Friday, September 12, 2008

Choosing Veeps: A Simple Proposal for the RNC and DNC

Neither of our major party candidates have chosen an appropriate running mate. On the Democratic side, you saw a race where Democrats split their votes nearly evenly; but, as in Highlander, "there can be only one." It seems to me that in this circumstance, the consolation prize for the second place finisher should be the VP spot. Obama couldn't choose Clinton, though, because it would undermine his message of change.

On the Republican side, McCain chose a candidate that has helped energize his base, and may propel him to victory; but, Palin in clearly not qualified to be president. This judgment has become even more solidified in my mind after watching her ABC News interview with Charles Gifford. She could not identify the Bush Doctrine, a topic that could be found in any introductory US government textbook for the last five years.

The problem, as I see it, is giving the candidates the responsibility of choosing their VP in the first place. In the midst of an election, these candidates are thinking about winning, not governing. In choosing candidates that will help them win, rather than help them govern, they make poor choices.

My simple proposal, therefore, is to take the choice out of the hands of the candidates and give it to the voters. Let the candidate with the second-most delegates become the VP nominee. By taking the choice out of the hands of the candidates, the veep choice is not likely to effect the outcome of the election. Which is, I think, how it should be.

An additional benefit to my proposal is that it would make the primary season last longer. This year was unusual in that we had a candidate willing to stay until the end. Usually, the party's nominees have been decided before most states have even had a chance to vote on the party nominees. If we make the nomination contests a race for first and second place, the race will likely last much longer and more states will have an opportunity to have an impact.

Another nice attribute of my proposal is that it won't take an act of Congress. All that needs to change is for the RNC and DNC to change its party rules.


karenwalker said...

The selection of Ms. Palin shows a total lack of respect for the office of the presidency. The problem is that we are all to blame. Not only did McCain breathe life into his party, Palin’s selection has also succeeded in diverting attention from the issues that would help the Obama campaign gain some real traction. Experience aside, Palin is not educated enough. She has not traveled enough. Certainly, if she had experience that would somehow make up for her lack of education, her nomination would be more comprehensible. But to the Republican Party she is a rock star.

Dr. N said...

I think voters are conflicted. They want someone with experience AND they want a "Washington outsider." Kinda like wanting lower taxes and increased spending on social programs, education, etc.

karenwalker said...

Sadly, Dr. N, I think that your assessment of the American people is far too kind. I believe that they are either uninformed about the political process or they are just plain selfish. We know why elected officials behave the way that they do. What is deemed pork for “the other” is considered a necessity for our own district. I hope that you are right and that Americans do indeed want reform. I am afraid that too often, “reform” is simply code for “more for me.”

Theologian Mom said...

Not a bad proposal, overall. Especially since I'm not a big fan of either VP candidate. But I don't think a longer primary season is a good idea. Granted, I'm from Iowa... and with the caucus it's always exciting. But these elections seem to stretch out long enough, with far too much money spent on advertising and far too much time for everyone to fight.

Dr. N said...

theologian mom,

I agree with you in that I would like to see the primary season more condensed. Four months (March to June) seems about right to me.

But we have opposite views on campaign spending. I would like to see more, not less. To me, this is democracy at work. It may look ugly at times, but I enjoy the final product.

Most Americans, I think, would agree with you. Democracy has been compared to sausage, you enjoy the final product, but you don't like to watch it being made.