The Vice Presidency

Two weeks before the Democratic convention and still no Vice Presidential nominee yet!  Barack Obama is really making the whole matter a dramatic one and leaving us guessing as to what he will do.  It seems clear to me that with the new foreign crisis of war between the Russian Federation and Georgia (once part of the Soviet Union), that Obama needs to focus on a person who is expert on foreign policy issues as that is the area in which he is most vulnerable.  Therefore, the concept of picking a governor such as Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas seems extremely unwise.  He needs a person of experience and expertise in international affairs, and therefore it seems to me his choice narrows down to one of three people, all members of the US Senate. 

The most logical choice would be Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a brilliant commentator on foreign affairs with more years of experience on these issues than anyone in the Senate.  He is a great speaker, has charisma, is very charming and would complement Obama in great fashion.  Being Catholic and having grown up in Pennsylvania, Biden also could help Obama carry a crucial state and draw Catholic support to Obama’s candidacy.  The nation would be well served with Biden’s knowledge and experience behind Obama and involved in every day decision making.

A second choice would be Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, who is very much involved in issues of intelligence, foreign policy and military affairs, and has served in the Senate for ten years after eight years as Governor of a traditional Republican state.  He is a very agreeable, mild mannered, moderate who could help Obama win the Midwest, including his state of Indiana, and having been a Hillary Clinton supporter will make him acceptable to the Clinton camp as Vice President.  The odds probably favor Bayh over Biden, as Bayh is 52 and Biden is 66, so there would be a smaller age gap between Obama and Bayh.  Also, Bayh has been a possible VP choice for both Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry  in 2004.  In fact, in 2000, I wrote Al Gore and Evan Bayh suggesting that Bayh be his running mate, and had he been so, I think Gore would have won Indiana and possibly Ohio or Missouri and would have become our President even without Florida’s electoral votes.

A final choice which is much more daring and therefore much less likely is Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska,   Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, acknowledged as an expert on foreign affairs since his election to the Senate in 1996, and a Vietnam veteran, who has long opposed the war in Iraq and has broken with the majority of his party on this issue.  About to leave the Senate, Hagel has become a good friend of Obama’s and would be a good compliment to Obama, although his domestic views might clash as he is considered a conservative.  It would be quite a gamble to go with Hagel, and might alienate many Democrats in the process, but it would show Obama’s willingness to step outside the political norm and cross the aisle and try to promote bipartisanship in foreign policy making.

My gut feeling is that Bayh will be the choice in the next two weeks, but I would personally prefer Biden, and would find Hagel an exciting choice as it would show Obama as really promoting change and a new vision about world affairs.

One comment on “The Vice Presidency

  1. Michael Brian August 11, 2008 12:08 am
      I think you’re right on the money Ron. And I notice you exclude Hillary Clinton; which is again accurate, as I think Obama has no choice but to choose someone who has very proven foreign policy credentials. It is the right thing to do as opposed to creating a "dream ticket"; which I think would be very and an easy point for McCain to pick on, since he has been in the senate longer than both of them combined. Also, no mention of Bill Richardson, who has experience in foreign affairs, but coming from New Mexico (no offense) which is not a signficant state electorally, not to mention his own personal life drama, might not make him a very running mate. Besides, there might be opportunities for him in the cabinet. Bayh, is moderate, from a small state, and has executive experience- a safe pick. Biden is much more dynamic, but can get into trouble with his on-the-fly comments; and nobody wants to see his scholastic dishonesty brought up again, do we professor?

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