Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Second Thoughts about the Second Spot

I sometimes have to think about eating my words. Attentive readers will recall I have in the past attached a lot of importance to Barack Obama picking the right person with whom to share his presidential ticket. To sum up my argument, I wanted him to choose an authentic vice-president rather than merely a running mate. In football terms (I am not a fan) I wanted Barack to put a member of the varsity on the field, someone who would give him a full four quarters of hard-contact play versus a role player who would balance the ticket and give the ticker just one more state's electoral vote.

I still think Wesley Clark is his best choice to fill this position. But I saw something today which gave me pause.

What brings this up is the buzz which I hear on the radio and on Google about who's on Obama's short list: Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Evan Bayh, and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. I have already vetted these possibilities fully to my own certitude and found them lacking. So, I'm concerned that if his list isn't any longer than this, I think he's in trouble. Actually, it's more accurate to say we're in trouble. I'm not worried about Barack getting elected. I'm worried that such a VPOTUS selection would indicate that Obama
  • is not motivated to work for a tsunami-scale landslide victory (with Congressional coat tails) which will punish and repudiate Republicanism for some time to come,

  • is really not going to be working in the next four years for a change we can all believe in.
Let's take up the issue of a landslide, 49-state Electoral College victory. As you read the remainder of this column, listen to this video of Brian Schweitzer, Montana governor. I think he makes a lot of sense, talking about who decides elections, in every state.

What Schweitzer offers us is sobering thought about more than the independents' influence. Especially it's about the less-informed, least-informed, or uninformed voter who decides elections. That's the people who are not on the Internet, do not watch Keith Olbermann or listen to Air America. These are the people you find at Walmart or in the bars. Like or not, they might just vote against their best interests in order to vote for someone who reminds them about themselves. That why we got stuck eight years ago with someone who talks and walks like the uniformed voter. Listening to Schweitzer's speech above suddenly got me worried about how Obama could best reach out a grab the uninformed voter around his or her red neck.

The second reason I'm posting this is it got me to thinking what Brian Schweitzer brings to the table.
  • a soil scientist and rancher

  • 6 years' experience in Saudi Arabia working on irrigation projects.

  • a fluent Arabic speaker.

  • a true-believer when it comes to an enlightened energy policy

  • an excellent public speaker different from Obama's style which still communicates authenticity and responsiveness to the voter.
There are other positives which Senator Jon Tester relates here.

I think Governor Schweitzer can make the first string varsity. Not as convincingly as wide-receiver Wes Clark. But a helluva lot better than the role-players on the so-called short list above.