Thursday, March 06, 2008

McCain's VP?

We may be in for a long, ugly battle for the Democratic nomination for president, but John McCain is now the Republican nominee. So, we can focus on the fun (for now) part: who will be his running mate?

Google "McCain" and "running mate," and you'll see that I'm not the only person who enjoys thinking about this kind of stuff.

I think it's madness even to think about potential McCain running mates before we even know who his opponent will be, since the identity of that opponent will (or certainly should, in my mind) factor heavily into the decision. Like (and this is just one man's opinion), if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination, I think McCain is free to pick a white man; if Barack Obama gets it, I think he'd do well not to. So it's far too early to think about this stuff in earnest, but:

Let's break down the candidates, shall we? I'll give the pros, and the cons (as pertains to McCain. I mean, if I put "reliably conservative" as a "pro," don't flip out if you're reading this and you're a liberal. I only mean to say that "reliably conservative" is a "pro" if you're going to be running with John McCain, who has the reputation of being a maverick independent).

[by the way, I have a knack for predicting this kind of stuff. I'm the guy who, the day after the 2004 presidential election, referred to the "Clinton/Obama '08" Democratic presidential ticket]

[Of course, I'm also the guy who couldn't imagine a scenario by which Rudy Giuliani wouldn't be the Republican nominee. So we'll see what happens]

[note: I added this red part after I initially published this post; I realized I forgot about Florida governor Charlie Crist. Oh, well. Just pretend he's included here]

Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota

Pros: Reliably conservative, but probably not to the degree that people in Manhattan and Berkeley will work themselves into a lather over it. Much younger (47) than McCain, but not too young (some names on the list are in their 30s; that might be too young. As a governor he has executive experience, which Senator McCain does not.

Cons: From Minnesota, not the South. Is a white man.

Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina

Pros: Much younger than McCain (47). Is from the South. As a governor he has executive experience, which Senator McCain does not.

Cons: Describes himself (undoubtedly tongue-in-cheek, but still) as a "right wing nut." Is a white man.

Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi

Pros: Is generally regarded to have reacted well to Hurricane Katrina, showing that he's at least capable, should he become president, of reacting well to something like Hurricane Katrina (which, to plenty of Americans, is something we could use in a president). Is young enough (60) where his age isn't an issue, but is old enough (60) where his youth certainly isn't an issue, either. Is from the South. As a governor he has executive experience, which Senator McCain does not.

Cons: Has a lobbying past, which doesn't particularly jibe with McCain's maverick image of bucking the special interests. Is a white man. Also, you just somehow know he's crooked, don't you? I mean, just look at him.

Joe Lieberman, senator from Connecticut

Pros: Everyone loves him.

Cons: Isn't a Republican. Not sure you can get around that.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson, senator from Texas

Pros: Isn't a white man.

Cons: Isn't much younger (64) than McCain. Is from Texas, which goes Republican anyway. Is a Senate colleague of McCain, and therefore brings no executive experience to the ticket.

Michael Steele, former lieutenant governor of Maryland

Pros: Is much younger than McCain (49), but not too young. Is black, but -- and I'm trying to be sensitive here -- couldn't look less threatening to a white person wary of voting for a black man.

Cons: Is, frankly, only showing up on potential VP lists because he's black. Not a lot of other former lieutenant governors of mid-sized states showing up on VP lists.

Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State

Pros: Is relatively young (53), is black, is female.

Cons: Probably has next to no interest in being Vice President. Role in the Bush administration could be toxic when trying to court independents, at least to the extent to which anybody votes based on a VP candidate.

Colin Powell, former Secretary of State

Pros: Is almost universally respected (the only exceptions being people who would never vote for a Republican in a million years anyway). Isn't a white man. Has military and diplomatic experience.

Cons: Probably has next to no interest in being Vice President. Is only two years younger (70) than McCain.

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana

Pros: Isn't a white man (his parents were from India). Is from the South. Is very conservative. Is much younger (36) than McCain.

Cons: Is very conservative. Is very young.

Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska

Pros: Isn't a white man. Is reliably conservative, but moderate on the hot-button issue of same-sex marriage (opposes it, but her administration oversaw the granting of state benefits to same-sex couples). As a governor she has executive experience, which Senator McCain does not. Isn't some greenhorn in her 30s (she's 44), but is young and vital enough that she's having a baby in May. Is, let's face it, hot.

Cons: Cons? Didn't you just read the last paragraph? Young hot female conservative governor!

In conclusion: McCain/Palin '08!

I haven't heard of most of these people (which I take to be a "pro" for me), but when Crist was running for governor I heard he was a bachelor which was meant to imply exactly what it implies unless you marry Katie Holmes and settle things once and for all. (This would be a "pro" for me, but apparently he's also into guns.)

Across the aisle, Obama will have to pick a black guy as his running mate, to prevent people from killing him. Sure, there are plenty of racist nutjobs who'd kill a black VP, too, and murder their way down the line of succession to the Secretary of Education if they had to - there's always going to be that guy. But just as locking your car prevents an otherwise honest person from swiping a $20 off the dashboard, filling the VP slot at least insures you against casual assassinations.
I support Governor Haley Barbour as the next Vice President.
Governor Haley Barbour has real experience both in and out of Washington. His vision and his ability to lead have taken Mississippi to new heights--with better jobs and higher income. His legacy of leadership and ability to unite to get things done is what conservatives need and want in Washington. It is the type of leadership that will mobilize and unite the Republican Party, and ensure true conservative values in this election.

Results are the metric by which we measure Governor Barbour. With the current rhetoric of change and the demand for new leadership, we sometimes forget that results matter more than anything else. Under his leadership, Governor Barbour has demonstrated results that matter, no matter the political landscape.

Show your support for Governor Barbour, the Republican Party, and conservative values by signing the Petition to Draft Haley for Vice President at Or visit our blog at
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