The Veep Debate

29 07 2008

Like just about everyone else I am growing increasingly excited about the upcoming VP selections.  The campaigns are circling around the select few candidates remaining, trying to find out every thing possible about each and determine how the race could change depending on the selection.  It seems that the Republicans are just about set on their selection, or at the very least have it down to two candidates, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.

For weeks most everyone seems to think that Romney had the VP slot locked up but I am growing less convinced by the day.  It comes down to a couple things in the end.  Ultimately, Romney and McCain do not seem to like each other very much (remember the primary season), they have serious disagreements on healthcare (Romney’s plan covered more people than Obama’s and had more government involvement) and finally, how does McCain think he can stack up on the economy with Obama.  While Pawlenty and McCain get along very well, are much closer aligned politically (Pawlenty is a little farther right, which can’t hurt) and he’s from Minnesota (a state the Republicans have had their eyes on for quite some time).  I think it will be Pawlenty in end.  He’s young, and would provide a nice balance to the ticket and maybe infuse some life into the campaign.

Yesterday, Barack Obama met with his David Plouffe and his vice presidential selection committee for nearly three hours.  While at the same time, there were a number of rumors coming out of Richmond about the fate of Tim Kaine.  Although, the often attributed quote from an unnamed source was something to the effect of Tim Kaine is “very, very high” on the list.  While this may be the case, I think it would be a major mistake for Obama.  He obviously gets along very well with Kaine and he is the popular Governor of Virginia, which is a nice talking point; however, he is a first-term governor and sounds very much like Obama does.  The single most popular point of attack used against Obama by Hillary Clinton, the RNC and John McCain has been his inexperience and the people’s lack of familiarity with him.  Adding Tim Kaine to the ticket only fulfills the attack line and does nothing to shore up the other lines of attack.

If Obama is smart about this he will have to move in the direction of a “Washington insider,” something he is loathe to do.  This campaign will not be waged about who is better fit to be the President, it has been entirely about Obama and what the people think about him.  You have John McCain who is the “safe candidate,” the one that everyone knows and has a decent idea of what to expect from him.  Or, you have Barack Obama that an all too large percentage of the population knows too little about and is not yet ready to fully entrust the duties of President to.  There are also the significant foreign policy concerns regarding Barack Obama; the selection of Tim Kaine would do nothing to alleviate them given that he has zero military experience as well.

While I wrote last week of my love for Chuck Hagel, I would be pretty surprised if Obama moves in that direction, as much as I might want that.  That leaves Joe Biden, Sam Nunn, and maybe Chris Dodd.  I wouldn’t count Kaine or Bayh out of it yet, but my money is on Biden when it comes down to it.  He has a serious track record in the foreign policy community and will prove to be a really strong surrogate in the leadup to the November.


McCain: Please Pay Attention to Me…Anyone?

24 07 2008

This recent push by the McCain campaign to portray Obama’s around the world excursion as a joke and the constant media coverage surrounding it as a rather ridiculous love affair to be an interesting move. (The image to the left is one side of a bag tag handed out to the McCain Press Corps)  I know it comes off as whiny and desperate to me; but I think I will wait until I talk to my parents and family to see whether or not they buy it.

I really don’t know quite what to think about all this.  I get where they are going with this, but is this really the way to wage a campaign?  Things have been tough lately for John McCain.  I can sympathize, I mean even George Bush is starting to borrow some of the ideas that Barack Obama has suggested.  We have begun diplomatic relations with Iran, the economy is in the gutter still and Nuri al-Maliki suggested that Obama’s timeline was an appropriate amount of time (despite the massive attempts of the White House to say that Der Spiegel’s translation was bad).

Below is the video that was produced by the McCain campaign in response to the massive attention that Obama’s trip abroad has garnered by the major media networks.

Now, I have to admit this video is catchy; although I would like to think that it is just because I love that song.  But I just have a problem with this notion as a whole.  Are they really that starved for attention?  This is going to be the new focus of the McCain campaign until Barack Obama comes back?  I understood them planting the story about how McCain was almost ready to announce his VP selection and that it could come anytime this week.  That would take the newscycle back from Obama and give him the spotlight right up until the Olympics start.  But that story has for the most part died out as quickly as it started when people realized that Mrs. McCain is currently in Africa and not likely to be making any surprise visits for VP announcements right about now.

As long as the McCain campaign continues to whine incessantly about the unfair treatment that they are receiving from the media, there will also be more attention paid to the remarkably successful trip for Barack Obama.  Everything has gone his way thus far.  All the meetings seem to have been good and the only issue that has arisen has been Abbas making some exaggerated claims; which is probably a good thing for the Obama campaign because he gets to immediately deny the report from the Palestinian leader.  Which is always a popular thing to do in America.

While I can’t say whether this ploy is helping to push an increase in fundraising, solidifying the Republican base or winning over independents.  It just seems so childish to me