Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Let the "Veepstakes" begin ...

It was sad to see Mitt Romney drop out, but looking at the overall political landscape, he knew the battle that lay ahead. He knew that to take the nomination, he was going to need a miracle and miracles in politics don't seem to come around too often. So, John McCain will be our nominee, and that saddens the GOP base more than watching the memorial service for Ronald Reagan. To many Republicans, they believe the conservative era is over. Take heart because it's not. We hit a pothole in the road, and to keep Hillary or Obama out of the White House, we'll have to choose from the "lesser of two evils" this time around. (Look, I know a lot of people who say they're sick of this, but it wasn't so in 2000 and 2004. President Bush was a good man, and vastly better than Gore or Kerry.)

Technically, the same is true of John McCain. Yes, he's a moderate (much in the same vein as President Bush), and he has a lot of work to do to mend the fences with the GOP base. His speech at CPAC yesterday took the first step in that reconciliation. No one can argue against the sincerity he had when he gave that speech. Truth be told, after hearing Mitt's concession speech, and McCain's speech promising to work with the base, and to stand up for Republican values, I'm having a difficult time deciding which was one was better. Both were refined and classy speeches. They hit the right notes. And, in the case of Mitt Romney's speech, it served as a reminder that he'll be back.

But as John McCain is going to be the nominee, now the speculation has begun as to who his veep will be. Many people keep saying that Huck is a shoo-in. We disagree. Huck is really no different from John McCain, except his statements that would have injected more federal intrusions into our lives. (Federal smoking ban, anyone?) He's a likeable guy, affable even, and he's the sort of guy you could sit down and have a beer with. But that doesn't make a veep.

Some contend he'd take Joe Lieberman on the ticket, citing his friendship with the Democrat-turned-independent. This would also be a mistake given that the only time Lieberman is on our side is when it comes to the war. He caucuses with the Democrats the rest of the time, and the GOP base knows this. Putting a Democrat on the ticket wouldn't be the smartest way to go. Besides, he's too old, and the GOP base is reminded of the age of the ticket with McCain alone.

Others speculate that McCain may pick Rudy Giuliani. While he may be good in a Cabinet position such as national security adviser, or attorney general, having Rudy on the bottom half of the ticket is another no go. And it's for all the reasons that he lost support. Despite his credentials showing where he's evolved in his positions, conservatives still look at him as a pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights Republican. In short, they see him as a liberal Republican.

McCain needs a conservative to balance the ticket.

Over at RCP, Tom Bevan is running a veepstakes of sorts and a few of the names aren't bad. there are others that wouldn't have a shot in a million years (Colin Powell, Bill Bennett, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Hagel, Mel Martinez, and Michael Bloomberg among them). Then there are a couple that caught our eyes.

Michael Steele would make a fine veep, but he needs a thicker resume.

Bobby Jindal would be ideal, except he was just elected governor of Louisiana.

Condi Rice wouldn't be a bad grab, except she's wobbly on the Palestinian/Israeli issue.

Of course both Rick Santorum and George Allen are on the liust, too. But Santorum's comments about McCain clearly put him on the outside. Allen wouldn't be a bad choice, except we can see the media dredging up the "macaca" comment all over again.

Tim Pawlenty wouldn't be a bad choice. He's a popular governor, and was the first governor to endorse McCain. The problem is he's governor of Minnesota.

Haley Barbour would be another great possibility. He made a name for himself during Katrina -- having his state ready for the emergency that lay ahead -- and he took refugees from other Gulf Coast states after the hurricane had passed. He is a wildly popular governor, and would help bring McCain the south, possibly.

Chris Cox would be good for the sheer fact that he understands the economy better than McCain. For that matter, could McCain pick Romney, another person with strong economic credentials? Maybe. And given that McCain has hinted at serving only one term, it would open the door for Mitt in 2012. Ah, the pipe dreams of politics.

The race for the veep nomination won't really start getting heated up until just before the convention in September, in St. Paul, Minnesota. (1 September through 4 September; get your seats while they're still available.) At that point, we'll see if McCain has learned anything from the base. The southern-most state McCain took was Arizona, and that's not south enough for Southern voters. So, an ideal candidate for veep would be someone who could help him with his weak points. Those go to the economy (a hawk on spending, but not much else in terms of experience), immigration (he still does not have the Malkin and Hot Air votes yet), and social issues, especially southern ones (his promise to appoint jurists like Roberts and Alito are heartening, but can he float some other names rather than those on the high court now, please?)

We have a long road to haul until the general election starts. Romney's departure paves the way for McCain to begin his national campaign. Of course, that could be helped if Huck would drop out. We like you Huck, but you have no chance at taking the nomination. As many of the remaining 19 states are open primaries, McCain will take the Indies handily. A sweep of the south for Huck doesn't really mean much if he can't capture the other states along wiyth them. And Romney's endorsement of McCain at CPAC yesterday will almost virtually guarantee that his delegates will go to the senior senator from AZ.

Publius II

1 Comments:

Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/11/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

February 11, 2008 at 11:06 AM  

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