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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
VP Madness

On Friday, I learned of a way to send text messages that would look like they came from the Obama campaign. My wife's a big fan of Obama (sigh) and had been waiting for the text message announcing his pick. Needless to say, she was extremely surprised to hear that Obama had picked Fred Thompson as his running mate. Much fun ensued before she finally figured out that it was a prank.

On the subject of VP picks, here are my personal reactions and predictions (McCain is announcing his VP pick here in Ohio on Friday if not before, so let's enjoy the speculation opportunity).

Fred Thompson
- A Thompson pick would thrill conservatives and unite the base. without coming with much baggage. Two problems here, though: first, as an actor, he would undermine the successful counter-narrative that Obama is an empty celebrity. Second, and worst of all, as VP he wouldn't be able to serve on the supreme court.

Romney - A good pick for conservatives generally. Helps in the west and in Michigan. Great on the economy. May hurt among evangelicals a bit, and it is pretty sad that anti-Mormon bigotry is still acceptable in mainstream politics. Also, his wealth provides lots of opportunities for class warfare attacks (reinforcing the Republicans are Rich! foolishness). His hair and starched shirts creep me out. Finally, his primary ads would appear in Obama commercials (just as Hillary's now appear in McCain's).

Palin - good pick if you want to emphasize energy issues, but it has to come with a McCain shift on ANWR, which hurts his maverick image. Picking a woman may help a bit, but she may have a tough time on national security issues. Also, it smacks of the Mondale desperation in 1984.

Lieberman, Ridge and Giuliani are out - Why? You need to unite the Republican base and Obama is very vulnerable on the abortion issue. He's staked out positions at the far, far left on this issue and choosing one of these three would essentially make it a wash. In my view, that's too bad.

Colin Powell - I think Powell would be an excellent choice, despite his pro-choice views. Talk about gravitas. His pros would far outweigh his negatives. He strengthens McCain's moderate image in a bad year for Republicans, and he has never had to take public positions on abortion. As a candidate, he would be free to express soft pro-choice tendencies but come down strong on judges, and against partial birth abortion. His presence on the ticket would take away the race card and the charges of Uncle Tomery that would soon follow would reveal the far left as the race hucksters that they are. Powell could still end up speaking at the Democratic convention this year, so who knows how this comes down, so I have no doubt that conservatives will be worried. That fact will help make it difficult for Democrats to criticize him too harshly on the war -- if he was so bad, why did you work so hard to get him at your convention?

Portman is out, in my view, because he is too close to the Bush Administration.

is a great choice, but I would have concerns about this pick making it harder for McCain to beat the drum on national security experience.

My choice would be John Kasich, former Ohio Congressman and House Budget Chairman. He'd solidify Ohio, help in Western PA, and make fiscal conservatism the cornerstone of the party again. He'd also help with working class voters. McCain is already strong on the budget, this would call attention to one of his strengths and secure conservative support. He should announce a middle-class tax cut and a plan to slash government spending to pay for it on the same day as the announcement. A debate on spending and the budget would not help Obama right now. Kasich could talk credibly about the budget since he was the guy who brought it into balance. After he left, things really went to hell.

So there you have it. I think McCain's best choice is Kasich. Experienced. Budget Expert. Will be able to hold his own on national security. Secures Ohio. Makes the federal budget a top issue.

The fact that the announcement is being made in Ohio is a good sign, don't you think?

Nice analysis. The Powell pick is brilliant - it'll never happen, but it's brilliant. I strongly prefer Condi, but she's too tainted by W - too bad.

I disagree with you guys lumping Rudy in with Ridge and Joe. Yeah Rudy's "pro-choice"," but I have long said I'd trust Rudy picking a SC Judge over McCain. If Rudy were the pick I'd be fine with that, and I certainly don't feel that way about Joe or Ridge...

Fred would be a great pick to solidify the base, but the "two old white guys tag" could not be removed. Won't happen.

Palin, Pawlenty, Portman, Kasich (and Jindal) are all largely unknown commodities to the majority of the country - that can work either for or against you, but I anticipate a pick designed to make a more immediate quantifiable and visible impact - Palin is still a possibility mostly because she's a woman, but it's still unlikely.

Mitt, to me, is the obvious choice. Where are evangelicals gonna go? Who's going to come out and publicly say that is why they're not supporting him? He brings the much needed economic balance to the ticket - and this is the most visible area of weakness for McCain - "the two rich white guys tag" won't stick - at least not to the extent of them being "out of touch." Mitt can trounce Biden in a debate, he would have the only executive experience in the race - another significant advantage, he'll bring the talk shows fully on board with the Mac ticket, and probably push Michigan over to the GOP column. He makes the most sense, and I'll be surprised (sort of) if he isn't the pick...
announcing the name of your vp the night of the other guys convention speech!!! stay classy repugs.
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