Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saturday Novak

Coming to you a day late, but it's interesting as always. In particular, Novak says that senior Democrats are advising Hillary against selecting Barack Obama as her running mate -- because he adds nothing to the ticket:

Anticipating that Sen. Hillary Clinton will clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, some supporters are beginning to argue against her principal rival -- Sen. Barack Obama -- for vice president.

They maintain that Obama provides no general election help for Clinton. As an African-American from Illinois, Obama represents an ethnic group and a state already solidly in the Democratic column.

This school of thought advocates a Southerner as Clinton's running mate. The last time Democrats won a national election without a Southerner on the ticket was 1944. Prominent Democrats from the South are in short supply today. The leading prospect: former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

Assuming Hillary secures the nomination -- and Novak has cautioned against such an assumption -- this will be hotly debated. There will definitely be pressure to select Obama, for a few reasons. First, Hillary does not match her husband in inspiring adulation among African-American voters. Selecting Obama would help ensure strong turnout among this core Democratic constituency -- which will help Democratic candidates all the way down the line.

But second, if Hillary is the nominee, African American leaders are likely to be excited about the prospect that she will choose Obama. Since Hillary may be seen as the odds-on favorite, people will be eager to see her select the nation's first black Vice President. There's likely to be great disappointment among these Obama fans -- perhaps enough to sour them to her candidacy. If she clinches the nomination, she may want to either accept or rule out Obama quickly, to avoid there being any hurt feelings.

And as for picking a southerner, that could wind up being a promising strategy for Hillary -- particularly if the nominee is Rudy Giuliani. A 'moderate' pro-choice, pro gun control, Italian American from New York may have to work hard to secure the traditional GOP base in the Solid South. If Hillary emphasizes her southern credentials and picks someone like Mark Warner for VP, she could potentially flip several southern states to the Democratic column -- starting with Arkansas and Virginia.

For a contrary opinion, see Wizbang.

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