Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Vetting the Veep

Good comment from Five ThirtyEight.com about Obama's screening process in selecting a running mate:

I recently had a friend who applied for a job -- unlike many jobs these days, the materials had to be submitted by snail mail. This was a job in the design industry meaning that a portfolio is required, making the process relatively cumbersome.

To set up a hurdle where you require some minimum level of seriousness such that people need to get up off their lazy asses and go to Kinko's ... you'd think this would not be too much to ask of someone applying for a very good job in a down economy. But a few days later, the company mentioned that the application deadline had been extended by two weeks.

I'll bet that they get a better hire as a result, though. If you skip directly to the interview process after some loose scan of resumes, the excitement of the moment can take over, and it almost becomes a matter of luck as to who catches you in the right mood on the right day.

Where I'm going with this is that the purpose of making it be known that you'll have an onerous vetting process is not necessarily to prevent another Thomas Eagleton; many of these candidates have been exceptionally well vetted, including Webb, who survived one of the nastiest and most expensive Senate campaigns of the last cycle. Rather, it's to prevent another John Edwards, whose lukewarmness toward the ticket was unhelpful to John Kerry's chances. You want to make a candidate jump through hoops for you now, because that's what they're going to need to do for you for four months on the campaign trail and then four years in the White House. Jim Webb ain't that kind of guy, apparently, which should surprise absolutely nobody who knows anything about him -- but better to discover that a moment too soon than a moment too late.

This came from the comments thread:

It is ironic that Obama could not pass his own vetting crucible -- what with his outspoken wife and his connections to William Ayers, Father Pfleger, Jeremiah Wright, and Tony Rezko, not to mention his admitted coke use and his parents being a Muslim and an atheist.

Good observation. It underscores what I see as one of Obama's strongest qualities, a methodical approach to management and short, quick learning curve. It's important to remember that this time last year not even he was planning to be a candidate in 2008. From what I have read his ambition was to prepare for 2012 or later. Obama was drafted. And he's proving to be quick on his feet.

This morning he is scheduled to be at McEachern High School in Cobb County, Ga. This is in the old Fifth Congressional District from whence people like Newt Gingrich and Bob Barr hail. Once again, Daniel goes into a lions den and will come out smelling like a rose. Tickets to the event (free) were made available two days ago and were gone in the first two hours. I checked Craigslist last night and there were a couple of offers for tickets, one at $50, the other at $75. Somebody wants to see and hear what he has to say.

[I just checked, and the offers have both doubled: $100 and $150 respectively. Ain't market economics great? I also responded to an offer to give away two tickets. Go figure...]

Update: From this event, another great anecdote from the campaign trail made the NY Times. See the next post, Obama and the Trailer Woman .

1 comment:

Hoots said...

This post has been picked up by Rezkorama, a smear-Obama aggregator site. I guess whoever grabbed it thought I was criticizing him when I was really noting one of his management strengths.
The site is among several cesspools of the internet collecting slime to throw when the main campaign gets under way. Cernig has the scoop in Rezkorama - The Coming Swift Boating Of Obama (Updated)