Did we get your attention? Good. As the VP Derby enters the final turn this week, we figured we'd throw our hat in the ring because if Obama chooses one person in particular, it could have a tremendous impact on healthcare in general on the overall agenda if the Illinois Senator wins the election.
Quite simply, we don't think former First Lady and New York Senatory Hillary Rodham Clinton is completely out of the running for VP consideration, even if she is slated to have a roll-call vote at the Democratic Convention. If HRC somehow defies the conventional wisdom and is Obama's choice, that would put serious healthcare reform at the top of the first 100-days domestic agenda after Obama is inaugurated. You can read our previous posts about healthcare and the election by clicking here and here.
We recall a very smart comment from Families USA founding executive director Ron Pollack at a National Journal policy breakfast June 25. He noted that President Bill Clinton had used a lot of political capital on issues other than healthcare reform at the beginning of his administration. By the time universal coverage rolled around on the agenda in November 1993 in the form of real legislation, a lot of that "capital" had been spent. In other words, in order for broad healthcare reform to happen in 2009, it will have to begin right out of the gate.
[A very important note: We're not saying we think Hillary Clinton is Obama's choice, but we don't think it's out of the question, and if she is VP, healthcare becomes the top domestic focus immediately in our opinion.]
Remember this from Obama's victory speech in St. Paul, Minnesota on the last primary night?
"We've certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning – even in the face of tough odds – is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency – an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton."
We're just saying.
In addition to HRC, we thought we'd provide our dark horse list of VP candidates for our faithful readers to chew on. For a conventional list of Democratic VP candidates, click here.
1) Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill: She is a two-year Senator just like Obama, a single-mother of seven years who recently got married with a blended family of nine children, and most importantly, is from the critical state of Missouri. She serves on the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security committees. To read her full bio, click here. Remember, as Missouri goes, so goes the election. The state has voted for the eventual winner in every election since 1904 with the exception of 1956 (Eisenhower). According to the most recent Rasmussen poll, Obama is trailing Republican John McCain by 7%. But Missouri was a must-have state for Obama, stemming the tide of big states Clinton won on Super Tuesday during the primary. McCaskill, one of the earliest Obama supporters, helped deliver the state to Obama with the thinnest of margins. We know, we know, she's a woman and it would be a slap in the face to Hillary Clinton supporters. We think they would find McCaskill palpable. After all, McCaskill made history herself as the first woman ever elected to the Senate from Missouri.
2) Former Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt: See above. Obama needs Missouri. Gephardt has been the face of Missouri politics for years, is well known nationally, ran for President before and represents the exact, union-friendly demographics Clinton so effectively won over. Obviously, he's been out of the political picture for some time consulting to DLA Piper and Goldman Sachs but we think he would be a smart choice, even if he's not on the short list.
3) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: It's a fight to the death for independents people! Who better to win them over than the man who was talking about starting an Independent Party to send the two-party system packing. Is there any better managerial experience than running New York? Rudy Giuliani would argue, "no." The former Republican has money, a name, and a lot of polling to back up his case as someone to be considered when he was pondering his own run for the White House.
4) Virginia Governor Tim Kaine: It's hard to call Kaine a dark horse because he has been on the short list for weeks, according to widespread reporting. But the Russia-Georgia situation and the resignation of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf left many observers thinking Kaine was dead in the water because of his inexperience in foreign policy (he's a governor, duh) and entering his third year as a one-term governor (you only get one term in Virginia). But he was very, very good on Sunday's "Meet the Press", considered to be an audition for VP hopefuls. His attacks on McCain and counters to Karl Rove were effective. We think that performance may have revived his chances. He speaks fluent spanish and is significantly more conservative than Obama on the issue of abortion, which could help win over some conservative undecideds. Oh yeah, and Virginia is up for grabs (Rasmussen has it as a dead heat).
So who is it going to be? We'd love to hear your thoughts.