Herald Reader! Youre The Candidate. Now You Need A Running Mate.
Lets say that youre running for President of the United States against a popular incumbent with plenty of campaign money to use against you. Further, lets say that you have a long record as a Senate legislator with thousands of recorded votes that this incumbent can use against you "this year you voted for X and that year you voted against it." That makes you a "flip-flopper."
And then theres the matter of the "L" word. You represent a state called the most liberal in the nation and its voters elected you three times. Your opponents say that you are even more liberal than your Massachusetts colleague, Senator Ted Kennedy. Everybody knows that Americans dont like liberals.
But you have some things going for you. Youre smart. You graduated with top honors from your university. Unfortunately, it was an Ivy League school which makes you an "elitist." Your opponent graduated from the same school and comes from old wealth, but he is perceived as a "man of the people." You are by far the best speaker, with well-reasoned positions, but everyone says that youre "stiff and aloof." Your opponent gets away with all manner of mispronunciations and malapropisms. His listeners like the way he cocks his head and juts his index finger. Hes "plainspoken" they say. Youre a "snob," but hes a "good ole buckaroo."
Your Party is desperate to defeat the incumbent and they say that you can do it. To choose you, they turned down a real liberal, a retired military leader, several Senators and one Representative, a prominent political woman and an African American preacher/activist. Shortly after they ceded you the nomination, news came that the nemesis of the Democratic Party, Ralph Nader, plans to run again, this time as an Independent. Polls show that he takes away 3% of your votes and none of your opponents. Everybody but Mr. Nader knows that his Green Party candidacy in the last election took it away from Al Gore and handed it to George W. Bush.
Youve got a lot of problems, but there is hope. You can choose the perfect vice-Presidential candidate as your running mate. He or she can compensate for your weaknesses, applaud your strengths and split with you the rigors of the grueling 8-month campaign.
So lets get started!
First you need to put out a help-wanted ad.
- Job Title: Vice Presidential Candidate
- Job Objective: Win an election and, if successful, disappear.
- Employment Terms: Eight month contract with a four year option.
- Qualifications: Applicant must be physically attractive, politically correct, a proven vote-getter, a voracious fundraiser, and a nimble debater. The successful applicant will project self-confidence tempered by humility, independence moderated by deference to the Presidential candidate and friendliness in the face of taunts, insults and thrown objects.
- Salary: None at first, little if elected.
- Eligibility: Applicants should be scandal free, be -- or appear to be religious, be in possession of a sturdy gastro-intestinal track, be sleep averse and be a lover of animals, children and older Americans.
- Languages: Conversational abilities in Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai are helpful. Fluency in English is desirable but not required.
- To Apply: Applicants must devise subtle ways to notify the employer of his or her availability for the position. Statements of interest in the public media will automatically disqualify an applicant. In no case should an interested party approach the employer directly.
- Notice: This is an equal opportunity position.
- Deadline: All applicants should be submitted on or before July 26, 2004, at the Democratic Party Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.
The following names have been mentioned as having qualifications for the position vacancy. Who among them do you consider to be the best qualified?
A Florida Senator (Bob Graham)
A Florida Senator (Bill Nelson)
An Indiana Senator (Evan Bayh)
A New York Senator (Hillary Clinton)
A North Carolina Senator (John Edwards)
A Missouri Representative (Richard Gephardt)
A Pennsylvania Governor (Ed Rendell)
A Virginia Governor (Mark Warner)
A New Mexico Governor (Bill Richardson)
A Retired Army General (Wesley Clark)