Who should be Obama’s running mate?

By John Carlson

By John Carlson

With his party’s nomination in hand, would Barack Obama be better off with Hillary Clinton as his running mate?

Obviously she thinks so. If she’s not on the ticket and Obama wins, she’ll be sidelined for at least four and perhaps eight years, at which point she’ll be 68.

Every year means more rising stars to compete against her.

Some powerful Democrats also want her on the ticket. They argue that Hillary guarantees a unified and galvanized party working together toward a November triumph.

Maybe. But for every reason Obama has for considering Hillary Clinton, there are at least twice as many reasons to flee from the idea.

Start with the most obvious. Next to President Bush, Hillary Clinton is probably the most unpopular political figure in the country. How does such a polarizing figure help you make a pitch to the electorate for “unity”? How do the politics of the 90’s make the case for “change”?

Second, while Hillary unites the Democrats, Obama ideally wants someone who appeals across the aisle to Independents and soft Republicans. The 8th Congressional District here on the eastside of Lake Washington is a perfect test case. It usually supports Democrats for President, but prefers Republicans for Congress. Would Hillary on the ticket be a drawback or an asset to winning the 8th in November?

Third is the issue of trust. Would Hillary be subservient to Obama’s agenda or her own? And keep in mind that when Hillary hops aboard you get a two-fer: all of her baggage and all of Bill’s baggage.

Does Obama really need all of that?

But if he doesn’t pick Hillary, who should he select? Here are six strong possibilities.

Sam Nunn: A southern Scoop Jackson, Nunn spent a quarter century in the US Senate from Georgia, developing bipartisan praise for his grasp of national defense issues and international relations.

His one drawback is that he’s been out of the game for a decade. Party liberals would also flinch at his moderate to conservative (for a Democrat) tendencies.

He voted against the Clinton tax hikes and opposed uncloseted gays in the armed forces.

It’s more likely that Obama will choose someone from outside Washington, D.C., probably one of the following four governors.

Tim Kaine: The first term Governor of Virgina, Kaine is 50, Catholic, and popular in an important battleground state in November.

Ted Strickland: The 2004 election got down to just one state, Ohio.

In the last four years, voters in that swing state veered sharply toward the Democrats after growing weary of Republican misrule and malfeasance.

Ted Strickland, a youthful looking 67, was elected Governor in 2006 after a career as a minister and Congressman.

Ed Rendell: The 64-year old two-term Governor of Pennsylvania, Rendell, 64, is a one-time District Attorney and former mayor of Philadelphia. He is also a former Chairman of the Democratic Party.

Kathleen Sebelius: The daughter of a former Governor, Sebelius, 60, has been in politics most of her adult life. She has also been a strong supporter of Barack Obama.

One drawback: Kansas is not as important as Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio.

Then there’s the fantasy choice that would effectively end the race: Colin Powell.

But the former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser is an old friend of John McCain’s and probably won’t do anything to oppose him.

Any one of these people would be a vast improvement over Hillary Clinton, who would likely prove true one of Richard Nixon’s political maxims: “Vice Presidents can’t win you votes, they can only lose you votes.”

Nixon should know. He was on five national tickets.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Construction begins for Downtown Park entrance

The previously delayed entryway project is expected to be finished early 2021

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Photo courtesy Bellevue Police Department. Suspected stolen merchandise.
Bellevue police arrest Renton man and others in connection to downtown Bellevue looting

Police say they’ve recovered $50,000 in stolen items and identified almost 100 suspects

During a recent training, South King Fire and Rescue members at Station 62 wear personal protective gear, which includes face masks, eye protection, gloves and gowns. Courtesy photo
Governor orders statewide use of face coverings in public

Jay Inslee says that until there is a vaccine, it’s the best weapon to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Most Read