Friday, August 8, 2008

Speaking of Vice Presidential Candidates...

I see that there are people pushing Michigan Senator Carl Levin to become Senator Obama's running mate. Let me just say, I think that's a wonderful idea. It's one that'll probably never happen but, as the case has been made, Levin is indeed awesome.

He'd be the weighty elder statesman standing right behind Obama. His light side version of Dick Chenney. Someone who's never going to run for president and so can burn all his political capital making the kind of innocuously deadly burns that Levin so specializes in - seriously, dude looks like a kindly old grandpa that you'd nod at while searching for a table at Zingerman's but not only is he wicked smart, he's mastered the art of the stealth putdown. The kind that hammer his opponent without making him look sleazy himself. He could be an excellent attack dog in a campaign that prides itself for being above the fray. Throw in the foreign policy experience, the blue-collar and union ties in an important battleground state (Plural, if you include the possible effect he might have on the Jewish vote in Florida. Even without it, he's the sort of politician who should appeal to, well, the Hilary Democrats.), and add to the historic ticket what could be the first Jewish person only a heartbeat away from the Oval Office and it makes a certain kind of mad sense.

On the other hand, while Levin is experienced that's another word for old and he's not exactly oozing with the charisma - charm, sure, charisma, no - so the imagery is off. And being from Michigan he's heavily in bed with the auto industry and that means he's got a less than stellar record when it comes to environmental issues, for one.

Most importantly, though, it means taking Levin out of the Congress where he's an important Democratic leader. He heads several important committees, serves on several more, and he's been there and in that system for so long that I think his real strength is being one of the movers and shakers not in the Obama administration but for it. Helping them to win the legislative battles they're going to have to once the campaign is over.

He might get a cabinet seat but I doubt he'll get the Naval Observatory.

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