Everybody’s favorite summer parlor game is coming swiftly to a close.
If I had to bet today, I’d say it’s Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.
The logic goes like this: The VP pick is almost never the name on everybody’s shortlist.
Where did Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney come from? Left field.
And let’s not forget that Dick Gephardt episode (see above) from ’04.
The strategerie of floating the three top names out there now is pretty clear. It gets some buzz going in the swingable states Virginia and Indiana where Kaine and Bayh fans start thinking: “Hey, if Obama is thinking about my guy, I should give him another look.”
Biden may be in it for real, but he’s got a lot of baggage and little electoral college clout. Also, Obama has repeatedly said he doesn’t need a foreign policy tutor as VP. Floating him for VP makes it clear to a certain educated class of independent voter that Obama values a smart, rational foreign policy. It also elevates Biden in the eyes of the pundit class allowing the campaign to use him as an effective attack dog going forward.
As to Sebelius. Obama really likes her. The record she’s racked up in Kansas — getting important work done across party lines — weaves into the Axelrod narrative that Obama wants to project perfectly. To say nothing of underscoring the middle-American aspects of Obama’s “mother from Kansas father from Kenya” bio.
Sure, she’s soft spoken, doesn’t have a lick of foreign policy cred, is a woman who is not Hillary, blah blah blah blah blah, which is precisely why the chattering classes would go to town dissecting and puzzling over and praising the pick. America gets to know the many things there are to like about her, and McCain’s trouble with women voters gets turned up to eleven.
Anyhow, that’s my reading of the tea leaves.
What’s your best guess?