More Veepstakes

Andrew Sullivan dismisses Sam Nunn as a “social reactionary,” and I feel compelled to throw some cold water on the left (and Sullivan is certainly, understandably on the cultural left), and point out that Obama is probably going to have to hue to his right with his VP pick, especially on social/cultural issues. Another cultural liberal risks alienating independent voters or disenchanted Republicans looking to Obama in a post-partisan way, and the only way to preserve that, short of picking a Republican running-mate, is to pick a more conservative Democrat in some respect. The obvious problem is that you want someone who will agree with you should they become President, but in that respect a Sam Nunn or Jim Webb would be somewhat constricted to Democratic orthodoxy both because of the limitations of the job (and the need to eventually face a Democratic electorate), and what looks to be a fairly wide Democratic majority in the near future.

In that respect I think the political advantages outweigh the potential policy risks (and really, are we expecting a possible President Webb to appoint the next Scalia to the Supreme Court) the left may fear. And there’s the caveat that, contrary to the blue-dog stereotype, both Webb and Nunn have been consistently against the Iraq War and (not to be repetitive) Nunn was one of a very few members of Congress to vote against the Gulf War.