Veepstakes: What about Bob?

There has been a slight buzz in the veepstakes of late, one that I, admittedly have helped foster. That buzz is about a Senator named Graham, but it's not Lindsay i'm talking about.

While it seems like any sitting Senator or "red state" governor is constantly mentioned by nature of their high profile, I think that we might be barking up the wrong tree.

I also go crazy every time I hear Bill Nelson from Florida mentioned, or... even worse... Sam Nunn. Let me explain why, because the better choice, the FAR better choice that meets the criteria and is balancing AND reinforcing is Former Governor of Florida, and former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, former Senator Bob Graham.

Graham is one of the rare candidates that both balances and reinforces.

I will explain why beneath the fold:

1) Regionally
He's from Florida, wildly popular ex-Governor, popular an ex-Senator. Very popular in his home state which puts Florida back in play and helps out greatly in the south.

2) Generationally
Let's face it, those of us who are a little older tend to be distrustful at these young whippersnappers, while I am all about the reinforcement, getting somebody who has a little silver in their hair is not such a bad idea. And by the way, he's still a few months younger then McCain, I looked it up!

3) Foreign Policy
Graham is a fierce advocate of world participation and the same kind of, "we can work together without being subservient" foreign policy that appeals to so many people with Obama.

4) Judgement
The man was a very vocal opponent of the Iraq war when that was not popular. His rationale was that it would take resources away from finding Bin Laden, something that is taken as conventional wisdom now, but he was often dismissed over then. In 2004, the only people who were running for president that were AGAINST the war, were Graham, Dean and Kucinich.

The VP is a heartbeat from the presidency, if the unthinkable were to happen do we really want Sam Nunn in there, or Chuck Hagel?!?
It's not just about winning elections, it's about pushing the Overton Window to progressivism too.

5) Reform
Did you know that Bob Graham is very into the idea of Electoral Reform?
Well, he is... I suppose it makes sense when you are the ex-Governor and ex-Senator of one of the states that showed us all how badly this is needed.

6) Outsider
He may have been a Washington type once, but The man has retired from politics, and has been away from Washington long enough to have an outsider's perspective.

7) Vetted
John Kerry kept his actual shortlist very, very secret. This was cheifly because he felt dissed with the way Gore ran it in 2000, with all of the public hooplah. Something that is often forgotten is that Senator Graham was actually on Kerry's shortlist up to the last minute and indeed THEY EVEN MADE SIGNS FOR KERRY/GRAHAM '04!
(oh, how I wish I still had that picture!)
The rumor is that Gephardt was not truly in contention and was just a stalking horse. It was decided that there would be a little too much silver on that ticket though, and JRE was picked instead. Kerry trusted Graham and got along with him personally, he also cleared Senator Graham from modern day vetting. Can we say the same about Bill Richardson?

8) Issues
He has the appropriate check marks in the appropriate boxes for the single issue groups:

    *  Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
    * Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. (Mar 2003)
    * Voted NO on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)
    * Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)
    * Voted NO on disallowing overseas military abortions. (May 1999)
    * Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record. (Dec 2003)
    * Expand embryonic stem cell research. (Jun 2004)

    *   "Opportunity For All" program is critical to economy. (Sep 2003)
    * Rescind parts of Bush tax cuts for the people. (Jun 2003)
    * Fiscal discipline avoids our grandchildren paying our bills. (May 2003)
    * Irresponsible to cut $1.2 trillion from budget now. (May 2003)
    * Voted NO on prioritizing national debt reduction below tax cuts. (Apr 2000)
    * Voted YES on 1998 GOP budget. (May 1997)
    * Voted YES on Balanced-budget constitutional amendment. (Mar 1997)
    * Balance debt reduction, tax relief, & policy investment. (Jan 2001)

    *  Voted NO on increasing penalties for drug offenses. (Nov 1999)
    * Voted YES on spending international development funds on drug control. (Jul 1996)

    *  Fund education fully, to reduce racial inequality. (May 2003)
    * Voted YES on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors. (May 2001)
    * Voted YES on funding student testing instead of private tutors. (May 2001)
    * Voted YES on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction. (Apr 2001)
    * Voted NO on Educational Savings Accounts. (Mar 2000)
    * Voted NO on education savings accounts. (Jun 1998)
    * Voted NO on school vouchers in DC. (Sep 1997)
    * Voted NO on $75M for abstinence education. (Jul 1996)
    * Voted NO on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer. (Jul 1994)
    * Voted YES on national education standards. (Feb 1994)
    * Firmly opposed to Bush's voucher proposal. (Jan 2001)
    * Three R's: $35B for Reinvestment,Reinvention,Responsibility. (Jan 2001)
    * More foreign languages courses and exchange students. (Feb 2001)
    * Rated 100% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes. (Dec 2003)

Foreign Policy:
    *  Respect of world requires world participation. (Sep 2003)
    * Voted YES on enlarging NATO to include Eastern Europe. (May 2002)
    * Voted YES on killing a bill for trade sanctions if China sells weapons. (Sep 2000)
    * Voted NO on cap foreign aid at only $12.7 billion. (Oct 1999)
    * Voted YES on limiting the President's power to impose economic sanctions. (Jul 1998)
    * Voted NO on limiting NATO expansion to only Poland, Hungary & Czech. (Apr 1998)
    * Voted YES on $17.9 billion to IMF. (Mar 1998)
    * Voted YES on Strengthening of the trade embargo against Cuba. (Mar 1996)
    * Voted YES on ending Vietnam embargo. (Jan 1994)

etc. etc.

9) Availability
I cringe every time I see a potential VP nominee that is a sitting Governor or a Senator in a red state, if possible, taking somebody where it doesn't hurt is should always be preferable, Graham fulfills this.

He doesn't even have to serve two terms, he can serve one term and then clear the way for the partys next standard bearer.
Remember the Vice Presidency hasn't always been what Cheney has made it.

Graham is personable, likeable and reinforces as well as balance.
It absolutely astounds me that Bill Nelson and Sam Nunn are constantly floated around by the media when Graham is superior to both and a much better match for Obama's brand of change.

Senator Graham is a patriot and an agent of change, and is just what the Doctor ordered for Obama.

Plus you have to love a guy that will do this:

Bob Graham's campaign trademark was to work a full, eight-hour day at various jobs which represented Florida's constituents. He began his Workdays in 1974, teaching a semester of civics at Miami Carol City Senior High School in Miami while serving in the Florida Senate. At that time, Bob Graham was on the Education Committee. After a speech, M. Sue Riley, an English teacher at Carol City, approached Bob Graham and said, "The only problem with members of the Education Committee is nobody has any experience in education." Bob Graham was taken aback at that assertion and asked, "Well, what can I do about that?" A few months later, Ms. Riley contacted Senator Graham with a proposal to teach the next semester of civics. Following that teaching experience, he performed 99 additional workdays just in time for his 1986 successful campaign for U.S. Senate. Since then, he has completed 386 workdays, more than a year's worth of days spent laboring side-by-side with his constituents. Graham has continued doing workdays throughout his tenure as governor and in the United States Senate. His jobs have included service as a police officer, busboy, railroad engineer, construction worker, fisherman, garbageman, factory worker, and teacher. On No. 365, he checked in customers, handled baggage and helped serve passengers on US Airways.

Doesn't sound like "politics as usual" does it.
talk about walking the walk!

Oh and in the "streetfight" test, here's an article with an excerpt from his book, in Sep. 2004 and keep in mind this is back when the media Heathers kept moaning over how Farenheit 911 wasn't based in fact:

Two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had a support network in the United States that included agents of the Saudi government, and the Bush administration and FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship, Sen. Bob Graham wrote in a book to be released Tuesday.

The discovery of the financial backing of the two hijackers ''would draw a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and trigger an attempted coverup by the Bush administration,'' the Florida Democrat wrote.

And in Graham's book, Intelligence Matters, obtained by The Herald Saturday, he makes clear that some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27 pages of the congressional inquiry's final report that were blocked from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of both parties on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Scot Lehigh of the Boston Globe agrees with me

Former senator (and governor) Bob Graham, 71, of Florida, meanwhile, merits consideration both on national security and Electoral College grounds. Although his 2004 presidential campaign flopped, Graham, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is smart, well-regarded by former colleagues, and popular in the Sunshine State. His vote against the Iraq war resolution puts him in sync with Obama's early opposition to the war. If selecting him would give the Democrats a strong shot at Florida, he deserves a close look.

I'm not saying that i'm 100% sold that Senator Graham is the person, but he's quickly going from my "out of the box/longshot" pick, to somebody I would absolutely put on the shortlist if I was running the process.

So that's why I am taking this out of the comments of the Veepstakes posts and bringing together this article, to clearly and cogently state the case for Bob Graham as Vice President in the Obama administration.

We need to make our choices felt so we don't end up with somebody like Nunn.

Tags: Bob Graham, Florida, Veepstakes (all tags)



Re: Veepstakes: What about Bob?

I like Bob Graham--is he popular enough in FL to overcome the strong McCain support there though?  And they're sure to make fun of his notebook habit.

OTOH, he will easily get a Nascar truck or Nationwide stock car with Obama/Graham on it--after all, they let him sponsor a truck in 2004 in his presidential run. tml

by LIsoundview 2008-06-16 03:00PM | 0 recs
I don't live there.

But last I heard he was still the most popular politician in the state by far.

The journal thing would be less of an issue now in the day of the blog, but don't worry the Republicans will find something to make fun of no matter who we pick.

That's rad about the NASCAR thing!

by neutron 2008-06-16 04:20PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't live there.

I do live there.  I think he could deliver Florida.  There is no politician more popular in the state.  

by Same As It Ever Was 2008-06-16 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Veepstakes: What about Bob?

Does he have a lot of name rec outside of FL?

by CrazyDrumGuy 2008-06-16 03:17PM | 0 recs

he doesn't have the profile of a Biden or what not, but he doesn't have those drawbacks either.

by neutron 2008-06-16 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: some...

what are some of Biden's drawbacks, besides the gaffes he tends to make, that you are worried about?  I actually prefer Biden for secretary of state, but I have always liked the guy and originally supported him before I got to know the O man.

by Xris 2008-06-16 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: some...

I think a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease is the main drawback for Biden.

by CrazyDrumGuy 2008-06-17 07:01AM | 0 recs
Biden is a little too cozy with the banks.

he is from Delaware you know.

He'd be a solid Secretary of State though.

by neutron 2008-06-17 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Veepstakes: What about Bob?

If he delivers Florida, does it even matter?

by Same As It Ever Was 2008-06-16 07:18PM | 0 recs
YES! Recced!

He could carry Florida. I can't believe we haven't heard his name more, it makes all kinds of freaking sense.

My understanding was that he turned down the job when it was offered by Kerry, but the too-much-old-on-the-ticket explanation makes a lot more sense.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.

by fwiffo3 2008-06-16 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Veepstakes: What about Bob?

I love Bob Graham, but can Obama credibly continue claiming to be the "change" candidate after putting a retired career politician on his ticket?

by XoFalconXo 2008-06-16 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Veepstakes: What about Bob?

Give that Graham was on the right side of the Iraq issue, I think it still works.

And if he can carry Florida, who cares if it's slightly off key on the "change" narrative?

by fwiffo3 2008-06-16 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Veepstakes: What about Bob?

Well I think his position on the issues are great, he appears to walk the walk and I appreciate anyone who was skeptical and voted down the Iraq invasion. He appears to pull  alot of water in FL and is committed to forward thinking investments (education).  I would like to get to know about him further, but as of now sounds like someone Obama should at least consider

by KLRinLA 2008-06-16 04:38PM | 0 recs
Graham's a top choice, IMHO!

The guy's, perhaps, the real sleeper pick for Obama's v.p.  Excellent all around for the campaign, balance-wise.

by bobswern 2008-06-16 05:03PM | 0 recs
I agree!

I'm actually surprised that he hasn't received much non-blogosphere attention thus far.

He balances and reinforces just like Clark.

by neutron 2008-06-17 11:46AM | 0 recs
Let me get this straight - -
Hillary's out of consideration because she's too old school, too old politics, and been around too long.  So, we pick someone who was in office decades before she was?
Other than testes, what do Graham, Biden, Dodd, Nunn, et al have that Hillary doesn't?  And, how are grey haired old white guys with decades in the Senate representative of a new breed?
by kosnomore 2008-06-16 07:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me get this straight - -

but look at his hair, its fan-freaking-tastic!

by Xris 2008-06-16 07:04PM | 0 recs
Altho' I have to admit - -
those guys all managed to finish fourth or worse when they ran / explored runs for president!
Proven national electoral magic!
by kosnomore 2008-06-16 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Altho' I have to admit - -

on a more serious note, who are pulling for in the VP spot?  I can honestly say I have no preference.  

by Xris 2008-06-16 07:08PM | 0 recs
I say Hillary if we want unity.

And, the booing of her name at the rally tonite just confirms it.  You don't boo 48% of your party.  That had to have turned alot of folks off.

by kosnomore 2008-06-16 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: I say Hillary if we want unity.

Why is he doing so well in the polls if we are not unified?  Why is he doing so well with woman in particular?

Obama told the crowd to stop and then praised her endlessly.  

Finally,  I believe most of this disunity is really in the internet community.  There is no way Obama would be doing as well as he is if Clinton supporters we are as pissed as people like to suggest.

But in regards to Clinton as VP, sounds good to me.  I really do not care who he picks, I have faith he will pick whoever he thinks can help him win.  If he decides Clinton is that person I will support the decision 100%.

by Xris 2008-06-16 07:27PM | 0 recs
$4 gas.
Losing two wars.
Economy in the toilet.
And, he's in the mid forties?
Me thinks he should be doing better.
Now, it WAS nice of him to lecture the crowd.  
But, it would not have been necessary if his campaign hadn't repeatedly called her racist and started BS rumors about her (remember "she darkened his pictures!")
by kosnomore 2008-06-16 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: $4 gas.

Well I was starting to think you lived in reality, but then I read your last line and realized there is no point in discussing any political issue with you.  Go ahead and believe whatever crap you want, makes no difference to me.  

by Xris 2008-06-17 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me get this straight - -

Well, for starters, Graham voted the right way on Iraq and he was outspoken about it at a time when most Democrats were running for cover. He's also got executive experience as a former Governor, he's got more experience in the senate, and he's an expert in intelligence matters.

Also, he can deliver Florida.

Not everything is about Hillary's gender.

by fwiffo3 2008-06-16 07:35PM | 0 recs
He's ancient history . . .
in a transient state like Florida.  It's amazing how much voter turnover we have.  
His power in the state is totally derivative of his family's control of the Post/Newsweek media empire (the Graham family, get the connection?  His nephews inherited control from Bob's sister in law and run the whole shebang).
See my comment below as to his record.
Look, I hate the war.  It's my top issue.  But, being against the war doesn't remove all warts.  Frankly, he was a bit to easy frying black kids in the electric chair while governor, to prove what a macho crime fighter he was.
by kosnomore 2008-06-16 07:43PM | 0 recs
No snark here, being serious - -
Graham's family OWNED Miami Lakes, literally owned NW Dade County, Florida.  Before it was developed, they ran it as an almost feudal fiefdom.  His sister in law was Katherine Graham of the Washington Post, owned the post Newsweek syndicate and TV stations in all the major markets in Florida.  Graham's career involved being state legislator from Miami Lakes (d'uh) then ran state wide for governor and then senator.  A coconut with that money, influence and media control would have won (as a first time state wide candidate, it's nice to make the cover of Newsweek and have 3 TV stations pushing you nightly, no?)
Basically, Graham's accomplishments as governor were: (1) run away development; (2) the ruination of the Everglades and the Keys (the family was in agri business and land development); and, (3) aggressive use of the death penalty so as to appear 'tough on crime' (disproportionately imposed on young black males, btw).  
After Graham's governorship, the state was basically turned over to the republican party (he did NO party building), top to bottom, and he just looked out for his own senatorial elections.  Most times, he didn't use his influence to help other D's, and in return he received few serious challenges from the R's..
There's better out there with less baggage.
by kosnomore 2008-06-16 07:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Veepstakes: What about Bob?

He's about 3+ months younger than McCain - hardly the contrast we want to draw.  How is one too old to be president, but the other ready to be a heartbeat away?

by alamedadem 2008-06-16 08:03PM | 0 recs


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