run for Congress in his place. He is considered a strong conservative. He is strong on economic issues and ran on an economic/budget platform in Minnesota.
Who’s it going to be?
It is hard for me to determine who I think McCain will pick and who I think he should pick. I am starting to feel like his going to pick Romney, but I don’t like that ticket. I don’t think you can get more boring than a McCain-Romney ticket. I think it would be exciting and out of the box for him to pick Jindal, however this ticket worries me a little bit because it is not a safe pick. I really like Rob Portman, but I am worried the Bush ties might be too much. So, I hope it will be a McCain-Pawlenty or a McCain-Portman ticket, but I fear it might be a McCain-Romney ticket.
I think Obama’s two strongest picks would be Joe Biden or and Evan Bayh. I am a little less invested in this one as it is not my party.