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Monday, August 18, 2008

Clues to the Democratic VP Nominee

As the Democratic National Convention (August 25-28) draws near, now only one week out, we must finally admit that the Democrats know exactly who their Vice-Presidential nominee will be, they just haven't told us yet. Simply put, two months of vetting will not be coming down to a last minute decision. Barack Obama and campaign insiders know who will be raising Obama's hand in Denver on the fourth and final night of the convention.

Who will it be? Admittedly, my prognostication skills in this matter have been lacking. Dating back to December, my leading predictions for Obama's VP partner has rotated from Wesley Clark and Joe Biden (December 20), to Sherrod Brown and Jim Webb (June 12), and most recently to John Edwards and Tim Kaine (July 29).

Well, the final clues are rolling in and I'm about to go full circle on the predictions. With the steady crystallization of the convention speaker schedule, not only can we eliminate many VP candidates, we can synthesize the new information with previous knowledge to make an informed prediction.

First, let's eliminate some names. The Vice-Presidential nominee will give his or her speech on Wednesday night. Therefore, everyone scheduled to give speeches on Monday or Tuesday will not be speaking Wednesday. This is a standard conclusion, consistent with every national convention in modern history. These Monday and Tuesday speakers are:

Monday - Michelle Obama (probably not a VP candidate) and her older brother Craig Robinson (ditto) will speak, as the theme of the night will be to discuss Senator Obama's life story. Also speaking will be Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, what with it being his city and all. The heavyweight politicians of the night are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. While Pelosi was never a contender for the #2 spot, she has been the leader of the party since the Democrats took back the House in the 2006 midterm elections. Senator McCaskill, as a charismatic fresh face who could hold onto women voters, was considered by many to be on Obama's long list for the VP nod, but her appearance on Monday excludes her from consideration.

Tuesday - This is the day that eliminates nearly the entire speculated list. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey will all speak on Tuesday. Tuesday night's theme will be the economy and the environment.

The two most notable speakers of the night are enormous heavyweights, one modern and one future. Former Virginia Governor and current Senate hopeful Mark Warner has been given the honor of the Democratic Convention keynote address, which, in long-term presidential politics, means we have our first contender for the 2016 Democratic nomination (don't forget Obama making his leap at the 2004 convention). The other speaker Tuesday evening will be someone who needs no introduction - Hillary Clinton. Lately, she has drawn some attention away from her party's nominee, but her insistence and Obama's acceptance on a convention roll-call doesn't signal anything other than Obama placating his vanquished foe in return for the support of her and her primary voters. Translation: She has not been offered the VP spot.

Wednesday - Here's where it gets interesting. The night's theme will be foreign policy and international affairs. Among the speakers are many who are not being considered for the Veep spot (West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy, and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth).

Four other names remain on the queue, possibly five. Also speaking Wednesday night is former President Bill Clinton, but he's constitutionally ineligible (22nd Amendment) to be on the ticket. The remaining three (possibly four) are:

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh
Delaware Senator Joe Biden
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
(no one else scheduled except for "VP nominee").

If the Obama campaign is thinking clearly, meaning it has no plans on bringing back a Monday/Tuesday speaker, then the VP candidate is one of those three men, OR it's someone whose name isn't even on the convention docket, and since the theme of Wednesday night will be foreign policy, Wesley Clark definitely fits into the possible myster slot.

So, Bayh, Biden, Clark, Richardson. Who will the VP nominee be? I'll address this with my next post this week.

Thursday - Barack Obama will speak to the largest crowd in convention history. It is not as impressive as it sounds, and it might not even be sound strategy. More on this at the end of the week! See you soon.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you back in action!

Tyler said...

I still think they have a surprise in store. Hillary is still the best pick to unite the party.

Geoff said...

Richardson gives him the most depth and wins Latino's. Get ready, it's going to be a Black/Brown ticket and the Republicans will hold onto the White House.

Nice break down, though.

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