Obama’s Veepstakes

By Lance Thibert

Seeing as one of our classmates has written on a possible choices for McCain’s Vice Presidential pick, I thought I would take it upon myself to write up a list of contenders for Obama’s ticket. He’s already chosen, but we won’t know  who it is until Saturday, at the latest. What I’ll do is give a quick run down of possible VP picks, their pros and cons, followed by my personal prediction. Also, if you haven’t heard, the Obama campaign will be sending out Obama’s VP pick via text message, a rather novel idea that I hope doesn’t show up at 3 am. I’ve added videos of a few of the VP candidates you might not be familar with.

Senator Evan Bayh

Pros: A strong supporter of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary, Senator Evan Bayh brings red state and swing state appeal. (Indiana is fairly well in the Republican column in presidential contests) Generally seen as a relative moderate in the Democratic party. Evan Bayh could possibly deliver Indiana, which narrowly (very narrowly) went to Clinton in the Primary season. With 11 electoral votes, it could be a major win for a hypothetical Obama-Bayh ticket. Not that that really rolls off the tongue very well.

Cons: Senator Bayh is not well known nationally, and not particularly well versed in foreign policy issues. Obama’s major selling point of being against the Iraq War from the beginning clashes with Bayh’s postition of being intially for the Iraq invasion. Another senator on the ticket could leave a lack of executive experience on the ticket as well.

Chances: Fairly good I would say, Bayh is a strong contender for the VP spot, given his heartland credentials and and strong speaking skills.


Senator Joe Biden

Pros: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware’s major selling point is his unquestioned expertise on foreign policy issues. Biden is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and fills a major gap in Obama’s resume. The charge that Obama is naive and inexperienced loses quite a bit of steam if Biden, a foreign policy guru, were to be added to the ticket. Similar cases could be made for Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico and Senator Sam Nunn from Georgia.

Cons: An old plagiarism scandal and a tendency to say…off color remarks may hurt a Obama-Biden ticket. Electorally, Delaware is most likely in Obama’s column already, and Biden seems to have little appeal outside of his state, as seen by a dismal 5th place showing in the Iowa caucus (seems like forever ago). Again, another senator on the ticket lacks executive appeal. 

Chances: Good, the expertise on foreign policy is tough to pass up, but almost everything else seems…mediocre.

Governor Tim Kaine

Pros: Under Tim Kaine, Virginia made the list of Pew’s Top Governed States. The possibility of swinging Virginia into the Democratic column is a tantalizing prospect, with 13 electoral votes. A Governor on the ticket would make a good balance with a Senator, bringing executive experience that Independents are fond of.

Cons: Not well known nationally, as the only major national press Tim Kaine has gotten has been as a possible VP pick for Obama. The loss of a Democratic Governor in Virigina may lead to the office being occupied by…George Allen. (yeah, the macaca guy.) Still, a small price to pay. However the biggest downside to a Obama-Kaine ticket would be that both are relatively new, and John McCain could say he alone has more experience than the two of them combined.

Chances: Excellent, Kaine brings a lot to the ticket without much baggage, and fits into Obama’s campaign theme of change quite well.


Senator Hillary Clinton

Pros: Senator Clinton’s appeal to white working class Democrats and feminists make her a powerful force in national politics, indeed, she garnered 18 million votes in the primary she nearly won. Would immediately solidify the Democratic base, as well as end any lingering questions about the democratic self-destruct button. Bill Clinton would undoubtedly be a campaign asset in small-town America.

Cons: Clinton’s primary campaign was by an large, a dismal failure. She was the by far favorite to win until Iowa. Her campaign, rife with infighting and factionalism was a model democratic campaign, in line with those of 1980, 84, 90…you get the picture. Clinton is a demon to the right, which may turn up the until now lackluster conservative enthusiasm. The campaign she ran was anathema to Obama’s theme of change, but that could either be a pro or a con. Bill Clinton would undoubtedly say something off-message.

Chances: Dark Horse. It’s possible, just not probable. Obama holds all the cards, he’s got the nomination, most of the delegate’s loyalty, and a massive war chest. Clinton has debt and baggage, but the Clinton name may be something Obama is willing to pay for.

My prediction: I predict Tim Kaine will be Obama’s vice presidential running mate. Ralph Nader thinks it’s going to be Clinton. If Ralph is right and I am wrong…well lets just not go there.



Filed under Democratic Party, Obama, Swing States, Vice-President

5 responses to “Obama’s Veepstakes

  1. Tony Robinson

    Nice entry. Well organized, good links to supporting materials. Tim Kaine has strong advantages like the possibility of a Virginia pickup, which would be devastating for McCain. But I think he’s too much of a political lightweight, especially on foreign policy issues, to fill in Obama’s weak spots, which are on foreign policy, his D.C. inexperience, which leads people to not trust his readiness. Obama will pick a candidate with D.C. gravitas and with foreign policy chops. That points to Biden or possibly (remote) Nunn. It also points to an outside shot that he will pick Clinton, who really addresses Obama’s other core weakness which is a weakness with older women voters. We’ll know whose right in about 6 hours.

  2. Lance Thibert

    Good points Tony, I think what it may come down to is Obama’s decision to stick with a campaign theme (change, and therefore Kaine), or go the pragmatic route and choose Biden/Richardson/Nunn. If I were him, i’d go with Biden, but it just seems very Obama to go with someone like Kaine. On a side note, Biden was my pick in the Primary season, until he lost so very badly in Iowa.

    Smart money is on Biden, but this campaign season has been all about surprises, and i’ll bet we have a few more waiting in the wings.

  3. Diego Del Campo

    I can’t be Kaine. He’s pro-life, and it would solidify those undecided Hillary supporters against him. Speaking of Hillary, I don’t think it would be considered “by an[d] large, a dismal failure” to finish second with 18 million votes to a candidate that also won 18 million votes. Hillary lost by a slightest of slight margin, in the popular vote.

  4. Lance Thibert

    It was a good comeback, but the race was hers to lose. She shouldn’t have lost, but she did. Her campaign was bad, Hillary herself as a canidate was execptional. Thats what got her 18 million votes. With a better campaign, she would have gotten 22 or 25 million.

  5. Stephen Noriega

    I picked Bayh. That’s how much I knew. Although Biden’s senatorial state of Delaware is not much help, he was born and raised in Pennsylvania, where he can perhaps connect with voters where Obama has problems (a lot of them cling to God and guns). I really found your analysis and hierarchy of chances interesting!

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