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Veepstake Monday: The Inside Line – 07.07.2008

Tim KaineThe Dems’ are a mere seven weeks before they drop that gavel on their so-far very poorly organized convention in Denver, and their best hope is that they have enough of their crew dispatched to the Mile High City to get things under control so that the party’s nominee doesn’t have to spend time ordering the Democratic Convention planning committee’s financial house–valuable time that he needs to spend preparing for a fall campaign against a GOP standard bearer who may not have found a campaign that he can buy into yet but whose party surrogates and “527″ mercenaries have rolled up their sleeves, pounded a shot or two of bourbon, and are holding their noses when necessary in an effort, if not to get out the vote for their guy, then gut the vote for the other guy.

With an exception or two, Senator Obama won’t win this election with the right pick, but he can really screw things up with the wrong one. He’s exhibiting a Dick Morrisesque sense to play it safe of late, to triangulate and try corral the center. That’s pragmatic, but it isn’t visionary. Just like the women our fathers wound up with, it’s all about the sensible choose. Barack Obama has dazzled his base on going a little against type. He wants someone well-heeled, and he’s not afraid of a mate who will unabashedly wear white after Labor Day, but he wants boots on the ground after the troops lace up and march out of Denver. Who’s it gonna be?

Hillary Clinton – Senator, New York: Damn you , Unity. This one was deader than the weirdly-vaunted Richard Gephardt pick that has emerged the last several months by pundit Mark Shields and similarly long-in-the-tooth wagering men who still somehow have money after all these years to cling to their dated allegiances and throw good money after bad on the Knicks. But dammit if Hillary and Barack didn’t look pretty good in New Hampshire. For all the smack I’ve talked about Hillary lo these many months–and I don’t retract a word of it–she’s done the party and her reputation right and stepped up. She could run with this man, and with not only sincerity, but conviction, determination, and with the same magnitude of energy she deployed to cutting his heart out in the primaries. It’s still a long shot. The Clinton supporters are signing onto Obama in numbers that were unexpected a month ago, when it was presumed that there would need to be a lot of heavily-mediated healing to happen before a Hatfield could lie down with a McCoy. Yet, here we are. On the other hand, Obama could be buying a Bill of bads, as the former President is still somewhat unhinged from the shrapnel he took during the primaries, no matter how many heavy stones he threw into the minefield. Besides that, his jury’s still out on Senator Obama, and he’s twelve angry men unto himself. His antics and anger could make Obama more amenable to bringing Roger Clinton into his White House. But a strong leader commander should be able to manage his loose cannons. This a pick that is a little more probable once again. Not crazy enough that it might work. It might work.
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: 24 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (6/23/08): 144 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: (6/9/08): 12 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (5/26/08): 16 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (5/12/08): 14 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (4/28/08): 9 to 1

Bill Richardson – Governor, New Mexico: What can brown do for you, Republican Party? I love Bill Richardson, but the Republicans already have the man partly responsible for the 1988 Willy Horton ad ready to bait the hook and see what kind of voting bottom-feeders he can pull up. A black and an Hispanic make for a risky ticket, in a country that has never let one of either near the highest job in the land. But the West is in play–New Mexico, Colorado, even Arizona. As long as Richardson stays on his fitness regimen and doesn’t pack on the pounds, it won’t matter if Charlie Crist or Tim Pawlenty are a little thinner and more telegenic than the somewhat plump New Mexico Governor. He’s got the chops to leave his opponents a pale white puddle on the stage (except for whatever possibly non-FDA-approved melanin-enhancements are coloring Governor Crist’s epidermis). I think I’m holding the line on this pick.
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: 8 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (6/23/08): 8 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (6/9/08): 10 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (2/18/08): 40 to 1

Tim Kaine – Governor, Virginia: The Governor’s stock just shot up appreciably on a day with the Webb just untangled himself. Virginia’s junior Senator and a favorite of the Dems, Senator Jim Webb, just unequivocally pulled his name out of the running today. Virginia is very much in play, and tapping almost-certain Senatorial shoo-in Mark Warner would be foolish and futile. Popular Governor Kaine is a safe but smart pick. As the calendar gets tighter, so does the line. And as long as Virginia doesn’t blow wide open for Senator Obama, and as long as a grainy photo of Governor Kaine tailgating at a Virginia Tech game with a Confederate flag flying from his antenna doesn’t surface on YouTube, he’s Big Brown heading into the Belmont Stakes. Unfortunately, he’s Big Brown heading into the Belmont Stakes. I made the mistake of picking Big Brown on this blog, so let’s hope my betting mojo doesn’t rub off on Governor Kaine. Nonetheless…
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: 3 to 1
VeepsBlog 2008 Line (6/23/08): 4 to 1

Sam NunnSam Nunn – former Senator, Georgia: The sweltering July heat notwithstanding, I’m not feeling any warmth with this choice. All I’m feeling is that Democrats are digging into their nostalgia file, to paraphrase Ricky Roma. And that they already called Mario Cuomo and found out that he’s busy–still busy. Sam Nunn was, like Mario Cuomo, a frontrunner for 1992, but, like many others, he was cowed by President George H.W. Bush’s 91% approval ratings after Gulf War I, and bowed out. Sixteen years ago, people. We’re getting into Richard Gephardt territory. The last time the Democrats deferred to age and experience for their running mate, the party’s nominee selected Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen. He teed up Dan Quayle and knocked him across three fairways like John Daly, but he brought nothing to the polls in November. That, arguably, was the fault of Governor Dukakis, but once bitten, twice shy, and tapping the older sage gives me pause.
VeepsBlog 2008 Line: 44 to 1

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