Monday, July 21, 2008

And The Democrats Vice President Nominee Is....

Talk about the likely choice of Vice President on both the Republican and Democrat side is beginning to dominate the airwaves. On the Republican side, questions of age, gender, race, and ideology are all weighing heavy. Interestingly, those are the exact same questions being asked by the Democrats. I want to focus on what the Democrats are going to need from a Vice President nominee:

* The National Journal has identified Barack Obama as the most liberal member of the US Senate. He needs a running mate with solidly moderate credentials. It is next to impossible to find a national Democrat who is conservative, so we will keep our expectations modest.

* Barack Obama is one of the youngest people to be the nominee of his party for President. Furthermore, he looks younger than his age. Having a running mate that looks more mature would bolster his ticket.

* A huge number of Democrats are furious over the situation with Hillary Clinton. They see her as jilted by the party itself. Some, I'm sure, are entertaining Clinton as VP, but others still are concerned about the field day the Republicans will have using film footage of the two candidates (Obama and Clinton) pounding each other during the primaries. However, does Obama need a woman to help placate the female members of his party?

* One of Obama's biggest weaknesses is foreign policy experience. We live in a dangerous world and people want mature and decisive leadership to face international challenges. Foreign policy experience on the ticket would be very helpful.

* Obama (like McCain among Republican states) found it very difficult to win in states that Democrats must line up in November. In those traditional Democrat strongholds, Hillary often found herself on top. Finding someone strong in these areas could be helpful.

The list of candidates being mentioned most are Sam Nunn (former Senator of Georgia and an established foreign policy leader) and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, an enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton who could help mend fences there. Both of these are perceived moderates and Nunn can help with the problem of Obama's perceived youthfulness. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is about the only female mentioned with much frequency and she does nothing to help Obama in some of her biggest weaknesses. There was also much talk of Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. He has a significant amount of foreign policy experience and he serves as a chief executive in the office of governor. However he has not and is not likely to catch on at this point.

So, who will be the Democrat's nominee for VP? My gut still says Hillary is the only one who can heal the divide in the party. Get ready for a Republican field day!
Would you like to get a weekly email summarizing Kevin Price's political and economic content? Subscribe to the Houston Business Review at Info@HoustonBusinessShow.com.

Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Blogger Philip Meyer said...

Hillary as VP would be a disaster

Since Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee there has been unprecedented campaign to force him to choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate. I believe choosing Hillary would be big mistake especially in light of this effort to force his hand.

The Clintons have their good points. While I have problems with Bill’s ethics, I think his time as President was good for the United States and while I don’t think he deserves all (or even most of) the credit for the peace and prosperity that characterized the period from 1993 to 2000, he certainly deserves some. He made what I consider to be sound policy decisions. As for Hillary, I agree with her stated positions on many issues. However, none of this means she would be a good selection for Obama as his running mate. The reasons for not choosing her are clear.

Fundamentally, there are several factors for any nominee to consider when selecting a Vice-Presidential candidate. Obviously, the Presidential nominee would want to choose someone could assume the job of President but realistically, many potential Vice-Presidential nominees meet that criteria. The two more fundamental questions are 1) Does the Vice-Presidential pick increase the ticket’s chances of winning the general election and 2) Would that pick be a good fit in the future Administration?

As nears as I can tell Hillary is a wash on question 1. Several polls have shown Democrats favor putting Hillary on the ticket but most of them are likely to vote for the Democratic ticket anyway. More telling are polls of all voters and the most recent I could find suggested Obama-Clinton doesn’t poll much differently than Obama by himself.

On question 2, Hillary is complete flop. Vice-Presidents are supposed to be loyal to the President above all else and the Clintons have never played second fiddle to anyone, it is hard to imagine them starting now, especially to a man Hillary suggested was unprepared to be President. More than likely, the Clintons envision Hillary as Vice-President with greatly expanded powers and a portfolio for Bill as well; In effect, a tri-Presidency with Obama as the odd man out. That would be a disaster as this nation doesn’t need three chief executives.

Finally, there are the Clintons themselves. It might be tempting to take Hillary’s recent warm praise of Obama at face value but the problem is, how would one know? While even the most honest politicians fib a bit, Hillary and Bill have a record of mendacity that puts them pretty low in the trust scale. If someone isn’t accustomed the getting shot at, they tend to have a pretty good memory of when they did. It is hard to see Hillary’s repeated claim about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire as anything but a brazen lie. Also, because all politicians pander, pandering itself isn’t a disqualification but the shamelessness of the Hillary is amazing. There isn’t any serious Democratic policy analyst who favored cutting the gas tax and Hillary Clinton probably didn’t either. However, this spring she came out for a cut in the gas tax after having talked about the need for alternative energy and reduction in green house gases. Lower fossil fuel prices are the quickest way to make those goals harder to achieve. It would have been one thing if she called for a second stimulus package to, among other things, help mitigate the impact of higher gas prices. At least that could have been targeted to low income folks and because the recipients could spend the money on whatever they deemed necessary, the incentive to conserve would have remained. However, Hillary just couldn’t resist demanding a cut in the gas tax that would have benefited millionaire owners of Hummers, because she saw political gain. Not only was it dishonest given what she said she believed otherwise, it showed a lack of leadership and a lack of courage that Obama commendably showed on the issue.

Bill’s mendacity is well documented but perhaps he was being the honest one in this case, when he reportedly told someone Obama could kiss his behind if he expected support. All the more reason for Obama not to want a Clinton in his Administration.

9:54 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home