February 24, 2008


The Running Mate McCain Needs (George F. Will, February 24, 2008, 2/24/08, Washington Post)

In politics, gratitude is optional but admirable, and McCain is indebted to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, 51, who endorsed him on the eve of his state's primary. [...]

Crist remains popular but not more so than his predecessor, Jeb Bush, 55. Bush, however, seems determined to take a sabbatical from politics. And it might seem tribal to have a Bush on the national ballot for a seventh time in eight elections.

Three two-term governors might help McCain, including Mississippi's Haley Barbour, 60. He has two things McCain lacks -- impeccable conservative credentials and a genial disposition. He was conspicuously competent in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. As a political director in the Reagan White House and as national party chairman, 1993-97, when Republicans ended 40 years of Democratic control of the House of Representatives, Barbour demonstrated political subtlety and an agreeable absence of righteousness, qualities McCain as president would need close at hand. Unfortunately, Barbour also was a lobbyist for a while, and the right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances" is another part of the First Amendment that the co-author of McCain-Feingold finds unimpressive.

South Carolina's Gov. Mark Sanford, 47, is more of a maverick than McCain, and Sanford faults his state party for being insufficiently conservative. His frugality has had him at daggers drawn with the state Legislature, which Republicans control. His populism is an acquired taste -- he should not have lugged those two live pigs into the Legislature to express his disapproval of pork -- but he favors expanding school choice, eliminating the state income tax and, at the national level, reforming entitlement programs.

Finally, Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty, 47, is national co-chairman of McCain's campaign. His is the only state (10 electoral votes) to go Democratic in the past eight presidential elections.

...it would be someone with the qualities he lacks:

* Someone with executive experience

* Someone young, telegenic, and eloquent

* Someone with a definite conservative philosophy to run on

* Someone trusted by Christians

* Someone the Beltway Right doesn't have major objections to

* Someone who can help him cut into the Catholic and Latino vote

His name is Jeb.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 24, 2008 8:50 AM

I believe you made a spelling error, OJ. It's spelled M-I-C-H-A-E-L S-T-E-E-L-E.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 24, 2008 9:38 AM

My mom who lives in South Florida believes it is Crist and has been telling me this for several weeks.

Posted by: pchuck at February 24, 2008 1:14 PM

Crist only got elected governor in 2006. It's a bit early for him to be going for VP. The Midwest looks like where the election is going to be won or lost so Pawlenty looks a better bet on that score.

Steele was only a Lt Gov. and Obama's going to maxing out the black vote anyway. Putting Jeb on the ticket would make the election about the past administration and not the future one. McCain's amnesty bill gave him all the help with Latinos he needs.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at February 24, 2008 2:12 PM

OJ, if Hillary does end up losing to Obama despite whatever scheming she does, it will permanently end the idea of Jeb being a Vice-President to Maverick. The people will have shown they will not put up with any continuance of family dynasties.

However, should Barack end up winning on Nov. 4, this merely paves the way for the GOP to nominate Condoleeza Rice in '12.

Posted by: Brad S at February 24, 2008 2:53 PM

Condoleeza hasn't proven herself competent enough to run the country. Picking her for only her color/gender is playing Dem "identity politics."

Steele OTOH, is probably a good bet. He doesn't have a 'questionable record' (Rice does). It's a bit of ID politics to be sure, but absent any baggage.

Crist would be "safe", and therefore disastrous.

OJ, you are correct on every count except for the fact that the nation is "Bushed out".

It will take 4 years of Hillary or Obama to make the nation for another Bush.

Posted by: Bruno at February 24, 2008 4:30 PM

Steele doesn't help with Latinos.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2008 5:34 PM


It's McCain. He doesn't need any help with Latinos. Would Steele hurt McCain with Latinos?

If so, how does that play with your "superior culture" rhetoric.

Posted by: Bruno at February 24, 2008 8:15 PM

They're two minority cohorts of roughly equal size fighting for political power. They hate each other.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2008 9:14 PM

I love Jeb but if Clinton is not the nominee, he just cannot be on the ticket. Pity.

Posted by: Bob at February 24, 2008 9:28 PM