Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Choosing a Veep

Cartoon by Ricardo, El Mundo, Madrid
"In any case, he should pick a woman"
David Seaton's News Links
This is the world of instant, universal, 24 hour, seven days a week news, where the stories overlap to a point where the Gothic tragedy of an Austrian family plays simultaneously with the incalculable suffering of the Burmese cyclone victims and where all of this horror is often drowned out by the ceaseless humming of the excruciatingly boring, endless and increasingly inane Democratic Party primaries in the USA.

They are ever with us.

At this point some people are even speculating on who would be the Vice-Presidential candidate on a Barack Obama ticket.

I think Mr. Rosenberg of TPM, quoted above, is being premature. The next vote is in West Virginia, where polls say Hillary is set to win by (get this) forty points.

Now West Virginia doesn't send a lot of delegates to the convention, but a loss that heavy in a state which is the epitome of po' white, might give those super delegates some pause... The Democrats can either kiss the "Reagan Democrats" goodbye in November or African-Americans... in the election they couldn't lose.

Although they are more numerous, it is next to impossible for the Super Delegates, many of them beholding to big city machines to choose the white working class over the African Americans. As John Kass explained in the Chicago Tribune,
“It's simple, and it goes like this: Without black voters, there is no big-city Democratic Party run by pink guys in blue suits. President of the United States is important; historically it has provided local political machines with their own hand-picked federal prosecutors. But without the money-making offices of county assessor and mayor, what good is the White House? Black voters would feel betrayed and rightly so. With Obama leading in the popular vote and the delegate count, party officials would have to be out of their minds to consider any other alternative than Obama.”
Mater et Magister, John B. Judis spells it out the dilemma in The New Republic:
In North Carolina, where the white Democratic electorate is liberal and tolerant (only five percent of the primary electorate voted against Obama because of race, compared to over 11 percent in Pennsylvania and Ohio), Obama could still win only 36 percent of white voters. In the fall, when African Americans will only make up about 23 percent of North Carolina's electorate, he would have to win 38 percent of all whites to carry the state.(...) In the Iowa Caucus, Obama defeated Clinton among "moderate" voters by 33 to 31 percent and barely lost "conservatives" by 22 to 21 percent. He was perceived as a middle-of-the-road candidate or, even better, as standing above ideology. But he increasingly is seen as the "liberal" or even "very liberal" candidate. In Indiana, he bested Clinton among liberals 55 to 45 percent but lost moderates by 53 to 46 percent and conservatives by 65 to 35 percent. He can't carry that political image into the fall and hope to defeat McCain. In most of the swing states that he would need to win, liberals occupy a much smaller niche than they in the Democratic primary. Moderates are the key.(...)In the 2004 election, voters repeatedly expressed their preference for a "strong leader," but Obama has yet to establish himself in this respect. He is regularly judged more "honest and trustworthy" than Clinton, but those qualities have proved less important to choosing a president. In Indiana, voters thought Clinton more qualified to be commander in chief by 54 to 43 percent. Nine percent of Obama voters acknowledged that Clinton was "more qualified to be commander in chief." In North Carolina, eleven percent of Obama voters preferred Clinton. Obama appears to be somewhat effete, which will, unless remedied, cause him difficulty against McCain in the fall, particularly among white males.(...) Obama initially held his own among voters who attend church regularly. In New Hampshire, he bested Clinton by 37 to 32 percent among weekly churchgoers--and he didn't have to include religious African Americans in the total. But Obama has increasingly lost this vote and gained adherents among the non-religious. In Indiana, he lost to Clinton among weekly and occasional churchgoers but defeated her among those who never attend church. That can hurt him in the fall in states Obama wants to win. In Virginia, for instance, weekly and occasional churchgoers made up 83 percent of the general electorate in 2004. The challenge for Obama will be to reach out to religious voters without reminding voters of his ties to Reverend Wright.
Contrary to Mr. Rosenberg, I think that -- supposing he finally gets the nomination -- the last thing Obama needs is a woman on his ticket.
The Veep is there to cover perceived weaknesses in the candidate's image. As Katherine Hepburn is no longer with us, any other woman (Hillary discounted) I can think of would only play up those weaknesses in Barack Obama's case.

If Obama is not to be just another McGovern-Dukakis, he should choose a furry, southern male as his running mate, one who hunts and fishes and goes to lots of prayer breakfasts. As Henry of Navarre said in similar circumstances, "Paris vaut bien une messe".

Obama and this good ol' boy should be seen hanging out bass fishing, dove shooting and praying together. Maybe even changing the oil of a car. They should be portrayed as the best of "good ol' buddies", (without looking gay or anything, of course) to stimulate working class fantasies of Obama as their own "Magical Negro", which up till now he has only played for the latte set. DS


RC said...

You are on a roll here Dave. And who would that Macho Man be? Glad to see you are a realist and have moved on from the quelle horreur phase to the Veep du jour phase. I think the Buddies should avoid bowling however.

lilorphant said...

Jim Webb.

Please let it be Jim Webb.

aml said...

Aye, Jim Webb or John Tester. Or Bill Richardson even.

Gingersnap said...

Jim Webb is an intelligent, well informed,serious man. He would never align himself with the fraud that is Obama