Skip to comments.Veep Peek: Guide To VP Selection
Posted on 07/14/2008 4:36:35 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Franklin D Roosevelt's vice president John Nance Garner referred to the job as "not being worth a warm bucket of spit" - he used another word - but it seems Washington is abuzz with the ultimate parlour game: Who will be Obama's and McCain's vice presidential choice?
Historically "Veeps" (vice presidents) have been an interesting lot.
Since the assassination of William McKinley, when Theodore Roosevelt took over as the nation's youngest president, seven former vice presidents have either by election, assassination, succession - or in the case of Richard Nixon elected eight years after a failed bid - taken the oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America".
Although both John McCain and Barack Obama have unique and appealing virtues they both come up a bit short as heavyweight contenders in the main event.
Whether the selection of a vice presidential running-mate really affects the outcome of an election is a well debated topic.
Presidents have used different criteria to decide who will make the best partner on the political journey to the White House, for example, which running-mate will help them:
- fill gaps in their resume on national security or economic expertise, - win a particular state or region, - win over a key group like women, Hispanics or the youth vote.
Sometimes the choice of an experienced and polished running-mate backfires, as it did for Michael Dukakis in 1988 when he chose Lloyd Bentsen.
Bentsen's stature and presence had many people asking: "Why isn't the ticket reversed."
In that same year, the fractured rhetoric of novice Dan Quayle did not prevent the first President Bush from assuming the reigns of power from Republican icon Ronald Reagan.
As recently as 2004, the Democrats were salivating to watch the smooth-talking litigator John Edwards dissemble the rather laconic Dick Cheney in the debates.
Just the reverse happened and Cheney literally made mince-meat out of "Handsome John", weakening the already faltering John Kerry's bid for the White House.
Since everyone including Aunt Millie from Philly has their own opinion on this Veep Pick, here goes mine:
Obama's Challenge - Obama needs to address his "youth" and perceived "experience gap", especially in the areas of national security, foreign policy and the economy.
He also must improve his standing with white, working class voters, win over the Hillary wing of his own party and maintain his image of "change" and a "new kind of politics".
As the first Black candidate for president, he can either go with a very traditional white male candidate or make this entire ticket a true historic first by selecting a woman or another minority.
Obama must make his VP selection before John McCain since the VP will be officially selected at the Democratic Convention, which occurs just before the Republican Convention.
As a result, Obama must anticipate McCain's choice in this political chess match. The lists are endless and growing every day.
With about six weeks to go before the Democratic Convention, the top contenders appear to be:
Among the former Democratic Candidates for President - John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd.
Among the Senators (who were not candidates), Chuck Hagel (Republican), Claire McCaskill (MO), Evan Bayh (IN) and former Senator Tom Daschle.
There is also Dianne Feinstein (CA) who has not been mentioned but has significant national security expertise, was the Mayor of San Francisco and was a strong Hillary Clinton supporter.
Among the Governors (who were not candidates) are Tim Kaine (VA), Kathleen Siebelus (KS), Ed Rendell (PA), Ted Strickland (OH) and Jane Napolitano (AZ).
Strong on Defence - Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, Former Secretary of Defence William Cohen, General James Jones or General Anthony Zinni.
Then there are the "Wildcards" - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Al Gore and Colin Powell.
Of these choices, at the moment, Edwards, Biden, Richardson, Hagel, Clinton and McCaskill are probably some of the most interesting options.
John Edwards is a seasoned campaigner with tremendous working class appeal. He shares Obama's values and vision and is the traditional white male candidate.
It is not clear whether he would do this again. This "GQ-style" presidential team is reminiscent of the 1992 Bill Clinton/ Al Gore ticket.
Joe Biden who has spent over two decades in Congress is one of the leading voices in foreign policy.
He brings a mature and seasoned approach to complex issues on the international front. He could also be considered for the position of Secretary of State.
Bill Richardson is the Governor of New Mexico and as such has executive experience.
As former US Ambassador to the United Nations, he also has had a broad portfolio including significant international experience successfully negotiating with foreign governments including North Korea, Iraq and Cuba.
Last, but by no means least, Richardson would be the first Hispanic VP could help Obama win that key voting group as well as The West.
Note: If Richardson shaves his beard it will be a sign he is in play.
Chuck Hagel is a Republican Senator from Nebraska, a decorated Vietnam Veteran who opposed the War in Iraq.
Choosing Hagel would send both a message of stability - an experienced Washington hand - and someone who can match McCain in national security, foreign policy and public service.
Hagel clearly has the gravitas to be president and this choice would show Obama is willing to reach across party lines. Hagel is going to Iraq with Obama this month.
Hillary Clinton has proven she is a tough and formidable campaigner. She brings with her a large group of committed woman voters, working class white voters in key battle ground states but lots of baggage from the "Clinton Years".
Hillary would make it a truly historic ticket as the highest profile female choice. She clearly has the ability to go head-to-head with any choice McCain may make especially if he chooses a woman.
She would even be a cleaver choice for John McCain if she were willing to cross party lines.
Unfortunately Clinton fell into the Primary trap, attacking Obama on the record in ways that would delight the Republican strategists if she were the VP choice.
And then there is Bill. If Hillary could not successfully control him to help her win the nomination, it seems unlikely that Obama will take on this challenge. If Hillary starts to "distance" herself from Bill this is a sure sign she is in the running.
Claire McCaskill is a first-term senator from Missouri. She is an ardent and early Obama supporter. She appears as a high-profile Obama surrogate on a regular basis attracting strong support from women. She delivered Missouri for Obama.
McCain's Challenge - McCain needs to address the age question and his experience gap on economic issues. McCain needs to win over the conservative "religious right wing" of his party while at the same time appealing to the centre. He needs help with fundraising and his appeal to women.
McCain's choice must bring a "spark of excitement" while at the same time clearly be ready to be president on day one. McCain needs to separate himself from the Bush Administration and find a way to counter the charges that his would be a Bush third term.
Among the former Republican candidates for President are Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson.
Among the Senators (who were not candidates) Lindsey Graham (SC), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) John Thune (SD) and Joe Lieberman (Independent and former Democrat).
Among the Governors (who were not candidates), Charlie Christ (FL), Tom Ridge (PA), Tim Pawlenty (MN), Bobby Jindal (LA), Mark Sanford (SC), Hailey Barbour (MS) and Sonny Perdue (GA).
Then there are the "Wildcards" - Carly Fiorina (Former CEO of HP), Chris Cox (SEC), Meg Whitman (former E-Bay head), former Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman and Condeleezza Rice, Secretary of State.
Of these choices, Romney, Huckabee, Lieberman, Pawlenty, Jindal, Crist and Fiorina are probably some of the most interesting options at the moment.
Mitt Romney was the former Governor of Massachusetts - a Republican in a very "blue" state. He was a successful businessman, a mega fundraiser and a favourite with the Republican business community.
Romney beat McCain in Michigan and could help him deliver this state in November. Romney clearly has the ability to be president on day one.
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and minister is a favourite of the "religious right". Huckabee has considerable campaign skills and the ability to deliver the conservative message in a very appealing way. Huckabee has the some youthful appeal combined with executive experience and beat McCain in many southern states.
Joe Lieberman is an independent senator from Connecticut who was a Democrat and still caucuses with the Democratic Party.
He was also a former VP candidate with Al Gore in 2000 and has been a staunch supporter of President Bush on the Iraq war.
Lieberman is traveling with McCain and will speak at the Republican Convention. He could help win the Jewish vote for McCain and could also help attract independents who lean right.
Tim Pawlenty, the Governor of Minnesota, won his second term as a Republican governor in a "blue leaning" state. Pawlenty was a McCain supporter before it was fashionable and stuck with him throughout the primaries.
He has managed to strike a successful balance between Republican values and a traditional Democratic agenda in areas like the environment. Pawlenty would bring youth, likeability and executive experience to the ticket.
Bobby Jindal is the Governor of Louisiana and the first governor of Indian ancestry. Jindal is a young, minority candidate with fresh new ideas and has turned around his state in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
He is a Republican rising star and would make the party look more inclusive. His choice would add excitement to the McCain campaign. On the other hand, the choice of such a young and inexperienced running-mate who is a "heartbeat away from the presidency" would make it harder to attack Obama on this same issue.
Charlie Crist, "The Man with the Florida Tan" is the popular governor of the 'Sunshine State'. He was instrumental in delivering the key state of Florida for McCain in the primary. He has succeeded Jeb Bush and has become a favourite in the state and the party.
Carly Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett Packard and McCain's spokesperson on key issues like the economy. She is an articulate and exciting surrogate who is very appealing to women. A choice like Fiorina could provide both the economic expertise and the charisma that the campaign currently lacks.
It is not clear which path either candidate will take in making this choice. Due to the difficulties within both parties and the shifting concerns of voters, the candidates may take their time and announce their choice at their respective conventions.
This would also increase the excitement and give a boost to the media coverage.
*omney care is working fine!
~ Baghdad bob.
Stop stealing my shtick I used for *uckabee.
How’d ya like them $50 abortions ?
It’s Huckster, *omney’s liberal Southern GOP-killin’ twin.
Lieberman won’t be running for VP again.
Just like Edwards won’t either.
One shot is all you get in modern politics.
The days of Cleveland, Stevenson, and Nixon are gone.
I wouldn’t count Hilary! out...
That doesn’t change the fact that you lifted my * and misapplied it in a terribly misguided way.
So stop pulling a Biden.
Rush didn’t help Fred because the all-knowing Maha Rushie understood something that many of us here couldn’t: that Thompson was a non-starter and a sure-loser that couldn’t generate the excitement needed for a successful campaign.
He saw it in Romney though.
Fred let us all down once already.
Isn’t once enough? The stakes are much higher in November than they were in January.
Well, I could call *omney something else, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for a family website. :-)
Consider the premise of my post you were responding to: you only get one shot at winning. A loss spells the end of your political career. Hillary doesn’t want to waste her one shot on the bottom of a losing ticket with Obama. Nor does she want to be Obama’s VP because that would rule out a run until 2016, when she’d be 68 and either a sitting or defeated VP, neither of which have very good prospects for victory. Does she really want to run as Mondale or Al Gore?
She will wait out 2008 and try to make a comeback in 2012 after Obama loses.
What, a Mor*on?
Is that what this is about?
Except that McKinley was a Republican too.
I liked Matt Blunt...but he’s apparently retiring from politics.
Eric Cantor. He’s a congressman though and it seems McCain will probably go for a Governor.
It’ll most likely be Pawlenty
Nice try. I don’t give a crap about his religion. The issue is that the man remains a lying liberal phony.
I thought that Fred might not even be considered but the longer this thing runs the more he appears to be a solid choice. He was always a solid choice for me. Fred would be a safe choice and he would be good for the role of McCain defender. I’m not sure if any of the others could really pull it off and some would be horrible choices if McCain wants to make nice with conservatives.
And you remain completely without any basis in fact.
Both good choices. McCain Thompson sounds good and so does McCain Palin. McCain should get the VP choice over and done with.