Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin Appears to Be VP Pick

Update: CNN and AP reporting that McCain’s pick is indeed Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The Hat Trick isn’t sure yet on how he feels about the pick…she is a reformer that is attempting to clean up Alaska politics after the Senator Stevens indictment and the ongoing ethics investigation into Representative Don Young. She is also young…44 years old which connects well with Obama’s youth and she is a Washington outsider…unlike Obama, Biden and McCain. The Hat Trick likes the fact that she is a governor having made that notation in an earlier post. However, the Hat Trick is concerned about her lack of experience given the age of Senator McCain.

A colleague of the Hat Trick who is active in Republican politics made the following observation five minutes ago in a cryptic e-mail: “Nightmare for Obama. Game changer.” If this VP pick holds true the Hat Trick will take a closer look…he can see good as well as danger with the pick.

Pawlenty Confirmed Out of VP Race

It looks like the Hat Trick was wrong again...CNN confirming that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will not be McCain's VP pick.

The Hat Trick has been pretty off in the 2008 elections having predicted (though I did not blog on it) that Virginia Governor Tim Kaine would be Obama's running mate. However, the Hat Trick can take comfort in correctly predicting Senator John Kerry's running mate in 2004 (before blogs no less!)...former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. How times have changed for Mr. Edwards!

Alaska Governor Palin to be McCain's VP Pick?

CNBC is reporting that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is McCain’s pick as his running mate. Quite the dark horse candidate if this story holds true…

Pawlenty Out as VP Pick?

CNN reporting that Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has indicated he is not traveling to Dayton, Ohio today to join Senator McCain in unveiling his vice presidential pick. This could mean my pick is wrong, or just a ruse...Senator Joe Biden strongly denied that he was Senator Obama's pick right up until he became Obama's running mate!

The same story is reporting that former Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge is a strong possibility. It also seems that former Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Joe Lieberman also still being considered although the conservative base of the Republican Party will struggle with the liberal on everything except foreign policy Lieberman. Ridge is a pro-choice Republican which will also upset conservatives but is generally conservative on other issues. One dark horse candidate getting some attention is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin…the same CNN story noted the arrival of a private jet arriving late last night at an airport near Dayton.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain Poised to Name Running Mate

It looks like Senator John McCain is in position to name his running mate soon, possibly with a leak by 6:00pm EDT and confirmation at 8:00pm EDT tonight. Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Former Governors Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Senator Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate are the leading contenders. It’s possible that a dark horse candidate could emerge as well, especially with McCain’s love of being a maverick.

Based on the information I’m looking at and some of the outcomes of the Biden pick for Senator Obama, I’m predicting that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will be chosen. Pawlenty has been a loyal McCain supporter, even during the dark days of the Summer of 2007 when McCain’s campaign was on life support. Pawlenty doesn’t have the baggage that Ridge and Lieberman bring with social conservatives (both are pro-choice on abortion) and he seems better poised to identify with blue collar workers compared with the wealthy former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Governor Pawlenty is also an outsider to Washington, an issue that Democratic Vice Presidential pick Joe Biden has contended with since last weekend. While I think Romney might be the better choice I think Pawlenty will get the nod.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Senator Biden Analysis

Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) is an interesting choice by Senator Barack Obama as his running mate on the Democratic ticket in 2008. Biden brings an impressive resume to the ticket, particularly in the area of foreign affairs as he serves as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the United States Senate. This helps to alleviate some of the experience issues that Senator Obama has since he is currently serving in his FIRST term in the Senate compared with Senator Biden who is serving in his sixth term in the Senate. That said Biden’s experience in the Senate could potentially harm the Obama campaign. Senator Obama has campaigned as an outsider, the opposite of the Bush administration. He has attempted to portray himself as an agent of change and his four years in the Senate is a benefit to his cause and that he can “fix Washington.” Yet Biden is the epitome of an inside Washington politician, a fixture in Democratic circles in the nation’s capital. He arrived in the Senate in January 1973 and has been there ever since; a total of 35 years and counting. Does this mean that the Obama campaign fears that Senator McCain’s attacks on their candidate’s inexperience are sticking? This could have impacted the decision to go with Senator Biden as a running mate.

Senator Biden will definitely be combative and isn’t afraid to get into combative match against Republicans. Biden also brings more depth as the vice presidential nominee not seen since Senator Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut was on the Democratic ticket with Vice President Al Gore in 2000. Ironically Senator Lieberman is a staunch supporter of Republican Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee and has been discussed as a potential running mate for McCain. Biden also is likely to be more attractive to Democratic primary voters who supported Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary…a wound that still needs to be healed in Democratic circles. One other asset that Biden brings to the ticket is some credibility to foreign affairs and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq having voted in support of both wars and has consistently voted for the appropriations bills to fund both military operations, something that both Senators Clinton and Obama have consistently not supported (although Senator Clinton did support the military strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq).

The major disadvantage in my mind to Biden is the fact that three members of the United States Senate are now on the major party tickets for President and Vice President. Of these three senators, Obama, Biden and McCain have spent their entire careers in the legislative body: Obama in the Illinois state house before his election to the Senate, Biden in the Senate and McCain in the House of Representatives and Senate. It concerns me when candidates for major office have minimal to no experience in the executive branch of government (Governor, Vice President). I think serving in this executive role is extremely helpful to a President and recent political history shows. Since the 1930s with the birth of the modern presidency, Presidents who were successfully elected to second terms in office include Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Roosevelt, Reagan, Clinton and Bush all served in the governor’s mansions of their respective states. Except for Roosevelt, all served more than one term in office; Roosevelt served one term as Governor of New York before his election to the presidency, yet he also served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the Wilson Administration. Nixon served as Vice President for eight years and Eisenhower served as Commander of the Allied Forces in World War II…these positions all required extensive executive management skills that provided them with experience upon assuming the presidency. While it’s not a certainty that a President will not be successful coming from the Senate and not having previously served as a governor or other executive manager, I find it preferable given the dynamics of the Senate. President Truman came directly from the Senate, becoming President after Roosevelt’s death within six weeks of his inauguration to the Vice Presidency.

Finally, it will be interesting to see how the Biden choice impacts McCain’s decision on a running mate. Of the names being listed already for the GOP, McCain seems to be leaning against asking a Senate colleague to be his running mate with the exception of Senator Lieberman. Time will tell on this point, as well as how Senator Biden will turn out as a running mate. Will he be a strength for Democrats like Al Gore was in 1992 as Bill Clinton’s running mate or Joe Lieberman to Al Gore in 2000? Or will the opposite occur and Biden end up being less than helpful similar to John Edwards in 2004? I think overall he will do okay, assuming he avoids some of his famous gaffes and focuses on his strengths. Regardless, with the polls tightening up between McCain and Obama, performance will be immensely important as we move into the general election.

Senator Biden Confirmed as Democratic VP Pick

CNN confirmed at 12:51 A.M. via text message the pick of Senator Biden to be the vice presidential nominee on the 2008 Democratic ticket.

The Associated Press issued a story at 3:25 EDT Saturday morning confirming Senator Biden as the pick to be Senator Obama's running mate on the 2008 Democratic ticket.

Analysis of the pick to come in a few hours...

Sen. Biden Likely to be Obama's Running Mate

At 10:50pm EDT tonight (Friday, August 22) ABC News reported that a Secret Service unit has been dispatched to Delaware in order to protect Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a two-time Presidential candidate in 1988 and 2008. Senator Biden has been talked about as a potential Vice Presidential candidate and it looks like he is going to be the one. I’ll offer some more in-depth analysis once the announcement is official. Needless to say it looks like the speculation on the Democratic vice Presidential nominee can now rest for us political junkies.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sunday Evening at LAX

Last Sunday found me on a three hour delay at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) returning from a business trip. The bad news was that the new arrival time into Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) was now 3:30 A.M. Monday morning instead of the originally scheduled midnight arrival. However, the good news is that there was a flight control problem with our original aircraft to Dulles and I’m always happy when they find out about that kind of problem on the ground! Delays are never fun but they happen so I try to take it in stride…of course it didn’t hurt that my upgrade to first class was confirmed and the new equipment was the same aircraft so no concerns about losing my seat in first class. With three hours to kill I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do for years: visit the LAX “Theme Building.”

The Theme Building is located in the center of the LAX surrounded by the seven terminal buildings. The Theme Building is “retro futuristic” having first been designed and buildt in 1961. According to Wikipedia the apartment house in the cartoon “The Jetsons” is designed after the LAX Theme Building. Just from reading this you might not be able to visualize what the building looks like, yet you will likely recognize it once you see it in person or in a television show or movie. In fact, it has been seen in many television shows and movies that include a Los Angeles airport seen…a few that come to mind include the James Bond films Moonraker and Diamonds Are Forever. According to Wikipedia it also appears in the graphics of the video game Grand Theft Auto III.

The Theme Building has a restaurant located in the center of the structure and offers a view of the terminal area and runways. The restaurant is called “Encounters” and opened in 1997. I enjoyed a very dry Beefeater Martini and watched the action near Terminals One and Two, including the departure of a KLM 747-400 and a British Airways 747-400. I was disappointed to learn that the Theme Building also had at one time an observation deck that was ultimately closed after the September 11 terrorist attacks and has remained closed ever since. You can see from the photos I took that the building is undergoing renovation right now so it doesn't look as good as it usually does. However the view from the bar isn't bad if you like commercial airliners!
This might not seem like the most exciting visit for the average traveler, but I enjoyed myself immensely. Much like seeing the Concorde in person or riding in the upper deck of a 747 for the first time, this early evening drink in the Theme Building was, for me, another item to check off my list of aviation experiences.