March 12, 2008

On the McCain VP Pick

Sean Hackbarth notes that National Review is "firing a warning shot" at John McCain regarding his choice of a running mate, and the signals that might send out thereby to that nebulous entity, "the base." It seems to me that McCain is in an awfully tricky spot, here, inasmuch as neither the SoCons nor the economic conservatives (much less the libertarians) are thrilled with him to begin with.

The NRO editors want to make sure that the delegates don't merely rubber-stamp a Veep candidate who is too far to the left; Hackbarth gets concrete about this:

If he picks the populist Mike Huckabee he upsets economic conservatives. If he picks a pro-abortion candidate he alienates social conservatives.

Mitt Romney would be a safe pick. He was talk radioís and many conservative activistsí last-minute non-McCain pick. The flip-flop attacks wouldnít hold as much water, but Iím sure either Team Obama or Team Clinton could confront Romney with some ads he ran against McCain. But then again, voters donít choose a President because of the running mate. On the plus side, Romney could be McCainís chief economic expert. McCain will need all the help he can get during these troubled economic times.

Because of the bad blood from the primaries I canít see McCain picking Mitt.

Which is too bad; Romney would be the perfect pick to re-establish a rapport with conservatives. I'd love to see Fred Thompson back in this role, though I know he likely wouldn't take it, and he wouldn't be willing to take on the "attack dog" responsibilities that the Veep candidate is often assigned. Hackbarth concludes that "Republican base politics will play a role in McCainís pick, but I donít think it will be the most important consideration."

This is a issue for the McCain folks, since Johnny Mac doesn't have a lock on either the swing voters or the base. I do think the person has to appear like an even-tempered person who can talk Johnny Mac through the occasional black rage.

Again, though: that depends on which kind of VP this person is going to be: the traditional VP who waits around for the President to die, or the Dick Cheney type, who acts as a sort of uber-Chief of Staff, and takes an active role in advising the CIC. Campaigns never stipulate which type of Veep we're getting. (Though perhaps W.J. Clinton did, with the "two for the price of one" rhetoric, which clearly suggested that the First Lady would be the President's primary advisor.)

Hackbarth mentions the buzz about Governor Mark Sanford (South Carolina) and Tim Pawlenty (Minnesota), but points out that "if Jeb Bush had a different last name heíd be the no-brainer pick (and could have been the Presidential nominee), but thatís the hand McCain and conservatives have been dealt."

Yeah, well: If Jeb can convert to Roman Catholicism and marry a Latina (which puts him in an interracial relationship from the point of view of all those who see "Hispanics" as a different race), why can't he just change his freakin' last name?

I still think there would be some concrete advantages to running Condi, inasmuch as McCain's strongest card is the sense people have that he'll prosecute the War on Terror with some vigor, and won't simply withdraw from Iraq. However, I know she carries some baggage with her from the current administration, and I'm well aware that she doesn't really want to be President. Whoever takes this on has to be ready to go all the way, should there be a second McCain term.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 12, 2008 03:20 PM | TrackBack

I wouldn't believe that Romney is completely out of the running. But we will have to see, after all I thought McCain was out of it but here he is, no thanks to my vote. So he must have done something right. We will just have to wait and see what he does.

Posted by: chuck at March 12, 2008 07:12 PM

I'd like to see McCain sit down and have a long talk with Sen. James Inhofe concerning global warming first. Fred would be a wonderful choice for Veep. And he would have no problem being the attack dog. Obama would counter with "no country for old men" snickers if Thompson went on the ticket, though. And in today's climate, that just might be enough to keep him off.

On the other side, I think Eliot Spitzer would be a great choice. Especially since he has the time now.

Posted by: Darrell at March 12, 2008 10:43 PM

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