The next Vice President of the United States of America: Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
Why will Obama pick Ted?
- He offers age and experience, having served six terms in Congress.
- He has brought Ohio to the forefront of energy policy, requiring that a quarter of Ohio’s electricity be produced from advanced energy sources (including renewable sources and clean coal) by 2015 and forcing energy companies to plan ahead for impending federal legislation limiting the amount of carbon dioxide they can release into the atmosphere. Energy policy is one of the strongest concerns of independent voters, a group that Obama and McCain are both heavily courting.
- He is extremely well-versed on education policy and has proven his commitment to lowering the cost of education by freezing tuition at Ohio’s public universities for two years. His administration oversaw the building of 250 new elementary schools in his first year in office, all of which passed federal energy efficiency certification procedures. And his wife is a very highly-regarded educational psychologist, a good influence to have roaming the Capital strumming up votes for education reform.
- Labor loves him. It would be hard to get elected in Ohio without a strong connection to the labor unions which represent its manufacturing employees, and Ted has proven a strong ally. He recently issued a directive allowing home child-care providers to bargain collectively with the state over per-child subsidies and other matters, earning the praise of labor leaders for doing everything he can to strengthen their coalition.
- The home-state advantage. If Republicans don’t win Ohio, they won’t win the election, according to recent history. With Obama already poised to win a number of states that voted for Bush in the last election (like Virginia), taking a few more out of the red column would lock up the election for the Democrats. Having a popular Governor in the number two spot on the ticket would likely help Obama pick up votes come November. (There’s also the possibility of picking up some votes in Pennsylvania media markets close to the border, where they’re likely to hear Strickland’s praises on a regular basis.)
The only problem? Strickland campaigned for Hillary Clinton. If Obama can manage to win him over (and who isn’t won over by the possibility of being VP) and get the media to accept Strickland’s change of heart, he makes the perfect addition to the Democratic ticket.