Friday, June 15, 2007

Clinton-Obama '08?

The idea of Barack Obama as Hillary Clinton’s running mate keeps popping up. My friend Dan Coen wrote about it at and thought, based on how nice Barack is being toward Hillary in debates, the possibility may be higher than previously thought. While discussing VP choices certainly seems premature, so is everything about this campaign, so I thought I’d jump in with my opinion. I would be shocked if Obama ran with her. There are several key elements which will go into Hillary’s choice (should she have to make one):

1) Controlability – The Clinton campaign is tightly controlled (and no one has ever not used the word “controlling” about her) and whoever the VP candidate is, he must be on message and careful. Obama tends to drift a bit, expanding on remarks when asked, and that is the last thing they will want. This also would kill Bill Richardson’s chances, as he is notable for running off at the mouth.
2) Stature – The VP candidate can’t be too big. Not size-wise, but stature wise. Hillary has enough trouble getting focus with Bill in camera range, she can’t have a VP who people think should be the President. Obama could well run into trouble with this one, being a more compelling speaker and a warmer presence.
3) Demographic usefulness – Historically, geography was a key component of VP selection. But in a more mobile and homogenized culture, with a candidate who was born and raised in Illinois, first lady of Arkansas, and represents New York, geography is meaningless. What isn’t meaningless is help where the Presidential candidate is weakest, or at least not emphasizing the weakness by doubling it. Hillary’s weakness is white males, and Obama does not help there. Certainly she doesn’t need his help for the black vote, as polls show her as more popular then him there.
Given these elements, Obama is a pretty useless candidate for her, unless it’s part of a deal to get the nomination. The obvious choice is Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa, who left the Presidential race and endorsed her. He’s just experienced enough to be viable as a potential backup President and yet has no stature which would draw away from her. I would consider him the big favorite. The longer shot would be Wesley Clark – he’s been around the campaign track, has the military credibility which can only help a female Presidential candidate, enhances her anti-war cred, and is charismatically challenged, to say the least.

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Blogger sam.gurka5 said...

I'm surprised you did not mention the gender, racial mix as a deterrent to such a ticket unless you do not think it is.

1:47 PM  
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