Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dews Veep Round-up Part 1

I figure, I'm the only person on this blog not to have done some sort of "ranking" on my own, so as its political commentator (of sorts I suppose), I should do something in the skein of a Top Five VP prospects for Obama and McCain...

My rationale for these picks are a few different criteria:

1: Can the VP deliver a state(s) that the candidate would have trouble with.
2: Does the VP deliver some additional skill set that is needed to balance out current candidate.
3: Politically speaking, does the VP balance out the ticket while not endangering the political base of the candidate's core followers.
4: How many Skeletons are possibly in this VP's closet?

That being said, here we go.

1. Mark Warner (D-VA).

Positives: The man can do no wrong. Quite honestly, he told the democratic party he knew how to win the south and then proceeded to turn Virginia from one of the die-hard red-states, to in-play, to now probably a democratic win this election cycle in Congressional as well as Presidential elections.

Warner would add not only the ability to win the South, but win BIG in the south. He has proven credentials with both parties and can walk that delicate line in the middle of the road.

Negatives: I'm going to draw some heat for this, but I can't get past the idea that there is something seriously flawed with this man's background. He should be Democratic Nominee this year and should have thrown his name into the ring when he saw the weak field of candidates, but he cited "family reasons" as holding him back... I'm suspicious...

Now, if I am just paranoid about this and he IS truly clean, then he additionally cannot be the VP given that he is just more likable in the long-run then Obama will be. Obama comes off as Elitist at times, whereas Warner has a dangerous combination of "Southern charm" meets the Bush-like "Would rather have a beer with" quality.

Yes I know he is slated to be VA's next Democratic Senator, but the man has executive experience, and should not be tainting his record by becoming a low-ranking cog in the Senate.

That and the man is the Key-note speaker at the convention, a sure-fire sign that he is the party's heir apparent (Sorry Hillary fans, it just ain't happenin).

WOW Factor: 5 of 5
Risk Factor: 3 of 5 (he outshines Obama, becomes more popular)

2. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Positives: Hard-core centrist that can put Indiana and some Midwestern territories into play for the democratic party (and thus hope to pick up even more gains in the very conservative mid-western states).

He does everything right and has his entire career... Which I suppose I have to put into the "Positives" for him (more on that later). He is well connected with the "Party establishment" (ie Clintons), but hasn't alienated the new wing of the party (Dean, Obama and their cohorts). This obviously speaks to his ability to communicate extremely effectively to all crowds and keep everyone happy (Lord knows those people can't or won't).

Negatives: He is quite possibly the most boring pick available...

Seriously, this guy smacks of a better-looking Midwestern version of John Kerry (with far more centrist political values though).

He has spent his entire career not "rocking the boat" (again much like Kerry) and thus has not established himself as anything other then a Democrat that happens to represent a republican state.

He also has made it very clear that he wants to be President one day as well, so with that and his history with the Clintons, I don't see him as a safely motivated pick for Obama at this point.

WOW Factor: 1 of 5
Risk Factor: 0 of 5 (What risk? He has no strong opinions that I can find.)

3. Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Positives: Experience, experience, experience.

The phrase "Been there done that" can be used for all facets of government when it comes to Biden. He is one of the longest tenured members of the Senate and as such has had his pick of most any committee chairmanship he has wanted.

With that comes an exceptionally seasoned candidate with the experience to round-out the relatively inexperienced Obama candidacy (especially in Foreign affairs, as Biden has Chaired the Foreign Relations Committee).

He also tends to add a bit of flair to the ticket in that he can be a bit unpredictable in taking chances on issues (which can be listed as positive or negative, but for the "interesting" factor, I list it as a positive), so he may be more interesting to listen to when we're tired of the "Hope and Change" message later in the election cycle.

Negatives: His age is always a factor in this, as he may not be able to campaign as much as Obama may need him to (granted, he is running against someone with even more health problems, but that may be "fixed" when McCain picks a VP as well).

The biggest issue I have with Biden though, is that he represents a state that Obama doesn't need help with in Delaware. Not only that, but it doesn't seem like he brings any tangible assistance in ANY state that Obama needs help in.

That alone is enough for Biden to not be a serious candidate in this search, in my humble opinion.

WOW Factor: 2.5 of 5
Risk Factor 2.5 of 5 (He's fun to listen to, but he could get them in trouble with off-cuff crap too)

4. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Positives: Another strong Virginian Politician (haven't been this many for 200 years!) that brings strong centrist values with some real backbone to the ticket.

I like what Kaine brings in that I view him as a fighter that can go toe-to-toe with the Republican attack dogs, while not harming his image in doing so. That is something truly difficult to find in any candidate.

The most valuable aspect of Kaine's nomination though would be his work as a Missionary to Honduras. Quite honestly, having someone on the Democratic side that is that firmly connected to religious "values" (I shudder saying this honestly though) immediately puts a wide swath of states into "playable" for the Dem party in the Presidential, as well as the Congressional races in 08.

Negatives: Kaine is still a relative newcomer to the national stage (as is Obama for that matter), having only become Governor of Virginia 2006. This doesn't exactly inspire much confidence in rounding out the experience of a ticket like that as McCain can run his entire campaign bragging that he has more experience in Foreign affairs then the entire Democratic ticket combined.

Kaine also could rub some of the party faithful the wrong way with his wishy-washy stands on pretty hard-core Democratic issues, such as Abortion and some aspects of Civil/Gay Rights. I think the possibility is there to discourage some of the party faithful to stay home rather then support someone that they just don't agree with.

WOW Factor: 3 of 5
Risk Factor: 4 of 5

5. Bill Richardson (D -NM)
Positives: Foreign Affairs genius with close ties to the Clinton camp that presents a way for the Democratic party to capture the ever growing and ever more powerful Hispanic vote?

What is there not to love about someone that has Executive experience in a mostly Republican state, but also has been recognized for his skill set by being appointed as the US Ambassador to the UN as well as Secretary of Energy?

Negatives: Skeletons up the wazoo and rumors of Alcohol abuse...

Its sad that there is so much possible drama surrounding Richardson, because quite honestly he fits Obama's needs perfectly (over all the candidates named before) for both experience and skill set.

Its possible that the character issues with Richardson are just rumors (and I really hope they are), but obviously the Obama campaign can't afford to have drama coming from the VP office, unless its balanced by the value they're getting (which in Richardson's case is quite high obviously).

All in all, Richardson represents to me the ultimate Wild card candidate, in that his abilities and experience are perfect for the Obama Campaign, but there is that huge IF, in that his past (and possible present issues) cannot surface in a meaningful way in order for him to provide said skill set.

WOW Factor: 4 of 5
Risk Factor: 4.5 of 5

Tomorrow McCain's top 5...


SayHey Kid said...

I have serious doubts that Warner has the skeletons in his closet. If he did, the VA Republican Machine would have exposed them back in 1998 when he ran for Senate vs. John Warner, or in 2000 when he defeated that douchemonger, Mark Early. His initial reason for not seeking the Dem Nom was family obligations. Remember, he has young children (and an infant if I recall). And im sticking to that.

I do think Tim Kaine is the Ultimate Warrior for the Democrats. You forgot to add that he is a DEVOUT Christian, yet, manages to seperate that from politics. You are correct tho, his inexperience could hurt and he did get a massive boost in 2006 from Warner's heavy campaining. AND, he survived Jerry Kilgore's Bush-like tactics.

I still love Biden but he has no state garnering value.

As for Richardson, to hell with him. I really cant stand the guy.

Dews said...

Like I said, I hope the gut feeling is totally wrong about Warner, as he is easily the best candidate for President still out there, not to mention VP, but it is just a feeling...

Richardson to me still represents the best combo of experience and skills without a serious threat of overtaking Obama popularity-wise like a Warner would.

I get a little scared when any politician calls themselves a devoutly religious person, but can seperate politics from religion... That just smacks of disingenuous to me (and his maker for that matter) to believe strongly in something but not allow it to make some of your decisions?

SayHey Kid said...

I think if Warner had skeletons, the state would have exposed them. Especially now, with Gilmore getting his ass reamed in the polls. Keep in mind, the State of Virginia might be Blue, but the local levels are very much Red.

Im not saying Kaine being ubber religious is a good or bad thing, Im saying his judgement has been influenced by good politics and not religion. If he was a religious nutbag, he would have caved to the state dominated religious right long ago.

Keep in mind, Bill Clinton is an ubber relgious guy and managed to seperate church from state. Kaine has pretty much taken the same attitude.

Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe said...

I think that its possible to separate religiosity from politics to a point. I think the interplay between the two depends on where one thinks the two matter. There are a lot of folks out there (myself included) who believe that religious belief can inform personal conduct and how a person ought to treat others, but do not believe that religion should be used to chastise or direct others. Those kind of folks might be willing to missionaries (like Kaine) and spread what they thing is something wonderful, but would be entirely uncomfortable with the idea of legislating morality.

Think of Jimmy Carter. Very religious guy, not into legislating his morality. In fact, legislating morality is just about the worst way to spread one's religion. No one likes to be told what to do.

I'm dubious of whether a VP candidate has ever delivered a state on his own. Gore didn't deliver the south. Edwards didn't deliver the south. Cheney delivered in a different way. Quayle was a total toolbag. G.H.W. Bush was an earlier Cheney. I think the entire idea is based upon Johnson delivering Texas to Kennedy, and Johnson was a titan of Texan politics.

I think that right now, folks like Dean and the 50 State Strategy have put the South in play. Obama should focus on his most glaring weakness, the one thing McCain really can nail him on: inexperience. Biden is the right call.

SayHey Kid said...

Well, Johnson didnt neccessarily "hand" Kennedy the South. Back then, Texas and other South Western states were much more liberal then than they are now. You can thank Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act for that one (which destroyed the Southern Democratic Party). But I know what you mean Dewey. It seems the trend of "uniting the Union and Confederacy" is just one giant misconception.

I think the only way Obama could win is to incorperate conservative values in his running mate. Someone to balance his Ultra-Liberal perseption. Kaine or even Hagel could do that. But I think Obama is moving away from the whole Hagel "partisanship" ticket.

SayHey Kid said...

Oh, and im not saying the Civil Rights Act was a bad thing. Just that every action has a reaction.

Dews said...

I thought about adding Hagel to the list, but I just don't see Obama doing a kind of "Unity" ticket.

I still don't like Biden overall for his experience, as he tends to be a dangerous speaker at times when he thinks something is funny and/or not insensitive, and if you have been around for as long as he has, you should know better.

If you're going to go with experience and a wildcard like that, I still say Richardson and the possible Hispanic vote it may have a much stronger chance of garnering.

Dews said...

And my biggest issue with Kaine was not him being religious, it was his borderline democratic values on Abortion and Gay Rights.

You can't afford to make the party faithful at all scared in this election.

SayHey Kid said...

Richardson would add more novelty to the Black/Hispanic ticket. The luster seems to be fading as it is and those Clinton supporters who Obama is desperatly trying to win over, hate Richardson even more than Obama.

My issue is that this election cannot be about whats hip or trendy, it has to be about experience and who can clean up the mess left by Dubya. (and no, McCant is not the answer either)

If Obama wants to have a shot at winning this, he needs someone who is strong where he is weak. As for Bidden, he said one stupid thing along time ago. If he is being considered for VP, then obviously it didnt bother Obama.

And would it hurt to have a Democrat be outspoken? Alittle backbone even? McCant and his goons are going to attack and in years past, the Democrats have had no defense.

Jack Gonzo, MD said...

Then I think if Obama is serious about winning and choosing someone that helps him to that end he has two choices.

Kathleen Sebelius or Jim Webb

SayHey Kid said...

Both would be great choices.