Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 23, 2008
POLITICS: Obama's Sidekick

The Democratic race drags on, but for now at least everyone is still assuming that Obama's the nominee. With that in mind, we had a roundtable over at RedState on his likely running mates.

Of course, Obama has hired a veteran vetter for Veeps:

Obama has asked former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson to begin vetting potential vice presidential picks, Democratic officials said Thursday. Johnson did the same job for Democratic nominees John Kerry in 2004 and Walter Mondale in 1984.

Um, yeah, John Edwards and Geraldine Ferrarro were such great successes. Let's recall some of the things Johnson missed about the husband of Obama's favorite ex-Congresswoman. May he have similar success this time around.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:20 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

I read through the entire RedState roundtable, and was surprised that no one mentioned Evan Bayh, either pro or con. A Democrat who has twice been elected both governor and U.S. Senator from Indiana should rate at least a look, particularly when a non-entity like Ted Strickland is on everyone's short list merely because he won an election in Ohio that no Democrat could possibly have lost in 2006. Unlike Rendell and Richardson, Bayh has a reputation as a straight arrow, and a relatively moderate voting record (although, in possible preparation for a 2008 race and to shore up his liberal credentials, he voted against both Roberts and Alito). If the first rule of choosing a running mate is "do no harm," Bayh ought to be a serious contender.

Posted by: garyinfh at May 25, 2008 3:38 PM

Much mumbling about Webb, but a looser cannon I've never seen in a presidential race. That mouth and temper are in a class by themselves. I like the the guy, but it's unlikely Obama would hitch himself to such an explosive individual.

Posted by: abe at May 26, 2008 4:51 PM

Senator James Webb would ensure a landslide vicotry for the ticket.

Posted by: Patrick at May 26, 2008 9:06 PM

Webb would be great. He fills in all the points on which Obama is weak -- toughness, national security, bipartisan, etc.

Posted by: Magrooder at May 28, 2008 10:02 PM

Webb would be great. He fills in all the points on which Obama is weak -- toughness, national security, bipartisan, etc.

Posted by: Magrooder at May 28, 2008 10:02 PM

Of course, some (notably Daniel Larison at The American Conservative's Eunomia blog) have pointed out that by so conspicuously "fill[ing]in all the points on which Obama is weak," Webb only calls greater attention to Obama's deficiencies (national security, appeal to white working class voters, etc., etc.). Webb will have stronger foreign policy/national defense credentials than anyone McCain picks as his own running mate, but again, that disparity simply highlights the chasm between McCain and Obama on this issue. The sheer volume of Webb-related commentary on the Web in the last few weeks suggests that if Obama chooses Webb as his VP, #2 may overshadow #1, never a good thing.

For better or worse, Obama has been the center of attention during this entire campaign. It couldn't be good for him to have the press corps focus so intensely on Jim Webb and his prior writings, statements, etc., many of which are controversial enough (for a nominal Democrat) to generate several 24-hour news cycles worth of comment. (Unless, of course, in a breathtakingly Machiavellian maneuver, that's Obama's rationale for Webb: he would divert attention away from the Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, Mrs. Obama, the late and frequently absent Mrs. Dunham, et al., and instead point it at Jim Webb's musings 11 years ago in The Weekly Standard on women in the Armed Forces. Feminist Democrats will fulminate, but in the end, what can they do? Vote for McCain over the candidate of Hope & Change?)

In the end, choosing Jim Webb is a high-risk, high-return move -- much like nominating Obama himself. Obama is sufficiently interesting in his own right that what he needs in a running mate is someone who is (1) a plausible potential president, and (2) otherwise unlikely to wind up on the front page of the nation's newspapers. That's why I suggested Evan Bayh of Indiana in an initial comment to this post; the recent tumult about Jim Webb, both for and against, confirms my original sentiment. A colorful and quotable running mate is a bad running mate.

Posted by: GaryinFH at May 29, 2008 1:04 PM
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