Real Clear Politics, a site I honestly am not so familiar with has put up a startling poignant article about just who should be chosen to be Obama’s VP running mate. Obviously this is assuming Obama wins the nomination, but realistically he probably will.
Despite Clinton’s…reluctance to concede the nomination, Obama recently took the lead in nearly absolute terms. Above and beyond his lead in pledged delegates he has recently had some of Clinton’s superdelegates defect to his side, giving him the lead overall.
Now all the political pundits are saying that Clinton is going all out to at least receive the VP nod. RCP ‘s Gerald Pomper (who is also Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers) makes the claim that Clinton would not actually be that useful to Obama. Rightly so, Pomper notes that Clinon’s strength with women voters isn’t that important. Women have often overwhelmingly supported the democratic nominee, so it is not likely that their votes would be lost without Clinton present. However, Clinton’s big strength to Obama is with blue collar workers and hispanic voters.
So, Pomper goes so far as to say that Sen. Jim Webb, the junor senator from Virginia. He is, in essence, the Republican’s worst enemy. Obama’s eloquence and strength with intellectuals and white collar voters is important. His mere presence is inspiring. Webb, on the other hand, brings a lot of experience to the table. Webb is a Vietnam vet who was actually wounded in battle (thus avoiding the Swift Boating that toppled Kerry) and was actually the Secretary of the Navy at one point. This rather extensive foreign policy/military experience would be a huge advantage to Obama. The biggest criticism people make of him is his general lack of experience. Having a war veteran and slightly more experienced legislator on your side can’t hurt.
Pomper makes this argument:
“Webb also would bring specific political advantages to the Democratic ticket. His rural roots, vigorous language and championing of working class values would compensate for Obama’s evident weaknesses among these voters. Webb provides a populist platform on corporate regulation, trade, taxation and health care that would further extend the party’s appeal to its lower-income base. Born in Missouri, educated in Nebraska, California and the Naval Academy in Maryland, he encapsulates a national electoral appeal. Finally, to the limited extent that state residence matters, he would help to switch Virginia into the Democratic column for the first election since 1964.”
All-in-all it’s a pretty convincing argument. Not that we have anything against Hillary, but I think that we shouldn’t be blinded by the progressive message a Obama-Clinton ticket would send. They are both extremely capable, but it’s important to remember that there may be other things to consider when making a VP choice. If Obama wins the nomination, he should be focusing on what would beat McCain in the fall, and not fear the fallout of snubbing Clinton.