Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The VP selection

John McCain made a maverick move to choose a woman as his running mate. She's only the second behind Geraldine Ferraro who was Walter Mondale's running mate back in 1984. She's pro-life, pro-gun, a governor, a former mayor, and a reformer. Yeah she's only served two years so far as the Governor of Alaska but she has more executive experience than John McCain, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden.

Let's talk about experience for a second.

What bothers me most about Barack Obama is his lack of executive experience. He may tout the fact that he was a community organizer or a state senator or a US senator, but has he actually led. They can talk about all these pieces of legislation he might have been able to pass as a member of the state legislature but can anybody tell me if he was truly a vocal advocate for this legislation? Or at least if he ever came up with any bright ideas on his own?

This could help in the realm of executive experience if, and I'll include both Obama and McCain, they have ever served as the chairman of a legislative committee. Before Obama left the state senate it was possible and McCain after over a decade of Republican majorities in the US Senate should have been able to garner a chairmanship.

Wait I was supposed to be talking about Vice Presidents.

I was watching talking heads talk about the selection of Sarah Palin. I was in the political science department at school listening to students and the department secretary really tear into to Gov. Palin. They would say that she would be eaten alive by Joe Biden and that she's a governor of an insignificant state. Other talking heads decided that she doesn't have enough foreign policy experience and this would be dangerous if she just so happens to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, especially with John McCain's past health issues (melanoma).

The fact is in observing the history of the Presidency and presidential races, VPs were not chosen for their experience. The selection of the VP is often a political choice. If the VP weren't chosen because this candidate seeks a certain segment of the vote (for instance Palin could be get women in the Republican camp or to get the Christian right on board) another reason VPs might be chosen is geography. Perhaps JFK couldn't have won the Presidency had he not chosen Lyndon Johnson, a Southerner, to be his VP. Of course one could say that Johnson hadn't any executive experience but he certainly had lots of leadership ability as the majority leader in the US Senate.

Still, it's hard to listen to talking heads on TV discuss Sarah Palin talking about her experience in relation to her selection as the VP nominee for the Republicans. This selection was political and has nothing to do with whatever experience she might have in others that these talking heads consider important. Of course that being said VP choices should be taken more seriously.

They are going to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Thankfully that's not likely to happen, but we would want someone who'll be ready to take over in case a President is either dead, incapacitated, or resigns. We will be voting for a President so don't get me wrong, but perhaps based upon the choice the Presidential nominee makes to be his running mate we could chalk this up to judgment.

American voters are ultimately making the choice. The human resources departments are the individual political parties. The primaries for the most part will root out those who aren't considered the right "match" to be that party's standard bearer. Of course that match is probably subjective and it could be as simple as not being someone else. The political parties pass on their candidates to the rest of us for our consideration.

Of course we have to also judge based upon who they choose as their #2, although ultimately we're voting for a team and we're not likely to vote based upon their VP. That wouldn't be smart anyway. Besides it's almost like choosing as I'm sure some had, Governor Blagojevich only because his Lt. Gov. was Pat Quinn.

Still if the choice of Sarah Palin was key to helping one decide to vote for John McCain, then it shouldn't be a problem. I try not to be a single issue voter anyway so I won't just vote for McCain/Palin because Palin is pro-life, a governor, or a reformer. As for John Biden well I know about his experience in all his years as a US Senator, but I have to admit I have more research to do about him.

I think I understand that he has great knowledge in the areas of foreign affairs, something that should strengthen Obama. Surely the experience Palin brings also with some of her political positives should strengthen McCain. Ultimately though the choices will come down to who you want as your President and of course that choice comes with their respective running mates.

Palin: Corruption fighter, Obama: corruption tolerator - Marathon Pundit
Thank you Obama, for picking Biden - Marathon Pundit
Rumor: Sarah Palin is Grandmother, not Mother of Young Trig - Electronic Village
Sarah Palin is McCain's Running Mate - Electronic Village
Joe Biden is Obama's Running Mate - Electronic Village
Sarah Palin= Another Clarence Thomas - Jack and Jill Politics
Palin won't sway voters to McCain - Chicago Argus
Candidate Profiles: Joe Biden - Political Realm
GOP Veepstakes: How We Missed It - The Fix
Vice-President of the United States - Wikipedia

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