Friday, May 30, 2008

Veep Choices for Obama: There Are Only Two

There is much speculation about who Obama should pick as his running mate. There is of course talk about a unity ticket with Clinton. Some argue that the presidential candidate should pick one of several governors, including Kaine of Virginia, Napolitano of Arizona, and Sebelius of Kansas. Others advocate for one of Obama's senate colleagues including Dodd of Connecticut, Biden of Delaware, and McCaskill of Missouri.

That's all well and good for filling the 24-hour news cycle with unsubstantiated political speculation, but in my opinion Obama has only two real choices that he should spend his scarce time evaluating:

1. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. A senior Republican senator, Vietnam veteran, and experienced legislator on defense and foreign policy issues. His selection will give Obama an enormous political advantage both in terms of competitiveness in the general election and in reinforcing the historical character of his candidacy. With Hagel, Obama would be following the example of his fellow Illinoisan, Abraham Lincoln, by selecting a VP from the opposition party and moving to unite the country during his presidency.

2. Jim Webb of Virginia. A freshman Democratic Senator from a key swing state. He is also a blue-dog democrat with honorable military service and extensive experience in Defense. He served in the Reagan administration as Secretary of the Navy and defeated a strong Republican incumbent in a red state. Webb will give Obama much needed muscle on Defense issues and will deliver the state of Virginia and much more given his centrist approach to politics.