Thursday, November 09, 2006

Clinton - Obama

Now that the 2006 elections are out of the way, speculation has already begun on the 2008 elections. Many a candidate is likely to run, but the most titillating are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. So much so that Clinton-Obama t-shirts are already up for sale. On paper this looks like a dynamite ticket, but when political considerations are taken into account it does not look so. Apart from the: “Woman as Commander in Chief” and “Minority in White House” complications, there is the cold calculus that goes into selecting a VP. And these do not favor Obama (if Hilary wins nomination).
Consider these factors taken into account in VP selection: Geographical, Ideological, Experience, and Party Unity.

Geographical balancing is typically considered a very important issue. When Kennedy picked Johnson, it was to balance his Northeastern lineage with a Southerner, the same goes for Kerry/Edwards. Clinton and Obama are both from Illinois, (though Clinton represents New York) and represent Northern States, both that are solidly Democratic. Considering the “50 State” strategy that Governor Dean is said to be advocating, having two candidates from the same geographic/non-competitive area may not make much sense.

From an Ideological perspective, both candidates are reliably liberal. Ms. Clinton shall be trying to paint herself as a moderate, and having another Liberal on the ticket may not be wise. Moreover, the 2006 election has shown that moderate to conservative Democrats can win in the South/Red/Purple states (Casey, Webb, Tester, Mccaskill etc..) In addition, to reconcile the warring factions within the party (and avoid a Zell Miller type situation), Clinton could consider taking a moderate to conservative as her running mate.

From an experience point of view, one wonders if it would be wise (considering the “Woman as Commander in Chief” problem) if picking a political neophyte as a running mate is the way to go. Having someone with considerable foreign policy/security policy credentials (ala Cheney), may blunt this criticism. As would having a running mate with some executive branch experience (Governor) or significant Legislative experience.

Conventional wisdom would thus dictate that Ms. Clinton pick a moderate, with foreign policy, and wide political experience, from a Red/Purple state. EVAN BAYH anyone???


Blogger Tabitha said...

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12:45 PM  

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