Now that the primaries are within a hair’s breadth of being over, and Obama is likely within 48 hours of claiming to have hit the new post-rules committee meeting magic number of 2118 delegates needed to win the democratic nomination, it is time for Obama to narrow his VEEP list and get working on the fall campaign.
Of all the folks being mentioned as possible running mates, i think that Pa. Governor Ed Rendell provides one of the strongest cases for helping Obama win the presidency ths fall.
I have four points in mind here.
1) Rendell has been a Hillary diehard, someone who is still voicing disbelief that her campaign has come to an end. As one of Hillary’s staunchest supporters, he is largely credited with having helped her win Pennsylvania as comfortably as she did. Having Rendell on the Obama ticket would soften the crushed feelings of Hillary supporters, and would help mobilize hard core supporters to join Obama.
2) Rendell is one tough cookie. Having served as Philadephia DA and then Mayor, having beaten back the ghosts of Frank Rizzo’s Philly machine, Rendell can throw elbows with the best of them. Having served as national chair of the dem party, he knows the political landscape better than most, and as a Clinton confidante, he knows where bodies are buried. Rendell also knows how to use humor to diffuse difficult moments which would help counter McCain’s big daddy gruffness that has endeared him to the press. These traits would also serve the veep candidate role of going after McCain, leaving Obama to take the higher road when possible.
3) Since the economy has overtaken the war as the electorate’s primary concern, it makes sense to have somebody with strong executive experience, rather than just seek out a former military person who is not a pawn of the MSM and Pentagon. On that score, other things being equal, Rendell is the superior politicisan over someone like Wesley Clark who is also being considered. As Mayor, Rendell established a fiscal oversight board, cut a $250 million deficit, balanced the budget and oversaw budget surpluses.
4). Rendell will put Pennsylvania into the blue column, and his knowledge of Pa., will will help Obama in Ohio, Indiana, and perhaps also in parts of Appalachia.