As I sit here anxiously awaiting Barack Obama’s VP announcement, I feel less speculatory than usual. CNN is posting on the hour “We still don’t know who Barack’s pick is!” — and everyone’s trying to prematurely claim to know who he’s chosen or when he’s announcing. I’ve been following leading nominees since January… and the moment of truth is finally upon us. Friends and family have been calling lately, wondering who I think has the best chance. So here it is…
Will he pick Joe Biden? Gosh, I sure hope so! I’ve loved Joe Biden since the moment he said, “Let’s just be smart this time… I’m looking for smart.” He speaks so succinctly and yet hits the nail on the head every time. Some people find his off-the-cuff remarks to be slightly offensive, but watching him during the Presidential debates was such a treat. He’s the sort of attack dog Barack will need during the intense debate season. If a foreign policy wonk is what Obama is looking for, no one on the shortlist is better than Biden, who’s released foreign policy sound bites in the news every week, who’s chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, who is a jet-setting diplomat that recently returned from Georgia and who has a comprehensive strategy on the future of Iraq. If he wants someone ready for the presidency, this is a good fit. However, my instinct is that Obama won’t pick Joe. They had a few spats when they were running against each other that the Republican opposition is just waiting to cue up. Also, Obama’s likely looking for someone outside of Washington. I think Joe Biden doesn’t truly want to play second fiddle (he admits to having trouble with authority and being very independent-minded). He could have the role he desires as Secretary of State instead.
Will he pick Tim Kaine? Geez, I hope not. You may have noticed that my columns over at VicePresidents.com have been surprisingly light on the Virginia Governor, despite rampant rumors on other sites. Admittedly, I’m a little bit nervous, seeing as Obama’s been spending all his time in Virginia this week, he gets along terribly well with Kaine and Tim has yet to surface in the DNC speaker roster. On the bright side, Tim Kaine would echo Obama’s message of Fresh Change as a young guy who operates largely outside of Washington. Though geography is said not to be a huge factor in this election, it’d be silly to ignore the fact that Virginia is a hot battleground. He has some governing experience, Catholics like him and he doesn’t have any serious issues that would hurt the Obama camp. Yet, on the other hand, Kaine was mayor for two years and governor for two years… he’s just a baby! He’s also served as lieutenant governor for four years and on the Richmond City Council another four years, so he’s been around, but I just don’t think Kaine would be the best choice, given all the qualified applicants.
Will he pick Evan Bayh? While Radar is reporting this to be Obama’s choice, we don’t really know for sure but it would be my logical guess too. The extreme Liberals have started Facebook accounts against Bayh, arguing that he’s “too Hawkish,” but if you saw him with Tim Pawlenty last Sunday, you can see where this shrewd quality comes in handy. (It was great — he totally did his homework and slammed Pawlenty on voting against the surge, making him look so dumb!) He’s worked with Republicans on foreign policy issues before, which is essential for Obama getting any of his initiatives accomplished. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Armed Services Committee, he’d be more than ready to give the DNC speech on foreign policy. He has loads of experience as a two-term governor of Indiana and nine-year senator. If the only problem he has is that he’s made no “extremely notable achievements so far,” then the vice presidency is the perfect position for him to find his calling! Hey, it worked for Al Gore, didn’t it? Evan Bayh has been a loyal foot soldier for the Democratic Party for years and I really think it’s time he gets his chance to shine.
Will he shock the hell out of us? Some analysts say Barack is not above the shock factor of choosing a Hillary Clinton, a Kathleen Sebelius, a Sam Nunn, a Wesley Clark, a Bill Richardson, a Chet Edwards or a Jack Reed. If ever there were an election to operate outside conventional norms, this would be it. However, Obama doesn’t strike me as the type to go out of his way to appease anyone. He’s not going to pick Chet because Nancy Pelosi thinks it’s a good idea or Hillary because there are so many sour grapes supporters out there. I know there are a lot of Bill Richardson fans out there… and really, he is an affable ambassador… but I think he’d be another Dan Quayle kind of VP. Yes, Clark, Reed and Nunn have the foreign policy cred, but that’s it… they’re not the whole package Obama needs. And Sebelius? C’mon… who started this rumor? Seriously, let’s stop pulling names out of a hat. She’s a good governor of Kansas and has excelled on some domestic / economic issues, but I think people are obsessed with the fact that she’s simply a woman. Obama may very well pick one of these dark horse candidates but I’m not banking on it.
Less than 24 hours to go… it’s the Super Bowl of Veepstakes politics… Who are you hoping for?