Obama Must Pick a Woman as VP Before McCain Does!

Before I head off for the weekend, let’s play some political “inside baseball!”

Resolved: Republican nominee John McCain would be incredibly silly not to choose a woman as his running mate. One of McCain’s biggest demographic targets this season are disgruntled Hillary voters, still bitter and still grumbling about (largely paranoid and self-serving) allegations of sexism during the primaries. A female running mate not only gives these fence-sitters a reason to vote for McCain, but it could even help to sour and upset them further.

That’s because Democrats are going to have to attack the Republican VP in some fashion. And no matter how fair and above-board these attacks are, they’ll still drudge up every bitter feeling about Hillary’s primary loss (ironically, those most eager to cry “sexism” are generally also those who treat women as so delicate that any attack on their character will be seen as sexist, despite the fact that male politicians rake each other’s character over the coals regularly). It’s a brilliant means of straight jacketing Democrats and dividing them against themselves.

Let’s also not forget that in a race against a young dynamic man who happens to also be America’s first African-American Presidential nominee (and potentially its first racial minority President) McCain desperately needs something to energize his own campaign: another historic “first.”

So unless McCain is incredibly foolish, someone like Alaska Governor Sarah Palin should be at the very top of his list. And I’m far from the only person saying so. Nobody thinks that choosing a “White-guy-in-waiting” will help McCain’s image much.

So how does Obama respond? Well, if he has to respond, it’s already too late. Obama’s best move is to preemptively select a female VP of his own: someone like Kathleen Sebelius (current Democratic Governor of Kansas). Doing so would dramatically blunt the appeal of McCain’s own pick: mostly because whomever chooses second will ultimately sound more of a pathetic “uh wait, me too” note than one of daring. A Democratic VP pick would also be able to attack her opposite with far more impunity, and with far smaller risk of being called sexist for doing so.

Don’t listen to all the noise about how a non-Hillary female pick on the Dem side will make the ticket look “weak.” Or even that it will just further disgruntle Hillary voters (most of them don’t actually care about Hillary in any case: they certainly aren’t listening to her opinions now if they aren’t supporting Obama already). The ability to neutralize one of McCain’s best VP strategies by far outweighs these already dubious fears.

Even if McCain ultimately ends up picking “White guy, Part #2” none of the potential female Democratic VP candidates are chopped liver in any case. And while I doubt that gender diversity would help Obama’s ticket as much as McCain’s, I don’t see a plausible reason to think it would hurt him any more than any potential problem that might crop up with any VP pick, male or female. Someone like Sebelius may not bring Obama any specific state, but then, none of the fellas seem likely to accomplish that either.

Here’s my bet: come mid-next week, there will be a lady on a Presidential ticket. It just remains to be seen who’s gonna strike first.

9 Responses to Obama Must Pick a Woman as VP Before McCain Does!

  1. ubuntucat says:

    Interesting prediction. I think you’re spot-on. I know some people like to pretend they’re voting for “the best president” or “the lesser of two evils,” but I’m not afraid to say I want a presidential office to be something other than two white males come January. People accuse Clinton and Obama of playing the gender card and race card, respectively, but how could they not? And if they didn’t, the media would anyway?

    Race and gender are very much on the table, and anyone who ignores that fact is living in a dream world.

  2. Ted says:


    1. How can McCain SIMULTANEOUSLY attract both Hillary AND Bob Barr voters?

    ANSWER: Sarah Palin

    2. Which McCain Veep pick is SIMULTANEOUSLY the safest AND boldest?

    ANSWER: Sarah Palin

    3. What confirms that Sarah Palin is unassailable by the Democrats?

    ANSWER: The left promotes as a ’scandal’ that Palin notified state police that her ex-brother-in-law state trooper threatened to kill Palin’s dad.

  3. Ubu Walker says:

    This post is epic fail. McCain doesn’t have to pick a woman to attract Hillary women who won’t vote for Obama…he already has that vote “locked up”. [Of course, he doesn’t, I can’t imagine any honest to goodness democrat voting for McCain anyway, especially the radical feminist vote]

    McCain has to capture the far right vote of his party that thinks he is too liberal and too much of a maverick. So expect a very conservative and hawkish choice on his part. Think Joe Lieberman, perhaps…or Newt Gingrich.

  4. commentspage says:

    So now, when, as Obama thinks, he doesn’t need more delegates to be a nominee, he says that the MI & FL delegations should be seated in full and with full voting rights. So he acknowledges that the popular vote is clearly on Hillary’s side – better later than never.

    It’s easy to tell now why is this rush – the polls show clearly that Florida is leaning towards McCain more and more, and Michigan is again a on a table. And in this heat I believe Clinton should use the situation without much hesitation and urge for a roll call during the convention. Let’s see who will get more delegates at the finish.

  5. Bad says:

    Ubu, you seem to be laboring under the misapprehension that everyone in the country is solidly Democrat or Republican, which is plain old nonsense. No demographic is ever “locked up”: the action is always at the margins.

    Ironic that you should mention Gingrich as a VP pick, since Gingrish’s VP suggestion is… Palin.

    And commentspage… As a long-time Dem and a sometime backrooms campaign person who didn’t really care who won the primary, I’m not exactly pleased with Hillary for making an issue of Michigan and Florida in the first place. Putting her own ambitions over what was an extremely painful and dangerous intra-party dispute in two swing states lost her my support pretty much instantly. The fact that Obama won the primary was as much about lucky contingency as anything: it could have gone the other way. But I care a lot more about getting the White House period than about which Dem is in it, and her move on those two states: first supporting their delegate ouster, then reversing on it and pandering to them when she was ahead in the polls, and then drumming up anger and resentment from excitable people like you, was like sticking a knife in the eye of the party.

  6. […] Picks Sarah Palin as VP… Analysis Palin has landed? If so, it looks like I was right about McCain’s strategy in VP picks. It only remains to be seen whether or not Obama’s failure to anticipate, or at least […]

  7. ubuntucat says:

    I knew you were right the minute I read your post. When Obama picked Biden, I had my fears that it was over. Those fears are confirmed now.

  8. Ubu Walker says:

    Wow, my comment is pure fail! I was so wrong! Mea Culpa! But who could have predicted that McCain would picka woman who’s favorite meal is Moose Stew? Huzah!

  9. Bad says:

    Well, I was way early on when it would be decided. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like McCain made his pick until very very late in the game: he’s barely even talked to Palin from what it now seems like.

    But I also think it’s silly to think that picking Palin means anything is “over” in either direction. At the very least, McCain has accomplished what I predicted: something that shakes up the dull narrative of the campaign. He needs stuff like that, and now he has it. But don’t overestimate the impact of this either. VP picks ultimately never count for as much as one expects, and Palin has a heck of a lot of substantive downsides, after all the surprise has died down.

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