Barack Obama is holding a national security summit at Purdue University in Indiana today. This shouldn't be too surprising; Indiana is a swing state this year, and Obama has been on a foreign policy kick lately. What is notable is who's joining him at Purdue: former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. While Nunn has been bandied about as a vice presidential prospect in past election cycles, there's reason to believe he has more of a chance this year. He and Obama are apparently good friends, and after a Congressional Black Caucus meeting with Obama, Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick said that Nunn is on the shortlist.
There are roles in an Obama administration in which Nunn would excel. He would be an excellent Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, for instance. He would be perfect for the post of US Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation. His record on arms control, and nuclear disarmament specifically, is second to none. If Obama wanted to appoint him Secretary of Defense, even, I would not object.
But not vice president. The first black major-party nominee for president should not pick as his running mate a former George Wallace booster who railed against court-ordered busing during his first run for Senate. A Democratic presidential nominee with a stellar record on LGBTQ rights should not choose as his running mate the man who led the fight against Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed services and who once fired two Senate committee staffers solely because of their sexual orientation. A 46 year-old candidate known for his energy and charisma should not choose a lethargic, dull 70 year-old as his running mate when his opponent is a lethargic, dull 72 year-old.
I don't know who Obama should pick. Each possible candidate has his or her pluses and minuses. Nunn, however, has way more minuses than pluses.