While the Obamessiah is having his photo taken around the world and ignoring the man who designed our counter-insurgency strategy, and buffing up his foreign policy credentials by giving a speech or two (not to mention giving a speech in front of a monument to Prussian militarism), some have speculated that this would be the week that Senator McCain would name his running mate. Hate to break it to you, folks: It ain't happening this week.
You don't vet a candidate in a week. George McGovern didn't vet Tom Eagleton, and look where that got him (okay, it was his utopianism and dovishness that lost him the election, not his veep choices). And with McCain's negatives-let's face it, he's never going to be most people's favorite Republican-he doesn't need a similar episode. And while I'm sure most of the guys in the running haven't got electro-shock therapy in their pasts like Eagleton, their does need to be a weighing of the strengths of each of them. First, let's eliminate some of them.
Bobby Jindal is too young (though let's face it-he's more accomplished than the Democratic nominee, and he's what, nine years younger?) and frankly he's the next star of the party, but he's been in office a short time and Louisiana needs its reformist governor in the worst way. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is a new mother of a son with special needs (and she's a better basketball player than Barry Messiah, too). They do bring youth to the equation but frankly, they'd be a nice tandem in a future election. The same with Eric Cantor, the Virginia rep.
Who are some bad candidates? Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Joe Lieberman, and maybe Charlie Crist. Each of them is too in lock-step with McCain, and frankly the idea should be to maximize the base turnout, not turn them off. Which makes me wonder if they won't be the pick. Ugh. An open-borders guy, a guy to the left of Jamie Franks on economics, a hawkish liberal, and a squish. Color me unimpressed.
From the crank files, Condi Rice, Tom Ridge and Colin Powell. Yeah, they all bring something to the table-a big negative from the Bush years. While Ridge has the least negatives and might be good for bringing PA into play, he's to the left on abortion. Rule one for Johnny Mac: Don't antagonize the base. Since all three are to the left of Mac on the issue, rule 'em out.
The serious candidates should be Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, former Rep. John Kasich of Ohio, and, yeah Mitt Romney. The big issue is the economy, and that's where Kasich and Romney separate themselves for me. Both of them understand it and give it more concern than Mac. Kasich was a budget guy in Congress and Romney has the reputation of fixing things. Yeah, Romney's a new convert on abortion, but since when did we stop accepting converts? If we didn't accept people converting to conservative positions, Ronald Reagan would have been a man without a party.
They both could speak more effectively and definitively on economic realities than Obama, whose main subject interest, Charles Krouthammer noted in is recent column, is Barack Obama. And unless he chooses Robert Rubin as his Veep candidate (not gonna happen-while liberal, Rubin's too much a free trader for Obama), his running mate would be at a distinct disadvantage, much like lightweight John Edwards was to Cheney.
Don't discount geography, either-Kasich is from Ohio, and Romney's father was governor of Michigan. I think they're both strong candidates who bring a lot of positives to the table on an issue McCain admittedly isn't an expert on. Jim Geraghty has thrown Carly Fiorina's name in for the same reason. Whoever he picks, Johnny Mac doesn't have to do it this week. This week is for Obama's attempt to make himself credible on an issue that McCain has sewn up. Let him make his gaffes-Geraghty has a good list going so far.
But it better be good.