The National Catholic Review
Time to begin thinking about the Veep choices. (Note to Obama staff: you keep thinking about winning Wisonsin, Ohio and Texas, and let the rest of us worry about Veep choices.) And we’d like to encourage America’s readers to send in your suggestions to Veepstakes@aol.com. We will note your suggestions, debate them, invite readers to post on this and subsequent posts, and get a real debate going. To start it off, here’s my Veep candidate for Obama: Sen. Jim Webb from Virginia. He is perfect from almost every angle. In the old days, VP selections were used to balance a ticket geographically or ideologically. Jimmy Carter, conservative Southern governor chose Walter Mondale, liberal northern Senator. Bill Clinton broke that mold choosing instead to reinforce his own image as a moderate, southern "new Democrat" by choosing someone that also fit that description, Al Gore. Jim Webb is enough like Barack Obama to reinforce the biographical sketch: he is not a "Washington insider," not only can he work with Republicans he used to be one, and his political style is new and fresh, accessible and authentic. But Webb also brings unique strengths to the ticket. He was Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy and was a decorated Vietnam War veteran before that. Yet his opposition to the Iraq War was the basis of his successful Senate campaign in 2006. McCain’s anticipated attacks on Obama’s lack of military and foreign policy experience would be blunted as would his claims to have been "a foot soldier" in the Reagan Revolution. Webb also defeated an incumbent senator who had previously been a successful governor of Virginia, George Allen. Yes, Allen suffered many self-inflicted wounds, but beating a popular incumbent senator is still not an easy task. He was called upon to deliver the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union address, an assignment that is almost impossible to do well, and Webb gave a speech that was widely credited as superior to Bush, even without the standing ovations and the trappings of office the President could command. If all that was not enough, the Democratic Party learned on Tuesday night that Virginia, where more people voted for Obama then voted for all GOP candidates combined, is looking very purple. The last Democratic presidential candidate to win Virginia was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. With its 13 electoral votes, it would be a huge pick-up for the Democrats in November. Not every VP choice can deliver his home state. John Edwards could not swing North Carolina into the Kerry column in 2004. But Webb would be an asset in a state that is suddenly in play. Combined with the way he amplifies Obama’s central message of changing the way politics is done in DC, he should be at the top of the short list. Michael Sean Winters

Comments

Anonymous | 3/2/2008 - 11:31pm
Jim Webb wrote an infamous article titled "Women Can't Fight" which I think disqualifies him for the position of Vice President. It should have disqualified him from the position of Secretary of the Navy as well. Here's a link to the article http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/mediapolitics/2182.html My choice for Vice President is Wesley Clark. I have started a "Draft Clark for VP!" blog at http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/blog/WesleyClarkVP