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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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July 1, 2008 2:46 PM

Bill Gates for VP?

Posted by David Postman

Now heading to his leisure years, Microsoft's Bill Gates was named a longshot choice for a place on the national ticket in a review by Politico of reasonably viable, yet most unconventional picks.

Several Republicans and even some moderate Democrats called the Microsoft founder John McCain's dream running mate. Gates could position McCain as a trusted voice on the economy and his multi-billion dollar commitment to charitable giving could soften up the campaign's image.

And there's no question he could help scare up a few dollars. In 2006, Gates convinced billionaire investor Warren Buffett to give $31 billion to the Gates Foundation.

There's just one little hitch: he seems to favor the Democrats these days. While Gates has given generously to both parties (including $2,000 to McCain in 2003) and advocated for a broad swath of policies over the years, in this cycle he's contributed $2,300 to both Dems, and nothing to McCain.

Gates' inclusion may be a sign that sooner or later everybody's name will appear on a list of potential running mates for Barack Obama and John McCain. But until until my name pops up, I'll agree to believe that Gates is an actual viable choice.

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Posted by thehim

5:10 PM, Jul 01, 2008

How thick does the lining in one's bubble have to be to actually believe that Gates is a potential VP pick for McCain.

Posted by JimD

10:10 PM, Jul 01, 2008

There's another little problem.
In testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last year, Gates flatly said he'd like to see the U.S. grant an 'infinite' number of V-IB visas for technical workers more educated and skilled than our own.
(the current cap is 65,000)

It offended both pro-middle class Democrats opposed to replacing American workers with foreigners, and anti-immigration republicans who don't want to see more East Indians living here like they own the place.
(the Lou Dobbs crowd)

Gates is no longer the long-haired, hippy-trippy geek who lived to write code and dreamed of paperless offices.
He's a hard-core tycoon not unlike those who built the railroads...or Wal-Mart.
And while many of his customers (that's most of us) might admire his genius and success, we think evil thoughts about Gates every time Windows relentlessly attempts to hijack our choices, loses our files, or displays the dreaded, "Windows has encountered a problem..." box.
No one who bought Vista will vote for him - that's for sure.

Bill Gates is a fanciful idea, but Paris Hilton is unemployed too.
How about her.

Posted by JimD

10:13 PM, Jul 01, 2008

(correction: H-1B visas, sorry)


Posted by JimD

8:54 AM, Jul 02, 2008

From the hearing:
"Unfortunately, America's immigration policies are driving away the world's best and brightest precisely when we need them most... We should expedite the path (for foreign workers) into our workforce and into permanent resident status... These employees are vital to US competitiveness and we should encourage them to become permanent US residents so they drive innovation and growth alongside America's native-born talent..."

Sorry, that answer is politically unacceptable.

Posted by John

8:56 AM, Jul 02, 2008

The next VP of The United States of America,
God Bless America

Posted by upchuck

10:27 AM, Jul 02, 2008

"No one who bought Vista will vote for him - that's for sure"

= ) so true

Posted by John

11:18 AM, Jul 02, 2008

Only a idiot,( No insult intended) would buy vista.

Posted by Wiz

3:39 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Hi JimD,

While it may be chilling, the Gates quote is very accurate. At a time when at least 1/3 of our youth do not graduate from high school, and even less go on to college, we need people to help our country stay in the forefront of technology advancement.

Posted by JimD

7:19 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Oh it's accurate and honest all right.
That's the problem.
The current political climate does not allow any serious contender to be quite that honest about how much we need foreign intellect to take science and engineering jobs we simply aren't as qualified to do ourselves - not to mention Gates' insistence that an UNLIMITED number of foreign workers be granted permanent US residency.
Gates is no politician, and it shows.

Posted by John

7:49 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Jimd is proof that no matter how much we put into education
it's never enough and it never pay off. Not a insult.

Posted by JimD

2:40 PM, Jul 03, 2008

One more thing of note regarding Gate's testimony.
If we need foreign talent to fuel our leading role in science and technology, don't we similarly need cheap, foreign labor to work jobs below the wage level our citizens demand to fuel our productivity?

Aren't the two needs similarly serve our global competitiveness?

When Gates says, "...These employees are vital to US competitiveness and we should encourage them to become permanent US residents..", the same exact argument could be made for the millions of illegal's already here holding-up our economy from the bottom, right?
I mean, if the titans of more labor-intensive, blue collar industry were as honest and forthright as Gates, they'd say exactly the same thing about the millions of illegal's they employ - indirectly through subsidiaries, contractors or vendors - to help lower their bottom line and be competitive with the rest of the low-wage world, right?

What's the difference?
The TRUTH is we need both to stay competitive, right?

Posted by bobbyp

9:20 AM, Jul 05, 2008


The Washington Times has an article on p. A18 today about the VP rumors. Your name came up.* Even the Moonies know about you, David.

*July 5: Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me Day

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