Let's say that the November race will be a Clinton-v-Trump matchup. That's not an unreasonable prediction at this point. Who should they pick as running mates?
Traditionally, the veep slot should go to a candidate liked by those voters who normally don't gravitate toward the main candidate. Since Trump and Clinton appeal to such radically different segments of the population, the solution is obvious: They should pick each other. Trump/Clinton versus Clinton/Trump. I see no Constitutional problems with this arrangement. This idea aligns with the overall theme of this election season: Let's make America insane again
Perhaps the candidates are not ready for this sort of creative thinking. Very well. Who should they choose for the vice presidency?
The big news here is this open letter
signed by many of the heavy hitters in the GOP national security establishment. They've all more-or-less pledged to support Hillary if Trump nabs the nomination. Some of the names are pretty frightening -- Max Boot (whom I detest), Robert Kagan (wasn't he pro-Hillary anyways?), Philip Zelikow (the guy who wrote that weirdly prophetic pre-9/11 piece about the toppling of the World Trade Center), Michael Chertoff (Patriot Act co-author), Niall Ferguson (wants to replace Social Security and Medicare with something more libertarian-friendly), Eliot Cohen (PNAC, smearer of Mearsheimer and Walt, opponent of Chuck Hagel). I could go on, but you get the drift.
The point is: Hillary doesn't have to choose someone who will appeal to the foreign policy Establishment. She has them already. She has, God help us, the Establishment of both
parties. And she'll keep their support as long as she keeps finding liberal-ish ways to say things that the neocons want her to say.
(What she will actually do
in office may be a different story, but what she must say
during the next six months is horrifyingly clear.)
So her veep pick should not be someone approved by the folks who signed that letter. She needs to choose someone who will placate the many Democrats who despise people like Boot, Chertoff, and company. She needs someone who will appeal strongly to the Bernie-ites. She needs to veer left.
The obvious pick: Elizabeth Warren. The obvious drawback: She doesn't want the gig.
Allow this oddball blogger to offer four oddball suggestions: Al Franken, Russ Feingold, Chuck Hagel and Jim Webb.
The case for Franken:
He has been a damned good senator, he would do well in a debate, and he could energize the liberal base. Plus, he endorsed Hillary early on, in a characteristically charming fashion
is, of course, embroiled in a race to regain his senate seat, and I doubt that he would give up that effort to run on the national ticket. (Technically, he could do both.) So why do I mention Feingold? Because he's a good man, and I've long thought he would make a good president.
is a Republican who served in the Obama administration as Secretary of Defense. Okay, I realize that choosing a Republican would be insane
, but let's face it: This whole election is a nuthouse. Hagel would further encourage disaffected Republicans to cross over. It's sort of like installing two case fans in your computer system: Donald pushes 'em out, and Chuck would pull 'em in.
But Hagel also appeals to anti-war liberals, precisely because he pisses off guys like Eliot Cohen. The neocons despise
Hagel: See here
. As Robert Reich wrote when Hagel was nominated for the DoD position:
If the neocons in the GOP who brought us the Iraqi war and conjured up “weapons of mass destruction” to justify it are against Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary, Hagel gets bonus points in my book.
: I get the sense that he and Hillary don't like each other all that much. But he has made some noises about running as an independent; offering him the second-tier spot would put the kibosh on that idea. Webb is to Hillary's right on domestic policy, but well to her left on foreign policy. Balance
As noted above, those are all the wild ideas of a self-confessed oddball. More conventional writers have suggested:
1. Julian Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who would lock up the Latino vote.
2. Freshman Virginia senator Tim Kaine. Personally, I think that the Dems want to keep him where he is, since Virginia is a purple state and Kaine hasn't been in his position very long.
3. Tom Perez has strong liberal credentials
. He's the guy best positioned to appeal to the Elizabeth Warren crowd.
4. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is a classic liberal who voted "the right way" on the Authorization of Military Force and on DOMA. Most of all: He would assure the blue-ness of his must-win native state. The problem: Like Warren, he doesn't yearn for the job.
The likeliest pick? Brown, if he can be talked into it.
When it comes to His Trumpitude's Second Banana -- the Marshall Ney to Trump's Napoleon, the Darth Vader to Trump's Palapatine, the Renfield to Trump's Dracula -- I have a conspiracy theory.
(I've been accused of belittling all conspiracy theories that I did not come up with myself. Guilty as charged! Why should I allow myself to be hornswoggled by some other
paranoid doofus when I can just as easily hornswoggle myself?)
Chris Christie has positioned himself to be Trump's inevitable choice for Number Two. Christie may not be the first choice of the Establishmentarians, but they can definitely live with anyone who says -- as Christie has said -- that Iran is a bigger threat than ISIS.
He's also a tough-talking guy from New Jersey -- a state where people understand that sometimes you gotta play rough.
So that's why you will continue to see Chris Christie -- looking like he just ate a sandwich filled with month-old sardines and year-old mayo -- standing behind Herr Drumpf. Bite your tongue, Chris. Bite it until a thin trickle of blood runs down your chin. Do what it takes, say whatever you need to say, until you get that nomination.
After that, the GOP Powers-That-Be need only find some patsy with three first names.
Yes, it's been a while since anyone had to make a play like that. But I think they remember how to do it. In fact, I'm sure that they now have better ways
to do it.
(Note to anyone from the Secret Service who may be reading these words: I'm sure that you understand the difference between speculation and advocacy. I would
never advocate violence.)
To the predictable people who insist on writing very predictable comments:
Yes, I know that this post contains trigger words. Yes, I know full well how you are programmed to respond when you see those trigger words. Yes, I already know
what you will say in response to the suggestion that Hillary may govern in ways not indicated by her present stances (a suggestion I will flesh out in a future post). But don't expect your predictable commentary to be published unless you can find some UNpredictable way to express yourself.
There's only one way I can be sure that you are not a paid troll: Show some creativity.
Do you have any idea how many predictable comments I have had to toss into the garbage can? C'mon, folks. I asked for one small thing: Creativity
. I won't print the same-old same-old on the topic of Why Hillary Is Evil. But I will print you if you can manage to give me something original and novel.
For example, you could phrase your Hill-hate in the form of a limerick:
There once was a man-hating shrew
And the thing that she most loved to do
Was to order mass killing
(which she found quite thrilling)
And Bill soiled a dress that was blue.
See? I can do your job better than you
can. C'mon, you well-recompensed Hill-hating trolls: Put some EFFORT into it!