Over the past nine months, Sen. Barack Obama has repeatedly made two promises to the American public — change and unity.
With the Democratic primary looming close and his nomination as the party’s candidate sealed, it is time for him to start living up to those promises by announcing the person he will have as his vice-presidential candidate.
It’s becoming clear to a lot of people that Sen. Hillary Clinton — a remnant of her husband’s era that interrupted the Bush administrations — does not represent the kind of change Americans want. And having two Democratic senators on the ticket would not represent any real diversity in political ideology, although gender and race would be well reflected.
But whenever I think about change and unity, I always veer away from the two main parties and find myself siding with some little known third party candidate or independent with little to no name recognition.
So who should Obama pick?
My first choice would be to ask Ron Paul. Although he has borne an R behind his name in past elections, he has demonstrated an ability to draw supporters from both parties disenfranchised with the stagnant policies of the past — not to mention his ability to gather campaign cash on a grassroots level.
What a better way to offer the laurel of unity than to extend an invitation to the vice-presidency to a member of the opposite party. The big asterisk being that he is far afield of modern mainstream Republican ideals.
Of course, his philosophy of retreating from world affairs may be even further afield from Obama’s more liberal agenda, which brings me to my second suggestion.
The avid consumer advocate is already interjecting his voice in the race, criticizing the mainstream candidates for their inability to make definitive statements or take a solid stance on pretty much any issue they are questioned about.
Nader, although he has lost credibility as a serious candidate since the 2000 election, does represent the position of many U.S. citizens as they become ever more aware of green energy, huge corporate conglomerates dictating the lives of Americans or the war in Iraq and other foreign policies issues.
I guess the next question is: Would either of these guys consider it if offered?
And unfortunately, the answer is probably no.
Although they each espouse alternative political views that would be beneficial in significant policymaking decisions that affect our country, I’m sure they would have some excuse for opting out. Whether it be some particular social or economic issues the two men would invariably butt heads over or merely the fact that their egos would not allow them to take a back seat to someone else they may not agree with entirely. Or maybe the conspiracy theorists who claim Nader only gets in presidential aces to divert Democratic votes and seal Republican victories are right.
If they were wise and truly wanted the change they talk about, however, they would look at it as an opportunity to open the door to the ideas they represent on a national level.
And then, the Obama ticket could claim more than lip service to making our multi-partisan nation a progressive one dedicated to change and unity.
Reuben Mees is a staff writer for the Examiner. He can be reached at 592-3060, ext. 118 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.