NPR logo The Main Attraction and The Supporting Act

The Main Attraction and The Supporting Act

Each day—on the blogs, in Op-Ed pieces, on television, and on the radio—we are privy to another expert or strategist's opinion as to whom Barack Obama and John McCain should choose as their respective running mates. Should it be Jindal, Romney, Richardson, Snowe, Clinton, Edwards, Webb, or none of the above? Should the Vice President make up for a lack of foreign policy experience? Youngness? Oldness? Should they counteract ambivalence or doubt from a certain demographic, like women, Latinos, or the working-class? Can they appeal to Christian Conservatives or Independent voters? And, most of all, can the VP choice in and of itself represent and convey a gravitas, a prescience, and a manner befitting of a President?

With that in mind, I'll now propose a new, albeit unscientific method for deciding the best Vice Presidential choice and I hope you'll join me in making suggestions. Let's view the candidates as bands or musicians. Who would be the best supporting act in order to woo the most diverse group of concert-goers or fans? For instance, if Barack Obama is The Who—with grandiose ideas, a penchant for risk taking and rule breaking, and a somewhat flashy demeanor—then maybe the supporting act should be steadier, someone like CCR, who convey a different sense of tradition. And if John McCain is Lynyrd Skynyrd—attempting to walk a fine line between mass appeal and rebel stance, less eloquent in phraseology but not lacking in intelligence—maybe Modest Mouse should be the opener; a band with more finesse and artfulness, but one that still conveys a sense of workmanship.

Anyhow, you get the point. The bands can both be old, new, or one of each. They can be broken up, deceased, or still playing. The bands' own politics don't have to represent the political views of the candidate, the bands merely need to capture the candidate's essence or something about them that is likely appealing to voters. And your choice of bands/musicians doesn't need to represent your own political views, though for some it will be difficult for them not to. No matter who you're voting for, the goal is to find the best line-up possible for both the Democratic and Republican tickets. So, please decide which band or musician each Presidential candidate is and then pick their supporting act.

We will vote at the end for the two pairings that seem most likely to succeed.