When the weak act strong…
June 4, 2008 1 Comment
by the squid
Congratulations to Senator Obama on sealing the Democratic nomination, he can finally exhale. However, he now needs to make the most important decision of his entire campaign – selecting a Vice President.
Sun Tzu implored strategists: When you are weak, act strong, when you are strong, act weak.
Senator Obama is now strong, but he has a very, very soft underbelly: experience. This is not said to undermine his historic win, as Obama has just beaten his most difficult rival.
However, it is important to remember what happened when Obama ran for his Senate seat in Illinois.
As a state legislator, he ran against Republican incumbent Jack Ryan, who at the time was married to Jerry Ryan of Star Trek fame. During the campaign, the Ryans went through a horrible divorce where allegations of sex club infidelity torpedoed his campaign.
After Ryan ended his campaign, Alan Keyes was asked to run against Obama. Keyes, the only notable Black Republican, lived in Washington DC at the time but rented an apartment in Illinois, to comply with the residency requirement, with the vow to move to Illinois if he won. The Republicans tossed that seat into the bonfire. They gave up and Obama won easily.
Fast forward four years, and Obama beats Clinton. This victory is genuinely huge and shows the Obama can run an effective campaign, but he still has a weakness in the area of leadership experience.
So at this point, to shore up that side of his credentials as a candidate, he needs to have a Vice President who needs no introduction, one who can easily harden Obama’s soft under belly. To broaden his appeal and to possibly unify the country, Senator Obama ought to consider looking across the aisle to select a fiscal or military hawk, a person who is fiscally prudent and has real foreign policy clout.
I believe Senator Obama needs to have former Secretary of State Colin Powell on his short list of possible candidates for Vice President. Powell is more patriot than politician and he needs no introduction to the American people. Foreign leaders know Mr. Powell and his capabilities. He knows government inside and out. He is “Republican” in a limited sense and he even believes in affirmative action. With Mr. Powell, no one speaks of his race but rather of his integrity.
Another reason Colin Powell would be a great choice is because Senator McCain can not use him. A McCain/Powell ticket would be a weak ticket because both men have too much military experience and this would help alienate those who have not served. Similarly, if Senator Obama selects a liberal as his running mate, it will be a disaster and Obama will lose the South, the Mid-West and the general election.
Then there is Hillary Clinton, who is too divisive a person to have an a running mate and beyond that, she comes with angry meddling Bill. Senator Obama would have to spend much of his time defending Bill’s angry ramblings much like he had to defend, then repudiate, his former pastor’s rantings.
If the Hillary supporters actually do vote for McCain out of anger, which I believe they will, this is another reason to select a solid candidate for Vice President that can broaden Senator Obama’s base.
So, congratulations to Senator Obama; Don’t mess it up!