Dear Obama, Pick Edwards. Yours Truly, X

With all that going for him, how is Obama losing the redneck vote?

Assassination? Four US presidents have been killed in office; a dozen or so more have had attempts made on their lives. Death from natural causes? A few presidents have died in office without the assistance of a bullet. The fact that the VP has the inside track to be their party’s next presidential nominee if they want the job? Many presidents were VP’s first, starting with Washington’s VP Adams.

The job matters. If Hillary’s on the ticket, I won’t vote for Obama.

OK, I sort of get this. And I should have been clearer re. the Cheney thing in my post. I get why the vp matters if the president is soft in the head (sorry George, I hope we can still be friends) but I don’t think Obama is. As for the assassination thing, I see what you are saying. I guess I think it’s worth the risk. I’m very interested in gambling theory. By your numbers, Obama has a 1 in 10 chance of being assassinated, which means if Hillary is the vp she has a 1 in 10 chance of being president. Whereas if McCain wins, we have a 100% chance of his being president. What you are implying is that you think a 100% chance of McCain is better than 10% of Hillary, which implies that you think Hillary is 10 times worse than McCain (or McCain is 10 times better than Hillary). I disagree. I think she’d be better, but even if I thought she’d be worse, 10 times worse seems really extreme. So if assassination is the only reason, I think it’s worth the risk. Just out of curiosity, have you really thought the math through? I’m not saying you are wrong, just that that’s a surprising stance.

By your numbers, Obama has a 1 in 10 chance of being assassinated


Obama is more likely to have assassination attempts on him than less-contentious Presidents, so the numbers do not directly correlate.

Actually, I did the math all wrong anyway. But the point stands, more or less. You have to think McCain is REALLY a lot better than H.R.C. That seems surprising.

Yes, I’ve thought it through. It’s only surprising if you’re already a committed Obama supporter. Unlike most people on this forum, I’m an uncommitted independent. I voted for Obama in the California primary because independents could, and because I wanted to see the strongest possible Democrat get the nomination, but that doesn’t mean he automatically gets my vote in the general. Until I see some debates and hear the two go head to head for a few months, I’m not going to make a choice.

And yes, I really do think Hillary is about as bad as a politician can get. She’s shown a complete lack of scruples, a willingness to stoop to any level to smear Obama. The only campaigners that compare to her and Bill in my lifetime are Bush II and Nixon. 10% is also a big underestimation of her chances of becoming president if she’s VP. As the first black president, Obama’s risk of assassination would probably be higher than anyone since Lincoln. Add that to the natural causes chance (low, but not zero) and the fact that she’d pretty much be the automatic Democratic nominee in 2016 if Obama served out two successful terms, and I think her chances of leveraging the VP spot into the real deal are more like 50/50.

However, we have security now that is orders of magnitude better than when JFK was assassinated. Hell, it’s probably orders of magnitude better than when Reagan was shot. I’d imagine we’re also better positioned now to detect this shit early and head off trouble in such a way that no one ever hears of it.

At least, this is what I’m telling myself. I do think Potential President Obama is the most assassin-prone president since JFK, but my faith in the quality of the modern Secret Service is how I avoid fretting about it.

Bear in mind, also, that an argument could be made that an Obama assassination with Hillary being VP at the time could be far worse than a McCain presidency.

I wouldn’t make that argument, but I know people who have, in good faith.

My point still stands. All the Dave Markells in the US can stamp their feet and trudge off to McCain, and Obama still wins in a landslide if he gets 90% of the Democrat voting block this year. And an argument can be made that Hillary gives him that 90%. I’m carefully not making that argument myself, but I guarantee you it’s getting made all over the place in DC right now.

Hypothetically, should Obama get assassinated (I"m not advocating it, don’t hunt me Secret service) and Hillary is VP.

How long would it be before her assassination comment is brought up?

The New York second, aka the time between the green light and the driver behind you honking.

Well, I disagree with you but I respect that you’ve done the math.

Actually, I really just posted to take back my rescinding of my previous math. It was totally right (given some reasonable simplifying assumptions)! This post is totally self serving!

Democratic party identification is really high compared to republican, but I’m not sure this statement is true. Of course, you are probably saying that no matter what the ticket is, the independents will split close to even, so the key is getting democrats to actually vote. Even that, though, is unclear. Hilary is very popular, so the idea that she would hurt the ticket only really makes sense in the minds of Obama cultists and die-hard Hilary haters.

Personally, I think she can do a lot just by campaigning for Obama, but I’m not convinced she will actually campaign much for a ticket she’s not on. I think there are other options for Obama to make a push in states where he’s close and that Hilary might pull some of those states out of reach. On the other hand, and most importantly, Hilary can guarantee Pennsylvania, greatly improve our chances in Ohio, and possibly deliver AR and MO, as well as smoothing the way in FL. Are there any places where Hilary is weak on her own that she would push away as VP? Virginia is the only one I see.

So I guess the question is whether or not there’s a VP who can deliver more for the ticket, whether or not Obama is too angry with her or Bill to work with them (and whether or not you despise Hilary enough to automatically vote against any ticket containing her). Edwards is the only other one who seems clearly helpful in places like Ohio, Penn, MI and Virginia. Webb would be good in Virginia, but how well does he play in other important states?

I don’t like a lot of things about how Hilary ran her campaign, and I’d like to be able to punish politicians who play dirty, but I’m not willing to throw away all the potential good things that would come from a President who cares about hearing different sides of an issue and making the right decision.

It’s probably smartest to look at this state-by-state as ravenight does, since that’s how the (foolish and anachronistic) electoral college works, but I keep thinking: There’s already a non-trivial subset of Americans who won’t vote for a black candidate, and a not-entirely-overlapping (and my gut says, larger) subset who are turned off by a woman on the ticket. Cynical though it may be, a southern white male VP is the obvious choice. (Preferably one who’s enthusiastic about guns – my impression is that it’s a hot button issue for a lot of the same voters who would have reservations about Obama.)

About a quarter of a second.

What is that, negative time?

First, we need to look at what the VP is supposed to be. I’d argue there are two key factors: 1) Will the VP stand behind the President no matter what he/she decides? I’m not sure I see Hillary doing that. 2) If they end up taking over, will the VP pursue the same policies or will they be significantly different then the person the people voted for? I’m not worried about Hillary there, though I know a number of people are.

Second, we need to decide if not having Hillary hurts Obama. I don’t buy that argument. Honestly, Hillary’s supporters are not going to vote for McCain, regardless of what they are saying right now. They may not be as enthusiastic for Obama, but in the end most of them will vote for him anyway if they mean anything they’ve said they claim to care about. I guess if Hillary decided to go third party or some crap like that it might be different, but that’d be insanity.

Finally, I go back to what I said earlier. Obama can’t claim to be the candidate of change and then ask an insider to be his VP. Doesn’t work.

Didn’t she say she would not accept being VP? Not that it matters …

As much as I don’t like it, it seems pretty likely that she’s going to negotiate herself into that position.

Like I said, I don’t think not having Hilary hurts him, I’m just not convinced there’s a VP selection that helps more.

As for the insider thing, I think the first thing Obama needs to do before he can decide on a VP is decide what his message is relative to McCain. The speech last night was good, but it rehashed a bunch of talking points that are old hat at this point. Regardless of the power of the arguments, he can’t just keep saying that we shouldn’t be in Iraq, we don’t want 100 years of war and McCain = Bush and expect that to change the polls. The polls already reflect those arguments. So the question is, does he continue to argue the message of change and attempt to convince people that McCain is no longer a maverick in the face of arguments like the ones McCain made in his speech, or does he change the tone and start going directly after the things McCain is actually talking about? If he goes with the latter, then Hilary’s insider status stops being a liability.

To borrow a phrase, he can make the race about smart and not, engaged and not, informed and not, without compromising the fundamental idea that republicans have screwed up for 8 years, so it is time to put a democrat in office.

If you want to appeal to working class rural white males and folks concerned about the military and national security the answer isn’t, and I can’t believe people are even lingering on this as plausible, Hillary Clinton. The answer is Jim Webb. When Obama comes to speak at the Nissan Pavillion in Virginia next week…I’d stay tuned.