Monday, 14 July 2008

A Republican VP nominee for Obama?

I'll start with a quote.

"....I believe any attempt by Democrats to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we're in. I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. For it's precisely the pursuit of ideological purity, the rigid orthodoxy and the sheer predictability of our current political debate, that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face as a country."

p. 39-40, The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
Anyone who has read Senator Obama's personal manifesto will be amused at the accusations of flip-flop/ sell-out that have been levelled at him over the last couple of weeks. He protests that if anyone had listened to a word he said then they wouldn't be making these accusations. He's right. He appeared more liberal than Hillary mainly because his foreign policy stances were more progressive. Actually, he is a centrist and always has been.

More critically, he is comfortable with the notion of reaching across the partisan divide. So would he consider appointing a Republican Vice Presidential nominee?

Absolutely he would. And there is one candidate that is getting a considerable amount of attention.

Travelling with Barack Obama to Iraq in the next few days, will be a Republican Senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. He is a Vietnam war veteran, highly respected on foreign policy, and he has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration's policy in Iraq. Famously he said:

"To question your government is not unpatriotic- to not question the government is unpatriotic."
So he has VP credentials coming out of his ears. What does he offer the Obama ticket? Well, it would signify 'change' as it would be a post-partisan manoeuvre, he would bolster the security and foreign policy credentials of the campaign, and he could neutralise some of John McCain's biography positives. The downside? How wouldObama's supporters react? More importantly, while quotes like the above get you in dictionaries of political quotations, they can also make good text to overlay some really threatening music on a campaign ad.Obama is desperately trying to establish his 'lapel pin' patriotism. Could Senator Hagel undermine that?

My guess is that Senator Obama would love to go for such a bold mood as appointing Chuck Hagel his running-mate. The politics may just end up being too risky.

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