The blogosphere is lit up with people speculating who Barack's veep will be. I previously predicted a Hillary win--and predicted that Ohio governor Ted Strickland would be her Veep choice. A Hillary win seems less likely every day. The momentum is certainly on Obama's side, so let's speculate for him. Shall we?
1. HRC. This is the most obvious, and to some, the least likely choice. Thing is, they just don't like each other. Hillary feels that Obama took her rightful turn, and Obama feels that HRC is trying to sabotage him. Not a match made in heaven. But likability isn't everything.
Fact is, Obama needs Hillary's supporters to win the election: and many of them have said they would stay home or even vote McCain if Obama is the nominee. By choosing HRC, he could begin to mend a lot of hurt feelings and a few fences. Besides, they both seem to bring in two different constituencies within the Dem party. A united ticket could theoretically reach out to both of them. Not to mention that Hillary is HUGELY popular in necessary swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and of course, FLORIDA. She consistently beats McCain in those states while Barack has been struggling.
Of course, Obama may figure that would lose some of his most ardent supporters who share an intense dislike of HRC. Some hate her so much they will not support him if he chose her to share the ticket. Others may fear that she and her husband would try to manipulate him once in the White House ala Dick Cheney, but I don't think Obama is prone to manipulation like our current commander in chief. Finally, picking HRC could undercut his message of real change, especially since he campaigned against the status quo she partly represents. I am dying to know what he decides about this choice.
2. Senator Jim Webb. Former Marine. Former Navy Secretary under the GOP god Ronald Wilson Reagan. The new VA senator has great credibility with veterans--not just with his background, but with his signature initiatives to make veteran's lives easier. This is due in large part to measures that would have given them mandatory rest (unsuccessful) or the brand new GI Bill (successful--which McCain opposed by the way). Certainly, his addition to an Obama ticket would help in two ways: shore up national security credentials, and help put a 2008 swing state teetering on the brink into the Blue column. But if he doesn't pick Webb, there is another good Dem to choose from this state:
3. VA Governor Tim Kaine. Kaine was among the first to endorse Obama, which is a big plus when a Hillary tsunami seemed likely. Obama and he genuinely like each other; and besides, it's not like Kaine will run again (VA only allows one-term for their governors). And, as with Webb, it would put VA in play. Another bonus: although it's always a good idea to pick a veep from a different region, a ticket with a Midwesterner and a Southerner is a particular good idea since that is where the battleground will be this year.
4. The SWING STATE GOVERNORS: This group includes Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, or PA Gov. Ed Rendell. Yes, they are all Hillary supporters, but that makes the deal even sweeter. This is a way to reach out to HRC supporters if Obama just can't stomach HRC. More importantly, it would put these necessary swing states in play. By the way, if that is the thinking, then would definetly pick Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland out fo the three. PA will most likely go Dem anyway, although it won't be a sure thing. Iowa is important but doesn't have as many electoral votes as others. McCain, however, can't win without Ohio. Of course, besides Ohio's 20 electoral votes, Ted doesn't bring much else to the table. No military/nat. security credentials, same region, and there is really no chemistry between the two.
5. Gov. Bill Richardson. Would definetly put New Mexico in the Blue column come November, has extensive foreign policy experience, and would certainly help in bringing Hispanics over who have so far backed Clinton. Not the best public speaker and obviously not the best campaigner, however. Could be eaten up in a veep debate if McCain picks a smooth talker like Huckabee.
6. John Edwards. You keep hearing about the angry, blue-collar white men? John Edwards reaches them like no one else. Even though Obama's problem with these voters seem to be contained to the Appalachian region, John Edwards has a massive following of believers that would really enhance Barack's appeal and really show he is the candidate of change--unlike if he picked HRC. John Edwards, however, has no foreign policy experience. The fact that he lost in the past two elections also would give Obama some pause, and may decide he needs a fresh new face.
7. Senator Chris Dodd. Strong on foreign policy-- he served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He is also strong on domestic issues, and he's a favorite of the Democratic left base. Negatives include that he is already from a blue state that will go Obama anyways, and bringing on a deep-blue New England senator may not be the best strategy to court needed indie voters in the South and West.
8. Gen. Wesley Clark. A Hillary supporter who also has some real military credentials to boot. He would also likely put Arkansas into play. This would be a good balance for Obama, but I honestly think that Obama would choose Webb before he picks Gen. Clark.
9. Senator Joe Biden. No one know more about foreign policy than Joe. He would eviscerate any of McCain's veep choices in debate when the talk focuses on terror and the Iraq War. Of course, Biden isn't from a large swing state. Besides, if Obama is going to pick another Senator, I think there are more compelling reasons for HRC or Webb to get the call.
10. SURPRISE!!: Some unlikely ideas are Chuck Hagel, former Republican Senator from Nebraska. Hagel is the GOP what Lieberman is to the Democrats. Hagel hates George W. Bush, hates the war, but is a conservative nonetheless. He could potentially bring disaffected GOPers and right-leaning independents into Barack's camp. Of course, like Lieberman, he is very partisan with everywhere else (anti-abortion, anti-universal health care, etc.) Therefore, very unlikely. I've also heard Mike Bloomberg-but I just don't see a billionaire on the ticket helping Obama very much. Finally, I have to say I don't see Janet Napolitano, current AZ governor. She can't really put Arizona in play since McCain is on the opposing ticket, and any of her strengths are trumped by any number of people already mentioned. Another longshot, although she has a strong following, is Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. She is from a deep red state who underperformed in her response to the State of the Union, so I don't think she will be on his shortlist.
Who do you think it will be? The decision is coming sooner than you think....