David Brooks proposes Tom Daschle and Sam Nunn as potential Obama VP selections. Brooks proposes them because:
Obama will need a vice president who knows the millions of ways that power is exercised and subverted in Washington. He’ll need someone who can be a senior, authoritative presence in a cabinet that may range from Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to the labor leader Andy Stern. He’ll need someone who can supervise his young reformers and build transpartisan coalitions more effectively than Obama has as senator.
I’m not sure how well either of them fit the bill. Daschle will certainly have a place in an Obama administration. He’s been close to Obama since the beginning and was one of the key establishment figures who helped Obama get out of the gate. He’s already been talked about as a potential Obama Chief of Staff.
The problem with Daschle, however, is that the one thing he is most remembered for these days, his failure of leadership in the run-up to the Iraq war, is exactly the opposite of the message Obama wants to send. Plus, given his past role as Democratic leader in the Senate, he is likely to be remembered as a fierce partisan, the opposite of the image Obama wants to project.
Nunn is a more interesting case. He would certainly help Obama with his bipartisan credentials, both given how well Nunn worked across the aisle while in Congress and the fact that Nunn’s most important policy achievement, the Nunn-Lugar initiative, has since become the Lugar-Obama initiative. However, Nunn, at age 70, is probably too old for the post. Picking him wouldn’t help Obama project the young and fresh image that he wants to, wouldn’t allow his Vice President to be a leader in the party for a long time after Obama leaves office and would completely take John McCain’s age off of the table.
Its not that I wouldn’t be thrilled to see both Nunn and Daschle in an Obama administration. If Obama does his job well he will bring both of these towering figures into his administration to provide their expertise and experience. But putting them on the ticket seems a little counterproductive.