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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Barack Obama Veepstakes (Part 3)

Time for Part 3 of the Barack Obama Veepstakes.

Part 1, which ranked the candidates 10-6, can be found here.
10. Wesley Clark
9. Russ Feingold
8. Joe Biden
7. Kathleen Sebelius
6. Michael Easley

Part 2, which ranked the candidates 5-4, can be found here.
5. Bill Richardson
4. Brian Schweitzer

And now, onto the Final Three. Have your predictions ready?

Here we go...

3. Hillary Clinton (Senator, New York/Democratic rival)
Clinton's chances of being the Vice-Presidential nominee to Obama nomination has gone from 1 in 50 in February to about 1 in 4 now. Obviously, no one gives Obama a better chance to win back Clinton supporters than Hillary Clinton. Moreover, if the top qualification for Vice-President is the ability to assume the office of President upon the drop of a hat, Hillary Clinton has shown that she is the Democrat that most Democrats want in that seat.

However, despite the conclusion that Clinton gives him the best chance to win back Clinton supports, that is not saying he cannot win back those Clinton supporters without her. It's likely that, in time, the bitter divisiveness from the Democratic Primary will be healed, especially when Obama's platform is compared with John McCain's. Wounded Clinton supporters, if they consider themselves good Democrats, cannot possibly prefer a McCain presidency to Obama's. They can wine and cry and talk about Michigan, but the fact remains that the final decision to pick a President still remains and there are sides to choose.

There's also the classic VP nominee issues. Northeast liberals have never been helpful on a ticket. Her region is not in danger of flipping. Most importantly, even only as a VP nominee, she still attracts otherwise apathetic Republicans out to the polls to grit their teeth as they pull the McCain lever.

Onto number 2 in the Barack Obama Veepstakes...


2. Jim Webb (Senator, Virginia)
Senator Webb is close to tailor-made as Obama's running mate.

Webb's geography: Webb, the junior-soon-to-be-senior Senator from Virginia gives the Democrats a great chance to swing the state. Moreover, as a borderline southern state, attempting to win Virginia could double as making a run at the entire South. While some states might be untouchable, a successful Virginian Senator could do a lot to either turn out Democratic votes down south or at least temper the already tepid excitement for John McCain.

Webb's military background: With John McCain's Vietnam experience serving as a stark contrast to Obama's life of civility, the issue of serving ones country could be a major one in the general election, as it was recently with the GI Bill. It will be more difficult, however, to take swipes at Obama's lack of military service if Jim Webb is stumping for Obama across the country. Webb graduated from the Naval Academy, became a decorated combat veteran during Vietnam, served in a sub-cabinet defense position in the Reagan Administration before serving President Reagan as Secretary of the Navy. Simply, Jim Webb knows the military, and gives credibility to Obama.

Webb's ideology: Webb is sees eye to eye on Obama with his most important issues - a responsible withdrawal from Iraq and repealing the tax cuts of the Bush Administration - but Webb finds common ground with the Deep South and Midwest on one of the most important issues to those regions: Gun control.

Webb's appeal: In 2006, Jim Webb defeated incumbent George Allen for his senate seat in a huge upset. Allen was the future of the GOP and Webb took him down.

It is perhaps Webb's broad based appeal that makes him the ideal vice-presidential candidate for Obama. Much has been made of Obama's impending difficulty to win back Clinton's core supporters, like women and the elderly. However, rather than pigeon-holing these demographics, rather than narrowing the scope on specific targets, Obama would do well to widen and blend those target demos.

Webb is very popular among the white, middle class mainstream voter that Clinton seemed to be dominating down the stretch of the Democratic Primary, especially in states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and South Dakota. An Obama/Webb ticket has the potential to attract the working middle class and every demographic into which it splits.

There are only two strikes against Webb's probability, the former of which is nearly negligible and the latter of which is significant. First, Webb has even less experience in the Senate than Obama with 1.5 years to Obama's 3.5. As a team, they have about one-fifth of the federal lawmaking experience of John McCain. Moreover, both Democratic Senators, if their ticket was victorious in November, would leave their seat vacant for a chunk of their first 100 days in the executive office, which could hurt when it comes time to whip some votes to pass early legislation.

Second, with potentially disastrous results, is Webb's disposition, which is often said to be tempestuous and, at times, misogynistic. With winning back Clinton's female and elderly supporters a priority, a short-tempered sexist might not be the way to go. The thing is, it's likely that most of the rumors concerning Jim Webb are untrue, or, at the very least, archaic, but rumors could be enough to sink the Democratic chances in the fall.



Which brings us to the #1 Vice-Presidential nominee for Barack Obama...



And for that, you'll have to check back in tomorrow.

3 comments:

cyberthrush said...

like other sites, you've left off Colin Powell...

Anonymous said...

Was the spelling of "wine and cry" intentional? Kind of like it that way...

IC said...

Thrush: Come on... Powell?

Anon: Yes. Me too.

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