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Another silver medal

Column by Chris Graham

I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating as we approach the Barack Obama VP Zero Hour.

Virginia is certainly flattered to have been a player in the Obama Veepstakes, but we’re not going to appreciate feeling jerked around when Obama doesn’t seal the deal with one of our guys.

Joe Biden is not going to help Obama win Virginia. Evan Bayh isn’t, either, and he might not even turn his own home state blue. Hillary Clinton probably does. Anybody outside of Hillary, though, and Virginia is red as usual, and the Electoral College is McCain’s to lose. More on that in a minute.

First things first, I think the writing is clearly on the wall that the Veep is not going to be Tim Kaine. Mark Warner could add a Hillary-like rock-star appeal to the Obama ticket, but unless the Obamas were successful in getting Warner to change his mind about submitting his name for consideration outside of any of us knowing it, he’s out. Jim Webb took himself out of the running a few weeks ago, though a fellow reporter who talked with Webb last week wondered aloud to me if Webb wasn’t somehow hedging on the question if he might still be a candidate.

Any of the three makes Obama the odds-on favorite in the Commonwealth. Anyone other than Clinton on the ticket means that unless McCain has the biggest brain cramp in the history of American politics and nominates anyone other than Mitt Romney to run on his ticket, then the Democrats haven’t won Virginia since LBJ curse continues for four more years, if not forevermore. And I think the long-running public romance of Kaine will be the key factor there. I really don’t see Clinton getting the nod, which means that we’re going to end up having one of our guys lose out to a guy from a solid blue state with three electoral votes or a guy from a state that goes red even with his name on the ballot for VP. To say that this will de-energize Virginia Dems is a major understatement, and this will in turn impact the moderate voters that Democrats, though successful in Virginia in statewide elections in recent years, still need to be able to win.

Losing Virginia makes it awfully tough on Obama to win the Electoral College. Every scenario that I run through has the election coming down to Virginia and Indiana, and I’m not convinced on Indiana being a true-blue possibility. Win one or the other, and the White House is Obama’s. Lose both, and it’s McCain’s.

Another silver medal for the Democrats.

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