When will welcome news leak from Obama's VP search?
by desmoinesdem, Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 02:45:31 PM EDT
I've written before that it would be a huge mistake for Barack Obama to select a Republican for a running mate. With at least two and perhaps four Supreme Court vacancies likely before 2012, I don't want any Republican in line to inherit the presidency.
I've also said I think it would backfire for Obama to choose a woman other than Hillary Clinton for a running mate. If he wants his VP choice to help boost his support among women, he should pick the woman who received more than 17 million votes for president in the primaries.
In addition, like many Democrats who backed John Edwards in the primaries, I worry that as president Obama would do too little to rein in the excesses of corporate power in Washington.
But until I read this piece in Politico, it never occurred to me that Obama might consider going for the trifecta: a female Republican corporate hack for a running mate.
According to Amie Parnes and Ben Smith, Obama's vetting team has been floating the name of Ann Veneman, who was Agriculture Secretary during George W. Bush's first term, with members of Congress.
I can't understand what Veneman could possibly have going for her. She's executive director of UNICEF, but who cares? When she was in the cabinet, she didn't promote sustainable agriculture or sensible health protections.
The Organic Consumers Association reported when Bush appointed her that Veneman had a long history of standing with corporate interests. She had served "on the Board of Directors of Monsanto's Calgene Corporation and [was] instrumental in promoting their Biotech agenda."
As agriculture secretary she did absolutely nothing to make confined animal-feeding operations pay for the harm they cause. On the contrary, when she left Bush's cabinet, her "vision and commitment" won praise from the American Meat Institute. Politico notes:
The low-profile Republican was close to food and agriculture industries but clashed with farm-state Democrats and environmentalists during her tenure, which lasted from 2001 to 2004.
The Nation explains in more detail why Veneman would be "a uniquely awful choice" for Obama.
Presumably Obama is too smart to pick Veneman as a running mate. I assume she is being mentioned to underscore his commitment to bipartisanship, throw journalists off the scent, or trick progressives into feeling relieved if he chooses a corporate Democrat who's not "that bad." Perhaps all of the above.
But it bothers me that Obama would allow his team to float a name like Veneman, even as a diversion, especially since we never seem to hear about any progressive champions on Obama's short list for VP.
Nor do I see much sign that his vetting team is seriously considering Democrats who would quickly unite the party, such as Wes Clark or Hillary Clinton.
Please use this thread to share your thoughts on Obama's VP search.If I were Obama, I'd probably offer it to Clark.