Oh boy, it’s getting exciting now. With the talking heads turning their attention to the Veepstakes, we’re moving into that realm beyond the academic where someone could lose their car title over this parlor game. We’re going to have real Veep nominees on both sides in just over three months, and a real Vice President-elect in just under six. The powers that would be are getting serious, so no time like the present for amateur wagerers and prognosticators like the hangers-out here. The analysis is getting serious, and accordingly, Veepstake Monday is now going weekly. We will alternate weekly between the two parties up until the conventions late this summer. Since the heat is still on on their side, this week, we’re starting our new weekly format with….
THE DEMOCRATS – BARACK OBAMA
Evan Bayh – Governor, Indiana: He narrowly missed a profound embarassment in Indiana when Obama almost eked out a shocker in the Hoosier State but his fifteen minutes in the limelight during the Indiana campaign gave America a glimpse at this heretofore quiet man whom many people weren’t sure wasn’t anything more than a Corn Belt Ken Doll who could just as well be a Dan Quayle in waiting. After all, no one who doesn’t live in Indiana and the 18 people who actually witnessed his nanocampaign for the Presidency that closed its doors very nearly as soon as he opened them back in 2006, which measured with the clock of politics is practically medieval from the vantage point of 2008. Moreover he’s been a staunch Hillary supporter, and it’s not inconceivable that he bowed out of the race as a quid pro quo of handing her Indiana in exchange for the Veep spot in 2008. Pragmatism deems that Hillary has the right of first refusal for the Veep Spot, but if she would rather turn her long knives toward Harry Reid and taking Senate Majority Leader as a very handsome consolation prize, there’s nothing keeping Bayh in his Indiana Senate seat. At 52, he’ll be 60 after a second Obama term and in pole position for a shot at the Presidency, and a much better one than if he gambles on a McCain Presidency and has to fight Hillary in four years. And as a Blue Senator in a very Red State who won re-election in 2004 with 62% in what was an otherwise abysmal year for Democrats, Obama would be a fool not to pursue him, especially since he could help carry Ohio, where Ted Strickland’s prospects are looking dimmer and dimmer. If Hillary finally stops the insanity, the Dem Veep Spot is Bayh’s if he wants it, and if Barack Obama doesn’t have a brain tumor and/or has hired Bob Shrum.
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: 2 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (4/28/08): 4 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (4/14/08): 8 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (3/31/08): 15 to 1
Hillary Clinton – Senator, New York: Her last-minute vitriol notwithstanding and the fact that she’s about to beat Barack Obama by Globetrotter numbers in West Virginia and probably Kentucky, she’s circling the drain as a Presidential contender. It’s not inconceivable that Hillary would take this gig. Many will cite LBJ accepting the second spot with JFK after assailing the Massachusetts Senator’s inexperience and health issues, and Ronald Reagan bringing George H.W. Bush onboard after their ugly primary fight where Bush called the linchpin of Reagan’s election strategy “voodoo economics.” But you really don’t have to go back any further than 1996 to the unlikely marriage between GOP nominee Senator Robert Dole and Congressman Jack Kemp. In 1985, at a speech to college Republicans where both were billed, Dole fired the first shot saying that Kemp wanted a business deduction for hairspray, and Kemp followed with a quip that there was a recent fire at Bob Dole’s library where “both books were lost–one of which he hadn’t finished coloring yet.” That said, the only reason she would do this is for party unity, and that hasn’t been her strong pantsuit lately. Hillary is desperate for the White House, but I don’t believe she’s so desperate she’d take second fiddle with the prospect of running again in 2016 when she’s 68 years old. Given her druthers, if she can’t have the White House outright, she’s rather head back to the Senate and turn her guns on Harry Reid for the Senate Majority Leader spot.
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: 14 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (4/28/08): 9 to 1
Ed Rendell – Governor, Pennsylvania: Well, this would be a coup but it would take some work. Ed hasn’t only hitched his wagon to Hillary, it’s probably welded to it. Nonetheless, he’s beloved in a state that doesn’t like Barack very much, and where he has a lot of making up to do after the cheesesteak and “bitter” disses, and don’t even mention the bowling scandal. Barack needs someone with a pair if he’s going to get the salt-of-the-earth to open their hearts and hearths to him, and in a state with 23 electoral votes, that’s nothing to take lightly. Ed’s a grand old dad of the Democratic party, and the Keystone State loves him. He’s Tip O’Neill-gregarious and his gravelly chuckle, bulbous nose, and barroom charm could be a big hit out on the hustings, especially among the working-class white and seniors who distrust Obama. I don’t think he cares about running for President so his current 64 wouldn’t make his interest in the second spot seem curious, yet he’s young enough to take the helm if something happens to Obama. It still seems from my gut like an unlikely marriage, but stranger things have happened. We’ll see.
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: 10 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (3/17/08): 12 to 1 (with Senator Hillary Clinton, and only because she had only slightly more of a prayer at the nomination than she does now)
Richard Gephardt – Former U.S. Congressman, Missouri: Go ahead. It’s okay. I laughed, too, and I’m still chuckling. The only reason I’m still including it here is that Bill Kristol weighed in on FOX News Sunday yesterday in favor of the Man from Missouri: “Former Democratic leader in the congress. Very attractive to working class Democrats.” Yes, except that none of those Democratic voters are working anymore. We’re not quite in Harold Stassen territory yet, but we’re close. Granted, he’s not that old at 67, but you can only be a comer for so long before you lose some political street cred if you never come close to arriving. He was drubbed in 1988 and again in 2004, and has never been seriously considered as a Vice Presidential prospect except by the New York Post who had their own “Dewey Defeats Truman!” moment in 2004 when they very, very incorrectly named Gephardt as Kerry’s pick for the #2 spot. I remember 1988 and 1992 very well, and no one believed this pick then, and it’s folly to think that anyone believes it now. Sure, poor Richard Gephardt surely didn’t ask to be drawn into this comedy, and I feel a little bad laughing, but Bill Kristol had no business going here, and I don’t think it’s improbable that the honorable former Congressman Gephardt, while flattered, might well agree.
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: 627 to 1