Kathy G has an exhaustive roundup on potential running mates for Obama. I bascially agree with the rankings, if not all of the reasoning. A few points:

  • Of Kathy's top three (Sebelius, Edwards, and Brown), Sebelius is the only one with significant executive experience, and the only woman. Edwards's greater national experience cuts both ways; his performance on the previous ticket was underwhelming. With respect to Brown, I don't think that having a Democratic governor in Ohio ends the problem with appointing a red-state Senator. Whether we would get another re-electable, progressive Democratic Senator in Ohio is questionable. I'd rather have Brown in the Senate unless he was clearly better than the alternatives, and I don't think he is.
  • This point is important: "Evan Bayh is one of the biggest Democratic corporate 'hos in the senate -- he's "fiscally conservative," voted for the bankruptcy bill, is a DLC Dem all the way. He is literally one of the Wall Street Journal's favorite Democrats." Although it's tempting to describe divisions within the Democratic caucus as falling along cultural lines, more often red-state Democrats are alienated from the party because they are straightforward economic reactionaries. Tim Roemer whining about not being made DNC chair although he voted for Bush's tax cuts and against Clinton's budget package is a classic example.
  • Kathy's claim that Lieberman may have cost Gore the election is, I think, a pretty clear pundit's fallacy. I knew a lot of people who voted for Nader or flirted with the idea at the time, and I don't recall Lieberman being a major issue for anybody, and nor am I aware of any contemporaneous evidence for the proposition. Moreover, selecting Lieberman was the only time period of the campaign in which Gore received generally positive press coverage, which has to at least balance whatever trivial loss of voters he caused. On the other hand, Lieberman also suggests that picking running mates on the merits is important, as he certainly would have been a disaster in he job, especially if 9/11 had happened on the watch of a President Gore. 

--Scott Lemieux

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