Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

A dark horse for Veep?

The conventional wisdom is that Obama will be going with Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, Evan Bayh, or potentially Kathleen Sebelius.

One name that has managed to drop off the radar screen is Jack Reed. Of course, Reed had a Sherman Statement in July following his trip with Obama to the Middle East and Europe. But Joe Biden also said, on MTP, that he was “not interested” in the Vice Presidency.

Jack Reed may be the perfect pick for Obama.

A former Army Ranger, he voted the right way on AUMF, and gave a strong response to Bush’s Iraq speech in 2007:

I opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. It was a flawed strategy that diverted attention and resources away from hunting down Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. And since then, too often, the President’s Iraq policies have worsened America’s security. Hundreds of billions have been spent. Our military is strained. Over 27,000 Americans have been wounded, and over 3,700 of our best and brightest have been killed…

Democrats believe it is time to change course. We think it’s wrong that the President tells us there’s not enough money for our veterans and children’s health care because he is spending $10 billion a month in Iraq. We have put forth a plan to responsibly and rapidly begin a reduction of our troops. Our proposal can not erase the mistakes of the last four and a half years, but we can chart a better way forward.

That is why our plan focuses on counter-terrorism and training the Iraqi army. It engages in diplomacy to bring warring factions to the table and addresses regional issues that inflame the situation. It begins a responsible and rapid redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. And it returns our focus to those who seek to do us harm: Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

He’s very familiar with, and has worked extensively on legislation dealing with, the housing issue, one of the top economic concerns in the country. The NYT covered his efforts:

It was Mr. Reed who accompanied Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the banking committee, to meet with Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the committee’s top Republican, when they brokered the final terms of the foreclosure rescue plan, which will widen access to federally insured mortgages without tapping taxpayer money…

“He is to be commended for his tenacity, for his never-give-up,” said Mr. Shelby, who, like Mr. Reed, prefers to flex his legislative muscle behind the scenes.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a fellow member of the banking committee, said Mr. Reed pressed for years to create the affordable-housing fund, and finally found the perfect moment. “Once again,” Mr. Schumer said, “Jack does it in his quiet, steadfast way, and it is extremely effective.”

And, on education, he wins praise from no less than Teddy Kennedy:

Senator Kennedy took notice of Reed in the early 1990s, when Reed served on the House Education Committee and attended conferences with Senate counterparts. “He was always the first person to show up at a conference,” Kennedy says, “always the best-prepared and the last one to leave. He was enormously diligent and incredibly knowledgeable about education policies.”

Diligent, willing to cross the aisle to get things accomplished, right on Iraq from the get go, widely respected by his peers.

He may have said that he’s not interested in the job, but, as a former Army man who served his country for 12 years in the service, don’t be surprised if he’s drafted to serve 8 more.

August 18, 2008 - Posted by | Veepstakes |


  1. I really think he has removed his name from consideration. I think he’d be a great governing partner, so it’s too bad.

    Having said that, I’m increasingly thinking we may need an attack dog to do the dirty work that Obama seems to hate doing, and Reed wouldn’t fit that role.

    Comment by dansac | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. Yeah we need an attack dog, because Obama does not want to do that heavy lifting. Sebelius, no. Kaine, yeah he could do it. Biden, DEFINITELY.

    Comment by icebergslim | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. I love the idea of Reed, who I think addresses a lot of Obama’s weaknesses without making it really obvious that he’s addressing weakness (the way, say, Wes Clark would). He’s hard-working, sober, reassuring and a little bland, which implicitly counters the “celebrity” line of attack.

    There is also an important point about Reed’s Senate seat that I haven’t seen addressed. Yes, Rhode Island has a Republican governor, however, Reed is running for re-election this year against token GOP opposition. So if Obama picks him, there would be plenty of time to sub in a new Democrat (Patrick Kennedy?) who would presumably coast to victory.

    However, if Obama picks someone else and then wants to put Reed in his cabinet — he’s frequently mentioned as a potential Secretary of Defense — it would cost the Dems a seat (though I admit I’m not up to speed on the exact rules in RI for replacing senators; it’s possible they would have a special election before ’10.)

    By all accounts, Reed wants to stay in the Senate, and he doesn’t seem to be on Obama’s shortlist anyway, but I’m still holding out hope.

    Comment by gdh1 | August 19, 2008 | Reply

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