An exchange with Bryan Sells on Obama’s VP choice

by Michael O. Allen on August 19, 2008

michael o. allen to Bryan Sells: Today @ 9:18am

Good morning.

I think you’re wrong but would you post your veepstakes piece?

And may I put a link to the New York Times piece in that post?

Bryan Sells‘s reply Today @ 9:24am

OK. You can certainly add the NYT link.

Bryan Sells‘s follow-up to his reply Today @ 9:26am

And what part is wrong? who’s your guess?

michael o. allen to Bryan Today @ 11:17am

I agree with you that all the names that have been floated could be feints. I don’t think Gore is in the mix. Neither is Hillary. I have a hard time seeing Hagel (such a pick would confirm what many suspect that Obama is a moderate in a sheep clothing; the Democratic base would rebel).

Webb is still a possibility (he’s my choice), despite taking himself out of the race.

Kaine, too.

Bayh is certainly safe.

But, if you’re correct that the names being floated are to throw us of, then I would not rule out a safe dark horse like Chet Edwards

Bryan Sells replied Today @ 11:27am

I thought long and hard before leaving Edwards off my list of four surprise picks. His brand isn’t strong enough to make people say “wow!” They’d just say “who?”

michael o. allen’s very long rejoinder Today @ 11:35am

which could be a selling point.

The Times story is wrongly assumes that the presidential candidates want publicity from their vp choices. why would they want publicity?

The most obvious tack is to do no harm. Biden, for instance, even without his awkward jab about Obama being “clean”, would be a harmful pick.

Bayh and Kaine not so much.

Edwards, Chet not John, unless he too has busloads of illegitimate children that he fathered with illegal immigrant prostitutes, would fit the bill of boring but safe vp pick (he even looks like a vp).

And he might even help you.

Today @ 11:47am, Bryan Sells wanted to know:

Fair point. But if Obama’s not seeking publicity, then why’d his campaign leak the “short list” story last night? Why has his campaign been hyping the veepstakes for weeks?

michael o. allen then meanders Today @ 12:04pm

because, as you pointed out in your first post today (which scared me, by the way), Obama is not always the sure-footed candidate that some of us who drank the kool-aid a long time ago (I count myself as one of these) would like to think he is.

I think full-throated economic populism, with jobs and rebuilding America’s infrastructure as the linchpin, is the message that’ll give him the office he seeks. And that’s exactly the message that Obama will not deliver. Obama seems to want to hew close to the middle of the road, thinking the Republican brand is so degraded that even a black man saying not much of anything could coast into the presidency.

I don’t believe that.

I think Americans are taking a hard look at McCain and would give him the presidency in a bat of an eye if he does not seem too crazy. If all that is wrong with McCain is that he’s too old, too incompetent, and sometimes gets lost in his own words, America would take a pass on Obama’s apparent brilliance and stick with McCain.

Obama needs to give people a reason to vote for him. Charisma is not going to do it. Being miles and miles more intelligent than the other guy is not going to do it. You’ve got bring more to the table.

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