Okay, now, seriously. Obama's VP pick — whoever it's going to be — is going to be giving the most important speech of his (or her) political career in less than eight days and almost no one knows who that person is going to be. It's time to start whittling that list down a little! And the same goes for John McCain, who's had two months longer to think about his decision and still reportedly has more people on his short list than Obama. Stop the madness! Do Spencer Ackerman and I have to do all the work for everyone? Fine. We're up for the challenge even if they aren't.
MEGAN: Hey, what's up? Is it weird that I'm not hungover but I feel enough out of it that I might as well be? SPENCER: Can you believe that the District of Columbia revoked my driver's license just because I decided not to pay a ticket that I got in New Jersey a couple months ago? MEGAN: Quite honestly, kind of. I know other people who have gotten their licenses revoked for that kind of thing. I always winced a little when you mentioned that, but everyone knows I'm a goodie two-shoes except when it comes to D.C. parking tickets. And then I'm a soulless, conscienceless scofflaw. SPENCER: You, I know, have a system in place for [redacted] when you accumulate tickets. Ingenious MEGAN: Shhhh. Anyway, so, doesn't it feel to you like this VP picking process has gone on forever? Like they're just playing chicken with one another? SPENCER: According to Adam "Ad Nags" Nagourney, it all ends as early as tomorrow:
Mr. Obama had not notified his choice - or any of those not selected - of his decision as of late Monday, advisers said. Going into the final days, Mr. Obama was said to be focused mainly on three candidates: Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.
I say no to Bayh, maybe to Biden, and yes to Kaine. Tell me what you think MEGAN: Well, I'm on record as feeling like Bayh is just a Washington climber who never, ever wants to have to go back to Indiana, and I'm betting he ends up with a cabinet job, but then I saw this rumor that an Obama staffer said it was him to CNN plus screencap of the now-pulled story and I got a little worried. I have no idea why he'd pick Biden, honestly, I want to believe he's just a red herring. I couldn't believe Kaine would saddle the state with a Republican governor by leaving (who would then get to run for a term of his own, bypassing Virginia's term limit law), but then I remembered he's a politician. SPENCER: I heard about that. If he picks Bayh, the left will go fucking firecrackers. My friend Max even set up a facebook group against Bayh, and these guys already feel seriously dissed by Obama after FISA. MEGAN: I miss Sebelius speculation. SPENCER: Let's talk Kaine in a second. Why would he pick Biden? Biden, writes Jon Cohn in TNR — an honest man at a dishonest magazine — has that foreign policy expertise and that pugilism:
If Biden is the choice, I think it would speak well of Obama's judgment. Biden has a deep and impressive resume: Not only is he the guy who orchestrated the defeat of Robert Bork back in the 1980s, but he can also claim among his legislative accomplishments the Violence Against Women's Act, which is no small feat. He's smart, articulate, and is a bona fide expert on foreign policy: In other words, he's certainly capable of assuming the presidency in an emergency, which is really the most important criteria of all.
Joe Biden also has a good critique of TNR, for that matter. Four years ago I went to interview him for a piece about Kerry's counterterrorism strategy for TNR and he was trying to figure out whether I wanted him to say that Kerry would take a more targeted, al-Qaeda-centric approach or would just kill all the Arabs "Your magazine," he said (this is from memory), "has to figure out whether it's liberal or neoconservative, already." MEGAN: Ha, this douchebag and his syncophants (one of whom emailed me last night to castigate me, by the way) are suing to get the VAWA thrown out as unconstitutional. Also, I love that he said that to you. SPENCER: Oh shit i have to read that post! PS, don't fucking Twitter while we're doing Crappy Hour. You forget I'm on your feed! MEGAN: I was waiting for you to type! I don't dislike Joe Biden, I honestly could see him as Secretary of State, but I really don't think this election is going to be won on foreign policy issues with the economy in the crapper. SPENCER: Biden: I like the pugilism a lot. Don't expect it to be won on foreign policy. Picking Biden would be to tamp down McCain's only (if you believe the polls) advantage, leaving him with nothing while Obama kicks his ass on the economy MEGAN: And he's a great speaker. But Delaware? And your friend Jon's right about that bankruptcy bill, that was a huge giveaway to the credit card companies... and sponsored by Arlington Congressman/wife-beater Jim Moran. He'd like me to come to his women's issues forum with Donna Brazile. Maybe if I bring a small, African American child he can smack him for the crowd. SPENCER: That's a dream, man! I'm really equivocal on Biden. He voted for the war, though he calls it a mistake. In reality, he didn't want to vote for the war, he was terrified of getting smeared as unpatriotic like he did after he voted against the first Gulf War and this was a year after 9/11. MEGAN: I see your point, but I think Kaine's a trade-up. Plus, bonus Catholic points, since Obama isn't going to win a ton of evangelical votes. SPENCER: Now: Tim Kaine. I know nothing about him and like him! MEGAN: That's pretty much Tim Kaine's advantage right there. SPENCER: He's white and dimply and Virginian and I guess kind of liberal and didn't vote for the Iraq war, so that works for me. You, my friend, are the Virginia resident among us, so make the case. How liberal is he? MEGAN: The eyebrows are killer, though. With all the smack Sebelius took for her response to the State of the Union, I can't believe no one brought up his. SPENCER: A bunch of activists on a listserv I'm on seem to think he's unacceptably less-than-deep-blue. MEGAN: He's a serious Catholic, I'm guessing that freaks some liberals out. But he's a serious Catholic seriously personally opposed to capital punishment who nonetheless denies clemency requests to prove that the Pope ain't the boss of him, or something, so I don't love that about him. That part makes me miss Mario Cuomo. SPENCER: How is he as a governor? MEGAN: I mean, I think he's been a pretty decent politician, the legislature here is pretty right-wing and he's successfully pushed stuff through and kept crap from going through. He's been pretty good on transportation issues, which are huge up here in NoVa, but were he not on the short list, I would guess that he'd be remembered as a serviceable but not spectacular governor unless he does something crazy at the end of his term. SPENCER: Yeah, northern VA is all wine-swilling assholes like you. Jesus CHRIST if I make my Windy deadline this morning it'll be a miracle... MEGAN: Actually, if Obama takes Virginia and Colorado, he can lose Florida or Ohio. And, I'm sorry, McCain's best feint on getting a Virginian on the ticket was Eric Cantor, so... SPENCER: HAHAHAHAHA if McCain has to get a Virginian it will speak desperation. Not like the bravery of choosing Joe Lieberman!
[McCain's] top contenders are said to include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Less traditional choices mentioned include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion-rights supporter, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000 who now is an independent.
MEGAN: I'm actually amazed that there's not a single Southerner on McCain's short list. SPENCER: Joe, Joe, Joe! Make the GOP ticket the most jowly of all time! If McCain goes with Lieberman, I reverse my choice and hope Obama picks Biden, just because Biden will tear the living shit out of Lieberman in any debate. MEGAN: Oh, fuck yeah, that would be popcorn and beer time watching that! At what point in the race do you think Lieberman would start undermining McCain the way he did Al Gore? SPENCER: Not even SLIGHTLY and here's why. Lieberman is animated by the classic neoconservative grievance of rejection by his first love, the Democratic Party. Jacob Heilbrunn's book goes into this pathology in detail. And honestly, I have to admit I understand it, given my inability to let go of this whole TNR shit. That's why Lieberman has been such an eager attack dog for the right ever since he lost his primary in 2006 — he wants, and wants badly, to redress what the left did to him. He's not actually rightwing. He's anti-anti-left, and ferociously so. MEGAN: Well, you know, if you want to be a hawk, don't expect a bunch of doves to come flocking to you. SPENCER: He's obsessed with his own transcendent righteousness. Whatever, if Obama is going to tell me who the pick is by texting me, then McCain will announce his pick by telegraph-machine. A cavalcade of whimsy!