Dan Maes tries to thread needle with running mate

What is one to make of a political candidate who says out loud that his choice of running mate is designed to shore up his own weaknesses?

No doubt it's true, as Tambor Williams, Dan Maes' choice for running mate in his quest for the governor's office, has far more experience in both legislative and executive branch aspects of state government than Mr. Maes has.

It reminds me a bit of my thinking when Barack Obama was choosing a running mate, namely that almost anyone he would choose would serve to reinforce his own lack of experience or qualifications for the office.  With his choice of Joe Biden, Obama was able to pick one of the only politicians who was simultaneously experienced enough to shore up that aspect of the ticket but enough of an idiot to actually make Obama look smart in comparison.

I don't think that's what Maes has done; I have no reason to think that Tambor Williams is anything other than a smart and competent lady.

Therefore, Maes is in the unenviable position of having to acknowledge or even emphasize his own weaknesses as an explanation for and introduction to his running mate.

None of this is to criticize Maes.  It takes a big man to admit weaknesses, especially important ones.  But admitting weaknesses, especially important ones, is rarely a winning electoral strategy.

For perspective, has there ever been a presidential election where the choice of Vice President made a huge difference in the final outcome?  The only one I can think that even had a chance was John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin, but McCains' poll number only received a temporary boost and I don't think anyone believe's Palin's presence on the ticket ended up being a major net positive or negative in that specific race.  Although Dick Cheney certainly had his fans, I doubt his presence on the ticket was the difference in either of Bush's victories.  And clearly Al Gore wasn't a reason for Clinton's wins.  When a candidate has to try to sell his running mate as one of the major reasons to vote for him, you know he faces an extremely uphill battle.

Again, that's not a criticism of Maes; it's just an observation about the situation.

The good news for Maes, perhaps, is that Barack Obama proved that in the right circumstance anybody can win an election.

  • airbus
    Comment from: airbus
    08/18/10 @ 06:40:44 am

    As for Mae's strengths, it's hard to find some. He embellished his accomplishments in business, his stance on illegal immigration went from amnesty to pro Az law. The list goes on. Maes never counted on Hickenlooper as an opponent. When he started his run for governor, Ritter had not dropped out yet, and, as the great poet Robert Frost had once said: "And that has made all the difference."

  • ken smith
    Comment from: ken smith
    08/18/10 @ 04:00:15 pm

    Personally, I think Maes has to do it. Everyone knows that he's a lightweight when it comes to how government works. Might as well make a strength out of a weakness. Remember, Maes is the "unpolitician." I'm not old enough to recall John Love or know anything of value regarding Ronald Reagan's campaign for the governorship in CA, but in this unique cycle, this could serve him well. I have said to anyone who will listen that the level best thing he can do is put together a team that screams "COMPETENCE!" Of course, seeing how beautifully that that has turned out, I'd try not to draw comparisons to Obama....