I don't know about you, but in thinking about all this presidential campaign madness, I like to cogitate not only on who the nominees will be, but also on who might be their best running mates, as in the ones who'll give each candidate the biggest bang for their political buck and take 'em on to the White House in November.
Sort of like eHarmony.com for politics.
My mind games go something like this: a polarizing woman should pick a neutralizing man as her running mate. A former mayor or Senator might choose a former governor. A northerner needs a southerner. A black or other minority candidate needs a white, more establishment type. An older candidate might go for younger motorcycle rider. And a former movie or rock star might pick an unpretentious former Sunday school teacher who likes to wear beige and stay in the background. Anything that covers a larger political, demographic waterfront, if you know what I mean.
On the other hand, most candidates probably wouldn't want to push their luck too far. Would a woman pick a minority as a running mate? Should two meat eaters run on the same ticket? Two divorcees? Two pudgy guys? Should a woman with big thighs push her luck with a running mate that has an expanding waistline? And so forth and so on. You get the drift. It's a yin/yang kind of thing.
Which brings me to the point of this post: in mulling all this, I think Bill Richardson's withdrawal yesterday from the race was brilliant and sets him up to be the Vice-Presidential running mate of choice on the Democratic side in the fall of 2008. (And since I still think The Clintons will be running, I predict Bill Richardson will be their running mate.)
First and foremost it takes him out of the fray. He knows the mud slinging between Hillary and Obama is about to get intense. Intenser. Intensest. He's a minority candidate, sort of. At least a half-and-half kind of minority which may be even better. And he has a wide range of experience. As Wikipedia puts it, Richardson :
".....has previously served as a U.S. Representative, Ambassador to the United Nations, and as the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He was chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention as well as Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association in 2005 and 2006, overseeing the Democrats' re-capturing of a majority of the country's governorships. Richardson has been recognized for negotiating the release of hostages, American servicemen, and political prisoners in North Korea, Iraq, and Cuba. He has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize."
Whew, I don't know about you, but that's a pretty impressive resume. And one that could conceivably be paired with any number of candidates.
But, my money is on a Clinton-Richardson pairing in 2008. It would be hard to beat because Richardson will pick up the much needed Hispanic vote in the South and Southwest, and all those who like Mexican food and guacamole. He's experienced with energy and immigration matters, both of which will be on the front burner in the upcoming Administration.
I'm really rather sure Bill Richardson will be the VP of choice for the Clintons, and even bet they're already talking to him regularly about it. They may have asked him to gracefully drop out now, keep his powder dry and quietly start his own fund raising gig.
Only time will tell. But on this I'm willing to bet, I'm right. I'd even bet a a big bowl of guacamole and chips on it.