Barack Obama has always said that he will not wait until the Democratic National Convention to name his Vice Presidential nominee. His camp has consistently intoned that a VP candidate will be clearly presented to the American people before the convention occurs to serve as a signal of the kind of presidency and administration he will have.
With the Democratic National Convention only two weeks away, the time to make the announcement of a VP candidate is burning rapidly down the candle’s wick. Coincidentally—and thankfully—the media’s attention has slowly turned away from pointless, filler issues like John McCain’s nonsense “celebrity” ads and John Edwards’ two-year-old affair to focus on the convention in Denver, and on who the VP candidate might be.
Earlier this morning, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s appointed “overseer” of all things convention, held a press conference to announce the schedule of events for Wednesday of convention week. Sebelius said, “Wednesday night is thematically about securing America’s future, it is about honoring our veterans and the families of our veterans… and how to make us safer and move past the divisiveness and into the future.”
Then, the more intriguing and buzz-creating shoe fell. Sebelius also announced that the Vice Presidential nominee will give his/her speech to the convention on Wednesday night. These two items, stated back to back, has generated a lot of speculation that Obama’s VP choice will be someone with a lot of national security experience, someone who can speak with authority on issues of foreign and veteran affairs.
When pushed further by reporters, Sebelius back peddled a bit by adding, “I think anyone Sen. Obama picks as Vice President will be more than prepared to address those issues.”
I think Sebelius may have accidentally let the cat out of the bag. Is it possible that the eventual VP pick has nothing directly to do with national security and veterans affairs? It is possible. And if Obama selects either Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, or Sebelius herself, then certainly this has all been futile guesswork.
However, the fact that Obama’s campaign seems tightly run signals that the convention will also be meticulously planned, particularly with a keen eye for timing and symbolism. Obama’s campaign has demonstrated these two qualities time and again. Their sense of timing is impeccable. They trotted out Bill Richardson and John Edwards’ endorsements at just the right time to stunt any Clinton momentum during the primaries.
Not to be outdone by their grasp of timing, the Obama campaign’s flair for symbolic manifestations is also to be applauded. Night after night during the primary fight, Obama gave speeches that sounded presidential, and not just a standard thank you speech. Let’s not forget his recent trip to Europe and the Middle East where he made himself look extremely presidential on the global stage.
And this past weekend, Hillary Clinton was given a prime time speaking spot on Tuesday night of the convention. Symbolically, this was significant not only because it gestures a peace treaty between the two, but also because Tuesday is the 88th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment which finally recognized women’s right to vote.
To give the historically significant Tuesday-night spot to Clinton speaks volumes. With this precedence, giving the Wednesday night speaking slot on national security and foreign affairs to the VP is equally significant. And foretelling.
This move would seem to indicate that Kaine and Sebelius are no longer in contention. This move, if being read correctly, would also portend a sudden (or planned “sudden”) and surprise shift towards a new VP direction.
If the symbolic significance of Wednesday night is indeed true, then this brings a whole new crop of potential VP candidates to the table. In this case, Joe Biden could move to the front of the line again. Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn could experience a resurgence. Also, names like Wesley Clark and John Kerry are placed back on the table.
Should Obama choose to go with an established, national name with some military/security background, I would be pleased. For all the talk of hope and change (which is definitely good), Obama seems to realize that there are, unfortunately, real, actual troubles staring us in the face. Like it or not, the nation is at war, and someone with a military background would not only be a good, calculated political move, but would in fact be a solid, practical move.
Time will tell. And time, is running short.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association