| Comments 
| Category: VFA Original
| 9/18/2008 12:08:25 AM CT
Each campaign sat in a conference room (or presumably something similar) some three or four weeks ago and mapped out their future campaign. Each advisor had "VP" circled somewhere on their memo pad; and each nominee had a VP in mind. But suppose for a second each candidate had a different perspective; could a different decision have entirely effected their nominee's standing in the last four weeks. What are their possible pasts?
Everybody is quick to point out that "if Obama had selected Hillary Clinton as his Vice President, the race would already be over;" I simply do not believe this. In fact I think entirely the opposite is true. Knowing what we know now, Hillary would have doomed the Democratic Party, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. McCain would have been forced to react, and would not have chosen Sarah Palin; I say this with 100% certainty. If you're running against the historic ticket you pick the slick white guy and hope to gain racist and sexist votes; that's the sad reality and I don't think the Republicans would have hesitated. Instead Obama's selection of Biden did no harm, the cardinal rule of VP selection. Ultimately I think Biden will do the most good, but that's not the point of this article.
John McCain likely chooses Mitt Romney (although, Pawlenty, Ridge or Liebermann would still have been options) to counteract the gravitas of the Obama-Clinton ticket; it's hard to predict, after all McCain did eventually chose Sarah Palin. I think Hillary Clinton is the only person for whom McCain doesn't choose Sarah Palin, with the possible exception of Kathleen Sebelius; but I don't think she was ever legitimately considered. Mitt Romney's strength is the economy and it just so happens that the economy is flying into a sharpened fan right now. McCain's possible past is much brighter with a Romney selection (and likely his future), especially after his disastrous week.
McCain likely would not have gotten such a large bounce in the polls had he chosen somebody other than Palin, but it clearly doesn't matter what the polls said at the beginning of September on November 5th. As of right now the only thing Palin has concretely provided McCain was a nice five percent boost in his polling numbers for what amounts to a week; the recent CBS poll shows McCain's support among women plummeting by 21%. Romney may or may not have provided a similar polling spike, but at least he would be useful with regards to the now diseased economy, after all that was Romney's main selling point.
If you take a look into the past and alter the VP permutations the scenario that actually happened appears to the best imaginable outcome for Obama and the worst possible for McCain. The McCain campaign fell into the trap of trying to pick what the central issue of the election would be; they guessed energy and fell flat on their face. Nobody cares how much gas costs because they have no money to buy anything. Most people have lost 10% of their portfolio in the past two days and the GOP ticket is offering no solutions to fix the already ailed economy.
The Obama campaign instead focused on the actual role of a Vice President and selected somebody who actually ran for the position twice. Joe Biden isn't an expert on the economy or energy by any stretch, but his central claim to knowledge is not the fact that he can see Russia, but rather his 35 years as a Senator. The Obama campaign took an entirely different approach to the selection that maximized their chances on any issue; they played the statistics. That I cannot say about the McCain campaign. I cannot conclude within any reasonable bounds of logic why Sarah Palin was selected. There are simply too many other, better possible pasts for John McCain.
The possible future will be theirs to command.
Their Possible Pasts
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