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More veepstakes speculation

May 27, 2008

TPT ponders Obama-Hagel

Given that there aren’t that many polls and the primary season is all but finished, speculation of who Obama and McCain’s running mate will be will probably dominate both the media and this web-log for the next few weeks. Reading Andrew Sullivan’s article about Chuck Hagel I was struck by how much one could say similary things about McCain and Lieberman, in that Lieberman (Hagel) is a solid Democrat (Republican) on everything but his support for (opposition to) the War in Iraq. However, the real difference between the two is while Lieberman is a respected figure who was selected as Gore’s running mate in 2000 and had the guts to stand up to Clinton, Hagel has done nothing. Another, more cynical, comparison would be between the large number of pieces of legislation that McCain and Lieberman have sponsored (or co-sponsored) together and Obama’s legislative achievements. It would also seem ridiculous for Hagel, a strong personal friend of McCain, to ditch the party at the very moment a moderate had triumphed, while Lieberman waited until the Kossacks had completely taken over the Democratic party to leave.

Note: I’m still adjusting to the WordPress rules about sidebars, so I apologise to the person whose post I just deleted.

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One comment

  1. While I don’t think an Obama-Hagel ticket is very likely, I will say that it would be a more formidable hypothetical than McCain-Lieberman.

    Hagel is a war-vet who served in the Reagan Administration (Veterans Affairs), protested the war in Iraq before it was popular, and could syphon some of his state’s votes for Obama. He’s a white guy (meaning there won’t be too many “firsts” for the ticket), could offset McCain’s strength as a vet, and his support as a Republican could help build a winning coalition for the Democrats in November.

    However, I don’t think it will happen for several reasons:
    1. Hagel’s pro-life record will likely distress many Democrats, especially women from the Clinton camp. Obama’s biggest draw to them will be McCain’s staunch stance against abortion. Adding Hagel to the mix won’t make his argument any easier.

    2. The concept of a unity-ticket is strange and foreign to most Americans. If Hagel were a more-prominent Republican, like Colin Powell, it might work. Otherwise, it could backfire big time.

    3. While Nebraska’s unique allocation of EVs might allow Obama to pick up a few votes, it pales in comparison to Mark Warner or Bill Richardson guaranteeing whole states.

    4. There are better choices out there. Former Gen. Wes Clark, for one, has almost all of Hagel’s strengths and none of his weaknesses.

    5. There are better places for Hagel in an Obama Administration. He would make a fine Secretary of Defense or VA Secretary.

    6. Congressman Barr’s candidacy would already have syphoned Republicans dissatisfied with McCain.

    7. A McCain-Lieberman ticket would destroy the Republican Party. Barack Obama would win the White House by default.



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