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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Veep of Faith

NBC News and the WaPo are both reporting that Gov. Tim Kaine of VA, a former Catholic missionary, may be Obama's top pick for VP on a short list that also includes Sen. Joe Biden (DE), Sen. Evan Bayh (IN) and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (KS). Props to Frannie for making a case for Kaine in comments a little while back.

Kaine seems to me like a classic safe pick. Popular southern governor of a big, winnable state that usually goes GOP. He's bland but likable, an early Obama endorser with whom he seems to have rapport. He's got executive experience but not military, and he's a blank slate on foreign policy, a big concern in this election. My brain tells me he's the best pick on that short list.

My gut, on the other hand, tells me that Joe Biden would be a helluva lot more fun. Sure, he's a windy and sometimes gaffe-prone DC insider. But he's also an energetic loyalist knows how to throw a punch, making him the anti-Lieberman. Maybe I'm fighting the war before the last war here. Still, I'd love to see some legit "Joe-mentum" this year. Meanwhile, although I have to recognize that Bayh would be a smart pick on grounds similar to Kaine, I really don't want him. He's uber-bland, and his foreign policy judgment (on Iraq, etc.) makes him a charter Capitucrat, always caving in to GOP scare tactics. Sebelius would make a great VP, or P for that matter. But she can't bring Kansas, it wouldn't matter if she could, and I fear that her political gifts are better suited to long time periods in a small state where she can get to know voters personally. She doesn't seem like a national candidate to me. Plus, that bumper sticker is just too much. This is America, and shallow matters.

Could be a fun week. If I were Obama, I'd go early to make McCain look reactive again. If I'm McCain, I'd pick Tom Ridge (PA) over nerd boy Tim Pawlenty (MN). But the GOP base would not be happy.


At 11:42 PM, Blogger Number Three said...

On McCain's pick: Ridge would be a favor to the Dems, because it would open the whole Homeland Security nonsense to public scrutiny. Pawlenty is an empty suit minus, and it would be laughable to watch JMac defend his readiness for the office when he has, er, zero foreign policy experience . . . and there was, at least, this existential war . . . .

I stand by my statement that McCain doesn't have a good VP pick. Refute that!

Kaine is a great pick for Obama. I like Biden, personally, but why take a senator? Bayh . . . awful.

Sebelius . . . meh. Great on paper, but the election isn't on paper.

At 12:39 AM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Yeah, McCain's list has a lot of downside. And we haven't even mentioned the Mittster, who would knock the wheels off the "Straight Talk Express" faster than you can say "panderbot!" Hello, Snake Oil Express.

Here's why Ridge is the best on a bad list. As a big, genial, pro-choice Catholic from PA with DHS experience, he'll be a media darling. After all, they're all basically pro-choice Republicans. And they'll mau mau any criticism of his DHS leadership as more Dem "weakness." Hell, I bet the Dems would be such big wusses that, merely anticipating negative press reviews, they'd never even raise the issue of DHS incompetence. You can't get a gift if you won't peel off the wrapper. So McCain-Ridge is Beltway cialis, the artificial lift that does not end.

I mostly agree with you on the Dems. As I said, my brain tells me Kaine is the best pick. But I don't know how confident I'd be in him in debates or on the Sunday shows. I guess it's all about how bad his GOP competition is.


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