Now that Barack Obama is our presumptive nominee for president, it's time to begin thinking in earnest about his vice presidential choices. I've seen probably thirty different names floated around. Some of them are really good choices and some are just silly. The way I look at it, there are really only a few excellent choices.
Joe Biden (Delaware senator) - Senator Biden has over thirty years of experience and knows foreign policy like the back of his hand. He's the only major presidential candidate on our side who hasn't endorsed anyone, so it wouldn't look like Obama is drafting players from his own farm team. And anyone who has seen him get riled up on C-Span knows that Biden could also act as the attack dog (He could be the bad cop to Obama's good cop, if you prefer) and go after the GOP ticket and allow Obama to continue to look good.
Bill Richardson (New Mexico governor) - I really like Bill Richardson, and I think he would bring some great things to the ticket. He has all kinds of experience on the national level and in an executive role (and in the legislative branch), and he could help shore up support for Obama among Latinos. I do worry, however, that some in rural America would be unwilling to accept a ticket with a African American and an Hispanic American. Another potential problem (as with Biden) is his consistent foot-in-mouth disease.
Sam Nunn (former Georgia senator) - Sam Nunn has oodles and oodles of foreign policy experience (Nunn-Lugar), and people would see him as an experienced advisor to Senator Obama. He's a moderate southerner, and he could help Obama with the rural voters he's previously had trouble with. If the GOP nominee were anyone else, I would say that Nunn's age (70) could be a problem, but in this election, I don't think it would be.
Kathleen Sebelius (Kansas governor) - Governor Sebelius has shown that a Democrat can win in a bright red Republican state. She doesn't have much foreign policy experience (which could be a strike against her), but she has executive experience, which I think will be important to counter McCain's vice presidential nominee. She really wouldn't add much geographically to the ticket, but she could help hold on to Hillary Clinton's female voters.
Jim Webb (Virginia senator) - Here in Virginia, the cool thing to do is push Jim Webb for vice president. And why not? Unlike other people in other states who push their favorite son, Webb could add much to the ticket. He's a solid progressive. His championship of the new GI Bill will endear him even more to veterans. He could be invalauable to Obama in rural America (the places Webb talks about in Born Fighting), and he, like Biden, could attack the Republican ticket very successfully. I would love to see the Vice Presidential debate in October between Jim Webb and the joker that John McCain picks for veep (Lindsey Graham? Tim Pawlenty? John Thune? Really?).
There are lots and lots of other potential candidates (Christopher Dodd, Tom Daschle, Bill Bradley, Tim Kaine, Ted Strickland, Wesley Clark, and some female senator from New York named Clifton or Clayton or something like that), but I really think Biden, Richardson, Nunn, Sebelius, and Webb bring the most to the ticket.