Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dem Running Mates

While the race for the Democrat’s presidential candidate has been narrowed down to two candidates, it is the candidate’s running mate whose job it is to represent the weaknesses the Republican strategists will try to exploit once the countdown to the November elections begin. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have very different platforms, and as such they will each need different running mates to combat Republican attacks.


Evan Bayh is the current Senator and former Governor of Indiana. Loyal to the Clinton family, Bayh has already been talked about as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton should she win the Democratic nomination. He is a popular leader in Indiana, which is also considered a swing state and support for him could help Clinton win the state in the national elections. Bayh is considered a “moderate” Democrat, but his views on gay rights and abortion should keep most left leaning Democrats satisfied.


Vilsack may have been the first to drop out of the race for the white house in early 2007, but he left a positive impression on those who were introduced to him. As a Governor, his record is automatically more difficult to attack, and Iowa, the state he ran, is a swing state – something that gives him bonus points as he is considered for a running mate. Vilsack would best compliment Barack Obama, as he is a Caucasian male in his late 50’s. And he will be young enough to run for president again in 8 years, something that the Democratic party is looking for. He has, however, already endorsed Hillary Clinton, which could affect his chances of Obama selecting him.


Fresh off a close attempt to become Governor of Tennessee in 2006, Harold Ford gained celebrity status as he was vying to be the first African-American governor of a largely Republican state. He is a social conservative, which could hurt his support among the Democratic party, but he represents a diverse alternative should Barack Obama lose and Hillary Clinton take the Democratic nomination. Still, critics are skeptical of his chances, because the decision to choose him as Clinton’s running mate could seem like a poorly veiled ploy by the Clinton campaign to try to take back some of Obama’s supporters.


Following his second unsuccessful bid for the presidency, it is unlikely that former senator John Edwards will accept the role as running mate to the winner of the Democratic primaries. But his die hard supporters would love to see him back in the political area, and although he may have lost the Democratic nomination, he is still well liked across the country. His southern credentials may help counterbalance Barack Obama’s presence in Illinois, and his charisma would certainly be a benefit on the campaign trail.


Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia, gained notoriety for being a two term liberal Democratic governor in a largely Republican state. He was also involved in several public efforts to improve health care and education, making him likeable even outside of Virginia. Warner would be a good running mate for either Obama or Clinton, but he is the prime candidate for the Virginia senate seat and the Democratic party may want to him to focus his efforts on taking the seat away from the Republican party, as John Warner, the incumbent, is resigning after this year.


Chris Dodd, known for his excellent oratory abilities, charming personality, and years of experience in the senate was one of the top candidates to become Barack Obama’s running mate, should Obama win the Democratic nomination. He has been an immensely popular senator for years, winning each election handily over the past 28 years. After endorsing Barack Obama’s bid for president, Dodd stated that he had no desire to become anyone’ s vice president in the upcoming elections. Still, it is impossible to rule him out as a candidate as he is still an experienced congressman that could help offset some of Barack Obama’s attack points.


A four-star general and a Rhodes scholar, General Wesley Clark is the leading candidate to be the running mate for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Born in Chicago in 1944, Clark graduated from West Point as the Valedictorian before serving in Vietnam. After the war, Clark’s reputation as a brilliant military mind quickly rose him through the ranks, eventually landing him as a four-star general and the direct ear of then-President Bill Clinton. General Wesley Clark’s reputation and history make him the perfect complement to both of the Democratic nominees, as he easily reflects the most common Republican attacks. As a four star general, it will be difficult for the Republicans to claim the Democratic candidates are soft on the military. As a Caucasian male, he can help offset any lingering fears about electing the first black or female president. And, because he ran for president in 2004, many Americans already know who he is – which can be a huge benefit to whoever is the candidate.


The 2008 election will feature the first black or female Democratic or Republican candidate in the history of the United States. Regardless of who ends up as the Democratic running mate, the election stands to be a major step forward in US history. Still, the goal of the Democratic party is not to feature the first female or black candidate – the goal of the Democratic party is to have the first female or black president. As such, choosing the right running mate will be vital to make up for any qualities the presidential candidate is lacking, as well as represent a positive voice during the campaign and ultimately the election.

1 comment:

Frank Hope said...

My vote goes to Wesley Clark to be Obama's Vice President. I give the reasons for my support in my blog, which closeley reflect the reasons you stated.