Really, we can't imagine a more anticipated, and more widely sent text message than the one that's set to go within the next 24 hours. We speak of course of the Obama VP announcement. In fact, it's so anticipated, it might be sent while we're writing this post. It's 8:44 Mountain Time right here. Meaning It's 7:44 on the West coast and mid morning in the East Coast. Seems like an ideal time.
We're not sure this was the best strategy. We've always been in favor of announcing a VP early so voters get as comfortable as possible. But then, how many phone numbers and emails has the Obama campaign collected over the past month? How many million?
(We just checked our email to see if the announcement was made.)
Those phone numbers and emails are not trivial. As much as the polls have been tightening up over the past few weeks, there's a consensus that Obama's ground game is vastly superior to McCain's. We're not sure if that'll show up in the polls ever, but many argue that was the difference between Kerry winning all the exit polls and Bush winning the actual election.
As for the VP selection itself, Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus and FiveThirtyEight.com (which has become the place for polling projections) summarizes the short list VP choices and the potential subsequent reactions well:
Biden: Back-slapping approval. Media seems eager to play up Biden's Scranton roots, etc., rather than his long tenure in Washington. This is a nontrivial element in his favor.
Clinton: Shock and awe. Mostly awe. Some people who felt used in the whole Biden/Bayh/Kaine wild goose chase might be a little bitchy. Buzz might last straight through the Republican convention.
Bayh: Disappointed. Choice will be seen as safe, unadaptive. The whole late roll-out and text message process might be portrayed as a gimmick. Low expectations for his speech, which might actually be his best chance to turn things around.
Kaine: "Obama going with his gut/heart/etc." Obvious questions about experience, whether Kaine is too eager to please. Media may not know he's a strong speaker, which could give him a chance to impress.
Sebelius: Bemused, wait-and-see. Hardest to predict, highest degree of difficulty. A lot of attention will be paid to her speech, the baton-pass from the Clintons at the convention.
To be honest deep down we're not sure (hold on, checking the email again... no? ok... ) it's going to be any of these guys and gals. Something tells us it's going to be none of the above. Pundits are often wrong about such things. However, we think it is probably that it will be someone that is already a relatively known quantity, since it's so close to the convention.
We're still hoping for a show stopper like Al Gore, Colin Powell, or even Chuck Hagel. And while we're not holding our breath, if we were, it apparently won't have to be for much longer.
P.S. Our most loyal reader, "sk" made the point that McCain would run circles around Obama in the debates. We have to say, if the Saddleback debacle (and we really can't deny it as such, it was a mess for so many reasons on all sides) is any indication, he's right. The debates are a ways away and Obama needs to learn that intelligent, nuanced, and, most of all, lengthy answers to esoteric questions are not what the American public want to hear. They want pithy half-truths or false comparisons (i.e. "evil" = "radical Islam" or "Which justices would you not appoint" = "all the liberal and moderate ones" or "anything" = "story about how he was a POW"). If Obama's going to win, he needs to be more certain, more indignant, and quicker.
Caribou - "Kid, You'll Move Mountains"
(Update: Texas Congressman Chet Edwards name popped up again. While he certainly wouldn't fit the "known quantity" description, we love Chet. Always have.)
(Update #2: OK nothing really to update, except that I went to the grocery store. I was hoping to be in a crowded public place when everyone got their text message. Although, I should have gone to Whole Foods instead of King Sooper and hung out in the Arugula section.)
(Update #3: Well, it's looking like it's not today. Tomorrow morning we suppose. Stay tuned...)