Who Will John McCain’s Running Mate Be?

This should be fuin. Is there a single Republican who would work as a running mate for John McCain, or will he have to settle for Mike Huckabee. Oh, really, that one would be a hoot, wouldn’™t it? Let’™s speculate!

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Is it too early to be speculating? Probably, but I’™ve never let that sort of thing bother me before. Larry Eichol, the Philadelphia Inquirer political reporter, notes that McCain is now the clear Republican frontrunner. Sure, Mitt Romney can come back, and as I think he’™ll be a weaker opponent than John McCain in the Fall, I hope only good things for Mitt Romney for the next couple months. But the topic of the day is John McCain, and he’™ll have a hard time putting together an adequate running mate, given the criteria that need to be met.

Let’™s lay the groundwork a bit. I suppose we could call this handicapping the field:

1. McCain will be trying to prevent the first woman or African American becoming President. American seems to have fallen in love with the idea of change, and there’™s no better symbol of change than Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton’™s potential to break new ground. So McCain needs to come up with some ethnic or gender diversity in his choice.

2. Democrats are outpolling Republicans all over, and that means McCain needs to choose someone who will help him energize the base, the radical right wing Christian Cleric wing of the Republican Party.

3. John McCain is old, and he’™s going to need to balance that a bit to counter the dynamism of an Obama and the vitality of a Hillary Clinton. He needs a relatively young running mate, unless, of course, Dick Cheney is still ticking out there.

4. McCain needs a running mate who can win a region. Forget the Northeast, as it will go to a Democrat regardless. Forget California and the west. McCain needs a southerner, or a midwesterner.

5. John McCain’™s running mate must have stature. Senators are OK, but a Governor would balance the ticket a bit. He could go for a cabinet member, or maybe a bigtime mayor. Whatever the choice, he or she must have stature, and must have at least some name recognition.

If McCain can satisfy a few of these conditions, he’™ll be lucky. Frankly, as I quickly peruse the list of Republican Governors, Senators, Congressmen, etc., I’™m finding slim pickings. Heck, there are few who haven’™t been touched by scandal. But let’™s throw a few names out there.

First, let’™s look at those Republican Governors, starting with the southerners. Bob Riley of Alabama is nice, but both the wrong gender and race. Besides, his wife’™s name is ‘œPasty,’ and that could spell trouble in the late night talk show monologues. Governor Crist of Florida might be able to bring in a big state for McCain, but he’™s long been rumored to be gay (as is Texas’™ Rick Perry), and the radical religious right isn’™t going to stand for that. At the very least, McCain’™s running mate needs a running mate of his own, of the opposite sex. Haley Barbour of Mississippi? Too divisive, having been the Chair of the GOP in the past. Besides, he’™s whiter than white.

Is there no woman or other diversity candidate among the Republican Governors? Well, there is Bobby Jindal, a bit of a rock star who just won the election for Governor in Louisiana. No, he’™s not a household name, but he’™s ethnically diverse and won over a very conservative state. Jindal is also young. The problem here is that an Indian-American, while an example of diversity, might remind Republican voters of McCain’™s South Carolina problem back in 2000. Sure, that was just a slime, but I’™m betting Rush Limbaugh won’™t let it sit, and a huge portion of the Republican base listen to Limbaugh. As to South Carolina, the picture of the Mark Sanford family is just precious. . . but the diversity just isn’™t there, and besides, the man looks like a cadaver.

Things don’™t get much better looking at all the other Governors. Ahnold is not eligible. Mitchell Daniels is a stiff in Indiana, but has Mitt Romney-like CEO credentials from his time at Eli Lilly. Still he’™s white and also older. ‘œOtto’ of Idaho ‘” the name is too easy to make fun of, and besides, he doesn’™t fit the regional criteria. I suppose McCain could do worse than Matt Blunt of Missouri. Young, photogenic family, also a Navy vet. He sure doesn’™t fit the diversity criteria, but maybe the Republicans wouldn’™t vote for a Veep with diversity anyway.

Of course, the Senate and the House are out of the question. Kit Bond is too old, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia has a funny name. Jim Bunning is senile. Tom Coburn is a whack job and Thad Cochran recently said ‘œJohn McCain scares me.’ Susan Collins, Elizabeth Dole, Olympia Snowe and Kay Hutchinson all off gender diversity, but they’™re all too old or too liberal, in the cases of the Maine Senators. And come on, there’™s not a soul in the House of Representatives, and certainly not among the leadership, who fits any criteria. They’™re led, after all, by a man whose name is pronounced ‘œBoner.’

I’™m left with Condi Rice and Mel Martinez. Both are good diversity candidates, but closely tied to Bush, so they’™ll not get votes for McCain that way, but Mel Martinez might be able to bring in Florida. Still, McCain just did well in the Florida primary, and the huge population of veterans there makes it a state he’™s likely to win anyway. Condi? I don’™t see why she would take the demotion, and I’™m betting she’™d be very happy to get back to academia. Besides, she’™s single and rumored to be gay, and the Republicans won’™t go for that.

Anyone else got an opinion?

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |
Category: General,Permalink

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