It is being reported that retired military leaders is one of the categories being looked at by the Obama campaign’s vetting team, so with this in mind, I have compiled a list of five retired military leaders that Obama might consider.
1). Jim Webb – If Obama decides to pick a running mate with political and military experience, then Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) should be at the top of the list. Webb is a decorated Vietnam veteran, who prior to being elected to the Senate, was a Republican who served in the Reagan administration in the 1980s first as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs then as Secretary of the Navy. Webb’s area of specialization is primarily military issues. Webb also hails from a critical swing state, and has more than enough of a military resume to go up against John McCain.
2). Wesley Clark – Should Obama desire a running mate with an outstanding military resume who was also a supporter of Hillary Clinton, then he could turn to Wesley Clark, who is a retired Army four star general who spent 34 years in the military. Clark rose to national prominence as Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997-2000. Clark was the commander of Operation Allied Force during the Kosovo war. Previously Clark was the Director, Strategic Plans and Policy on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1994-1996. Clark is from Arkansas, and could help Obama in the South.
3). Gen. Tony McPeak – McPeak is currently an advisor to the Obama campaign. McPeak served as Air Force Chief of Staff under President George H.W. Bush, and he assisted in the planning of Operation Desert Storm, and was the Chief of Staff for Operation Desert Shield. He oversaw the major reshaping and reduction of the Air Force after the end of the Cold War. McPeak served as the Oregon state chair of the Bob Dole campaign in 1996, and supported George W. Bush in 2000. McPeak broke with Bush over the invasion of Iraq, and was an advisor to John Kerry in 2004.
4). Gen. Hugh Shelton – Shelton is another retired general who is best known as a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997-2001. He is a Vietnam vet, who once commanded the 82nd Airborne, and also led the Joint Task Force responsible for Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. Shelton was promoted to Commander in Chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). On the political front, he was an advisor to John Edwards during his 2004 campaign, and endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2008.
5). Gen. Colin Powell – There is no evidence that Powell would like to return to politics after a tenure as George W. Bush’s Secretary of State that must have left a bad taste in his mouth. Powell served as Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor from 1987-1989, and was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1989-1993. Powell has long advocated that military action only be used as a last resort, after the failure of diplomacy and containment. Powell is a pro-choice Republican, and he is the only Bush administration figure who has remained popular, but Powell is still a Republican, and it is extremely unlikely that he would cross over to be on Obama’s ticket.