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Thinking about Veeps for Obama

Don Rose 26 February 2008 13 Comments

Mene, mene, tekel, Hillary.

The handwriting is on the wall.

The die is cast.

The fat lady is warbling.

It’s time to go gentle into that good night.

Hillary Clinton’s “firewall” states of Texas and Ohio will prove to be tinderboxes next week.

Even if she manages to carry both, it will not be by anywhere near the margins needed for her to get back in the game.

More likely, Barack Obama will win the delegate count in Texas even if he does not actually carry the popular vote. Further, her strongest supporters now recognize Ohio will be close—far from the minimum 12-point margin she requires.

Because she can’t catch up in delegates, Clinton should soon after Tuesday make the swift, graceful exit she implied at the end of the great Texas debate.

Now focus must be put on the strongest possible vice presidential candidate for Obama.

It certainly won’t be Hillary—not with Bill rattling around the vice presidential palace. Who ever heard of a co-vice-presidency?

It is unlikely to be another woman or a Latino. Too much change, all at once.

Traditionally the veep is picked to fill some gap—provide either regional or ideological balance to the ticket.

Ted Strickland, 66, the governor of Ohio would seem a perfect regional choice. A liberal, six-term congressman, he won the governorship in a landslide in 2006. He is pledged to Clinton—which would make it a nice outreach by Obama.

The state will be definitive in the general election: if it turns blue as expected, Obama is almost guaranteed victory.

But I believe Obama, running against John McCain, needs a different kind of balance on his ticket: national security/national defense. This is one of his few vulnerabilities running against an older, experienced “war hero.” (Let’s set aside any prospective lobby-gate scandals for the moment.)

My first choice here would be General Wesley Clark: former Supreme Commander of NATO, former presidential candidate, progressive, against the war from the start and can argue it from the military perspective. He was raised in Arkansas—another red state with the potential for turning blue, and another Clintonite to reach out to. He even had a Jewish dad!

His only weakness is that he made a series of minor fluffs as a first-time candidate in 2004, but he’s certainly ready for prime time by now. And he outranks McCain big time.

In the same vein, my next choice would be Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, a former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, yet. An Annapolis graduate, he was a Marine officer and highly decorated Vietnam vet. He’s a novelist and one tough mother in a debate.

Here’s regional balance again: a prospective change to blue in his home state, which has a Democratic governor to appoint another Democratic senator in the event of a win. He would be another first-term senator on the ticket, but presumably his cabinet experience would compensate for that.

Do I hear other nominations?


Don Rose is a nationally known liberal strategist and regular columnist for The Chicago Daily Observer.


  • souljaEXVOTO (author) said:

    NO, You won’t hear any other ideas beyond the two excellent choices you just gave. Wesley Clark would be my first choice & Webb has been high on my list all along.

    I can’t wait to see Obama taxi out General Wesley Clark onto the general election runway. Bye Bye McCain/?

  • Anon (author) said:

    I think Mike Bloomberg would be a good choice for Executive Vice President.

    Sen. Obama and his image consultants could then run around the world spurting mindless platitudes while someone competent ran the day to day operations of the government.

  • Maritza (author) said:

    Either Clark or Webb would be great!

    Since Clark was such an advid Hillary supporter I am not so sure if he would accept it. However, if he did, he would help unite the party with Obama and Clinton supporters.

    My first choice is Webb. He more than any other candidate can bring the Reagan Democrats back to the party. As a former Republican who was Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy, he would be a nice balance to the ticket because Obama will be seen as a liberal Democrat and Webb as a former Republican but now conservative Democrat. It goes along nicely with Obama wanting to bring Dems, Independents, and Repubs together for common sense government.

    Webb’s bluntness can be a little scary but I really think that voters like it particularly Reagan Democrats.

  • Mike (author) said:

    Maybe Obama will pick Richard Daley,Blago or even Stroger since he supported each of these men in their elections, and they all have worked well together in the past.

    If Obama wins, he can put a sign in the White House window that reads “We don’t want no one nobody sent”

  • George (author) said:

    How about Emil Jones? Obama was his protege for years, and he is a great statesman.

  • Frank (author) said:

    I agree that Wesley Clark is the best choice. I have started a blog to “Draft Clark for VP!”


    I placed a link to this article in my blog. I believe we need to create a grass roots movement to encourage Obama to pick Clark. Otherwise he may be coerced by the political machinery to pick an inferior VP that would ultimately handicap him in the general elections. Please show your support by posting comments on my blog.

  • JR (author) said:

    What is the facination with Clark – he is completely second rate. Get real. Webb I can see, but Clark – puhleeze

  • Gina (author) said:

    Obama/Webb ticket would be McCains worst nightmare! A very powerful ticket!

  • Joe (author) said:

    Obama probably doesn’t trust Clark.

  • Dan Conley (author) said:

    To all the jokers putting Chicagoans on the list, the Constitution forbids nominees from the same state (well, not explicitly, but it would preclude Obama from winning Illinois electoral votes, so that’s enough to shut the door.)

    Wes Clark has been a vocal Clinton supporter, which will probably keep him from being considered by Obama. I agree that Webb is an excellent choice, not only for foreign policy credentials, but also because he helps put Virginia in play.

  • Marcel F. Williams (author) said:

    It is essential that Obama choose Wesley Clark. This would be his first great decision, IMO, because whether he likes it or not, he’s going to be a wartime president until the troops are finally pulled out of Iraq and things are finally resolved in Afghanistan.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that Clark wants the vice presidency and is ready to serve. His military background as a NATO general, Vietnam vet, and strong supporter of manned space flight could put Florida in play for Obama where McCain currently has a huge lead.

    This would be a brilliant move by Obama. It would be the best choice of a VP since Bill Clinton chose Al Gore, IMO.

    Do this Barack!

  • Anonymous (author) said:

    curfew repented bullied Conant commissioning cauliflower,cantilever,.

  • ian (author) said:

    Clark or Jim Webb

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