Thursday, March 27, 2008

Obama-Richardson: Will They Be the Democratic Ticket?

Political observers in some of America’s Western states have been floating the idea of an Obama-Richardson ticket since well before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for President.

Of course, most of them were projecting—and hoping--that the ticket would be Richardson-Obama. Despite his Washington experience and wide-ranging resume, however, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson quickly saw his presidential campaign overshadowed and overwhelmed by Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s high-profile battle.

The primary season finally will drag to an end in June, and then it will be up to the delegates and superdelegates to pick the Democrats’ standard bearer. Likewise, it will be up to the candidates and their campaign staffs to not alienate voters by endlessly playing “gotcha” politics with each other in the long, weary weeks until the Democratic convention in Denver, Aug. 25-28.

Most pundits predict that Senators Clinton and Obama will end up roughly splitting the remaining primary delegates, and no clear nominee will emerge in June. This projected stalemate already has resulted in some Obama supporters demanding that Hillary Clinton drop out of the race. And some Hillary Clinton supporters have responded by demanding that Barack Obama drop out.

Alarmed party leaders now worry that nasty rounds of charge and countercharge from the Clinton and Obama campaigns will alienate many voters and drive them toward John McCain or cause them to just stay home during the November general election.

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has suggested that the Democrats should stage a “superdelegate primary” in June to break the Obama-Clinton deadlock, so one candidate can emerge with clear sailing and avoid a bitter showdown at the convention. Party leaders including Gov. Howard Dean and Sen. Harry Reid recently were considering this and other strategies for ending the potential impass.

No matter which one finally gets the go-ahead, however, international credentials will be absolutely crucial to the next Administration. Barack Obama is a political rookie on the world stage. As a former First Lady, Hillary Clinton has been a lot closer to the action. Yet, much of her experience can be summarized as flying around in White House jets and dealing at ceremonial and informal levels with a wide range of major and minor issues. That counts for something, of course, and could shorten her learning curve in the Oval Office. Yet neither Democratic candidate actually has the kind of down-and-dirty international experience they will need to cope with the diplomatic and military disasters the Bush Administration will leave behind next January.

Former U.S. Energy Secretary and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson could be an excellent Vice President for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. He has been an able negotiator during dangerous situations in North Korea, Iraq and Cuba. But so could one other former Presidential candidate who has been a strong background player in this election: Retired four-star Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who was NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 1997 to 2000. Clark has extensive combat experience and held numerous command posts during his 34-year Army career. The next President may well need someone with this wide range of experience to help oversee getting the U.S. out of Iraq.

Indeed, Richardson and Clark likely will both be needed in some major capacity by the next Administration, even if the next President turns out to be John McCain.

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2 comments:

~Deb said...

Regarding your comment about Hillary's experience and having somewhat an oversee of what goes on in the presidential office, I once voted for Bush, because I liked the way his father ran his office. So, I thought George W., would have had some sort of insight among the rest. Boy was I wrong. So, with that, I'm going by how much presidential experience one has - I go by integrity and what the presidential candidate can offer for his/her people. But also, keep in mind, those are promises that "can" be broken.

I'm totally on the fence between Obama and Hillary.

With that being said, what are your thoughts regarding his pastor and the things that he preaches? Do you think that'll take some points down from Obama?

I know for me, the church I used to go to preached that homosexuality was a sin and that I was a huge abomination. I disagree and teach differently to those who need spiritual guidance or help in the LGBT community. Just because my pastor said something, doesn't necessarily mean I stand behind it.

Your thoughts? I would love to hear them, only because I sort of got a bit scared over the separation issue and how that may affect Obama and the people who elected him, or didn't elect him....

Shan Lee Cook said...

I can't see Richardson having an affect on the election as the VP candidate one way or the other, but Wesley Clark would be a perfect VP for Obama.

Unfortunately, that's not gonna happen because of how close the primary has been. Sen. Clinton is gonna end up being Obama's VP (there's still an off chance that could be reversed.) That leaves Wesley Clark the option to take a possition that could possibly be an even better fit for him as Secretary of Defense (regardless of which Dem. candidate wins)