Wednesday, May 19, 2004

An Oh-So-Very Tentative VP Prediction

A good number of you probably remember that I was a big fan of Wesley Clark. In fact, I thought there was a pretty good chance he'd win the nomination. Well, I was of course wrong. So what I am about to write may come off to some as wishful thinking, but hear me out.

I think Wes Clark's a serious contender for the number two spot on the Democratic ticket.

What do I base this on? Well, after he announced the end to his candidacy, Clark pretty quickly endorsed Kerry and then dropped off the map. There was little word from him publicly, which was odd, seeing as how he'd been a CNN military analyst before he ran for the Democratic nomination. In other words, this guy didn't have a long track record of staying quiet.

But then about a month ago, Clark all of a sudden become a public player again. In the New York Times, he wrote a passionate defense of John Kerry's throwing (or not throwing) his medals (or ribbons or bowling trophies or whatever they were) on the Capitol steps in protest of the Vietnam War. He delivered the Democratic response to the President's Weekly Radio address and then went on Meet the Press the very next day. He's got a new article strategizing a new Iraq policy in The Washington Monthly. He launched a PAC, appropriately named 'WesPAC', and appropriately located at

There has been very little talk of Clark as a potential VP candidate lately, however. Most of the attention is focused on union favorite Dick Gephardt, southern strategist favorite John Edwards, swing state triangulator favorite Tom Vilsack, recount revenge favorite Bob Graham, shifting demographic favorite Bill Richardson, and maverick favorite John McCain.

We know it won't be McCain. It also won't be one-time Kerry rival, now Kerry campaigner and bat-swinger Howard Dean. Foreign policy rock star Joe Biden has also ruled himself out. Richardson, while he'd make an awesome choice, has promised his New Mexico constituents that he'll finish his term there as Governor. Vilsack's a real possibility, as is Edwards, who isn't running for reelection in November.

Gephardt and Graham -- also not running for reelection -- probably aren't likely picks, though. Sure, they'd make it easier for Kerry to win Missouri and Florida, respectively, along with probably a few neighboring states. But what will they really do nationally? They're both kind of bland old white guys -- not an image Kerry can afford to reinforce on his ticket.

The one thought I keep coming back to in all of the veepstakes chatter is that the VP nominee almost always comes out of left-field. Only the insiders see it coming. Therefore, the conventional wisdom would, I think, knock Edwards off of the list. Besides, Edwards could potentially be up for AG along with Elliot Spitzer. The same holds true for Gephardt and Graham, whom one could imagine as the respective Secretaries of Labor and Transportation.

So with it being said that Kerry will make his pick by the end of this month, I'm calling Clark and Vilsack the front-runners at the moment. And then I'm favoring Clark a bit more heavily, as he's been highly visible lately and Vilsack has not.

We all know my predictions track record is dodgy at best, however. And don't forget that conventional wisdom tells us this thing is very unpredictable. Then again, also don't forget that we're living in a time in which conventional wisdom itself no longer necessarily applies. This is anybody's game, but if I had to place my bet right now, my money would be on Clark.

posted by Scott | 5/19/2004 | |

Monday, May 17, 2004

Biden Wants To Be Kerry's Secretary Of State, Still Wants McCain For VP

While he's ruled out the chance of his becoming John Kerry's Vice-Presidential nominee, Delaware Senator and foreign policy rockstar Joe Biden has expressed interest in taking over Colin Powell's job should Kerry win in November.

The choice would make total sense, as Biden has become the first Democrat the media runs to on all matters concerning foreign policy. Hell, even Bush admits to calling the guy for advice.

And on Meet The Press, Biden once again called for Kerry to choose John McCain (who has been pretty open about not wanting the job) as his number two man. Biden (along with a few million other people) sees a Kerry/McCain ticket as the best chance for the moderate left and the moderate right to come together to heal "this God-awful, vicious rift that exists in the nation."

For his part, Kerry has said that McCain would be at the top of the list for Secretary of Defense. Historically speaking, this scenario is much more likely. William Cohen, the last Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration, also served time in the Senate as a Republican.

It's also worth noting that McCain has not yet ruled out the Sec Def offer.

posted by Scott | 5/17/2004 | |
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