Monday, July 21, 2008

Here Comes the Veep?

Bob Novak is reporting that John McCain may name his vice-presidential nominee this week. It's too soon to do that. The only reason to do it now would be to gain a (very) short-term strategic objective of knocking the official Barack Obama Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show off the front page.

So who will Maverick pick? Novak is speculating that it might be Mitt Romney. I preferred Romney in the primary and still believe he would be a good president because of his executive experience. But I'm not sure he has the skill set for the Vice Presidency. McCain should look at Romney as a potential Secretary of the Treasury if he gets elected, but not as a running mate. I've also heard speculation about a couple of Ohioans, John Kasich and Rob Portman. Both are highly capable men, but both would elicit a yawn from the voting public, I suspect. I personally think that McCain needs someone younger and more exciting, someone who would be an interesting new face on the scene and someone with the ability to take over and run things if needed. He needs a youthful governor.

There are five Republican governors out there who have garnered a lot of attention and speculation. The first is the governor of this fair state, Tim Pawlenty. He probably wouldn't carry Minnesota for McCain and even though he's not a hick, I could see him getting the Quayle treatment anyway. He should bide his time.

An even younger contender is Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana. Jindal is not yet 40 years old and has had an impressive rise. He also has a big mess on his hands in Louisiana and he probably needs time to deal with it. You'll see him on the hustings, but probably not unitl 2016 or maybe even 2020.

Maverick owes Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who seems popular enough in his home state. But it's hard to see what he adds, except even more gray hair. My guess is he won't get it. Another southern governor that McCain owes is Mark Sanford of South Carolina. He's a rock-solid conservative, but he won't excite anyone, either.

The last name is perhaps the most intriguing. That would be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She is young and relatively new to the governor's mansion, but her main claim to fame is as a reformer. She took on the big spending Murkowski family dynasty and won and she is wildly popular in her home state. She also has impeccable conservative credentials and could play a key role in what I think is the biggest issue in this campaign, energy. And she would give some of the disgruntled Hillary supporters something to think about.

That's my take on it. What's yours?


Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with your assessment of Palin being a good choice. She's young and fresh, seems pretty sharp on her feet, is in lock-step with McCain on energy policy, and is easy on the eyes. That can also be interpreted as: McCain's old, she is inexperienced, and she makes McCain look like her grandfather when they are stumping together. I also believe she has admitted drug use in her past. Certainly not a big deal to the Libretarian Cons up in Alaska, but I am not sure it will play well with the Evangelicals.

Speaking of Evangelicals, they are still the engine of Republican GOTV efforts. That is why I think McCain should pick Huckabee. Huckabee would reassure the Christianist base, and has some cross-over appeal to moderates and independents. I saw a poll yesterday that had McCain running 8 points below where Bush was with Evangelicals at the same time in the last election cycle. If he doesn't shore take measures to shore that up soon, he will be in a world of pain.


Mark Heuring said...

Fair challenge as always, Rich. I think Huckabee loses Maverick as many votes as he gains. Despite Obama's much-vaunted appeal to evangelicals, at the end of the day they aren't going to go with an abortion absolutist; I'll be even Doug Kmiec starts walking back between now and November. Dobson is now making noises about a rapproachment, too. The evangelicals will grumble, but they want a place at the table.

If past drug use is an issue, the only candidate I know of from my generation who would be available is my wife, and she's not running. I think Palin trumps that with her decision to keep her baby, who was born with Down's.

We'll see.

BTW, I'll be down your way in a few weeks. I'll shoot you an e-mail about it.

Dan S. said...

I think any excuse to post more pictures of Ms. Palin is a good one. :-)

Romney's still my guy, though. My ideal scenario is that McCain simultaneously makes Mitt his VP choice and announces his one-term pledge. Then, following a stirring convention speech and dominating debate performances, the stage will be set well for 2012 regardless of the outcome this year.

Strolling Amok said...

I'm betting on Romney - the buzz around him is just getting too loud to ignore I think. Could be wishful thinking on my part I suppose. Mittens was hy-sterical. The dog strapped to the car roof, singing Who Let the Dogs Out on MLK day, the comedy gold just goes on and on. Good times.

Anonymous said...

I'd just about eat my hat if Huckabee or Romney wind up being the VP candidate. Neither bring anything to the table that Mc Cain doesn't have already. There is NO WAY that the Evangelical types vote for Obama over McCain, so that group is pretty much in his hands. For the rest of the country, Huckabee offends as much or more than he gains. Romney, is LDS, or as many would say a Mormon. LDS types pretty much vote Republican anyway, so there's no gain there. Romney is eminently qualified, but that won't matter to a sizable chunk of the population who wouldn't vote for someone of his religeon. Too much risk for too little gain.

Guys like Rich secretly hope that McCain picks someone who is conservative, because they secretly hope that the typical Republican Base won't vote for McCain if he doesn't pick a Huckabee or someone of that kilt. What they don't understand is that this group will vote for McCain (perhaps with their fingers on their nose) as voting for Obama isn't even an option.

Regarding Palin, she looks hot, which is something I never thought I'd say about a Presidential Candidate. She would make an interesting foit to the old man, but Alaska's 3 electoral votes (or whatever the low total is) really don't add much to the win column. She's a possibility, but I'd be really surprised if she gets picked.

Look for the choice to be a moderate leaning republican, or even a conservative replublican from a battleground state. If youth needs to be served, I'd suggest Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. I'm sure that there are other candidates who fit that mold as well.

Anonymous said...

Mark and Anonymous,
I am NOT suggesting Evangelicals will vote for Obama. That clearly is not going to happen. My point is that they are usually the GOPs largest block of 'boots on the ground' on election day, and I think McCain needs to show them some love lest they sit on their hands or vote for Bob Barr. Huckabee would help make sure that many Evangelical Christians don’t sit out the election and might even motivate a few of them to work the polls. That is my honest assessment. I genuinely enjoy this stuff and have no reason to spin this. Personally, I hope McCain picks Romney or Giuliani. Giuliani is a walking freak show and Mitt "Bling Bling" Romney is the best Guy Smiley impersonator I have ever seen...and I love the Muppets.
Anonymous is dead right about Paul Ryan. I had the pleasure of having lunch with Mr Ryan a couple of years ago, at a St Pat's Day party in Lake Geneva. After Ryan left, I told my cousin, who hosted the event and is also pretty liberal, that if Ryan ever got national exposure, we'd be screwed and he'd be President in two election cycles. He's whip smart and very personable.


Mark Heuring said...

I get your point, Rich. I don't think there's much threat of the evangelicals supporting Barr as long as he's at the helm of a party that is more about lifestyle libertarianism than economic liberty. And I say that as someone who voted LP in two presidential elections in my youth.

My guess is that evangelicals won't sit on their hands. They will understand that if we get President Obama, Roe v. Wade will live on for 50 years more. Dobson has been grumbling about it, but he'll support McCain in the end because he's a realist. The evangelicals will get maybe 25-35% of what they might want from Maverick. They'll get bupkis from Obama.

Interesting comments about Ryan. I like him but don't know as much about him as I'd like. Maybe he should start by taking on Jim Doyle.