Sunday, June 15, 2008

VP Speculation Heats Up

By: Harry Waisbren

DC is abuzz with speculation regarding who might be the presidential candidates' choices for VP. Obama's coming decision has been particularly relavent in the news, given that Jim Johnson, his "veep vetter", was forced to resign amidst criticism that he received benefits "while leading Fannie Mae that may have come from subprime mortages." This has been depicted as a necessary move by Obama considering that "Republicans sought to paint Obama as a hypocrite and undercut his image as a voice for change by criticizing Johnson, a former CEO of lender Fannie Mae and DC insider since the 70s."

Obama also has had a list of potential VP choices leaked to the press, a list that includes:

Ret. Gen. James Jones, the former Marine-turned-NATO Supreme Allied
Commander....Besides Jones, the other names on the list bandied about with
congressional Dems include (and not in any order): Hillary Clinton, John Kerry,
John Edwards, Evan Bayh, Kathleen Sebelius, Ted Strickland, Mark Warner, Tim
Kaine, Jim Webb, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, and
Sam Nunn.

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake makes a great case for Kathleen Sebelias that I think is worth checking out, but I must admit, Matt Stoller of Open Left has me convinced that Wesley Clark should the guy.
Clark would be an excellent VP, and a great President. The guy won a war using multi-lateral strategies with zero American casualties, and he can and will be able to help ride herd over the Pentagon. He has stated that he thinks it is important to keep investigating Bush administration crimes and not just drop it (which is what happened with Iran-Contra in 1992). This is an important test of our democracy, and a good addition to Obama's clear statement that he will rescind unconstitutional executive orders. And if you read his real State of the Union, you'll see that Wes Clark is a seriously progressive visionary who understands that education, child care, health care, and leadership training should be core responsibilities of the government; and since he's already run a military that had huge responsibilities and systems in these areas, he knows it can be done.

Having a progressive military leader who also would help unify the party ("Clark is a Clintonista thorugh and through" as Matt describes) seems almost too good to be true, yet Matt argues that the Clark for VP bandwagon is picking up steam. If you doubt his progressivism or his desire to end the war, check out the ad he filmed for Ned Lamont in his primary battle against Joe Lieberman which successfully kicked the backstabber out of the party:

What is most surprising to me is that while Obama has a variety of great choices, the Republican favorite seems to be 36 year old Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. McCain wants to focus on Hurricane Katrina as a strength of his in terms of his perceived competence in contrast with President Bush, but picking up Jindal seems like the exact wrong way to approach it:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is on a path to finish the job Hurricane Katrina started, destroying the public infrastructure that served, however imperfectly, poor and working-class New Orleans residents.

Jindal, the wunderkind who is being touted as conservatism's rising new star and an
at-least-half-serious contender for being John McCain's running mate, has openly embraced some of the most extreme components of the right's agenda, from tax cuts for the wealthy to public funding of private and religious schools. The New Orleans area can least afford to be the staging ground for a bankrupt conservative ideology, but Jindal is zealously leading the state into the void nonetheless, even to the point of criticizing President Bush for not being right-wing enough.

Jindal's heartlessness buried beneath the usual right-wing zealotry isn't even the beginning of the story though, as it appears the guy has gone so far off the deep end that he professes his keen ability to exorcise demons:
We’ve discovered that in an essay Jindal wrote in 1994 for the New Oxford Review, a serious right-wing Catholic journal, Jindal narrated a bizarre story of a personal encounter with a demon, in which he participated in an exorcism with a group of college friends. And not only did they cast out the supernatural spirit that had possessed his friend, Jindal wrote that he believesthat their ritual may well have cured her cancer.

As funny as this may seem, I wholeheartedly agree with Tristero writing on Digbysblog that "this would be hilarious were it not for the fact that Jindal actually believes the exorcism also cured the woman of cancer. People die on account of such stupid beliefs."

The idea that this kind of man could even be in consideration to be a heartbeat away from a 72 year old president shows how far the Republican party has fallen. They can't possibly be that desperate to counter Obama's "ethnic excitment" with the Indian American Jindal...can they?

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