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Friday, August 22, 2008

Parsing Obama's VP Statement

Yesterday, Barack Obama announced that he had decided on his VP nominee, but he wasn't quite ready to reveal who he had chosen. Last night, he called the runners up on the short list to break the news, but did not tell us who he called. One such runner up, apparently, was the recent dark horse pick Texas Rep. Chet Edwards, who is said to be a finalist, though I can't imagine Obama will so blatantly ignore the lack of a foreign policy heavyweight on his ticket.

Obama gave some vague clues about who he had chosen. Here are his words:

"Obviously, the most important question is: Is this person ready to be president?" Obama told "The Early Show" on CBS. Second, he said, was: "Can this person help me govern? Are they going to be an effective partner in creating the kind of economic opportunity here at home and guiding us through some dangerous waters internationally?"
And, he added: "I want somebody who is going to be able to challenge my thinking and not simply be a 'yes person' when it comes to policymaking.

So, does these criteria reveal who the selection is? Yes.

Tim Kaine is not ready to be president. He's in his first term as Virginia Governor. A Kaine selection would reek of politics and electoral math, rather than the well-being of the country. If it was Kaine, Obama would not have made this statement. Same with the Chet Edwards selection.

Joe Biden has never been vocal about disagreeing with Obama. Biden has been as vehement as anyone for Iraqi withdrawal, and he endorsed Obama shortly after his dropout after the Iowa Caucus. Same with Richardson, though he waited a bit longer on his Obama endorsement.

That leaves three contenders: Evan Bayh, Wesley Clark, and Hillary Clinton.

Of the three, Clark and Clinton are probably most ready to lead the country.
Of the three, Bayh and Clinton have the most experience handling domestic issues and could help Obama govern.
Of the three, all three were supportive of Clinton in the Democratic Primary until the bitter end.

These clues, believe it or not, point to Hillary Clinton as the most likely VP nominee. However, based one everything else we know, it seems unlikely that he'll turn to her.

Which leaves Bayh and Clark, which was exactly where we were two days ago. And considering there has been minimal contact between Obama and Clark, and no one in the media has been perceptive of any leak that Clark could be the guy, all signs still point to Evan Bayh, as stated earlier this week on PPFA.

We're in the last hours of not knowing... Check back after the announcement.


caleb said...

Now that we know Obama decided to tap Joe Biden instead of the McCain-like maverick of Wesley Clark, we see Obama (like JFK) actually wants his VP to be a Washington insider, someone established in the Senate who can maneuver legislation through Congress.

Both The Economist and NYT columnist David Brooks think Biden was Obama's best choice.

"As for disadvantages, there are plainly a couple," The Economist writes. "Mr Biden is the consummate Washington insider at a time when people say they are heartily sick of inside-the-Beltway politicians. Like Mr Obama, he has no executive experience whatsoever: the dangers of having two senators on the same ticket are obvious when one considers that no sitting senator has been elected since 1960 (though then the Kennedy-Johnson ticket, like this one, was a young senator-old senator match-up)."

It's Kennedy-Johnson all over again! (Just reverse the religions of P and VP; Obama's background in the United Church of Christ isn't so different from Johnson's background as a Disciple of Christ.)

sptmck said...

See my selection analysis over at 1%. I

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