St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Obama-Biden: It’s numerologically correct!

Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting Barack Obama’s pick of Deleware Sen. Joe Biden seeks to complement Obama where he is perceived to be weak – foreign policy. Obama’s message to the public is clear: Biden’s the guy who will take the 3 a.m. phone calls. (I guess the red phone has call forwarding.)

My friend and fellow blogger (and newly elected Democratic committeeman) Antonio French observed:

Joe Biden brings a sense of security to the millions of older, white voters who still aren’t sure about Obama. . . . [Biden] reassure[s] Americans who are worried about Obama’s lack of years in national politics that there will be someone in the White House who has been around a long time, who does know how Washington and the world works . . . . Biden fills the old white guy requirement to a tee.
I’m not sure it’s a good idea for a prominent African American Obama supporter like French to be alluding to “the old white guy” requirement, but perhaps it explains why Obama passed over an even better foreign policy fit: New Mexico Gov. (and former UN Ambassador) Bill Richardson. The Hispanic Richardson’s odds faded as Obama soared in polling numbers among Hispanics without Richardson’s help. Hispanic voters’ too-sudden switch from Hillary Clinton to Obama allowed them to be taken for granted.

But there’s also a less serious side to the choice. Obama is five letters, and so is Biden. The ticket is a combined 10 letters. (Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine would have also worked.)

Since 1968, the surnames of the winning presidential ticket has added up to exactly 10 letters 7 out of 10 times:

1968 and 1972: Nixon Agnew
1980 and 1984: Reagan Bush
1988: Bush Quayle
2000 and 2004: Bush Cheney

Two of the exceptions were 1976, when neither the winning Carter Mondale ticket nor the defeated Ford Dole ticket consisted of 10 letters, and 1996, when neither Clinton Gore, Dole Kemp nor Perot Campbell were 10-letter tickets. Moreover, the Carter Mondale exception subsequently lost re-election to a conforming 10-letter Reagan Bush ticket, at a time when an incumbent president hadn’t been defeated for reelection since 1932. The solid exception was 1992, when Bush Quayle lost re-election to the 11-letter Clinton Gore ticket (arguably with the help of the Perot-Stockdale ticket).

The last prior time that a major-party 10-letter ticket was defeated by a non-conforming ticket was 1960, when the Republican Nixon Lodge ticket lost to Kennedy Johnson, but some still say that Nixon and Lodge won until the election was stolen by corrupt vote counters (or manufacturers) in Chicago.

With that history, perhaps the “10-letter” strategy is a better reason for snubbing Richardson than “the old white guy requirement.”


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