Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brooks Weighs in on the Veepstakes

The New York Times often dubs David Brooks the conservative liberals listen to, and if there was ever a Brooks column Democrats should read today's was it. Rather than focus on what their VP choice will bring them in the election, Brooks says both candidates should focus on a VP that will help them govern and, in so doing, help them get reelected. Here is the key grafs with regards to Obama:
If Barack Obama is elected, his chief challenge will be that he hopes to
usher in a new style of politics, but he has no real strategy for how to do

He will find himself surrounded by highly partisan Democratic politicians,
committee chairmen and interest groups thrilled to finally seize power. Some of
them might have enjoyed his lofty rhetoric about change, but in practice, these
organization types have no interest in changing politics. They just want to take
the money and patronage that has been going to Republican special interests and
give it to Democratic special interests.

These entrenched Democrats are more experienced than Obama. They know how
to play the game better. The effect of their efforts will be to turn his into a
Potemkin administration filled with great speeches but without great
accomplishments or influence over legislation.

Obama will need a vice president who knows the millions of ways that power
is exercised and subverted in Washington. He’ll need someone who can be a
senior, authoritative presence in a cabinet that may range from Republican
Senator Chuck Hagel to the labor leader Andy Stern. He’ll need someone who can
supervise his young reformers and build transpartisan coalitions more
effectively than Obama has as senator.

Sam Nunn and Tom Daschle seem to fit the bill. Nunn is one of those senior
Democrats (like David Boren and Bob Kerrey) who left the Senate lamenting the
dumbed-down nature of modern politics. Daschle was more partisan as majority
leader, but he is still widely trusted and universally liked. As experienced
legislators, both could take Obama’s lofty hopes and translate them into
nitty-gritty action.

Brooks is spot on here. I think Daschle is too partisan and too similar to Obama ideologically, but maybe that's attractive to the Illinois senator.

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