Sunday, June 08, 2008

Turn, turn, turn...

The presidential primary season finally came creaking and groaning to a standstill on Tuesday. After five months of throwing kitchen sinks and answering 3 a.m. telephone calls, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s “inevitable” nomination has breathed its last gasp. Sen. Barack Obama will be at the top of Team Donkey’s ticket.

So, the breathless speculation of the press has shifted seamlessly from counting delegates to guessing who will be selected to be Obama’s running mate. Virginia’s Democrats are enjoying the attention that Sen. Jim Webb, Gov. Tim Kane and former Gov. Mark Warner are receiving at this stage, because their names seem to on the long list be considered.

Those who know who’s on the short list, or if there even is a short list, aren’t talking. So, speculation from those who are happy to talk is what we’ll get a steady diet of for the next few weeks.

Accordingly, it says here that if Obama picks Clinton it would appear that he let himself get bullied. It would run dead against his message of “change.” It would mean bringing her rather strong negatives aboard. It's just the plain truth there are a lot of people who don’t like Hillary's style; they’re not all misogynists. Perhaps, most dicey of all prospects, it would mean having Bill Clinton wandering around the landscape.

Enough said.

Other than to get the chattering pundits to talk about something other than the Veepstakes, there’s really no reason for Obama to rush to select his running mate. So, to expect an announcement before July 4th doesn’t make much sense. Judging from the impeccable sense of timing his campaign has demonstrated this year, it’s easy to believe that when it does come, it will be well-timed and will be in front of a cheering crowd.

It’s fun to see that Virginians are being mentioned as potential vice presidential candidates, but each of the three possibles -- Warner, Kaine and Jim Webb -- has solid reasons to decline the offer, should it be extended their way. Although Obama seems to have targeted Virginia as a battleground state, I find the sound of former Sen. Sam Nunn’s name on the ballot more intriguing than any I‘ve heard, so far.

Then there’s the matter of healing the differences between bruised up factions of the Democratic Party. To some, Hillary Clinton was supposed to win this year. Although she seemed a better candidate than the last two Democratic nominees, she fell short of defeating Obama. But Clinton didn’t let her supporters down. She gave it her all.

In 2008, Obama simply proved to be the better candidate. That’s due in great part to his following with the youngest Democrats. Top competitors, athletes or politicians, have their time in the sun. Then they are replaced by younger players. It isn’t necessary for any honest Democrat to see Clinton’s narrow defeat as a rejection of her. To see it as a rejection of her gender is a reach no one needs to make.

Times are changing. Obama is a phenom. This is his year.

No doubt, Sen. Clinton and many other women in political life have helped to pave the way for Obama’s remarkable success, just as pioneering black politicians did. Now, for Democrats, it’s about winning in November. Dwelling on loss and disappointment undermines the pursuit of the glorious opportunity ahead.


Bruce said...

I'd like to see some perspective on why Webb and Warner SHOULDN'T take the VP spot. It seems Dems still have to fight hard to get elected in VA and there is no guarantee another Democrat would backfill his position. Warner seems to have a good shot at John Warner's seat. Would another Democrat make as tempting a candidate in the state?

F.T. Rea said...

In my view, Obama probably needs someone with executive and/or business experience. Warner is a good fit, but unless the sky falls, he's set to defeat Gilmore in November, to give the Democrats a larger majority in the Senate. And, to assume the Democrats have anybody waiting in the wings who could offer the same opportunity is a reach.

Plus, I think Warner still doesn't want to subject his family to a national campaign, and that's why he dropped out of the presidential race when he did.

Warner's experience and widespread popularity in Virginia would probably do more to help Obama than Webb or Kaine.

Don't get me wrong I like Webb, but he's not as well known as Warner and he's only been in office 17 months. While Webb's experience in military matters would help the ticket, somewhat, he doesn't bring much to the table other than that.

Kaine won't resign, because Virginia governors simply don't do that, especially if it hands the keys to the Governor's Mansion the other party. Besides, Kaine is probably going to be VCU's next president.