Ron Rosenbaum

Obama Veep: Nunn is the One if You Want Gravitas; Biden has None

Since all my predictions about Obama made back in November, when the press was calling him dead in the water (look it up!) have all come true. (Win Iowa , lose New Hampshire, win nomination) I know the world will be hanging on this one, made shortly before noon Tuesday August 19.

(Okay I did, at a later date, predict Jim Webb as veep choice and that seems unlikely. He withdrew his name, though I wouldn’t rule out him being “persuaded”.)

But I do have a strong feeling now that if Obama is as smart and shrewd as I think he is (no drama, but no dreamer) and he wants gravitas, especially in the wake of Georgia, Russia and all that, he’ll have made up his mind when that mini war broke out last Friday. And would have chosen Sam Nunn.

Nunn’s flown under the radar for a lot of folk in the past decade, but he’s doggedly devoted himself to a forgotten but all-important cause: the reduction of nuclear weapons, security of the nuclear arsenals that remain, relentless attention to non proliferation. His Nuclear Threat Initiative organization has kept its eye on the prize–making us more secure in a proliferating nuclear environment–while nobody else has paid nearly enough attention to it.

It has meant that Nunn knows Russia, he’s dealt with civilian and military authorities on all levels for a decade. He’s someone who must distrust Putin, who won’t be fooled by him, but who can probably hit the ground running as the most knowledgeable person about dealing with him. And with his nukes. And with all the other nukes floating around.

So that’s my prediction: the choice of Nunn will be hailed as brilliant. And it will be.

But the choice of Biden? For gravitas? Give me a break. I’ll never forget sitting in the Senate gallery before an important (to those of us who care about civil liberties) vote on an idiot flag burning bill meant to pander to those historically ignorant enough not to realize America was founded by dissidents who wouldn’t bow down to a graven image.

Biden had co sponsored it in an attempt, supposedly, to head off a Constitutional Amendment. Bob Kerrey, who lost a leg in Vietnam–for love of country not a painted piece of cloth–wasn’t going along with this cynical ploy.

Anyway down on the Senate floor, shortly before Kerrey was to give a brilliant speech on the question, Biden came up to Kerrey and in an oil way put his arm around Kerrey as if, it’s all politics, and I thought I saw Kerrey cringe.

I wouldn’t blame him. Biden’s sagacity and earnestness act would only go over in the class of dummies that is the U.S. Senate.

If Obama doesn’t pick Nunn, he’ll have missed an opportunity. But go to that website anyway. You may not agree with his approach to the long obscured nuclear dilemmas we face, but it might shake you out of a state of denial. Props to Nunn for sticking with it.