So Barack has finally secured the nomination - now the real fun begins. Speculation is going to be at DEFCON APESHIT until he names his Veep candidate. Naturally, the screws are already coming down hard to convince, coerce and cajole him into picking Hillary. I hope for his sake he doesn't. Here's a look at the cast of characters:
Joe Biden - Biden might be the only person in Washington unafraid of literally calling "bullshit" while on C-SPAN. That's his blessing and his curse - he's offered some of the most biting criticism of Bush's person and policies from the floor of the Senate, but he gives off this "I'm one stubbed toe away from dropping the F-bomb" kind of vibe. Plus he plagarized this British dude's speech in the late-80s and no one seems able to forgive him for that. If the Dems can spare him in the Senate, he'll be on the shortlist for Secretary of State.
Evan Bayh - You've never heard of Evan Bayh? The junior Senator from Indiana? Don't worry - no one else has either. He's a centrist Democrat from a battleground state who Bill and Hillary have been grooming since the late-90s, even taking him along to a Bildeberg conference (where he no doubt became indoctrinated into The New World Order.) He's telegenic and the fact that he comes from an unbearably flat state is said to make him valuable in the Midwest, but for one reason or another he always seems to run short of mojo. His middle-of-the-road stance on progressive issues - he's staunchly pro-death penalty, for instance - probably makes him an ill-fit for the "new beginning" motif of the campaign. He was on the VP shortlist for both Gore and Kerry, and briefly ran for president himself last year. You probably didn't notice.
Bill Richardson - In terms of credentials, Richardson's the headliner of this festival and his own candidacy for president should have recieved a bit more coverage. (You know...if we were into issues and all.) He's not much of a rock star, but he's the current Governor of New Mexico, and a former U.S. Representative, Ambassador to the United Nations, and the U.S. Secretary of Energy. The problem? He's hispanic, which means that by putting him on the ticket, you'd be asking alot of white people to vote for no white people - not gonna happen. Could be a contender for Secretary of State with Biden.
John Edwards - I've been an Edwards fan for a long time, and part of me still can't believe anyone thought Kerry had a better chance at beating Bush in 2004. Ideologically he's a good match for Obama, and his youth and fresh-scrubbedness certainly cries out "new beginning." But he's a fellow one-term Senator, which does nothing to counter the "experience gap" line of attack that McCain will surely run into the ground, and he wasn't able to deliver many of his fellow white southerners to the Dems as their Veep candidate in 2004. Plus, Edwards doesn't fit the modern definition of "effective vice presidential candidate," which has become longhand for "designated attack dog" - he sounds shrill and politician-y when he goes negative, and it completely erases the folksy charm that even put him on this list to begin with. Lastly, he could have really helped himself by supporting Obama back in February when it mattered, instead of meekly laying low until the nomination was all but sewn up...that was gut-check time, Johnny! I won't be shocked if he gets the nod, but I think he's more likely to end up our next Attorney General.
Wesley Clark - The Darkhorse. Clark balances the ticket by adding the heft of his military career - which far outshines John McCain's - without making the pairing bottom-heavy, as he's never held elected office. Plus, he's a hardcore Clinton guy, so you'd throw them the "Party Unity" bone without having to go whole-hog with Hillary. The first time McCain trots out the "appeaser" tag against Obama, all he has to do is turn around say, "Ummm...my approach has been approved by my Vice Presidential candidate, who - in case you didn't notice - is a four-star-fucking-general!" If he doesn't get the Veep nod, I'm sure his name will came up for Secretary of Defense.
Al Gore - The Real Darkhorse. Firstly, I don't think there's any way that Gore gets involved in this race - he's having way too big of an impact on the global environmental debate to be handed a new list of shit he can't say politically. He's the last of the Muckrakers (now that Nader's become a zombified cartoon of himself). And even if he was somehow coaxed out of semi-retirement, I don't see how it helps Obama any to be considered the policy lightweight on his own ticket - Gore is too massive to be the Veep at this point. The fact that he didn't run himself when he could have instantly moved to the top of the pecking order shows that he's done with running races. However, I'd be interested to see if they bring him into an Obama adminstration, possibly as EPA chief? Even that somehow seems beneath him at this point.
Hillary - The Quandry. What to do with her? Cast her out into the wilderness and hopes she never finds her way back? Thats not happening. (Although thats an interesting premise for Saw V, starring Hillary as herself.) Practice the art of keeping "one's friends close and one's enemies closer?" Maybe. I'm tough on Hillary - mainly because I think she's a piece of shit - but I think its a really bad career move to put someone so blantantly resentful and covetous of your success into a position where she can fuck your shit up on a daily basis. She will be the most meddlesome VP of all-time because she's going to treat the appointment like an extended job interview. Plus, caving into party demands and handing her the nod will just encourage her to continue throwing her husband's political weight around while in office - "Oh really? You don't like my idea? Well, then let's see what Bill's friends in the Senate think of what you're proposing. Good luck getting that passed!" It'll be a never-ending nightmare for him. If she's proven anything it's that she's the opposite of a team player, and do you really want a #2 that thinks they're the real star of the show? He might as well pick Terrell Owens. For his sanity and the sanctity of his platform, I think he needs to make a deal where she's promised a Supreme Court nomination if one were to open up during his term, or he promises to back her if she makes a move for Senate Majority Leader. But bringing her into the White House will be the biggest mistake of his career, and I think that he realizes this.