Running Mates

In the search for a running mate the presidential nominee seeks a partner, one who stands for the same ideals and has the same basic goals for the nation; one who will compliment the candidate’s strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. At the same time, the candidate tries to choose one who will bring with them a significant number of votes and supporters who might otherwise not support the ticket.

Many Democrats think Obama should put Hillary on the ticket. Here are three reasons why that is a bad idea. Reason one: it looks weak. As several analysts have mentioned, choosing Hillary as his running mate indicates weakness on Obama’s part. Even if it isn’t true, it will look as if he was bullied, or at least manipulated, into the decision. The Clintons come as a package. Even if Obama is the strongest personality (which I do not believe he would be), the Clintons outnumber him two to one.

Reason two: she wouldn’t bring the support it might appear she would. Although they like to think the opposite of themselves, neither Obama nor Clinton (either of them) are unifying personalities. In fact, they are both quite divisive. The Democratic Party has never been more divided. Although Hillary and Obama seem close on several key issues, they are completely different in their approach. More importantly, Clinton supporters will not vote for Obama because he is too far left. I don’t think a significant number of Clinton supporters would vote for Obama even with her on the ticket. Some Obama supporters may leave his camp with Hillary on the ticket because they oppose her so strongly.

Reason three: if he were to win with Hillary Clinton as Vice-President, Obama’s life would be in danger. Seriously, I don’t think Hillary would directly suggest that he be assassinated, but she has already suggested it indirectly when she “mentioned” (twice) the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. I believe Hillary Clinton’s desire to be President outweighs everything else for her, but more dangerous for Obama are the Clinton supporters who would take her comments as an invitation, or even a request, to clear the way for her to get to the Oval Office.

Obama should choose a running mate who agrees with his key positions and can bring some of the groups that supported Clinton n the primary.

On the other hand, here are three reasons that John McCain should choose Joe Lieberman as his running mate. I know that suggestion may surprise some of my readers, and it kind of surprises me to think of it, but hear me out.

McCain won the nomination because of his moderate leaning policies and his willingness to cross party lines. Lieberman is already estranged from the Democratic Party, but has the support of many other democrats who are disgruntled with the direction the party is going. Reason one: Lieberman brings left leaning moderates without making McCain a “traitor” to the GOP.

Reason Two: no matter who he picks, the GOP ticket will be far more conservative than the Obama ticket. Obama is so extremely left that many democrats question the direction he would take the country. His claims of wanting to unite the country do not match his brief voting record nor his John Kerry-like “global approval system? for our thermostats and SUV’s. The majority of the country seems to want to move left of where we are, but not that far. The Right, on the other hand, will vote for the candidate closest to them, so McCain could choose a running mate to bring more of the middle to him without losing those on the right.

Finally, reason three is that Lieberman’s position on issues that move him right of his ex-party are very similar to McCain’s positions on those same issues. It is these very issues that many conservatives feel McCain is too liberal on, but he is far more conservative on these issues than Obama.

Truth be told, the Presidency will be decided by the middle 5 -10 % of the voters. The candidate who is best able to woo those voters will be our next president.

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