Ranking Obama's final four

With the Washington Post reporting that Bayh, Biden, Kaine and Sebelius are at the top of the Democratic candidate's shortlist, it's time for your rankings.

Published July 29, 2008 2:50PM (EDT)

Shall we have a bit of fun with the Democratic veepstakes? The Washington Post reports that four people sit atop Barack Obama’s shortlist: Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Not that the campaign is asking, but my rank-order preferences are Kaine, Bayh, Biden and then Sebelius, the reasons for which I provide below.

Let's do this: Assuming for the moment that this is the correct shortlist, post a comment with your rankings of the four, followed by any justification or talking points about why you rank them the way you do. Later in the day I will compute a Borda count (4 points for a first, 3 for a second, etc.) to see what the Salon commenter consensus is.

As for why I have Kaine first, he brings a swing state and he showed loyalty early on as the first (non-Illinois) statewide-elected Democrat to endorse Obama. Though some of Bayh's social positions and DLC-style conservatism worry me, as the 2006 midterms proved, Indiana is in flux and if you couple the spillover effect of the Chicago media market into the northern part of the state with Bayh’s potential appeal elsewhere in the Hoosier state, those nine electoral votes look very tempting and Bayh as veep could be the difference. There are plenty of senior senators to choose from, and Biden is probably harmless, but he is just too chatty and thus risky, and Delaware is a lock anyway. Finally, though I think Obama will post competitive numbers in states like Kansas and the Dakotas, even if he wins none of them, as I said Monday I just don’t think it is wise for Obama to pick a non-Hillary woman, which is why, despite her many appealing attributes (and the whole white mother from Kansas thang), I place Sebelius fourth.

Your turn.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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