Saturday, August 23, 2008

VeepStakes, part one

Barack Obama's selection of Senator Joe Biden as his VP running-mate has many Republicans, even here in the Old Dominion, concerned. Biden has a solid reputation as a straight shooting working class Democrat who will appeal to a broad swath of middle class Americans. Many former Hillary supporters will rally to Biden joining the ticket. His long experience in the Senate and reputation as "big thinker" on foreign and military policy will strengthen the ticket nationally and be a valuable asset in the Obama administration. Like a great president from Illinois, Obama is comfortable with and wants a team of rivals in his inner circle. One last point - Biden sought the presidency, but his age suggests he probably wouldn't run in eight years. Hillary Clinton and her supporters will recognize that her opportunity awaits. I predict that, with his working class roots, his Pennsylvania heritage, and his Catholic upbringing will make Biden a very attractive choice for many Americans. Biden is an excellent choice and one the CCC previously predicted.
As the speculation centered on Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket, Bob Goodlatte was practically begging John McCain to choose a conservative. Goodlatte is smart enough to know that his base in the 6th District is conservative. And those conservatives don't like or trust John McCain. Unless McCain picks someone who will energize this base, many will sit out the election - they won't donate, they won't help, and many won't vote. Locked in his first competitive race in years, Goodlatte is understandably worried. After all, he's holding his nose while running with Jim Gilmore. If the national ticket fails to inspire, Mr. Goodlatte will be hanging out there all alone.
Goodlatte seems especially concerned that McCain will try to pick someone like Joe Lieberman who has been at his side, correcting McCain's numerous misstatements on Iraq and terrorism. Lieberman is a former Democrat, is pro-choice, and seen by many right wingers as a "liberal" on social issues. Another potential choice, Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, might be an attempt to off-set Biden's appeal in that state, but he is also pro-choice. Mitt Romney - will born-again Christians vote for a Mormon? Those I know find him a total turn-off. Many conservatives in the 6th might prefer a Mike Huckabee type of candidate. While that might help Bob, it would sink McCain in state after state. Seems there are no good choices for McCain - if he goes right to help right wingers like Bob, he alienates the moderates and independents he needs to have a prayer of winning. If he opts for a moderate, the wingnuts sit out '08.
I might be crowing about my prediction of Biden joining the Obama ticket, but I don't feel nearly so cocky about predicting McCain's choice. There aren't any good ones. McCain is unpredictable. I don't think like a Republican. Thank God. My early guess is that he doesn't pick anyone I've named above - he's gotta roll the dice. I do know McCain doesn't care one bit what will help right wingers like Goodlatte - his "maverick" reputation is mostly earned by stomping on the toes of his own party.

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