And the Warm Bucket of Piss Goes to... So, who are reasonable candidates for the Vice Presidency? I'll start with the more or less national candidates, and then focus in on those from the OV-LMV region.
Hillary Clinton, Senator, New York: Since moving to D.C. and New York, she is no longer an Arkansan and can't be counted in the OV-LMV area. She will single-handedly cost the Democrats of every electoral vote in the six states we identified as being in play (i.e., Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio). O.k., maybe she could get Arkansas, but it's not enough.
Bill Richardson, Governor, New Mexico: An interesting choice, certainly has the credentials. However, I'm trying to imagine the Republican ads addressing his time as Energey Secretary and the various nuclear secrets screw-ups at Los Alamos. He may be able to explain his involvement, but the whole thing is too complex for the American public. "Bill Richardson let nuclear secrets go to China. Do you want this guy a heartbeat away from the presidency?" Also, while he might be able to deliver New Mexico, it's already fairly Democratic and he couldn't break into the Republican stronghold of the Mountain time zone.
Ed Rendell, Governor, Pennsylvania: Another interesting choice. He shores up a flaky state. He's got the urban bona fides as former Philadelphia mayor, but he's managed to win statewide in mostly rural, industrial state. He might be able to tack on Ohio and West Virginia; however, I'm not sure how he would play in the OV-LMV otherwise. The other states will still think of him as someone from the Northeast (i.e., a Yankee). I'll have to look into what kind of a campaigner he might be. Probably the best of this lot though.
Joseph Biden, Senator, Delaware: Nice credentials, but here's another disaster. His plagiarism history makes for wonderful campaign commercials. Maybe America has become more accepting of such faults, but even if it has, he contributes zero in electoral votes.
Jay Rockefeller, Senator, West Virginia: Well, at least the Democrats could field a team that's as rich as the Republican ticket, though it makes any "man of the people" ads impossible. He has solid credentials, and might play well in Appalachian areas of Tennessee and Kentucky. Are there enough of these voters to help carry those states, as well as add Ohio and West Virginia? Probably not.
Southern, but not OV-LMV
John Edwards, Senator North Carolina: An obvious choice. The Boy Wonder did fairly well in his first presidential campaign, he's an effective speaker, and despite his career as a lawyer, he was able to connect with ordinary folks. However, could he deliver North Carolina? He's won one statewide election there, but the state is pretty consistently Republican for president and usually for Congress. Nevertheless, his strength as a campaigner and capacity to speak Southern gives him a terrific entree into the OV-LMV. He makes the short list.
Bob Graham, Senator, Florida: The man has won five statewide elections in Florida, which might help in a tight race. He's also Southern, and the fact that he has served as a governor gives him some executive credentials, distinguishing him from the hordes of legislators in this mix. However, he never seemed to make much headway in his presidential bid this year, which makes you wonder what he brings as a campaigner through the OV-LMV. Close but probably no cigar.
OV-LMV Candidates As bad as the other candidates are, there's a dearth of home-grown candidates. Here are some to consider.
Evan Bayh, Senator, Indiana: A strong centrist history as part of the DLC, and he managed to win statewide office in very Republican Indiana. He's young and compares favorably to Dan Quayle. Could he deliver Indiana? Would he play in the rest of the OV-LMV? Maybe. Worth a look.
Richard Daley, Mayor, Chicago: A bit of a stretch, but intriguing. Clearly an effective campaigner, a strong centrist record (his gay marriage support notwithstanding), with a strong executive history. Would he play in the country-side though? I doubt it. And anyway, could he really go from being powerful to not powerful? Still, he'd be a fun choice.
Dick Gephardt, Congressman, Missouri: Clearly a ridiculous choice. He cements the union vote, but he's clearly demonstrated his ineptitude as a leader (e.g., Clinton Health Plan; the 1994 mid-term elections; his "help" through the rest of the Clinton years). And if you're a union guy, look how effective he was in stopping NAFTA. Also, his only constituency is the greater St. Louis area. Missouri's Congressional delegation is pretty well split with St. Louis and Kansas City providing the core of Democratic votes, and the rest of the state Republican. How do you think he'd play in Cape Girardeau, Rush Limbaugh's hometown, or Branson? Exactly. Kerry would be committing suicide picking him.
Bob Holden, Governor, Missouri: At least this guy has won statewide office in Missouri. He seems to have put together a nice record in office, but he's still in his first term. I'm not sure what kind of campaigner he his, but he doesn't look the part of Vice President (or have enough background to compensate as Cheney did). Maybe in 2008.
Harold Ford, Congressman, Tennessee: A surprise choice, I know. He's young, he's black, and he's moved his way up the House leadership. He probably doesn't have the background to make it onto the ticket, and it's not clear he'd add much electorally--he probably couldn't deliver Tennessee.
Phil Bredesen, Governor, Tennessee: Another surprise choice. He's also a first-term governor, but his experience as a corporate executive, mayor (Nashville), and governor, makes him at least a possible candidate. His capacity to win in Republican Knoxville suggests he might be an asset in similar, small, swing cities throughout the OV-LMV. He's also demonstrated an effective management style as governor after cleaning up the mess left by former Gov. Don Sundquist (who, beat Bredesen in '94 for the governorship--ah, what could have been). Still, he's probably not enough of a national player, and he's kind of an acquired taste, personality-wise. He might be a fun choice in 2008 for the top of the ticket.
Wes Clark, Retired General, Arkansas: Well, at least he's from Arksansas. Not a realistic candidate here. He didn't show much strength even in the south during his run this year. Despite his strong international policy background, his weakness was his campaigning, and that's where they need help. Tough luck.
John Breaux, Senator, Louisiana: This is probably the best of the lot. He has national prominence, he's been a key figure in the DLC and the DNC. He wins consistently in Louisana, and he's one of the few people who could match Bush-Cheney for petrochemical relationships. He's good looking, speaks Southern, and could be down-home folksy as all get-out through this region. And, he can raise money. My only concern is that he has some skeleton/naked woman in his closet a la Clinton and Hart. Also, since he's resigning from the Senate this year, he may have a preferrence for making money over being the 2nd most powerful man in the world.
Alright, so it boils down to Rendell, Edwards, and Breaux. Breaux is the clear winner as he has most of Edwards' virtues plus his kinship to the OV-LMV. If only he can be persuaded to join up. posted by RSaunders at 8:45 PM⇒