Intuition on Obama VP
For whatever this could possibly be worth: I was intrigued by a comment Obama made in his press conference yesterday. He was asked his opinion of Chicago politics. He said that mainly he had always run independent of the traditional Chicago and Illinois machines, but there is a quality of politics in Illinois--which he broadened into a Midwestern trait--of pragmatic problem-solving across partisan divides.
Obama is unlikely to pick someone just to maybe win a state, or only for that person's role in the campaign (some pundit or other said that the only function of the VP was to win the debate with the opposite VP, which is short-sighted in the extreme.) Obama responded to a question about his thinking on the VP yesterday by emphasizing the VP's qualifications to step into the job of President if necessary, and to be a close advisor otherwise. But the electoral map, including the polls today that showed Obama's strength in Midwestern swing states won't be ignored either.
Anyway, my intuition is that Obama has more of a comfort level with like-minded office-holders in the Midwest and probably the West as well. The hegemony of the East and South in dominating Democratic candidates may end this year. So I'm feeling that Obama's VP choice will come from the Midwest, or the West in general. Maybe Claire McCaskill, Kathleen Sibelius, Janet Napolitano, Bill Richardson or somebody completely off the radar at the moment (which is not unprecedented.)
Another factor I have a strong intuition about is age. I don't think Obama is going to pick someone significantly older. JFK did, and he was 4 years younger when he ran. But this is a generational election, and Obama knows that in picking a VP, he's signalling the party's future.
The unknown factor is how much he wants to avoid offending the Clintons. Picking Bill Richardson would probably tick them off big time, and there was noise about Hillary having a problem with any other woman. But if I had to bet right now it would be on one of the three women I named.
Sebelius is the oldest at 60 but she seems the youngest. McCaskill is 55, Napolitano is 51. Obama is reportedly close to all three. McCaskill (Missouri) has been probably the most politically helpful, and she will be a close political advisor no matter what. Sebellius (Kansas) has been the most visible, and Napolitano (Gov. of Arizona) the least, though the White House Project that focuses on women named her as one of the eight female politicians who could be President. Politically, I like her a lot. She has roots in traditional Democratic areas (she would be the first Italian American in the White House; she grew up in Pittsburgh as well as later in New Mexico), she's strong on education and family issues. Plus Arizona is in play, despite being McCain's home state.
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