Predicting Obama's 2012 VP Running Mate

Poor Joe Biden! Our vice president has been reduced to a hot dog vendor on Comedy Central and been unanimously anointed by the media as “most likely to be booted” from Obama’s 2012 ticket.

Let’s assume for the sake of this column that Obama walks Biden down the 2012 offramp.

Now don’t feel too sorry for lovable ol’ Joe, because chances are he’ll land a big fat TV contract on MSNBC for a new show called Evening Joe, which will earn higher ratings than Morning Joe.

Or perhaps Biden will be the next Johnny Carson, replacing Jay Leno.

So with Joe down the tubes but on the tube, all the collective media wisdom will point to Hillary in the VP slot because “Obama needs her to win,” or so the story goes.

I’m of the belief that Hillary would reject Obama’s VP offer because she informally held that job for eight years back in the 20th century, and Hillary is the kind of gal who only moves forward.

Which leads me to predict that President Obama will tap Virginia Senator Mark Warner to be his 2012 vice-presidential running mate.

There are numerous reasons why Warner would be an asset to Obama.

For starters, Warner is everything Obama isn’t -- a political moderate, a former governor, and a successful businessman/ entrepreneur/venture capitalist who has actually created thousands of jobs in the real world. Mark Warner represents an important swing state, he is a fresh face on the national scene, his persona would not overshadow Obama, and Warner would be qualified to be president if necessary.

Let’s examine all these reasons why Mark Warner will get the call.

Warner is a moderate

Most folks will agree that the Democratic Party is in desperate need of some moderate leaders, and Warner fills that bill.  Since his 2008 election to the Senate, Warner ranks as the 37th most liberal senator and the 62nd most conservative, according to the National Journal 2009 Senate vote ratings. Which moves one to ask, moderate compared to whom?

Obama, Biden, and Hillary of course! For in 2007 Obama claimed the #1 spot as the most liberal member of the Senate by this same National Journal vote rating, while Biden was ranked #3 and Hillary lagged behind at #17.

So by National Journal standards, Mark Warner at #37 is a Senate moderate.

In 2012, Obama will need to at least pretend to move to the middle in order win re-election, and Mark Warner could help Obama with that perception. He would help dissipate that “Obama is a socialist” battle cry, for it would be a stretch to call Senator Warner, a multi-millionaire former venture capitalist, a socialist.

Former governor of Virginia

As governor of Virginia from 2002–2006, Warner was ineligible to run for a second term in 2005. (The Virginia Constitution forbids any governor from serving consecutive terms and that is why there are so many former Virginia governors running around.)

Governor Warner was very popular at the end of his term, having earned a reputation for good fiscal management and bridging partisan differences.

Just how popular was he? Here is my personal testimony:

Living in Alexandria, Virginia, during the 2005 governor’s race when Warner’s lt. governor, Tim Kaine, ran against Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, I distinctly remember our mailbox being filled with large full color flyers featuring Mark Warner’s face more prominently than gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine. To the average voter it looked as if Governor Mark Warner were running for re-election, which was the intent of course.

Leapfrogging off Mark Warner’s popularity, Lt. Governor Kaine won handily.

Now, after serving four undistinguished years as Virginia governor from 2006 -2009, Tim Kaine is perched atop the Democratic National Committee as chairman. Another reason why Mark Warner will get the VP call: because it helps when the national party chairman owes you a huge favor.