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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > An analysis of who Obama won’t pick for his vice president

An analysis of who Obama won’t pick for his vice president

LatinaLista — The question of who will eventually be Barack Obama’s running mate is much more of a nail-biter than John McCain’s choice.

Why?
Because of an issue that has reared its ugly head and has shown us that even though we live in the 21st Century, we are still not without prejudice when it comes to choosing a Dream Ticket.
On the CNN political news site, there is a page devoted to possible Democratic vice presidential candidates. The list was culled, according to the site’s editors, from names mentioned in various published articles.
The group is comprised of governors, senators, mayors, former military officers and cabinet post holders. In total, the site considers 29 possibilities. Of those 29, there is one Hispanic (New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson) and 5 women.
It’s curious to note that there is not one African American or Asian considered a serious nominee. The reasoning must be that an African American at the top of the ticket is enough representation of diversity for Americans not accustomed to voting for people of color.
It’s a scenario that is played out in companies across the country. Some of us refer to the few people of color that businesses hire as the “tokens of diversity.” A company can be top-heavy Caucasian but people of color tend not to be overrepresented in most organizations.
The official reasoning provided is always the same — there’s not enough qualified applicants of color.
At one time that was probably true but with more and more young people of color achieving higher education and specialized training, it’s increasingly not making sense to repeat this statement.
All of which provides a window into the thinking process of who will be Obama’s running mate.


First, though he is half Caucasian, Bill Richardson is looking decidedly more Latino these days with his full beard. While he had a hard time convincing Latinos to connect to him, since his withdrawal from the presidential race, he’s done a really good job of showing his orgullo (pride) in being Latino and stumping for Obama in Spanish.
So good in fact that I would venture to guess that more people now know he’s Latino than when he was running for office. Because of this new realization by some parts of the public, Richardson probably won’t be chosen as the VP — too much diversity to suit the tastes of status quo voters.
Will Hillary? Though Hillary ran neck to neck and garnered the “popular vote,” it’s unlikely she or any other woman would be seriously named a running mate. While the prospect of a woman president launched the imaginations of most women and progressive thinkers, the idea of a woman vice president isn’t as exciting or, dare we say, sexy, to the average voter.
While some see Obama and Hillary as the Dream Ticket, Hillary’s critics, who were vile in their ferocity against her, could possibly hurt the Democratic chances to the White House.
Which only leaves a white male as the likely candidate to round out the Democratic ticket.
If Obama chose a white male, then the Democratic ticket wouldn’t be seen as so “radical” by those voters who aren’t accustomed to how this country is changing in its racial makeup. Not to mention when compared to the Republican ticket (of which McCain is most probably going to choose a white male running mate himself), the Democratic ticket will be seen as invoking just enough change to deliver on its promise to change Washington but not too much that it threatens to recreate it.
For people, for whom change is difficult enough, a ticket that carries two new types of White House contenders would be hard to stomach at the polls.
No, if the Democratic Party really wants to take back the White House, then Obama will conform to the expectations that dictate a win — this time around.
(Update 6/17/08: In another sign that Clinton may not be Obama’s choice for VP, it was announced yesterday that Clinton’s old campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle has joined the Obama campaign. According to the Washington Post blog, Solis Doyle assumes the role of Chief of Staff for — drum roll — the vice president. As the WPO bloggers duly note, Solis Doyle didn’t leave on good terms with the former First Lady. That Obama would install her as Chief of Staff may be a hint of who not to expect.)_

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Comment(10)

  • Avatar
    laura
    June 16, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I would love to see a person who consistently stands up for working people, the powerless, the middle class, the poor (the last two gradually coming to be synonymous after 14 years of a Republican-dominated Congress), as the vice-presidential candidate. I would love to see someone who stands up for peace and for the living conditions of our children and grandchildren (aka the environment) as the vice-presidential candidate. Someone who isn’t looking to the next fundraiser to determine their next vote. Someone who is not guided by political expediency in life-and-death matters such as war.
    I don’t care what their gender or ethnicity is.
    Unfortunately, there are very few politicians like that.
    Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota was like that. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin is like that. Not many others come to mind. Edward Kennedy, but he is fighting for his life against a brain tumor.
    One person who most certainly let political convenience, not principles, guide her on life and death matters, is Hillary Clinton. We saw this in her vote for the Iraq invasion in 2002, and it never stopped since then. I am not holding my breath waiting for her to join Senator Menendez in his valiant challenge to human and civil rights abuses perpetrated by ICE. She is long on ads and short on action.

  • Avatar
    adriana
    June 16, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    “While some see Obama and Hillary as the Dream Ticket, Hillary’s critics, who were vile in their ferocity against her, could possibly hurt the Democratic chances to the White House.”
    I see Hillary Clinton as hurting herself more than her critics hurting her chances. We saw it time and time again when she suggested that only she could win white working class voters, that she should stay in the race even though it was mathematically impossible for her because a front runner was killed 40 years ago, and that she could bring about real change utilizing the same tired tactics and entrenched Washington spin doctors (Mark Penn for example). And then she blew it at the end w/ the non-concession speech.
    Why do people keep insisting that the critics of Hillary cost her the loss instead of looking inward to Hillary’s own actions?
    Marisa, while you are a great advocate for the undocumented, women, and people of color, I think that you need to dig a little deeper and ask yourself… how could Hillary Clinton be taken seriously as a progressive when she surrounded herself with the likes of Mark Penn who was lobbying for a Colombian Free Trade agreement very similar to the NAFTA which has helped destroy the Mexican economy? You could ask the same question regarding the vote to authorize the Iraq War and the subsequent funding authorizations of the war.. and on and on.

  • Avatar
    El Loco
    June 17, 2008 at 8:18 am

    I think you’re seriously wrong about writing women off as potential VPs, not to mention illogical: Hillary ran a tough campaign and had a great shot at winning the thing – I happen to believe that if she had seriously contested the caucuses, she would have won the nomination – which shows people don’t have a problem with voting for a woman for President, but somehow they would hesitate to vote for a ticket with a woman on the number 2 slot? That doesn’t make any sense.
    Besides, you’re oversimplifying things by looking at it strictly along racial/ethnic/gender lines.
    For people, for whom change is difficult enough, a ticket that carries two new types of White House contenders would be hard to stomach at the polls.
    Your assumption is that these “people for whom change is difficult enough” would be willing to vote for Obama. I think you’re wrong. I don’t think they would anyhow. If the first and last thing someone sees about Obama is that he’s Black – or interracial, depending on how you look at it – Obama doesn’t have a chance to win that person over.

  • Avatar
    habladora
    June 17, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    I really like Bill Richardson and think that he has the experience that the Obama camp will be looking for. Unfortunately, I know less than I should about his policies. Aside from the appeal factor, do you think he’d be a good pick?

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 17, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    No, Richardson is an ethno-centric. He made the remark “my” people (Hispanics) when he should have said “Americans” period. Politicians are supposed to represent all Americans and be inclusive of everyone regardless of their own ethnicity.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    June 17, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    I have to weigh in here just so that
    non Latinos who visit this site dont get the impression that we are all
    pro-Obama. Is likely that Obama wont pick Clinton -he should , with her on the ticket- even Texas is
    in play for the Democrats. Why
    would that be ? Mexican Americans lots of them.
    But he wont put her on the ticket.
    The appointment of Solis -Doyle
    the incompetent former Clinton
    chief of staff as the Obama VP
    chief of staff pretty much nails
    that. This is already enraging
    many Clinton supporters even those who were toying with
    voting for Obama. If he loses-
    I predict it will be because of this
    stupid appointment.
    Me? I wasnt going to vote for him anyway.

  • Avatar
    laura
    June 18, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Irma, I doubt anyone thinks all Latinos are pro-Obama. 40% of Latina/os voted for Bush. Without them, Bush could not have received enough votes to even steal the election.
    So now we have the Bush/Chertoff ICE raids, the Iraq disaster, $4 per gallon gasoline, the foreclosure crisis, no action on global warming, torture as official US policy. a trillion dollar national debt … just for starters. All who like the policies that brought us to this point certainly must vote for McCain. Certainly they cannot vote for Obama.

  • Avatar
    Cheyenne Asanti
    June 22, 2008 at 11:41 am

    I was a staunch supporter for Hillary, supplied time and money. But after I began to witness her use the divide and conquer mentality; it left me with a sour taste for her. She divided the “whites” from the “Blacks”. She divided the “women” from the “men”.
    She divide the “Latina/os” from everybody. I loved President Clinton even with the (Monica) nonsense. But personally I don’t think “White” America can or will ever embrace any non-white, non-Anglo-Saxon, non-Protestant male for President of the USA. And the unspoken truth about many Hispanics is that they feel “darker” skin is inferior. They will pick a “White” imbecile over a qualified person of color, the majority of the time.
    No one wants to acknowledge these facts but we all know this is true. Good luck Senator Obama in your quest to get us out of this mess but this is still “AMERICA” and we all know America has not changed….

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 22, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I disagree that no white American will accept a non-white, etc. person for president. I find this to be a negative stereotyping of whites that simply isn’t true anymore. One may as well just say that whites are just as racist against minorities that they were 50 years ago.
    I don’t care for Obama because I think he lacks the experience to become president. The main reason I don’t like him is because I think that HE is the racist one from everything we know about him and his wife now. I don’t agree with his healthcare plan and how he stands on most of the issues either. It has nothing to do with his skin color because I can’t stand McCain either!
    He is leading in the polls so how can anyone say that whites won’t be voting for him? Surely you aren’t saying that he is leading in the polls because of the minority vote when whites are the overwhelming majority in this country and they are more than likely to vote than minorities?

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 23, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    “And the unspoken truth about many Hispanics is that they feel “darker” skin is inferior”
    Many Hispanics dont even like other Hispanics who look like them.
    They have issues and feel inferior. They have been taught that brown is inferior or less and white is right

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