May 27, 2008


The Running Mate Choice: A presidential candidate should be selecting a vice president on the basis of who can help him govern successfully and get him re-elected. (David Brooks, 5/27/08, Der Spiegel)

[A] sensible presidential candidate shouldn’t be selecting a mate on the basis of who can help him get elected. He should be thinking about who can help him govern successfully so he can get re-elected.

That means asking: What circumstances will I face when I take office? What tasks will I need my chief subordinate to perform to help me face those circumstances? [...]

Obama will need a vice president who knows the millions of ways that power is exercised and subverted in Washington. He’ll need someone who can be a senior, authoritative presence in a cabinet that may range from Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to the labor leader Andy Stern. He’ll need someone who can supervise his young reformers and build transpartisan coalitions more effectively than Obama has as senator.

Sam Nunn and Tom Daschle seem to fit the bill. Nunn is one of those senior Democrats (like David Boren and Bob Kerrey) who left the Senate lamenting the dumbed-down nature of modern politics. Daschle was more partisan as majority leader, but he is still widely trusted and universally liked. As experienced legislators, both could take Obama’s lofty hopes and translate them into nitty-gritty action.

Senators generally don't win the presidency because they don't have the executive experience that the position requires, but Mr. Obama should double down and offer an all-Senate ticket? Not to mention that neither of those featherweights would have a prayer of succeeding him and picking a stock old white guy would infuriate the Hillary wing of the Party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 27, 2008 6:36 AM

It's difficult to count the inanities in this column; perhaps that's why it is in Der Spiegel instead of the Times (or perhaps not).

Chuck Hagel - an authoritative figure? Ha.

Andy Stern is divisive, not authoritative.

Sam Nunn left the Senate because he couldn't be President after voting against the first Gulf War. Tom Daschle lost his re-election and his wife has more lobbying contract problems than Jack Abramoff. Bob Kerrey is an outcast within the party. And nobody remembers David Boren.

These guys would be hated by the professional Left, not to mention the women.

Actually, I'm surprised that Brooks didn't mention the one guy who knows the "halls of power" and who helped another neophyte govern - Al Gore.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 27, 2008 7:52 AM

And there's nothing in the 22nd Amendment that prevents Algore from serving a 3rd (and even 4th) term as VP. And think of all those 12 year old Volvos out there that still carry a Clinton-Gore sticker on the back.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 27, 2008 2:59 PM