Just the other day (okay, a month and a half ago) I was having an off-the-record conversation with an extremely influential leader of the netroots community. How influential? Let me put it this way: Without him, there would be no Ned Lamont.
Given that triumph, we naturally wanted to know whom he thought Barack Obama should choose as vice president. I thought Bill Bradley would be a pretty good choice, and still do. Other people at our table believed that Obama needed to reach out to some Democratic elder statesmen or military man, both of which made sense to me. But my netroots friend looked at us like we were crazy. Obviously, there was only one man for the job. One electrifying figure who would capture the imagination of a generation of new voters, kick over the electoral map like a board game at an anger management retreat, and turn the 21st century on its ear, whatever that means. That man is:
Now, I'm probably not the right person to assess Bill Richardson as a game changer, because I always get him mixed up with Sandy Berger. Also, I thought Netroots might be having us on. So I let it go.
(I've also heard that Bill Richardson is a scandal waiting to happen, since he's a sex machine with all the chicks. But, again, I might be thinking of Berger.)
Anyway, I've been asking around, and here's the general thinking on what Obama needs in a Vice President:
A Military Background
So Obama doesn't get totally marginalized when we start bombing Iran in October.
To balance his wife, Angela Davis.
So he can compete for the hardworking racists of Hillary's Appalachia.
Because there's nothing wrong with pandering identity politics when nice people do it.
See above -- "Hispanic"
Older than Time Itself
Because Barack Obama is only five years old.
Jim Webb gets you "military" and "conservative." And "loose cannon," if we want to go toe-to-toe with McCain for the crazy bully vote. But he's not old enough.
Sam Nunn? I guess he's old. And he is a creep. There's that. But why would he do it? He's already been President in his head.
Bill Richardson is Hispanic, and held many, many, many jobs in the Clinton administration, none of which immediately come to mind.
Wesley Clark? I like Wesley Clark, but he's attached to Hillary Clinton like visible panty lines.
Kathleen Sebelius? There's no such thing as Kathleen Sebelius. I checked.
I know it sounds hopeless, but it's not. Obama just needs a running mate who's old, Hispanic, southern, female and enjoys state-sponsored violence, especially war.
I know what you're going to say: Eva Peron can't be vice president -- she was born in Argentina. Relax. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. It won't be an issue.
And now you're going to say: "But Chris, isn't Eva Paron a waxy corpse, borne crazily from place to place by its fanatical followers?" Again, we'll be running against McCain.
Not only was Eva Peron a woman, but she was also a Broadway musical. That means Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd will have to fight over who gets to compare her to Hillary. Bonus!