Monday, May 16, 2016
Pocahontas as Vice-President?
There are two surprises. One is that Julian Castro, who many thought would be her pick almost from the moment of his keynote address at the 2012 convention, was the veep-in-waiting. He was the young, charismatic, and Hispanic mayor of San Antonio. He was then appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, it was thought, to give him more relevant experience.
But, according to Castro, he is not being vetted for the number-two slot. Perhaps he's still considered too green, or maybe he realizes it. He says he's going back to Texas--perhaps soon a Democrat will be able to win statewide office there.
The other surprise is that Elizabeth Warren is on the list. Warren was begged to run for President by the far-left, and Bernie Sanders basically got her followers. She is the most exciting progressive to hold prominent office, and though she's 66, she's still eight years younger than Sanders (who is not on Clinton's supposed list).
The choice of Warren would remind everyone of what Bill Clinton did twenty-four years ago when he chose someone who was a lot like him--a young Southerner with Al Gore. Clinton could double down for the women's vote, and in doing so pick the biggest rock star of the Senate right now, someone who would fire up the base like no one but Sanders, and perhaps more.
There are two drawbacks, both considerable. Warren is far more effective in the Senate, holding the feet of evildoers to the fire, especially big banks. I remember her when she was in Michal Moore's film Capitalism--A Love Story, and was introduced as basically the only person who could explain what happened during the bank failures. As Vice-President, the Republicans would be rid of a vexing senator. Also, the governor of Massachusetts is Republican, and would obviously appoint a Republican to replace her, and that could have large consequences in the attempt to take back the Senate.
That could also rule out Sherrod Brown of Ohio, another solid liberal presence in the Senate, who gives Clinton pull in perhaps the most important state to win. Brown shouldn't be a problem for any liberal, but again, Republican John Kasich would replace him.
Castro's prominence as presumptive pick shows the problem the Democrats have with Hispanics. There are no real prominent elected Hispanics in the Democratic Party. They have only one Senator, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who is scandal-ridden. There's Ken Salazar, former Senator from Colorado and Secretary of Interior, but his name hasn't been mentioned. So on the list is Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. He's of Dominican origin, but has never held elected office and his choice may be seen as it probably is: pandering to the Hispanic vote. Also, the last cabinet official tabbed for VP was Henry Wallace, 76 years ago. It's not exactly a stepping-stone to the White House.
The other two names are perhaps the front runners. One is John Hickenlooper. governor of Colorado, another must-win state. The only problem with him was that he had a somewhat messy divorce, but he is remarried, and nobody cares about what marriage anybody is on anymore (should Donald Trump select Newt Gingrich or Rudy Giuliani as his running-mate, it would be the first time that a ticket had six total marriages). Hickenlooper, as far as I can tell, has no major political baggage, and there's no worry about being replaced in the Senate. Word is that Hickenlooper will at least get a cabinet position.
The one name that may make the most sense for Clinton is Tim Kaine, junior senator from Virginia, another important state. Kaine has all the right credentials--he's good with business, speaks Spanish, and is seemingly well-liked by all parts of the party. The only downside may be that he'd be a boring choice, but with all the entertainment on the GOP side, maybe that's what Clinton wants.
But I would love a Warren choice, despite the drawbacks. She might be too old to be an obvious successor to Clinton, but she's certainly no shrinking violet that we'd never hear from. And the best the Trump people can seem to do against her is make fun of her insistence that she has American Indian heritage. The other day Trump called her "Pocahontas." That's right, Donald, go ahead and lose the Indian vote. It's small, but it's another group you've alienated.
Clinton-Warren, I like the sound of it, but I'm guessing Clinton-Kaine.