With Bernie Sanders Vanquished, Hillary Clinton Turns to Veepstakes; People breaks down some of the most buzzed-about candidates. How about Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota's senior U.S. senator, for VP, People asks.
How about Klobuchar?
I have been watching Klobuchar's rise to political power for 20 years. I, like many others, think she wants to be POTUS. Clearly, attaining the vice-presidential slot in 2016 puts her first-in-line among Democrats to make her own presidential run, (whether or not Hillary Clinton wins).
Klobuchar has demurred at every turn about any office other than the one she's got. But, that's what one does when in her shoes. Besides, Klobuchar knows what People knows and shared with us: she makes a compelling case without saying a word.
People illustrates the strength of Klobuchar's case by way of pointing-out the liabilities of others on Clinton's supposed short list.
As far as the guys go, People wrote. HUD Secretary Julian Castro may be too young. Mark Cuban: are they kidding; was that to boost magazine sales? Picking Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown costs a Democratic Senate seat because Republican Governor John Kasich would pick Brown's replacement (whereas Minnesota's Democratic Governor Mark Dayton would likely pick another Democrat to replace Klobuchar). Labor Secretary Tom Perez has no foreign policy experience. Virginia Senator Timothy Keane "is a white male with 'senator' before his name; [he] does not bring much 'wow' factor."
People also writes about Elizabeth Warren who, when the chips were down in Hillary Clinton's campaign to beat Bernie Sanders, declined to support her sister Senator. It makes you wonder: with sisters like that...Of course, Warren had the right to bide her time, but that's not what friends are, much less what intimates are, as Clinton says she wants her vice-president to be. Knowing Warren's failure to support her in this tough fight, when all the other Democratic women senators did, why would Hillary Clinton pick Warren? In my judgement, she wouldn't. She, of all people, understands the importance and value of loyalty.
Anyway, what does the likely first woman POTUS need, besides what she's already got? She needs a partner she can never doubt is working only for her.
Warren is also further to the left than some voters whose votes Clinton would like to have. And, like the Sherrod Brown selection, selecting Warren might mean a Senate seat pick-up for the Republicans.
By contrast, I don't see a downside to a Klobuchar pick. She is "a longtime Clinton supporter," who has it all:
- The educational pedigree Americans often favor in their presidents. (Yup, that Ivy League education.)
- Midwestern and middle class roots.
- An unblemished career and personal story.
- A values and family-driven presence.
- A two-term Senate record replete with legislative successes for women and families, across a wide spectrum of issues, from children's toys to picking Supreme Court justices.
- An unbeaten political track record.
Nor is Klobuchar visibly combative, which voters find troublesome in women candidates. (I'm not speaking to the merits here, but to the practical facts.). Why, she's Minnesota Nice, as we used to say on my Northfield, Minnesota college campus.
Klobuchar is an American classic in just so many ways. A couple minutes reading her Twitter feed, and I promise you'll get that feeling, too.
But, you ask: what about getting those 270 Electoral College votes? Can Klobuchar help get them for Clinton? Yes, she can.
Conventional Wisdom says the Electoral College map tilts Democratic anyway. In that case, why not pick a friend?
Conventional Wisdom says that, in addition to Florida, the Rust Belt states with big Electoral College numbers, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, will provide the margin of victory.
So, take Michigan: Debbie Stabenow, its senior U.S. Senator, will fight like the dickens for Clinton and Klobuchar. She and Klobuchar are close friends and have supported Clinton since the git-go. Stabenow appreciates loyalty as much as Hillary Clinton does. And, Stabenow understands and appreciates Minnesota Nice. It's just a version of her state's Michigan Nice.
So, take Ohio and Pennsylvania and their dying mining towns, just for starters. Klobuchar's family hails from mining country. Who better to woo women voters, the majority of those states' Democratic voters, than a woman who can connect with them and their families?
Now, throw in Minnesota and Wisconsin, each with ten Electoral College votes. (Virginia, land of Tim Keane, has 13.) Now, you've got your 270. Now, you've got Hillary Clinton in the White House and Amy Klobuchar at Number One Observatory Circle.
But, just in case: Conventional Wisdom also says that the Clinton campaign is running a 50-state race. In that context, the 11 (minus Klobuchar, Stabenow and Warren) other Democratic U.S. women senators, who joined hands with Stabenow and Klobuchar to stand with Clinton, will fight hard and go everywhere for these two girlfriends.
I admire and appreciate Elizabeth Warren's constant advocacy for fairness and justice. And, I'm glad she endorsed Hillary Clinton. But, in these frighteningly uncertain times, I think voters would prefer a vice-presidential candidate who is the presidential candidate's friend of long-standing, a comforting presence, besides being committed to justice, smart and forceful. Amy Klobuchar fits that whole bill.