A very good friend of mine, Monty Pebenito, asked of me a seemingly standard request for our daily routine of political conversation:
I know who I want to be Obama's running mate. I would like you to guess.My first instinct was Russ Feingold, of whom both Monty and I were quite disappointed with when he declined to run for president in the '08 cycle. And my instinct was right.
Can you imagine OBAMA/FEINGOLD 2008?
Monty's reasoning was quite simple too -- the McCain-Feingold legislation. While the idea of Feingold as a potential vice presidential nominee has been discussed sporadically throughout the internet after his announcement not to run for president in 2008, this specific reason only seems to have been previously mentioned on DailyKos. But the DailyKos post doesn't really make a strong case for Feingold as vice president; the post only signals to the potential problems that Feingold could cause for the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain.
With Feingold as a running mate, Republican voters will be reminded daily in the general election of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation that they so loathe. Many conservatives already have significant problems with their presumptive nominee; just google "Top 10 Reasons Conservatives Dislike McCain" (and campaign finance reform is the number one reason why conservatives dislike McCain.) With this constant, visible reminder of the McCain-Feingold legislation, it's likely that many more conservatives will not go out to vote at all in November.
Additionally, McCain-Feingold will also shield the Democratic ticket from any kind of attack on integrity by McCain. Assuming that the nominee is Barack Obama, there's virtually no conceivable way that McCain could launch an attack on the Democratic ticket from an integrity angle -- Feingold's work with McCain on campaign finance reform, as well as Obama's previous inqury about the use of public financing in the general election, would prevent McCain from being able to 1) launch any attack on Obama or Feingold and, more importantly, 2) discuss his own "integrity" without also immediately bringing to mind the integrity of his opponents. It's a lose/lose situation for McCain.
Finally, Feingold can bring many other things, like his role in the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Intelligence, and Judiciary Senate Committees. Feingold was one of 23 Senators to vote against the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the only Senator to vote against the PATRIOT ACT. In 2006, he moved to censure President Bush as a result of the Bush administration's flagrant abuse of the FISA court's ability to grant the Federal government domestic surveillance powers.
Feingold would be a strong pick for vice president in 2008. If Obama is able to win the Democratic nomination, this could quite possibly be the strongest Democratic ticket in a long time and I don't think that McCain would have a chance.
Someone get the Obama campaign on the horn!
[UPDATE]: Obama has more to say about his call for public financing in today's USA Today.