The selection of Joe Biden as Barack Obama’s running mate changes the whole dynamic of the Veep choice now facing John McCain.
Sure, Biden brings credibility and experience and reassuring familiarity to the Democratic ticket, but he hardly adds sizzle or novelty. The Democrats feel that they’ve got enough pizzaz with their standard bearer, so it doesn’t hurt that they take a Vice Presidential contender with all the excitement of boiled Brussels sprouts.
I hope that this choice now gives John McCain reason to reconsider the safe, reassuring possibilities of Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty—apparently, the two leading contenders for the running mate slot for the GOP. Both Romney and Pawlenty are fine men, with special appeal in swing states (Michigan and Minnesota, respectively), but neither candidate would contribute an explosive infusion of energy or electricity.
In the same way that the Dems assumed they got enough novelty and excitement from the top of the ticket so they could go with experience and gravitas for the second spot, so the Republicans should recognize that they’ve got plenty of experience and gravitas with McCain so with his running mate they can go with a “breath of fresh air” candidate—someone new, unexpected, thrilling in some way, in order to shake up the electoral dynamic and undermine the big bounce Obama expects from Denver.
I would suggest – strongly – that the campaign reconsider the Senior Senator from Texas, the Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Okay, she’s not a dynamo of fiery charisma; in fact, as I’ve noted before, she’s a bland and sometimes boring speaker, and a pleasant if unprepossessing television presence. Nevertheless, she is a she--- and that fact in itself would allow McCain’s choice to upstage Obama’s.
Current polls show that only half of Hillary’s voters currently back The One; a full 20% already support McCain. The remaining 30% of one-time Clinton true believers are undecided or thinking of staying home, and the idea of a first female in national office would, no doubt, appeal to some of them—perhaps even many of them.
Most importantly, in contrast to Obama’s choice – which looks safe, cautious, timid and boring –the selection of a female candidate as Vice President would seem bold, daring, audacious….at the very time that “Hope” looks less audacious than tired. If Johnny Mac took a woman as his running mate, the lesson would be that the Old Guy still possessed his maverick instincts and the ability to shock the world and defy expectations. The press and the commentariat would love the story, and coming out of the dueling conventions of the next two weeks that’s no small matter.