I posted a list of possible Democratic VP choices a few months ago. I didn't make a list of my top choices at the time because I wanted to see if Obama could actually win the nomination. Now that Obama has actually won the Democratic Party's nomination, I have come up with my top 5.
1. John Edwards
2. Bill Richardson
3. Tim Kaine
4. Ted Strickland
5. Jim Marshall
Wesley Clark could fit in there as well, although I am no particular fan of his. But I only allowed myself 5 choices.
The full list is below.
*Gen. John Batiste
*Rep. Mike Thompson
*Russell "Russ" Feingold
*Gen. Anthony Zinni
*Rep. Jim Marshall
Added to list since my initial VP post.
Why this top 5?
1. John Edwards - Charismatic and young. He basically ran on a similar (although not the same) Populist platform, and he is the only other viable Democratic candidate who could ligitimately share the "Change" platform. Edwards was the closest to Obama in terms of ideology and political platforms. All of the other candidates either rejected the "Change" position....the real hard break from Washington style politics, or they attempted to co-opt Obama's "Change" platform after they figured out that this is what the people really wanted. (the way that Clinton did, and like what John McCain is attempting to do now in the General Election). Obama and Edwards would be the most natural fit.
Edwards also shares Obama's aggressive position on energy independence. Edwards actually had a better platform for dealing with poverty, but they both recognize the importance of grassroots politics.
Edwards would make an awesome VP. He could be an asset because he can fire up voters. Some say that he would not add to the ticket because he couldn't deliver his own State of North Carolina in 2004. But the political dynamics were much different in 2003 & 2004 than they are today. The political map is changing, at least somewhat, from the map of 4 years ago.
Edwards would also represent the future for the Party. Only in his early 50's, he would be able to run for President in 2016 from a good position (assuming a good Obama Presidency).
Edwards could also help Obama reach out to white working class voters, and white males in particular (Edward's base of support). And it helps that he's a Southerner.
2. Bill Richardson (Governor of New Mexico)- This is a more strategic pick. Richardson brings a wealth of Foreign policy credentials, and he is an experienced, seasoned politician who is familiar with balancing budgets, running a government, etc. He also has experience as a diplomat- important for a Country that will have to mend fences once a new President takes office. If he's not the VP choice, don't be surprised if you hear his name pop up again for Secretary of State.
And probably most important from a strategic standpoint....he could help deliver New Mexico for Obama. In addition, Richardson could help Obama reach out to Hispanics, a diverse group that Obama has had trouble gaining support from in the recent past.
3. Tim Kaine (Governor of Virginia)- Young Governor of a possible swing State. Sharp, intelligent, and he could put Virginia in play. Seems to be well liked. He could also help Obama reach out to those white working class voters that he will need in a General Election...not just in Virginia, but across the Country.
Also, Kaine is not seen as a Washington insider. Obama could add him to the ticket and still remain true to his platform of "Change".
4. Ted Strickland (Governor of Ohio)- A Seasoned politician, spending 6 terms in the House of Representatives (12 years). He has a religious background which could help Obama reach that demographic - white evangelicals from the Midwest and the South.
Strickland could also help Obama win Ohio, something that will be much harder for Obama, Post-Wright.
As a more Conservative Democrat, he would help balance the ticket.
Strickland seems to be well respected by his constituency, despite being a Democratic Governor in a largely Republican State.
Unfortunately Strickland has stated that he is not really interested in the VP spot.
5. Jim Marshall (Congressman - Georgia's 8th District) - Another Conservative Democrat. He has not been in Washington long, and could therefore claim the change position.
He is a White Southerner and could help Obama make inroads with the White working class vote across the Country. He is also a decorated war veteran, from a family with a strong military tradition. He is a nice dark horse possibility who could effectively cancel out McCain's "I'm the only one you can trust because of my military credentials" argument.
Marshall has already proven that he can beat Republicans in their own backyard - he now represents a largely Republican area in Georgia.
**Wildcard - General Wesley Clark... Because of his military credentials, grasp of international affairs, and leadership qualities that come from being a top Army General. Although I am not a particular fan of Clark. This would be more of a strategic choice to blunt McCain.
Clark would be a more moderate Democrat. He was also a supporter of Clinton and has a history as being part of the Clinton inner circle. I don't know how well he would fit as Obama's VP. The fact that he has never been a politician could allow him to make the argument that he is not a part of traditional Washington politics. But this would be only particially true, depending on which lens you are looking through.
I'm not sure I trust Clark to support the kind of Foreign Policy that we need.
And some of his decisions regarding Yugoslavia were disturbing. Needless to say, Clark would represent a double edged sword. Like the Clinton's, he would bring baggage to the position. But he could also cancel out McCain pretty effectively.... and remove the only viable argument that McCain is planning to run on... his military/National Security credentials.