Nuclear Option: Sen. Jim Webb (VA), Gen. Tony Zinni (VA), Gen. Wesley Clark (AR)
These are some of the popular picks in the media. They’re great guys and I understand the argument that they shore up his perceived Foreign Policy problem, but they undercut his message that Dems can articulate a strong message on National Security without trying to out flag-wave Republicans. If we’re always running to men in uniform then we’re not doing that: this is the thinking that got John Kerry the nomination and lost us the 2004 election. There is the added regional argument in that they’re all from the south but I think Webb is the only one that can safely be said to put a state in play and I don’t think his personality will lend itself well to the role. I term them the Nuclear Option because I understand the reason we have them but think it would be disastrous for us to actually consider using them
Bracket Winner: Sen. Webb (VA)
Women: Sen. Clinton (NY), Gov. Sebelius (KA), Gov. Napolitano (AZ)
I hesitated to include this bracket as a) I think it’s kind of sexist to give them their own corner and b) I don’t think he should pick Clinton as she is a polarizing, overbearing figure. She’s got too much baggage and will undercut his new politics message. That said I don’t think he would pick another woman because that would be even more insulting to her supporters, rather than bringing them in it will lead them to ask, “If you wanted a woman what was wrong with Hillary?” All that said I think if he were to pick a woman there’s one that fits best with the campaign theme.
Bracket Winner: Gov. Sebelius (KA)
Statesmen: Sen. Joe Biden (DE), Sen. Sam Nunn (GA), Gov. Bill Richardson (NM)
Again these guys are great and would help address the Foreign Policy deficiency, or would they? Wouldn’t it just highlight that Obama thinks he has a problem with this if he picked one of these guys? Doesn’t that again undercut his message that judgment not experience is key? I’m sure all three will play important roles in an Obama administration but not as VP. Biden and Nunn can’t deliver a state and well Richardson clearly didn’t resonate with anyone as a candidate in his own right, like Bayh and Strickland I would say he’s someone with a great resume and not a lot else (though his speech at the Obama endorsement made me wonder where that Bill Richardson had been for the last year).
Bracket Winner: Sen. Joe Biden (DE)
Trending Blue: Sen. John Edwards (NC), Gov. Mark Warner (VA), Gov. Brian Schweitzer (MT)
These are the guys from Red States with great personalities that might be worth picking for the regional argument and their enthusiasm. However Edwards had his shot at no. 2 and couldn’t put NC into play. I think that we need Warner more in the Senate at the moment. And Montana doesn’t have enough electoral votes to make the regional argument strong enough.
Bracket Winner: Gov. Mark Warner (VA)
Peacemakers (s): Gov. Ed Rendell (PA), Sen. Evan Bayh (IN), Gov. Ted Strickland (OH)
These are the guys from Clinton’s Short-List that could help unite the party. They’re popular statewide officials from large red/swing states with impressive resumes. However I think Rendell is the only one worth any real consideration here, the other two are about as engaging as belly button lint.
Bracket Winner: Gov. Ed Rendell (PA)
Dark Horse: Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE), Mayor Michael Bloomberg (NY), Rep. Adam Smith (WA)
These are my long-shot picks. One Republican, one Independent who used to be a Democrat before he used to be a Republican, and one guy you’ve probably never heard of (yeah he’s not that Adam Smith). Hagel would certainly feed well into a message of new politics and have crossover appeal; he’s also had a lot of nice things to say about Obama recently. Bloomberg also has a lot of independent appeal (and billions of his own money to spread that appeal) but is still questionable. However I think the one that emerges here is Adam Smith. An early Obama backer and effective surrogate he’s shown he can handle himself well with the media. An effective campaigner he was able to turn a Republican district into a safe Democratic seat. As a long serving member of the House he has served on the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committee and is chair of the Subcommittee on Unconventional Threats (which might be handy if your administration was facing an unconventional threat like say…terrorism). This is a solid background on Foreign Policy that compliments Obama’s rather than overshadowing it. And what says “new politics” quite like picking someone that’s completely off the radar of the mainstream media?
Bracket Winner: Rep. Adam Smith
I know…a final six, not quite the NCAA but well it’s just a metaphor. In the end for me it comes down to two in the finals.
Finals: Gov. Ed Rendell vs. Rep. Adam Smith
I think these two represent the best choices depending upon which route Sen. Obama decides to take with his running-mate. I think Gov. Rendell offers a safe option on a number of fronts. As a Clinton supporter he can help reconcile her camp, he’s got solid experience that compliments without overshadowing, and he’s from a critical swing-state. Rep. Smith is clearly my favorite though, not just because I’m the only one that has him on their radar (though it doesn’t hurt). I think that it is good to reward those that backed you early and eagerly. I think he is a dynamic campaigner who will complement Obama’s strengths and shore up his weaknesses well, and while Washington isn’t exactly a swing state they did have a pretty tight Gov. Race last time out, and could have some appeal in other Northwestern states. In the end he would be my pick.