Sunday, July 20, 2008

Democratic Veep Stakes predictions

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on June 26th in Metro Eireann By Charles Laffiteau

As you read this I am back in the states taking care of some personal business as well as taking the pulse of my fellow American voters about the upcoming General Election. I have also discussed the 3 candidates I think would be best as Vice President with many of my friends and its safe to say the vast majority of them also think I m crazy.
I am going to dispense with the horse racing terminology in my descriptions of them except for telling you they are all considered 30:1 long shots to win a place on the ticket with Senator Obama. Part of the problem with these candidates is that many Americans are just like many of my friends in Texas and Arkansas in that they either didn’t even know who these people were or the few who did knew very little about them. So I will begin by first discussing the only female Vice Presidential candidate not named Clinton before moving on to discuss the two men.
Kathleen Sebelius is currently serving in her second and last term (due to term limits) as the Democratic Governor of the historically Republican state of Kansas after winning her 2006 re-election race by a landslide 18 percentage points over her Republican opponent. Sebelius has proven to be a very popular and capable executive during her two terms as Governor and has dealt effectively with a state legislature dominated by the Republican Party.
But Sebelius is also the daughter of former Ohio governor John J. Gilligan and is half of the first father/daughter governor pair in United States history. As a result, she has strong ties to the state of Ohio as well as the state of Michigan where she grew up and currently maintains a vacation home in Traverse City. Michigan and Ohio are key swing states in US Presidential elections so by picking her as his running mate Obama would increase his chances of winning both states in the General Election. It also goes without saying that selecting Sebelius would also help Obama win over many of Hillary Clinton’s very disappointed women supporters throughout the entire United States.
While not well known to many Americans outside of the US Midwest, Sebelius is held in high regard by National Democratic Party figures and was actually touted as a possible running mate for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential race and was also one of the first Democratic super delegates to come out in support of Barack Obama.
However, while I am a strong supporter of Kathleen Sebelius as a VP candidate, I don’t see becoming US Vice President in her future. I think it is much more likely she will run for and win the US Senate seat of Republican Senator and former Presidential candidate Sam Brownback, when her second term as Governor is up in 2010.
An even less well know Vice Presidential running mate possibility for Obama is one of my other two favourites for the position on an Obama ticket. That would be a retired four star US Marine Corps General, Anthony Zinni. As a veteran of the Vietnam War and former Commander in Chief of US military forces in the Middle East, Zinni brings the military experience and credibility that Republican nominee John McCain wields to Obama’s ticket as his Vice President.
But in addition to his military commander credentials, Zinni also brings with him foreign policy gravitas because he was also appointed to serve as a special envoy for the United States to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2002. Furthermore, Zinni was also an early and vocal public critic of the Bush administration and much like Senator Obama, did not support Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq, which is also why he left his post as Bush’s special envoy for Israel and Palestine in 2003.
Zinni’s 2004 memoir, Battle Ready, co-authored with Tom Clancy, is stinging rebuke of the Bush administration and the man he voted for as President in 2000 as well as a must read for anyone interested in knowing the real story behind pre and post-battle planning for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But as much as I like him as a VP choice, I don’t think Zinni really wants to become that involved in politics and think it more likely he would serve as Obama’s National Security Advisor than run as his Vice President.
So that brings me to the last of my three favorite picks as Obama’s running mate, a Republican Senator from the state of Nebraska. While I may well be wrong about this, I believe that in a bid to demonstrate his commitment to a new era of bi-partisan politics, Obama will actually select US Senator Chuck Hagel from the opposition Republican Party to be his Vice President. So how did I come to such an outrageous conclusion?
For starters, Hagel is a Vietnam War veteran, a lifelong Republican and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee who previously worked as political organizer for Ronald Reagan and then as his #2 political appointee at the Veterans Administration. So his selection would not only be an unprecedented bi-partisan gesture but would also bring the military and foreign policy credentials Obama lacks to the ticket.
Furthermore, Hagel left government service in 1982 and became a multi-millionaire business entrepreneur and CEO before he returned to government as a US Senator in 1996. Thus he also possesses the business experience and economic credentials that both Obama and his opponent John McCain lack. But unlike McCain, Hagel was an also an early critic and vocal opponent of the Iraq War and his wife, Lilibet, is a major financial supporter of Obama.
While Chuck Hagel wouldn’t be a popular choice for some Democrats, Obama would find huge support for this among independent and Republican voters, particularily in Midwestern states that usually vote Republican. So next week I will discuss who McCain might choose to counter with as his VP.

1 comment:

Kurt said...

Zinni fo rme. I think he would be great!