Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Today's wacky VP pick: 10+ reasons for Wasserman Schultz


There's no fun in arguing for Clark, Clinton, or Webb for VP. It's like arguing for Citizen Kane as best movie ever. It's fun but not...intriguing. More interesting to argue for, I don't know, The Graduate.

I have what I think is an intriguing VP candidate for Obama: Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Here's why:

  • She endorsed Hillary Clinton. If we're going for a VP pick that invites Clinton's hurting followers into the campaign with a sense of unity, Wasserman Schultz qualifies.
  • She's a Florida politician. The "swing state Clinton" argument that leads some to propose Ohio governor Ted Strickland for this post also applies to Wasserman Schultz. This puts Florida more in play. I believe that no matter what, Ohio is pretty much in play no matter what role Strickland has. The right VP pick expands the board even more, and starts the rehabilitation of Obama in Florida.
  • She is a great strategist. She's a leader in the effort to expand the Congressional map for Democrats in the red-to-blue program. She knows elections, to the point where she has a shot at leading the DCCC.
  • Did I mention that her district is in Florida...like, Miami, Florida?
  • Her district is 20% Hispanic...another bloc with which Obama struggles. Wasserman Schultz doesn't.
  • She is a deputy House whip who knows the legislative process. Obama, like JFK, would be helped to have a VP who knows how to guide legislation to fruition. While Wasserman Schultz is no LBJ, well nobody is, she does have a rhythm of the process.
  • Speaking of blocs with which Obama has problems, Wasserman Shultz is Jewish.
  • She is also young...under 40. Folds in well with Obama's energy vibe.
  • She has some heft on foreign policy...a hawkish heft, balancing off Obama's negotiatory leanings.
  • Oh yeah, she's a woman. Another swing block for anyone playing "check the boxes".
  • Her district would likely return another Democrat, leading to no loss in that balance.

Granted, she's not a perfect VP candidate. She's not as well known or as photogenic. She did make some poor choices in deciding not to campaign against her Republican neighbors. Of course, outraging "liberal bloggers" isn't necessarily a negative in the general election campaign.

I have a lot of admiration for Kathleen Sebelius's ability to sweet-talk Republicans into the Democratic column in Kansas. I also realize that as a successful white woman in a rural area, she's seen as a balance to Obama. However, she's never impressed me the way that Wasserman Schultz has. I think Congresswoman Debbie offers all that Sebelius does, and so much more.

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