Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Veepstakes! The story so far and the Obama shortlist...

Whilst the serious, academic discussion of the centre of gravity continues, it's only fair that we have some fun as well and few things make for better political silly-season during newsless Summer then the quadrenial parlour game of DC salons and Upper East Side talking shops that is...VEEPSTAKES!

For Obama, here's the story so far...The Beltway punditocracy wanted Hillary and they were sure she could get it. Well, they won't get her. Then they explained this by saying that Obama would use his pick to lock down a battleground state: they 'knew' it would be Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He bowed out as did feisty Virginia Senator Jim Webb. Lately, they've argued that Obama needs an experienced Washington hand. I don't think that's going to happen either.

Obama will make his own choice based on his own criteria which have far more to do with governing then winning elections and I believe he'll make it from the following short list: Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine or Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

And so with out further to-do, here's the must-reads on the contenders after which I'll offer my own views on who should and likely will get it.

Kathleen Sebelius
As the doyen of Veepstakes watching, Marc Ambinder has noted: "Sebelius has governed from the center, but she is not a conservative Democrat: she opposes the death penalty, opposed a same-sex marriage-banning constitutional amendment, opposes concealed carry laws, and is pro-choice." And she's done all of this in a state in which Republicans outnumber Democrats 2:1. Huffington post ran a great profile on her. Meanwhile the distinguished Washing Post blogger, Chris 'The Fix' Cilliza offers great pro and anti cases for the Governor: The case for Kathleen Sebelius and the case against Kathleen Sebelius.

Evan Bayh
Indiana Senator (and former Governor) Evan Bayh is a DC insiders dream: foriegn policy experience, red state senator, former governor, Clinton loyalist. And he's currently the hot gossip. If Obama does go with Bayh, he'll likely make the annoucement tommorow. Once again, The Fix makes the case for Evan Bayh and against Evan Bayh.

Tim Kaine
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is the last VA Dem standing after uber-popular ex-Governor Mark Warner took himself out of the game before it even began by running for a virtually guaranteed Senate seat and combative ex-Republican Jim Webb withdrew his name. The latest round of Veepstakes rumours were kicked off by last week's Tim Kaine buzz. Here's The Fix on the case for Tim Kaine and against Tim Kaine.

Joe Biden
Delaware Senator and foriegn policy eminence grice Joe Biden was the winner of the well-respected MSNBC veepstakes competition. Biden hasn't been judged by The Fix but is considered a strong contender because of his ability to add national secuirty gravitas to an Obama ticket. The downside is his history of difficulty with holding his tongue.

On the other hand...

we could just look at Obama's own handwritten Veep shortlist.

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