Saturday, June 07, 2008

Best Bets for Obama's Vice President

When selecting a vice president, two factors are most important: one, that the person make a good Vice President, and, if necessary -- a good President; second, that the individual help the Presidential candidate win the election.

Hillary Clinton, IMO, would not be a good choice for Barack Obama. She would bring in, perhaps, more older women voters, and possibly, a few more blue-collar white males. However, she would probably cause the loss of many GOP voters who would like a choice other than Bush III, but have no stomach for Hillary Clinton. I think these GOP defectors are very important. In addition , though, Hillary might make an uncomfortable VP for Obama, conceivably sniping at him and carrying the feeling she should be in the driver's seat. Bill Clinton would gain influence/interference as he conferred upon himself the title of "Co- President". Bill was a decent President -- much better than many Republicans believe, but not as good as many die hard Democrats proclaim. Obama needs to be President on his own.

Another possibility is Al Gore. Who, although he states he is not interested, might be persuaded. Gore's image throughout the world and in the U.S. has skyrocked since he fearlessly and with determination worked to avert planetary disaster. The Nobel Prize received by him testifies to the job he has done. Personally, I would prefer that he continue in his present role, and not be distracted by the duties of a U.S. Vice President. He was VP for two terms under Clinton. That's enough.

Bill Richardson would be an excellent choice. He is smart, pro-active and has held administrative posts (which Obama has not) as Secretary of Energy and as U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations. IMO --- and I lived in New Mexico during his first term and most of his second --- he has been a truly fine governor of that state, in dramatic contrast to the two terms of Gary Johnson --- a truly do nothing Republican. Richardson would bring foreign affairs experience. He is an adept negotiator, and knows how to approach foreign leaders -- unlike the dismally maladroit Bush II administration.

Richardson would secure many Spanish voters because he is half Hispanic, speaks Spanish fluently and is well liked among Hispanics. He could add several Western states to Obama's victories because he is extremely popular and respected among Western governors and the West in general. He would provide Obama with considerable foreign policy heft on the ticket.

Another fine choice would be Senator Jim Webb from Virginia. Senator Webb is an Annapolis graduate, a former Marine and combat veteran of Vietnam, and served two years as Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Navy from 1987-89.

Webb, a convert from the GOP, was a strong opponent of the Iraq war. He has rural roots, a vigorous speaking style, a populist view of government, concerned with corporate take over of our democracy and a supporter of working class Americans.

His military and foreign affairs credentials would make it much more difficult for McCain to claim that the Obama-Webb ticket lacked understanding of military matters and would cause problems for "swift-boating " attacks against Obama. Webb is not one who would tolerate such things and would react sharply. I might add there is increasing concern about McCain's credentials as a "war hero" and as a model military officer. I have seen nothing negative about Webb.

Webb would appeal to those "working class, white, Reagan Democrats --- who Hillary claims belong to her.

He is highly intelligent, a novelist, non-fiction writer and even an Emmy-winning television reporter.

Either Richardson or Webb would enhance Obama's chances of winning the election more than either Hillary Clinton or Gore. Both would add real distinction and effectiveness as Vice President.