Obama is likely in the last stages of determining who his Vice Presidential candidate will be. While no voter makes their pick for President based on who the Vice Presidential candidate is, the coverage surrounding the choice is always taken into account in some way or another by the voter, just like every other variable in a campaign. As I’ve discussed off-blog many times before, there are several requirements of such a selection:
1) They can’t hurt you. The last thing you want is news stories the day after the selection widely criticizing the choice.
2) Be competent. See Dan Quayle and John Edwards.
3) Communicate the message effectively. This person will be your number one surrogate. They need to look good on TV and sound good doing it. They will be competitively compared to the other Party’s VP candidate constantly and must always be at the top of their game. In this short attention span world, every bit of coverage counts.
Notice which variable is missing that you widely see discussed? Yep. Geography.
There is no recent historical precedent that shows where the VP is from as having an effect on a race. Cheney? Gore? Quayle? Bush I? Nope. None of them helped.
In my opinion, there are five states that are absolute must wins for John McCain: Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, Virginia and Nevada. All five of these are extremely tight races and if McCain loses just one of them he is finished.
Of these five, who has viable VP candidates for Barack Obama? Nevada, Colorado and Ohio clearly have zero. There is some talk of Tim Kaine being chosen from VA, but since his name was raised recently we’ve seen much criticism of him and it would be a shock if he was chosen. So, who is left?
Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.
While Indiana has voted Republican pretty much since the dawn of time, all polling through June(sadly, the most recent we have) showed Obama with an ever so slight lead. Now we can assume that Indiana will start swinging towards McCain and regain its historical bearings, but there is no question that the very popular and blue-dog Evan Bayh would fit the VP requirements by 1) providing positive coverage as a good pick; 2) be competent on the stump and 3) communicate Obama’s message in a positive way.
Now while some swing-voting Hoosiers may not pick Obama simply because he has Bayh as a running mate, Bayh’s political machine in Indiana is second to none and will work at 110% to see the ticket elected. This may be just enough to get Obama over the hump and win not only Indiana, but the Presidency itself.