Let’s be honest, this election is the Democratic party’s to lose, specifically Barack Obama. The amazing thing is, it is actually a distinct possibility. The Democrats aren’t very good at choosing “winnable” candidates, but that is a discussion for another day. The topic at hand is who are the Vice Presidential choices for Obama.
Before we get to names, let’s discuss what attribute Obama needs in a running mate. First, Obama needs someone with ridiculous experience. Lack of experience is Obama’s biggest weakness. Also, he needs a person who can keep Clinton’s voters in his camp, who is fairly moderate, and has military or defense credentials.
The other question we need to ask is who is the best veep to help Obama win vs. who is the best veep for the Obama presidency. This is extremely important, as we get into the top choices, here is why:
1. Hillary Clinton. If Obama chooses Hillary as his veep, he is a shoe in for victory in November. He keeps Clinton’s voters in his camp, thus eliminating a huge potential voting block for McCain.
However, in the same way that Hillary would be great for getting him elected, she would be the absolute worst for him personally while he is President. The last thing Obama wants is a Clinton (Hillary or Bill) breathing down his neck saying “well, this is how we did it in the ’90’s”. Obama needs to and must make a complete break from the Clinton’s and begin his own era in the Democratic party. If I am Obama, I take the risk of a loss; there is no way I choose Hillary.
2. Jim Webb, Virginia Senator. He is an extremely popular Senator from a swing state. A state the Dems have an excellent shot of winning and taking from the GOP. He also is a military man and worked in the Reagan administration. He is a moderate Democrat as well.
However, he, like Obama, has very little experience. This could be his death knell. Obama must have an experienced VEEP.
3. Joe Biden, Delaware Senator. He has a ridiculous amount of experience and would actually be a solid President. He also is among the most experience in terms of international affairs. Also, he is a white male (like Webb) and a typical US politician. Usually that is a bad thing, but considering Obama, it might help even out the ticket.
His big weakness however is that he is divisive (the GOP HATES him) and really excites no one.
4. Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania. He has enough experience and is a governor, thus he has executive experience. Additionally, Pennsylvania is a state that is being targeted by John McCain in November, choosing Rendell would likely keep PA in Dem hands. (Note, there is a rumor that Tom Ridge, the former PA Governor is at the top of the list for McCain’s veep; I think it would be a terrible choice).
5. Gen Wesley Clark. He is a solid Democrat and a former Military general. He could potentially bring in a significant chunk of GOP voters whom don’t like McCain, but are wary of Obama’s defense credentials.
– Evan Bayh
– Michael Bloomberg
– Chris Dodd
– Bill Richardson
– Kathleen Sebelius
– John Edwards
One of the positives for Obama as he searches for a Vice President is that his veep choice is less crucial than McCain’s. People are excited about Barack and don’t need as much of a reason to vote for him. On the other hand, I don’t know anyone who is excited about a McCain Presidency. McCain needs to make waves with his veep pick, or at least choose a person that will help voters to logically vote for him.
The stars seem aligned for Obama as of right now. But the GOP was smart and chose the only candidate that could win for their party (which is a sad reality for me to come to, as I have a man-crush on Romney). John McCain has a very real chance to beat Obama, so Obama should not be too comfortable about his chances.