So, being a pretend internet pundit, I have to get my pick in, so when Obama names my selection, I'll look all brilliant and prescient and insightful.
and so, let me punditize. Allow me to present to you the 2008 vice-presidential nominee for the Democratic party.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Brian Schweitzer.
And who dat, you may be asking yourself? Well, let me
Brian Schweitzer is the Democratic governor of Montana, a state not exactly known for left-wing politics. Schweitzer served in the Clinton administration and, in 2004, ran for the Senate against incumbent Conrad Burns, and nearly beat him. (51-47.)
He ran for governor after Judy Martz (rhymes with ... um ... um ... Martz) stepped down. As kind of a shocker, he announced that he would be running with a Republican, John Bohlinger, as his lieutenant governor. (apparently, you run on a ticket in Montana.) See how nicely that fits Obama's message of a new kind of politics?
Montana's in the Rocky Mountain West, which is sizing up to be an important region in this election. Schweitzer is a Democrat that appeals to conservatives and independents. He's a non-traditional Democrat like Jon Tester or Jim Webb. Montana is only two states away from Colorado, so he'll get a hero's welcome in Denver.
As proof that I am not just pulling this out of my hat, here's the words of an actual pundit - Sean Q. from fivethirtyeight.com.
The first time I heard Brian Schweitzer speak, I thought: "This guy is going to be President." That is not a common reaction on my part to politicians. I've listened to hundreds and hundreds of Democratic politicians speak, and I've only had that reaction twice in my lifetime. The first was Barack Obama, the second was Brian Schweitzer.So will it happen? I dunno. Probably not. But he's my pick. Brian Schweitzer. Write it down.
People have asked me what it was that made me feel so strongly in reaction, and the way I'd put it now is that Brian Schweitzer and Barack Obama are the two "new Democrat" styles that are extremely effective in the post-Clinton era. Both emphasize solutions over partisanship. Both are suspected by Republicans of talking a good game of bipartisanship and hewing to traditional Democratic Party ideology. Both are great communicators, but with different rhetorical strengths. Obama rose from an mainly urban and intellectual background; Schweitzer's breakthrough is probably the single best example of why the Democrats chose Denver as the convention site this year.