Now that Barack Obama looks to be the Democratic nominee, speculation is growing about who he will select as his running mate, so I have compiled a list of the top 5 likely candidates to get a good long look from the Obama campaign.
I know that many people favor swing state senators such as Jim Webb and Bob Casey, but there are two problems associated with both of them. They are both inexperienced, and selecting either of them would leave the Democratic Party vulnerable to losing a seat in the Senate.
Obama’s running mate preferably would have executive experience, and be able to help the campaign geographically. These criteria would rule out popular picks like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd.
Some people like Wesley Clark, but anyone who followed his 2004 campaign can tell you that he has little or no grasp of any issue that isn’t foreign or military related, and he has the charisma of a turnip.
Here’s the list:
1). Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) – Richardson is a choice that almost makes too much sense. He is the most well known Latino politician in the country. He has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and has a foreign policy resume as long as your arm. He is a popular and successful swing state governor, and it can be argued that his endorsement was a turning point in the Democratic primary campaign.
2). Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) – Schweitzer is another rising star in the Democratic Party after he became Montana’s first Democratic governor in 16 years. Schweitzer is a rural politician who has loads of charisma. He is strong on energy issues, agriculture, and has a straight talking cowboy image that appeals to the West, and parts of the South.
3). Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) – Sebelius is yet another rising star of the Party, who would provide Obama with a female running mate straight out of the Heartland. Anyone who remembers Sebelius’s criticism of the Bush administration’s depletion of the National Guard after tornados devastated part of her state last year knows that she is ready for the national stage.
4). Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) – Some would argue for Napolitano ahead of Sebelius, but to me it is a tossup between the two. John McCain is not popular in his home state, but Napolitano is. She is another Southwestern Democrat who could appeal to voters who are John McCain’s geographic strength. Napolitano previously served as a U.S. attorney, and was Arizona’s first female attorney general. She spoke at both the 2000 and the 2004 Democratic conventions. John Kerry considered her as a possible running mate in 2004.
5). John Edwards – Edwards said he doesn’t want to run on the number two slot again, and I believe him, but he is the perfect fit for Obama. He is a charismatic Southerner who appeals to the white blue collar workers that Obama has never quite connected with.
Edwards’s concern with rural issues and poverty meshes well with Obama’s language of hope and change. An Obama/Edwards ticket would be a sure winner, but if Edwards isn’t interested in VP, he would make a great Attorney General.