Does Obama Really Need a VP?

This piece, admittedly by a right-winger, claims Barack Obama is toying with the media and clearly intends to choose Hillary Rodham Clinton as his VP.

I don’t think so. She’s obviously his best choice from one standpoint — her electoral prowess — and the worst from many others.  After all, she declared John McCain was a more plausible president than Obama. That and many other quotes denigrating Obama’s experience will already be used against him, but coming from the mouth of his VP candidate? Deadly.  What many of us suspect about Obama, that he’s not quite ready for the job of president, she has said explicitly.  So has her husband.

But I cite the post mainly because it illustrates how much of a pickle Obama is in with respect to choosing his VP nominee.  Nobody helps him. Everybody hurts him.  He’d be better off running alone.  To quote from the blogger, Patrick Ruffini:

Just look at the other names on the short list:

  • Joe Biden‘s mouth is a constant source of embarassment. And how would the PUMAs take to a failed second-tier candidate leapfrogging someone with 18 million votes?
  • Evan Bayh has been vetoed by the netroots
  • Kathleen Sebelius would be a clear and direct affront to the PUMAs, much more so even than Biden. The first woman VP/President — and one you’ve never heard of — would increase the sense of Clintonian alienation.
  • Tim Kaine. Hahahahahahahahahaha
  • Wesley Clark would provide the military experience Obama needs, but his comments about McCain’s service are a problem.
  • Chris Dodd is a crook.

What if he didn’t pick anyone?  If he’s elected and then dies in office, the Speaker of the House, presumably Nancy Pelosi, would be perfectly acceptable to Democrats.  Even the PUMAs (which used to mean Party Unity My Ass, and now means People United Means Action) would probably grant Pelosi is acceptable.

Is there a constitutional problem with leaving the VP slot vacant?  Undoubtedly.  So what if Obama picked a literal nonentity. Say, the winner of a lottery, or perhaps a special political edition of Jeopardy! The winner would have to swear that in the event of Obama’s demise, he or she would immediately resign, stepping aside for the Speaker.

Of course, Obama could short-circuit all this and just nominate Pelosi for the vice-presidency.  Her political style is more suited to a VP campaign.  She’s a shin-kicking ear-biter, and she’s obviously totally unimpressed by the McCain mystique.

But since what I’m proposing is probably too absurd, my guess is Obama will pick Joe Biden.  He’s much more than a “failed second-tier candidate.” He’s a sherpa for an inexperienced president. He’s instantly credible in all the ways Obama is not yet.  Evan Bayh has the next-best chance, but Obama would have to stand up to a lot of criticism from the left netroots, where he’s described with language such as “fucking worthless to the progressive cause.” Not a lot of wiggle room there.  After watching Gov. Kaine on Charlie Rose a few weeks ago, I was nonplussed as to how he ever got on the short list.  If he’s a rising star, it’s going to be a slow rise. It would almost be unfair to subject him to national attention at this point in his career.

The blood is thinning in the political ranks of both parties.  The VP sweepstakes illustrate that perfectly.

Gore Back At Number One Observatory Circle?

Fate

Fate

Somehow, this story reminds me of “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”

I mean, if Obama/Gore battles it out with McCain/? to a near draw and it comes down to…oh…Tennessee?  And he loses again?  I wonder if that’s crossing his mind.

Or maybe it goes the other way.  Maybe he was fated to be President.  Could the possibility tempt him?

For most observers, the idea of Gore as Obama’s VP would mean he’s in charge of the climate.

Yes, at first blush another Vice Presidency would be beneath Gore. But Obama has no huge emotional investment in either energy/environment/climate change or science & technology, and Gore cares about them passionately. Obama could give him primary authority in those areas without having a full “co-Presidency.” It’s hard to see how Gore does more for what he cares about from the outside.

But Gore might see it as a route back to winning what he thought he already won.

I wonder if Gore’s 10-year challenge to sever electricity from fossil fuels will help or hurt him?  Suddenly, the Republicans have an incentive to run the numbers on his idea.  It won’t be hard to make it look very expensive.  And what if Obama/Gore wins, serves eight years, and the US is falling short (as it surely will, since Gore’s goal is impossible)?

LA Ignored the Warnings

You could use the title for almost any story about reverses affecting Los Angeles’ economy, but this one happens to be about LAX.  According to LA Biz Observed blogger Mark Lacter, and the Daily Breeze, LAX is facing losses in its lucrative overseas business, business that has a largely unseen positive effect on the Los Angeles economy.  It’s so unseen that City Hall has utterly mismanaged the needed upgrades at LAX for the past 15 years, preferring to listen to NIMBY-minded voters than the economists, labor leaders and airline executives who kept telling them LAX’s huge advantage in international flights was not God-given, and that the airport needed some major fixes or the airlines would go elsewhere.

Sure, Air India’s decision to stop flying out of Los Angeles could be blamed on high fuel prices.  That alibi was already claimed by the Department of World Airports chief executive. But Air India still flies out of San Francisco, and fuel costs just as much up there.

The fact that you could reach dozens of cities overseas via nonstop flights from LAX gave this region an enormous edge economically.  But the locals didn’t care much about that and it was easy and more beneficial to make LAX and its stewards a target for political posturing.  And eventually, much easier for those stewards to tell the city council whatever nonsense it wants to hear.  It’s not their airport.  It’s Los Angeles’.

This is the problem with term limits.  The idea was to force the politicians to focus on their responsibilities as elected officials and not on their electoral fortunes.  This part of term limits has failed. The politicians are much less connected to the city they serve than they were in the days of John Ferraro and Gilbert Lindsey.  In Los Angeles, you now have a political culture built around tearing down city assets rather than protecting them, because having a few notches in your belt positions you for the next campaign.  So what if a critical institution like LAX is weakened?  That’s a trivial concern to the city’s political leadership now.

P.S. Bill Boyarsky has a post explaining what council members really think about when they think about LAX.

I’m Still Here…

…even though I’ve gone nearly a month since my last post.

Do I still want to be a blogger?  I enjoy writing, in fact I need to write.  I’m writing all the time, commenting quite frequently on a couple of blogs (Dodger Thoughts and Althouse) and sporadically on others, sometimes using my real name, sometimes one of a couple aliases.   I have a screenplay I’ve been working on since 2005, which I’m still editing (and of which a few friends are waiting to see drafts — coming!)  I’ve been arguing with or trying to entertain (sometimes hard to tell the difference) a few friends and family members concerning the election.  And, most importantly, I’ve been working.

As some might recall, this blog began during a long period of unemployment caused by my shocking encounter at the crossroads of politics and the criminal justice system.  The blog was my lifeline during that period.  It was how I maintained my voice in the communities of which i had long been a part.  It was also a kind of journal of that period, although a journal in only the most oblique sense, since I could not discuss my case except superficially (and still can’t, since the case is still on appeal.)  It was also my personal exploration of the blogging medium.  And it was my refrigerator, serving the same function of providing a white space where I could tape an article where my housemates could see it, except now my house is the virtual world.

For the first year or so, I wrote in this blog almost compulsively, posting every day, sometimes two or three times a day, writing about things I understood–like Los Angeles, politics, PR and marketing, the environment and related public policy issues, sports and music–and things I didn’t.  No one could tell me not to write whatever I wanted.  That freedom is the essence of blogging.

Part of that freedom is also…not to write.  Or to write something or somewhere else.  And then come back to this.

If you like reading my stuff or want to keep up with me, here’s what I think I’ll do.  I’ll put an RSS feed of this blog on my page on Facebook.  I’m on Facebook. You’re probably also on Facebook, whoever is reading this. The feed will show you when I’ve updated this blog.  I will also leave a note if there is a particularly noteworthy (notes for the noteworthy? What a concept) post.  The rhythm will be arhythmic, but you’ll never feel like you’re reading filler.  That’s my only guarantee.