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.