Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Best of Corsair: The Democratic Party Veepstakes, Next Secretary of State

Ever since NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, a graduate student in power, the wife of Fed Reserve Chief Allan Greenspan, suggested that Hillary Clinton wants the veep slot, it has been hers to lose.

The problem with Hillary, and there are quite a few, is that she doesn't bring much to the ticket and she polarizes her opposition like no one in the world. Of course, she is also a geniune celebrity beloved like a goddess among African-American, Latino and Asian women. But Kerry already does well with women; he married a tough one, and that attracts the ladies -- a man unaffraid of a strong woman -- like nothing in this world.

Kerry will win New York. Kerry will win the Northeast (although New Jersey, surprisingly, is looking like it is in play, thanks to the charismatically challenged Governor, McGreevey). In a sense, Hillary would have been much more useful to the ticket had she run for the Senate seat in Arkansas, where a Southern base would mark her head and shoulders above the sunny and optimistic bright Senator John Edwards, which, quite frankly, she is not. The problem with Hillary is that she was too tepid, she didn't run; Edwards did -- and thus, among many, he should get the nod, it's his turn; Edwards took the risk.

Hillary Odds: 50-50

John Edwards: Neck and neck with Hill. Pro: Electoral College votes. A bombshell convention speech in Prime time to show off his looks. A player in the party to come. 50-50 Plus, appropos of nothing, Edwards is a Gemeni, and a Gemeni along with a Sagittarius Kerry, would be spectacular (okay, now you can discount all my other analysis because I mentioned astrology)

Max Cleland. The Corsair believes that he is the likely choice for a running mate. Pros: From Georgia, brings the South back into the mix ... former Senator ... triple amutee war hero would make a strong veterans campaign with Kerry -- and Vets are liely Republican voters ... expert on Homeland Security (big plus, as national security is a Republican stronghold) which Bill Clinton in a closed door meeting warned that the nominee must be strong on ... strong on health care ... could humiliate chicken hawk Cheney in a debate
Cons: Health might be an issue. (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: it's a fucking long ass sojourn through the country for a Veep, from Labor Day till the election -- can Cleland do it? I think so. Odds on favorite)

Gary Hart Pros: Vast intellect, PhD, Oxford, Political Philosophy ... wise from his time out in the political wilderness ... Strong in the Southwest ... devastating debator Cons: Old adultery charge may still stick in the Bible Belt ... may be more useful to the Democratic Party in a Senate bid against the very weak Ben Knighthorse Campbell (note: Campbell will not seek relection) ... Possible Secretary of State, a la his hero, Jefferson (ed note: Feb 14, 2004)

Bill Richardson Pros: Governor of ultra-crucial New Mexico ... Latino ... former UN Ambassador and seasoned diplomat would give international cooperation credit points to ticket
Cons: None. (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: hot like salsa)

Wesley Clark Pros: Longshot, but if he wins big in Oklahoma and the conservative Southwest he could be in the cut ... General would give strong military backing to ticket ... would humiliate chickenhawk Cheney in a debate ... strong with African-Americans
Cons: Too closely tied to Bill Clinton, who wants Hillary '08, which may be an issue. (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: Wes is bitter as the Clintonistas dumped his ass as soon as he started looking like yesterday's donuts. Could be Sec of Defense in a Kerry White House. An effective military attack dog. Will work well with a Cleland Veep)

Dick Gephardt Pros: Outside of Cleland and Edwards, the most likely running mate ... most popular pol in pivotal swing state Missouri ... would be perfect for a Kerry-Gephardt Northern labor-veterans strategy against a Bush South ... comes with the backing of labor, a Democratic must needs ... a truly good guy who dropped out and endorsed Kerry early: he did the right thing
Cons: Wooden on the stump, charismatically challenged (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: this ticket may be too damn Northern top heavy. Could be the greatest and most powerful Sec of Labor in US history in a Kerry White House)

Evan Bayh Pros: Young up and comer, popular moderate Democrat from a Republican state ... would look good stumping with Kerry ... strong political family ... Would play well in Bush states ... hugely ambitious for national office, a quick study
Cons: A long shot ... may not even be able to deliver Indiana, his home state, against Bush (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: not bloody likely, but it would harken to the Tom Sawyer-Huck Finnish days of Clinton-Gore '92)

Bob Graham Pros: Most Aggressively Campaigning for this position ... got out early ... most popular elected official in CRUCIAL Florida ... Senate Intelligence Committee Cons: Bad ticker ... charisma challenged. (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: The Corsair believes that Graham, who lusts after this position so badly that our computer screen is blurred, prolly had a deal with the Dean peeps, so he may be radioactive to Kerry; then again loyalty, in politics, is mobile, like la donna)


Florida Senator Bill Nelson is as exciting as a glass of tea.

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh's name, which has been aggressively floated for the past week, will NEVER be the nominee. Evan Bayh cannot even deliver Indiana to the Democrats, the Hoosier state is Republican for life. He is too conservative and he knows it. Ae has to be. He is a Democrat in Indiana, which is as rare as Paris Hilton rejecting a sexual offer or Courtney Love declining some "h". But it serves a Machiavellian purpose: floating Evan Bayh's name is like a shot of steroids, it raises his name recognition, like free campaign commercials, it strengthens his hold on a tenuous position, namely, being a Democrat in Indiana.

The Next Secretary of State


Walter Isaacson: It may not yet be his time. Wise, Aspen leader. N'Orleans Democrat with Founding Father best seller and media-philosophy cred. 85-1

Zbigniew Brzezinski: This man's name is more complicated than mine -- and that's a feat. He is auditioning hard with his new tome, which took a bit of an ass whipping in the New York Review of Books.
He is unbelieveably brash for a man who armed the Mujahadein. A little too inside for Kerry to get away with appointing, then again, Jimmy Carter broke everyone's heart when he campaigned as a peanut farming outsider, then appointed the ultimate Trilateralist insider Cyrus Vance to State. 65-1

Richard Holbrooke: No one wants State more than Ambassador Holbrooke. And, while we are on the subject, since when do UN Ambassadors go out with Diane Sawyer? Huh, Dick? Impressive resume. Holbrooke is a master operator and a player who cultivates the air of inevitability that he will ultimately be the Secretary of State of the US, the world's last standing superpower, astride the globe like a mighty colossus. 50-50

Jamie Rubin: It may not be his time yet. He is too young, the John Edwards of the foreign policy elite set. Madeline Albright's pretty toy boy. A lock as possible UN Ambassador under Kerry. Hedged his bets on Wesley Clarke, and lost. Side note: His wife, Christiane Amanpour, may be the most important television journalist, and he himself is on the fast track to UN Ambassador, State, and, possibly, UN Secretary General. This is the glamour couple for the next age: The Age of International Law. 95-1

Gary Hart: This is my favorite choice, because now that Daniel Patrick Moynihan has passed on, no one is wiser or more intelligent on such a wide variety of subjects than Hart. And he gets along well with Kerry. Affairs will not matter at State, although you can be sure convoluted arguments will come from the Bible Belt ("hey, his past infidelities could be used as against you by a foreign spy.") 50-50


Now this here is the only game in town. Three major figures want this post:

Newt Gingrich: A favorite of the Hawkish conservatives. So ambitious that he attacked Colin Powell in the neocon rags. While still sitting at State. Oh, it was on like Gray Poupon! An enemy of George Bush the Elder, which may hurt his chances of advancing in the Bush dynasty. Poppy still has juice. 50-50

James Baker: You don't get any oilier than James E. Baker, who allegedly called Arabs, "sand ni**ers at a cabinet meeting." Baker is the dirtiest player in the game. Reeks of thwarted ambition. Why was George Bush, that punk President and he -- he, the mastermind -- secretary of state?! And only for part of the term at that! An unfinished Secretary of State stewardship, helping your Poppy's reelection: come on Dubya, you owe me. 50-50

Paul Bremer: A Bush favorite. Close with the Dynasty. His fortunes within the dynasty depend entirely upon the Iraqi power handoff, and whether he scores, or drops the ball. Slim chance. Al Graib probably ruined his chances.

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