Ron Rosenbaum

Time to Talk About Obama's Veep Choice

I know, I wouldn’t blame you if you got tired of my ceaselessly reminding you about the virtual clairvoyance of my November 19 prediction about the Democratic primaries. Just one more time: my prediction on this blog came at a time when Hillary was way up in the polls, pundits were way down on Obama for being too weak and Stevensonian. But I felt his restraint was strength and that by not being bombastic (Obombastic?) I felt he was building a real connection with voters that would result in–I predicted–his winning Iowa, losing only narrowly to Hillary in New Hampshire; that Hillary might still look strong on Super Tuesday, but Obama would be the eventual nominee.

Okay, now, the morning after Wisconsin I think it’s time to talk about who his vice presidential choice will be. And to suggest PJM open up another contest, somewhat like the one prompted by my primary prognostications: who would be the best VP choices for each presumptive nominee. I’m only going to make a pick on the Democratic side, because 1) I think I have a great one and 2) I just don’t understand Republicans who are on some weird mission to destroy their best and strongest candidate because of what Roger L. Simon was, I believe, the first to call McCain Derangement Syndrome.

So let’s get to Obama’s Choice. I must admit it wasn’t my idea, but at least I immediately saw its merits. This morning, after the Wisconsin blowout, I ran into George Hirsch at our local bodega/newsstand. George was the founder of the much lauded, long lamented new journalism magazine New Times which featured many talented writers including for instance, Pulitzer prize winner Larry Wright (I also occasionally wrote for it under its gifted editor Jon Larsen). Anyway George made what I thought was a brilliant suggestion: Virginia Senator Jim Webb. A military hero with a son in Iraq, he can give ballast to Obama’s judgment on the situation there. he can defuse attacks from McCain on military issues. he can be Obama’s McCain! And he can do what veep nominees are usually tasked with doing: win a big state the nominee might not ordinarily win without his help: Webb’s home state of Virginia.

I think it would be a brilliant choice. But I’ve only begun to consider the matter, so I’d be interested in other suggestions, so I’ll enable comments but only for specific veep suggestions. none of the usual political rants, insults and abuse will be posted. I’ll comment on intelligent suggestions in a future post.

By the way you may have noticed that I have occasionally not enabled comments on some political posts because I’ tired of sifting through the low level rants and cowardly anonymous abuse. One commenter, so eager to share his deep wisdom, appended his response to the post below on de-regulation, to another post in the typically cowardly, afraid-to-use-his-real-name style of ranters and abusers. He asked from behind his fearful shield of anonymity if I “couldn’t take the heat”. The “heat’ he was bringing in this case was the laughable assertion that protecting consumers from tainted beef with stronger regulatory monitoring would ‘lead to the murder of the Jews” (Seriously!) No, friend, it’s not the heat it’s the stupidity.

As someone who has edited an anthology about anti-semitism–and as anyone who has read this blog can tell–I defer to no one in my awareness of the dangers of anti-semitism, but remarks that laughable are an embarrassment to those of us who care about the subject. Nonetheless–with few exceptions–this is the level of comment discourse I have to put up with whenever I do a political post. The combination of anonymity and political partisanship unfortunately brings out the stupid even in otherwise intelligent people. I put my name behind my opinions, why are you anonymous guys–and it’s almost always guys, big brave guys–so afraid? Can’t take the heat?

Anyway limit your comments to thoughtful veep proposals and they’ll get posted. And if you use your real name I’ll be more likely to treat them respectfully.