obama’s choice for vice president: caroline kennedy vs. wesley clark

That other self-important MM from Michigan — Michael Moore – came out today with his choice for Obama’s VP. He thinks it should be JFK’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy. I like the way he’s thinking when he says that we need someone who didn’t support the war, but I disagree about Kennedy. She may be a wonderful person, and “Obama/Kennedy” might look great on bumper stickers, but, in my opinion, she just doesn’t have the foreign policy chops to pull it off. I like the idea of bringing in a well-liked woman with a fresh perspective, relatively little baggage, and a tie to an era when our leaders truly inspired the people of the world, but I don’t think Obama can afford to have someone in the number two spot who doesn’t know national security.

I also believe there’s a racial component to be considered. Like it or not, I think that many Americans, when they enter the voting booth, will be reluctant to vote for a black man, despite what they may say beforehand. And, I don’t want to give them a real, legitimate reason to hide behind. And I think that’s what would happen if Obama didn’t add someone to the ticket with experience in international relations. I think that people already struggling with the issue of race, would use it to justify their vote for McCain. And I don’t want to make it that easy for them.

So, yeah, I’d go with someone with a strong national security background — preferably someone who hasn’t recently served as an elected official, at least when we voted to send our troops to war. I’m thinking of someone like Wesley Clark, or, after last night’s post, maybe Andrew J Bacevich, a retired Colonel who recently lost his son in Iraq, and considers himself a “Catholic conservative” (assuming that he’d do it).

Here’s what Michael Moore had to say to Caroline Kennedy:

Dear Caroline,

We’ve never met, so I hope you don’t find this letter too presumptuous or inappropriate. As its contents involve the public’s business, I am sending this to you via the public on the Internet. I knew your brother John. He was a great guy, and I know he would’ve had a ball during this thrilling and historic election year. We all miss him dearly.

Barack Obama selected you to head up his search for a vice presidential candidate. It appears we may be just days (hours?) away from learning who that choice will be.

The media is reporting that Senator Obama has narrowed his alternatives to three men: Joe Biden, Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine. They’re all decent fellows, but they are far from the core of what the Obama campaign has been about: Change. Real change. Out with the old. And don’t invade countries that pose no threat to us.

Senators Biden and Bayh voted for that invasion and that war, the war Barack ran against, the war Barack reminded us was the big difference between him and Senator Clinton because she voted for the war and he spoke out against it while running for Senate (a brave and bold thing to do back in 2002).

For Obama to place either of these senators on the ticket would be a huge blow to the millions that chose him in the primaries over Hillary. He will undercut one of the strongest advantages he has over the Hundred-Year War senator, Mr. McCain. By anointing a VP who did what McCain did in throwing us into this war, Mr. Obama will lose the moral high ground in the debates.

As for Governor Kaine of Virginia, his big problem is, well, Obama’s big problem — who is he? The toughest thing Barack has had to overcome — and it will continue to be his biggest obstacle — is that too many of the voters simply don’t know him well enough to vote for him. The fact that Obama is new to the scene is both one of his most attractive qualities AND his biggest drawback. Too many Americans, who on the surface seem to like Barack Obama, just don’t feel comfortable voting for someone who hasn’t been on the national scene very long. It’s a comfort level thing, and it may be just what keeps Obama from winning in November (“I’d rather vote for the devil I know than the devil I don’t know”).

What Obama needs is a vice presidential candidate who is NOT a professional politician, but someone who is well-known and beloved by people across the political spectrum; someone who, like Obama, spoke out against the war; someone who has a good and generous heart, who will be cheered by the rest of the world; someone whom we’ve known and loved and admired all our lives and who has dedicated her life to public service and to the greater good for all.

That person, Caroline, is you.

I cannot think of a more winning ticket than one that reads: “OBAMA-KENNEDY.”

Caroline, I know that nominating yourself is the furthest idea from your mind and not consistent with who you are, but there would be some poetic justice to such an action. Just think, eight years after the last head of a vice presidential search team looked far and wide for a VP — and then picked himself (a move topped only by his hubris to then lead the country to near ruin while in office) — along comes Caroline Kennedy to return the favor with far different results, a vice president who helps restore America to its goodness and greatness.

Caroline, you are one of the most beloved and respected women in this country, and you have been so admired throughout your life. You chose a life outside of politics, to work for charities and schools, to write and lecture, to raise a wonderful family. But you did not choose to lead a private life. You have traveled the world and met with its leaders, giving you much experience on the world stage, a stage you have been on since you were a little girl..

The nation has, remarkably (considering our fascination with celebrity), left you alone and let you live your life in peace. (It’s like, long ago, we all collectively agreed that, with her father tragically gone, a man who died because he wanted to serve his country, we would look out for her, we would wish for her to be happy and well, and we would have her back. But we would let her be.)

Now, I am breaking this unwritten code and asking you to come forward and help us in our hour of need. So many families are hurting, losing their homes, going bankrupt with health care bills, seeing their public schools in shambles and living with this war without end. This is a historic year for women, from Hillary’s candidacy to the numerous women running for the House and Senate. This is the year that a woman should be on the Democratic ticket. This is the year that both names on that ticket should be people OUTSIDE the party machine. This is the year millions of independents and, yes, millions of Republicans are looking for something new and fresh and bold (and you are the Kennedy Republicans would vote for!).

This is the moment, Caroline. Seize it! And Barack, if you’re reading this, you probably know that she is far too humble and decent to nominate herself. So step up and surprise us again. Step up and be different than every politician we have witnessed in our lifetime. Keep the passion burning amongst the young people and others who have been energized by your unexpected, unpredicted, against-all-odds candidacy that has ignited and inspired a nation. Do it for all those reasons. Make Caroline Kennedy your VP. “Obama-Kennedy.” Wow, does that sound so cool.

Caroline, thanks for letting me intrude on your life. How wonderful it will be to have a vice president who will respect the Constitution, who will support (instead of control) her president, who will never let her staff out a CIA agent, and who will never tell her country that she is “currently residing in an undisclosed location.”

Say it one more time: “OBAMA-KENNEDY.” A move like that might send a message to the country that the Democrats would actually like to win an election for once.

So, which MM to you agree with?

Wait… Before you answer, I should mention one last thing — and I realize that by saying this, I’m probably going to push some of your over to Moore’s camp… I’m tired of picking VPs for cynical, calculated reasons. I’m sick of picking VPs based on what demographic they might deliver, or what hole in the candidate’s resume they might fill. I hate that Gore picked Lieberman. For once, I’d like the Presidential candidate to pick the person who he genuinely feels would make the best President in his absence. I’d love to have a ticket that I could really believe in — one that wasn’t vetted first by focus groups and consultants. I’d love to hear Obama say at the convention next week that, in spite of having campaign consultants tell him that he should, for instance, bring in a southern white male with military experience (as I’ve just done), he’s going to pick the person that he feels we as a country need right now — the person he feels would be the best ally to have by his side as we set out to undo the damage of the past several decades and make this country a place we can be proud of again. And, maybe Michael Moore is right — maybe that’s Caroline Kennedy.

update: It just dawned on me that maybe Moore isn’t serious about this at all. Maybe he’s just flattering Kennedy, in hopes that she, as the head of Obama’s VP search committee, will take some of the advice, and steer Obama toward someone other than either Joe Biden or Evan Bayh. If that’s the case, I think it was pretty well played by Moore.

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  1. Castor
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 8:11 am | Permalink


    “Anyone But Clinton”

  2. Paw
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m convinced that what America needs in a Vice President, and truly deserves, is a lovable puppet creation of some sort with a really good stable of writers backing him up. Maybe something with shaggy fur, like Cookie Monster.

  3. Posted August 21, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Obama seems to be ‘wishy
    washy’ or ‘flip floper
    of the year’. His chance
    of winning is remote.

    Why would Caroline Kennedy want to run and
    lose? Add to that….
    where is the experience.

  4. elviscostello
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Jim Webb…

  5. heronblue
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I have never seen a politician who has been less wishy washy or flip floppy than Obama. its clear to me that folks who see McCain as a credible president, and those who see Obama as one simply occupy different planets.

  6. Posted August 22, 2008 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I love Griffin’s logic, that although Obama is slightly ahead right now, his chance of winning is “remote”.

    Caroline Kennedy? Now that’s a remote possibility.

    I have to really scratch my head on this one – why would (the other) MM throw this out there? Is it to intentionally flatter Caroline?

    It’s not that she coudn’t possibly make a fine VP, it’s just that to pick her would be an incredibly risky move, and there’s just no way that it will happen. Basically just a silly thing to suggest. Hillary still has a much better shot than Caroline, and even that’s a long shot.

    Obama announced that he has decided, and will reveal his choice shortly.

  7. Robert
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was going to be Tim Kaine, because I think Obama needs a Southerner from the electoral projections we’re seeing. But it looks more like it’s going to be Joe Biden. If it is ultimately Biden, that will be very good news for Obama supporters because the choice would suggest that internal polls are showing a much stronger picture for Obama electorally.

  8. Posted August 22, 2008 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, could it be Hillary? Kind of have a feeling…

  9. Christine Swanson
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Over the years there has been speculation that Ted Kennedy would be President and that Caroline’s brother, Jon, might run some day too. For decades the country has been primed and ready to welcome another Kennedy into the White House. I don’t think it’s out of the question at all. The Kennedy family is nothing if not politically focused. It may not have been intentional, but her family life has served to groom her for such a position as the Vice Presidency. Hilary’s very successful run has paved a smooth way for Caroline to be accepted by the public despite her feminity — that’s no longer an issue thanks to Hilary. I’m not an Obama fan, but I believe Caroline is very genuine — without guile, which is refreshing to the political scene.

  10. Vicky
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    I have an idea that isn’t remotely addressed…How about Gore? How much more for change can you get and he had the presidency stolen from him. How sweet would that be….

  11. Posted August 24, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    I think he’ll probably pick Joe Biden

  12. Robert
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    It appears now that Caroline Kennedy WILL take the senate seat Hillary’s vacated.

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