I take a little break from retelling my holiday to brag about something long due.
The Democratic National Convention is coming up, and it’s rumoured that the day before the blue festival starts, Barack Obama will announce his vice president to generate interest away from the Olympics and into the D.N.C. A while ago, I wrote a couple of posts about who the potentials were, and settled on a man by the name Tim Kaine. He’s the current governor of Virginia, has state service, and hadn’t been tainted by the touch of Washington D.C. yet. I said him some time ago, though the first time I wrote it down was May 17. The list, then, went as followed:
1: Tim Kaine
2: Bill Richardson
3: Kathleen Sebelius
4: Ted Strickland
5: John Edwards
6: Ed Rendell
7: Joe Biden
8: Chet Culver
9: Jim Webb
10: Evan Bayh
Come May 23, when it was time to update what I thought about the Republican options, I reevaluated the Democrats too and came to this list of top 5:
1: Tim Kaine
2: Bill Richardson
3: Ted Strickland
4: Kathleen Sebelius
5: Jim Webb
I was loyal to Tim Kaine because I had picked him, much like Obama, as a dark horse to win, and was backing him home because I thought him the best for the job. A white man (you can’t get around it), young, from a crucial and expensive swing state, Southern credentials.
The only way to know how each candidate was faring was by the amount of silence surrounding them. The VP announcement is a big draw for attention, and parties always want it to be front-page surprise. And with such a tightly controlled campaign as Obama’s, you knew that they would be throwing you curve balls to make you think otherwise. They had you stepping left, Obama would step to the right and shock us all with a name.
Now, a week and some ago, Kaine’s name was all over the place – as if someone had magically stumbled upon him and thought he’d be a good option. Before that, you’d hear about Clinton, Edwards, and Richardson, Sebelius, and a while ago Webb. Joe Biden too came up often. But when Kaine made the rounds, it seemed to stick.
I thought it was the kiss of death for him, until I started reading up on the speakers at the D.N.C. That is the only other way to determine who is most likely to get the VP spot in a race that includes prominent politicians from congress and governors from swing states. Generally, those swing governors get spots, big congressmen and women get spots, and the keynote speaker is either from the state that’s most crucial or from a person that is going to get the voters fired up. Obama was the keynote speaker in 2004.
The keynote speaker this year is one of my favourite politicians, someone I’ve been writing about, Mark Warner, running for senate in Virginia and a shoe-in for it. The Democratic party see him going places, so they are keen to put him in front of the camera to get him started. I hope his career does take off after he wins his senate seat, and he manages to find some higher office. I really do. He was a possible VP until he announced his senate seat too.
Ok, so I’ve been reading the run down. Clinton got her obligatory spot in prime time to keep the Clinton’s and her arrogant supporters happy. So that took her off the VP list (as if she ever had a chance). John Edwards is political plutonium right now (and forever), so don’t expect him to even have a fan at the convention. Weeks ago, Jim Webb told the Obama campaign to not offer him the spot, so he is gone. Ted Strickland, governor of Pennsylvania, is speaking at the D.N.C. the same night as Clinton. Bill Ritter, governor of Colorado (who didn’t make the original list) is speaking before Obama at the D.N.C. Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri has a speaking spot. Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius has a spot.
That was the first round of announcements, which left the following candidates: Time Kaine, Evan Bayh (two favorites), Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, John Kerry, and Chris Dodd. Out of them, Chris Dodd is tied up in a scandal, so he’s out. John Kerry would be an awful choice, so he’s gone, leaving 4 viable options.
Then the latest announcement of speakers toda: Joe Biden, Bill Richardson and Evan Bayh all had speaking rolls! The only name left that was consistently on any list for the past few months, Tim Kaine, was the only swing governor, and up-and-coming Democrat, to not get a speaking spot. All arrows seem to be pointing to Kaine (lest the Obama campaign is really drawing us in for a huge surprise) right now, with only one tiny sign that it might not be him.
The night that the VP speaks is, as Sebelius let slip, “thematically about securing America’s future, it is about honoring our veterans and the families of our veterans… and how to make us safer and move past the divisiveness and into the future.” Now, that might just be the theme, and then the VP is speaking about policy and election beyond just that. But some have said that the VP and his speech will tie into the theme too – and that it could be retired general Wesley Clark.
I discounted him some time ago because of his nil Washington experience, and bland campaigning – though I really like the guy. Also, he was a big Clinton supporter, whereas Kaine was the first not Illinois politician to voice support for Obama. I still discount him, but he will be in the shadows until the VP is announced. I also think that Webb might be lurking back there too now.
I’m sticking with Kaine, because I think he is the best choice. I’m backing him to the bank or bust.