Another Interesting Name to Think About
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:12:34 AM EDT
The lede yesterday from First Read's account of meetings on Capitol Hill during the day to feel out potential Vice Presidential nominations for the Democratic ticket was the mention of retired General James Jones. Here's the entire list, after which I'll tell you the name other than that of Jones that jumped out at me:
Besides Jones, the other names on the list bandied about with congressional Dems include (and not in any order): Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Evan Bayh, Kathleen Sebelius, Ted Strickland, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Jim Webb, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, and Sam Nunn. You'll notice a few names NOT on this list (that's not my exclusion -- hint hint). Besides Jones, I'm told the two other names that invited extended discussion were Biden and Strickland.
This seems to be the one of the first times I can recall of Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed being mentioned as a potential running mate for Barack Obama (or at least as strong of attention as the others on the list have received). While there may be some concern about putting two Senators on the ticket together, and Rhode Island isn't exactly an electoral juggernaut in need of a homestater to keep it in the Democratic column (its four EVs are quite solidly blue at this juncture), there are some compelling reasons to at least think about the Ocean State's senior Senator.
Reed is a former Army Ranger who also served as a professor at West Point, his alma mater. A Harvard Law grad, Reed was elected to the State Senate in 1984, the U.S. House in 1990, and the U.S. Senate in 1996. During his time on Capitol Hill, Reed has been a strong voice on the important issues, most recently earning a 97.67 score from progressive punch, making him the sixth most progressive member of the Senate. Indeed, on the key votes Reed has shown great judgment, for instance standing with 21 others in the Democratic caucus and his fellow Rhode Islander Linc Chafee in opposing the Iraq War in 2002 (a vote that would seem to put him in line with the thinking of Obama at the time).
I don't necessarily think Reed is on the veep shortlist (not the broader list of names being floated but rather the five or ten names most getting the most serious attention), or that he needs to be among the handful from which Obama chooses. Nevertheless, Reed has an interesting profile, one that could bring some real positives to the ticket if selected. And now that others are apparently keeping an eye on Reed, perhaps it would be wise for us to watch him as well.