August 4, 2008


How to Pick a V.P. (WILLIAM KRISTOL, 8/04/08, NY Times)

[T]here seem to be at least four competing theories in the McCain camp, which, while not entirely mutually exclusive, point in different vice-presidential directions.

1. We’re going to defeat Obama straight up.

If McCain is ahead of or close to Obama in the polls, there will be a strong temptation to do no harm with the V.P. choice. The leading noncontroversial selections — broadly acceptable to Republicans, conservative but not too conservative, young but not too young — are Tim Pawlenty, the second-term governor of Minnesota, and Rob Portman, former Ohio congressman, Bush trade representative and budget director.

2. We need to accentuate Obama’s key vulnerability — inexperience.

If McCain’s central theme is going to be that he’s ready and Obama isn’t, he needs a running mate who reinforces that message — someone experienced who’d be seen as ready to govern. This points to former rival Mitt Romney, whom McCain has come to respect, or former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, whom McCain likes. It’s true that Ridge is pro-choice, which might be a problem. Or could the pick of Ridge signal to independents that McCain is broadening the party, while pro-lifers could be reassured that Ridge would defer to President McCain in this area?

3. Don’t fight the public desire for change; co-opt it.

The public wants change but is nervous about Obama. Why not allow people to vote for experience and the next generation of leadership at the same time?

This implies a young and different V.P.: the 37-year-old governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal; 44-year-old Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska; or Eric Cantor, the 45-year-old Virginia congressman. Party pros would have fainting spells about the unseasoned Jindal and Palin in particular — but party pros are often wrong, and if Jindal or Palin performed well as candidates, the upside would be considerable.

Pretty nearly the only way Maverick can lose this election through his own actions is to choose a VP who's unacceptable to Evangelicals, like a Romney, Ridge or Lieberman. He can't have a big enough lead to get cute about abortion again, which killed him in 2000.

MORE (via Kevin Whited):
John McCain considers Jewish running mate (Toby Harnden, 03 Aug 2008, Daily Telegraph)

Eric Cantor, 45, would be a dramatic choice for Mr McCain, who is running almost level with Barack Obama in national polls but whose aides believe he needs to shake-up the White House race if he is to prevail in November's general election. [...]

Of the four, Mr Cantor would be by far the most exiting - though potentially risky - choice. A prodigious fundraiser with a young, photogenic family, support from evangelical Christians and strong backing from hard-line conservatives, he would shore up many of Mr McCain's weaknesses.

Neither has the much needed executive experience to bring to the ticket, but Mr. Cantor is younger than Mr. Lieberman and votes religiously Jewish rather than ethnically.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2008 10:48 AM

I like Sarah Palin of Alaska well enough but it seems that choosing Cantor would be more advisable - what with all the electoral votes VA brings to the party.

Posted by: Bartman at August 4, 2008 12:13 PM
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