Now that we can finally say it is all over but the shouting, don’t you DOUBT FOR A SECOND JUST HOW MUCH SHOUTING REMAINS, DAMN YOU.
In particular, who will be the respective choices for Vice President?
Obama: We can now expect to see at least a full day of former Clinton true believers falling over themselves to praise Barack Obama, and the Obama campaign playing coy to the point of painfulness.
Surveying the political landscape, it is going to be extremely hard for Obama to choose anyone other than Hillary Clinton for Vice President. The Hillary Clinton campaign may have been ineffective, inefficient and incompetent on a scale to make the Robert Mugabe administration shake its collective head in disbelief, but it also comprised a huge population of supporters in a year when the Democrats, frankly, can’t take any chances. They should have won in 2000. They sure as hell should have won in 2004 (ask George Soros and Air America’s majordomos about that one). In 2008, they cannot give anything up. Shutting out Hillary would almost be a demonstration of hubris. Obama’s got nothing in his pocket yet for the general election.
When the Washington Post is opining Don’t look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war, the Obama camp has to realize it has nothing in the bag. If a drop in demand causes U.S. gas prices to fall at the end of the summer, Obama could have zero “killer” arguments. His campaign is going to need every boot on the ground it can get.
Personally, I’d like to see the Obama campaign look very carefully at Michael Dukakis, Al Sharpton or Jimmy Carter, but they likely won’t take my advice.
McCain: John McCain is a pretty uncompelling fellow these days when it comes to public speaking. I suspect overcoaching and, hey, if it worked for George W. Bush, I guess the thinking is they should keep a good thing going. He launched his new “Change you can believe in” message tonight, and it appears the McCain campaign strategy is to emphasize the candidate’s weaknesses. He is a great speaker off the cuff, and absolutely terrible reading from a script. Tonight, he smiled and chuckled unnaturally during the pauses as though he was just then getting the jokes his scriptwriters had provided. Or just chuckling for no reason whatsoever.
The media, recognizing Obama’s weaknesses in terms of policy positions and the Democratic candidate’s demonstrated thin skin, is going to attempt to redirect public attention away from issues, and make the central controversy over Obama’s strong points, which are race and speaking style:
The charismatic black guy who everyone likes, and therefore represents a fresh change, but denounces every policy disagreement as a “distraction,” against the uncharismatic white guy who gives typical, stiff, “politician” speeches.
If the recent trend in his public appearances is any indication, John McCain is going to be easy for the Democrats to pigeonhole as a typical, old-style politician. If the debate is framed by the media as a contrast in styles, McCain could be in for rough sledding.
Therefore, I think McCain needs a fantastic orator as his running mate, someone who can speak off the cuff so well that the media will give at least a tinch of coverage.
I hate to say it, because it is a ticket that would make me almost literally ill, but the most likely seems to be Mike Huckabee. He is a solid enough public speaker to keep the press engaged and following the campaign (possibly anticipating the next major gaffe). He would get a sizeable army of ground troops involved from the “evangelical” wing of the GOP, and if he can avoid making too many asinine statements, it just might work.
I know, I know many of you are objecting: “Huckabee’s a frickin’ moron!” But that is not the political reality. The voting public is about 50 steps behind the actual reality in America. If voters understood what was really happening in this country, we’d be talking about Tom Tancredo as the logical pick for VP.
A McCain-Huckabee ticket would be a huge boost for Bob Barr, but I think the McCain campaign has already decided to write off a bunch of traditionally Republican voters.
McCain needs a running mate who could win on American Idol.
I’ll be interested in hearing other thoughts on the Vice President sweepstakes.