Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama Vice Presidential Choice:

Now that the primary season is over, and the general election only five months away, the most highly anticipated decision to follow shall be the completion of the opposing tickets. Over the next month or two – before the conventions – we shall hear about the Veep stakes ad nauseum. Let me put my two cents (on Obama) in now.

The conventional wisdom on Obama, is that his greatest weakness lies in attracting white blue collar workers. This mantra has been repeated often since the Texas and Ohio primaries, and the theme carried through to West Virginia, South Dakota etc. If we hold this conventional wisdom to be true, Obama shall need to pick a VP who can blunt the media’s portrayal (and voters’ assumption) that he is an “elitist.” This is the calculation that the Clinton people are hoping his team would use, and she awaits in the bull-pen, waiting for the call. 18 million people (many of them white blue collar workers) vote for her.

There is a lot of baggage that comes with picking Clinton, and the consensus amongst the pols seems to be that an Obama/Clinton ticket is unlikely. Moreover, picking a Washington insider (whether Clinton, Richardson, Bayh, Biden, Dodd, or any other Senator/Representative) would not gel well with the overarching theme of his campaign: “Change Washington”. It would seem that the stars are aligned for a Governor. A governor would also have the additional benefit of providing some “executive branch” experience to the ticket. There are a number of Governors whose names have been posited as potential VP’s, my states very own Janet Napolitano, Kansas’ Kathleen Sebelius, Virginia’s Tim Kaine, Ohio’s Ted Strickland, and Montana’s Brian Schweitzer.

Governor Schweitzer is the most intriguing choice for me, he comes from a region that Obama is targeting, he’s a very popular governor in a conservative state, and has no once of “elite” about him. Moreover, he is well known for his strong reform agenda, and out side the box thinking. Moreover, unlike Strickland of Ohio, he endorsed Obama and not Clinton. It is unlikely that Obama would pick a VP from a state that is likely to go republican, but it would be nice to see an outside the box cow boy as VP.

For the record, my money is on Tim Kaine of Virginia.


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