Hey folks. I'd really like to write up a Howard Dean scenario, or even make a silly wikibox. But I'm a bit stumped on who he would've picked as his VP.
Interesting question! Hope this response doesn't come too late!
Gephardt seemed the obvious choice at first, but they argued a fair amount during the primaries and sort of attract the same voter.
"Argued a fair amount" is a bit of an understatement, but if they both make it out of Iowa I could see it. Dean was a Gephardt supporter in '88, in his own words, so clearly he didn't hate the guy at all. Gephardt is a seasoned man around the Beltway, which Dean was absolutely not, so that'd fill a nice niche. But without a radically different Democratic primary, I'd say there would be too much rivalry for it to work...
Though, that didn't stop Kerry from picking Edwards.
Ah! Speak of the devil. Edwards isn't "inevitable," I'd say, but there was whisperings that Dean would endorse Edwards after he dropped out. He ended up holding off on endorsing until Edwards dropped out, so we'll never know.
Edwards or Graham I think.
Bob Graham is a safe choice, but personally I don't see it. He might work well for Kerry (who considered him) or another Democrat, but Graham is a bit too hawkish for Dean, I think. Dean was no peacenik, but Graham was really revving for an invasion of Saudi Arabia (journalist Walter Shapiro called Graham's anti-Iraq War stance as "Baghdad-on-the-Backburner"), which really rubs up poorly to the more Clintonian FoPo Dean was angling for. Speaking of Clintonites--
Both Edwards and Clark were associated with the Clinton-ite wing of the party. Specifically Clark.
Wes Clark is interesting. In late '03, right at Dean's peak, the Dean and Clark campaign fought a skirmish over whether or not Dean had approached Clark for the Veep slot
. I saw some blogpost talking about an earlier, September, report that discussed the possibility
, but I think the original article has been lost to time. It's certainly possible, and I think the power of hindsight has simplified Dean a bit. Early in his campaign (I don't think the dates are available online, probably in some book somewhere, but I'd guesstimate '02-'03, early in the pre-campaign era) he had FoPo discussions with a couple Clintonite alumni: Madeleine Albright, Joseph B. Hoar, and Wesley Clark. Dean was honestly a pretty big Clinton fan, endorsed him in '92, loved the "man of the people, beating from his own drum" mythos of the small-state governor, and his anti-Iraq stance was much more nuanced than just blanket hippie-ism (hell, he supported Obama in Libya just a decade later). Now by the actual primaries, only Hoar had endorsed Dean (could be a VP, but Clark had way more of a national profile. Could see Hoar getting a Pentagon slot if Clark gets the number two on the ticket), and eventually Bill Clinton convinced Clark to dive into the presidential race. That kind of fighting could easily keep Clark out for good, though.
Other picks are all over the place. Bill Richardson of New Mexico gets his name floated around a lot in '04. Mexican-American governor with time in the UN and in Clinton's cabinet, he filled pretty much any niche you could imagine. He eventually got caught up in some money scandal, but I don't know if that broke in '04 or not. Sabato's Crystal Ball
had a full list of potential VPs that could have gotten the Dean nod.
Another important factor is age
. Dean has made a big deal out of the fact that he wants younger generations politically involved (talked about it a lot in 2016 and 2020), so that might come in the way of more preferable or conventional picks. As far as I know, too, the campaign didn't do a lot of VP planning, even at their '03 peak, so it's also equally possible that Dean lets the candidates come to him as opposed to vice-versa. That's just my two cents, though.