Archive for Monday, February 25, 2008

McCain can start pondering VP choices

February 25, 2008


— "Do you think he'd do it?" That was the first question Ronald Reagan asked when, 24 days before the 1976 Republican convention, his campaign manager suggested that Reagan immediately name Pennsylvania's Sen. Richard Schweiker as his running mate. Reagan was narrowly behind in the delegate count as he attempted to wrest the nomination from President Gerald Ford. Three days later Schweiker joined the ticket.

This was designed to pry loose some Ford delegates, particularly among the 103 of Pennsylvania's delegation (Schweiker was one of them), and prevent Ford from clinching the nomination before the Kansas City convention.

A callow young columnist without a lick of sense (George F. Will) criticized the tactic as "slapstick," but it worked: Walter Cronkite pulled back what would have been that night's CBS lead story saying Ford's nomination was assured, and the battle raged until the convention.

Today, Hillary Clinton in extremis could contemplate a similar maneuver: Pennsylvania's April 22 primary may be climactic and Gov. Ed Rendell is available. But so far only John McCain is certain to need a running mate, and his choices are limited by his needs and his nature.

McCain needs someone who will help him win and be a plausible president during the next four years. He has been in Washington more years than Clinton and Barack Obama combined, and today, as usual, but even more so, Washington is considered iniquitous, partly because McCain, our national scold, incessantly tells the country that its capital is awash in "corruption."

It would be reassuring were he to select a running mate with executive experience administering something larger than a senator's office. So an otherwise well-qualified senator, such as Kay Bailey Hutchison, might not be suitable.

Besides, McCain, who will be 72 on Inauguration Day, might need someone younger. Which would prevent the selection of Colin Powell, 70. Also, a McCain-Powell ticket would slight domestic issues, with which Powell has never been professionally engaged and McCain has rarely been preoccupied.

In politics, gratitude is optional but admirable, and McCain is indebted to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, 51, who endorsed McCain on the eve of his state's primary. Because the disastrous recent performance of Ohio's Republican Party will make it difficult for McCain to hold that state's 20 electoral votes that Bush won, McCain must keep Florida's 27. Crist won the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary 64-33 even though, as Michael Barone writes in his Almanac of American Politics, that election was notably unpleasant: "Here a candidate was attacked for being both gay and for fathering a child out of wedlock."

Crist remains popular, but not more so than his predecessor, Jeb Bush, 55. Bush, however, seems determined to take a sabbatical from politics. And it might seem tribal to have a Bush on the national ballot for a seventh time in eight elections.

Three two-term governors might help McCain, including Mississippi's Haley Barbour, 60. He has two things McCain lacks - impeccable conservative credentials and a genial disposition. He was conspicuously competent in Katrina's aftermath. As a political director in the Reagan White House, and as national party chairman, 1993-1997, when Republicans ended 40 years of Democratic control of the House of Representatives, Barbour demonstrated political subtlety and an agreeable absence of righteousness, qualities McCain as president would need close at hand. Unfortunately, Barbour also was a lobbyist for a while, and the right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances" is another part of the First Amendment that the co-author of McCain-Feingold finds unimpressive.

South Carolina's Gov. Mark Sanford, 47, is more of a maverick than McCain, and Sanford faults his state party for being insufficiently conservative. His frugality has had him at daggers drawn with the state Legislature, which Republicans control. His populism is an acquired taste - he should not have lugged those two live pigs into the Legislature to express his disapproval of pork - but he favors expanding school choice, eliminating the state income tax and, at the national level, reforming entitlement.

Finally, Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty, 47, is national co-chairman of McCain's campaign. His is the only state (10 electoral votes) to go Democratic in the last eight presidential elections. The candidate who wins a majority of the electoral votes in the Mississippi Valley usually wins the White House. Pawlenty is a center-right politician in a center-right country, and the Minnesota Twins will open a new ballpark in 2010 because he helped to provide public funds, a practice that red-blooded Americans deplore in principle but enjoy in practice.

- George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


hail2oldku 10 years, 2 months ago

I wouldn't mind a McCain/Lieberman ticket either.

As for Hillary choosing a running mate to try and salvage a bid, I think her mocking of Obama yesterday pretty much sealed the deal. She has lost it completely.

Confrontation 10 years, 2 months ago

I hear Phelps needs some money. They'd make a perfect combination for the Right.

hail2oldku 10 years, 2 months ago

Confrontation (Anonymous) says:

I hear Phelps needs some money. They'd make a perfect combination for the Right

Phred is so far right that he's almost all the way around to the left.

EXks 10 years, 2 months ago

Queen Hillary is available, isn't she??

Left_handed 10 years, 2 months ago

McCain/Rice. Something for everyone (almost).

sdinges 10 years, 2 months ago

Someone with a strong economic background would be a nice complement, but the truth is - the way people are making such a big deal about change (read: someone non-white or non-male or non-old). McCain would be better off just picking a black woman who appears youthful. Condi Rice on line 1?

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

I also wouldn't mind McCain-Lieberman (and I think it would be the ultimate thumbing of the nose from Joe to the Democratic party, even moreso than winning ... handily ... as an independent after being abandoned by the Dems).

His choice, however, is a very, very important one. Remember that whoever McCain picks for his running mate will likely be the president from 2017-2025. ;)

Confrontation 10 years, 2 months ago

It doesn't matter which ticket Phelps ran on, his attitude and hatred only matches the Right.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 2 months ago

"We still need to open up a full dialogue-one that has no end and debate what is and what is not in order to be able to not necessarily reach a conclusion about anything, but provide all individuals with all information that they may or may not ever do anything with, yet feel as though they are informed of all the pertinent facts as they relate to the issue and thus continue to debate said issue. Does that make any sense to anyone?"

Do you mean besides being a shining example of circumlocution?

monkeyspunk 10 years, 2 months ago

Powell on the ticket as VP...please don't tease me so...

That would be a dream. And hey, it would make Michelle Obama proud to be an American again.

Colin Powell is the man, though I doubt he would accept the invite to be VP nominee. =(

Who doesn't love a guy who refers to NeoCons as "f%$kin' crazies"?

ralphralph 10 years, 2 months ago

McC better do something stunning with his choice, or he can start planning his move to assisted living.
Old senators don't get elected to the Presidency. The GOP is slow to learn this ... in fact, I don't think they'll ever learn it.
McCain - Dole in '08!

Flap Doodle 10 years, 2 months ago

"Old senators don't get elected to the Presidency." Such as John Kerry?

notajayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

ralphralph (Anonymous) says:

"Old senators don't get elected to the Presidency."

If someone said they wouldn't vote for Obama because he's black, that would be racism. Or Hillary because she's a woman, that would be sexism. But it's okay to dismiss a candidate on the basis of his age?

Even if he served two full terms, McCain wouldn't even be an octogenarian until a few months before the election to choose his successor. People are living longer, working and staying active longer, and the population as a whole is aging. More and more people worry about Social Security and Medicare and whether they'll be able to afford their retirement. It's just possible they'd like a president who understands their concerns a little better than a kid in his forties.

And by the way, ralphralph - a lot of us "old" people vote.

ralphralph 10 years, 2 months ago

The GOP pissed away their best prospect - Powell - by sending him to the U.N. to present the made up intel on Iraq. There's no way he ever comes back from that.

ralphralph 10 years, 2 months ago

PS - Old senators really don't get elected. Look at the past elections ... in reverse order we have elected presidents whose previous lives were as: Governor Bush, Governor Clinton, VP/Spy Bush, Governor Reagan, Governor Carter, VP/Senator Dick, VP/Senator/Henchman LBJ, WarHero/Senator/NormaJeanBakerNailer JFK, WarHero Ike, etc.

The losers, in the same reverse order: Senator Kerry, VP/Senator Gore, Senator Dole, Read-My-Lips-Sayer Bush, TankDriver/Governor Doo-ka-ka, VP/Senator Mondale, PeanutFarmer Jimmy, SortOfIncumbant/VP/Senator/Golfer Ford, Senator McGovern, Senator Humphrey, Senator Goldwater, VP/Senator Dick, etc.

Old Senators Don't Win. This year, an Old Republican Pro-War Senator won't win. McCain might as well go fishing instead of campaigning.

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

ralphralph (Anonymous) says:

"PS - Old senators really don't get elected. Look at the past elections : Old Senators Don't Win. This year, an Old Republican Pro-War Senator won't win. McCain might as well go fishing instead of campaigning."

Pretty amusing coming from someone whose name even sounds like the're 8 years old. Hey, ralphralph, when Mommy and Daddy are giving you your allowance this week, ask them if 72 is too old.

Oh, and by the way ... in your list of former losers and winners, or at any time before that, for that matter, has a black man or a woman ever won? (You do know that both of them are Senators, and despite what Hillary thinks neither has been VP?) One way or the other, ralphralph, we're going to have something out of the ordinary this election, be it a person of color, a woman, or someone "old." And any way it comes out, it'll be a Senator.

Potawatomi 10 years, 2 months ago

25 Rules For Being a Good Republican

1) You believe that drug addiction is a moral failing and a crime, unless the addict is a millionaire conservative radio jock which then makes it an "illness" and he needs our prayers for his "recovery".

2) You believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own.

3) You believe that the US should get out of the UN, and that our highest national priority is to enforce the UN's resolutions against Iraq.

4) You believe that government should stay out of people's lives but it needs to punish anyone caught having private sex with the "wrong" gender.

5) You believe that pollution is okay, so long as it makes a profit.

6) You believe in prayer in schools, as long as they don't pray to Allah or Buddha.

7) "Standing Tall for America" means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.

8) You believe that a woman cannot be trusted with decisions about her own body, but that large multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind with no regulation whatsoever.

9) You believe that you love Jesus and Jesus loves you, and that Jesus shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary.

10) You hate the ALCU for representing convicted felons, but they owed it to the country to bail out Oliver North.

11) You believe that the best way to encourage military morale is to praise the troops overseas while cutting their VA benefits.

12) You believe that group sex and drug use are degenerate sins that can only be purged by running for governor of California as a Republican.

13) You believe it is wise to keep condoms out of schools, because we all know if teenagers don't have condoms they won't have sex.

14) You believe that the best way to fight terrorism is to alienate our allies and then demand their cooperation and money.

15) You believe that government medicine is wrong and that HMOs and insurance companies have your best interests at heart.

Potawatomi 10 years, 2 months ago

Here's the rest:

16) You believe that giving free health care to all Iraqis is sound government policy but giving free health care to Americans is socialism.

17) You believe that tobacco's link to cancer and global warming are "junk science", but Creationism should be taught in schools.

18) You believe that waging war with no exit strategy was wrong in Vietnam but right in Iraq.

19) You believe that Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney was doing business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

20) You believe that government should restrict itself to just the powers named in the Constitution, which includes banning gay marriages and censoring the internet.

21) You believe that the public has a right to know about the adulterous affairs of Democrats, while those of Republicans are a "private matter".

22) You believe that the public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades but that Bush was right to censor 28 pages from the Congressional 9.11 report because you just can't handle the truth.

23) You support state rights, which means Ashcroft telling states what locally passed voter initiatives he will allow them to have.

24) You believe that what Clinton did in the 1960's is of vital national interest but what Bush did in the 80s is "stale news" and "irrelevant".

25) You believe that trade with Cuba is wrong because it is communist, but trading with China and Vietnam is good for business.

1029 10 years, 2 months ago

I have to respectfully disagree with you, Potawatamie. I'm a Republican because I'm white, I hate people, and I like to see as much suffering as possible within society. Plus, I think taxes are stupid.

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

Potawatomi (Anonymous) says:

"25 Rules For Being a Good Republican..."

Whereas there's only one rule for being a good Democrat:

1) You're stupid enough to listen to cr*p like the stuff Potawatomi posted.

But then, the Democrats' claim to innocence over their role in the Iraq war is based on the contention that the administration fooled them ... what, 935 times or something? At least they're admitting they're pretty darned gullible.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

"Hitler and Stalin, both socialists, hated conservatives, blacks, jews and homosexuals."

Whatever they styled themselves as, Hitler and Stalin were both fascists, and could hardly be considered socialist.

Potawatomi 10 years, 2 months ago

pisafromthewest (Anonymous) says:

"Whereas there's only one rule for being a good Democrat:

1) You're stupid enough to listen to cr*p like the stuff Potawatomi posted.

But then, the Democrats' claim to innocence over their role in the Iraq war is based on the contention that the administration fooled them : what, 935 times or something? At least they're admitting they're pretty darned gullible."

Potawatomi Wrote: Good point on how the Republicans cheated and deceived the Democrats... What? 935 times or something.

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

Potawatomi (Anonymous) says:

"Good point on how the Republicans cheated and deceived the Democrats: What? 935 times or something."

Well, it's official ... you're a Democrat.

You're saying it's some kind of badge of honor that you're all (including most of the Dems who asked us to elect them president the last couple of go arounds) stupid enough to be fooled that many times? By a president that you all say is an idiot?

I don't know what business you're in, Pot, but someone who claims to have been "cheated and deceived" nearly a thousand times by someone they think is a moron really ought to look for a new line of work.

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

"How many aircraft were hijacked and used in a suicide mission by terrorists during the Clinton administration? Answer: None"

No, they just planned for it and trained for it, right here under Bill's nose. Shame it took so long for the training, he might have gotten to reap the rewards of his incompetency, and added a third terrorist attack to his collection.

All this, and you still haven't answered the simple question, maxh@le: What did Clinton do, in the years that he had warnings about the plot that was unfolding right under his nose, to stop it? You're going to try to say that it didn't actually happen until after he left office because of something he did? Not surprising ... that would make you as big a liar as you are a fool.

"Who, despite repeated warnings that an aircraft could be hijacked and used as a weapon, wanted to scrap what little air defense we had in place?"

You already answered your own question there, max1:

"Summer 2001: Pentagon plans reducing domestic air defenses still further During this period, apparently, there are only 14 fighter planes on active alert to defend the continental US (and six more defending Canada and Alaska). However, in the months before 9/11, rather than increase the number, the Pentagon was planning to reduce the number still further."

In other words, while they were considering reducing the number of available fighters further, they hadn't yet, and the lack of coverage was exactly the level set in place by the Clinton administration. Those are your facts, max1, and we thank you for pointing out just how much we have old Billy boy to thank for 9/11.

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

And yet more max1 cut-and-paste ramblings, that gee, still didn't answer the question.

What did Clinton do, knowing what he knew, to prevent the attacks by airliners against the United States, max? While they were training right here on U.S. soil? It's a simple question that even someone as simple as you should be able to understand, even though you can't answer it.

Okay, what the heck, I'll just have to give you the answer since you've had a few tries already. The reason why all your web sources can't answer the question for you is that Clinton did nothing, max. But that's okay, since he's a Democrat, right?

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

max1 (Anonymous) says:

" 'By golly' we're 'winning' in Iraq. -John McCain "we're not winning. We are losing." -Colin Powell"

Didja' happen to notice that there's over a year's difference between the time Colin Powell said we were losing and McCain said we were winning?

Windlass (Anonymous) says:

"That's an excellent list! I love it. Here's a few more "truths" -"

Refer back to my list of how to be a Democrat. You've outdone yourself.

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

max1 (Anonymous) says:

"Autumn 1998: US intelligence hears of a bin Laden plot involving aircraft in the New York and Washington areas..."

Nice list.

All during the administration of president Bush's predecessor.

Don't suppose you have links to what (in)action good ol' Bill took since he knew about it?

beatrice 10 years, 2 months ago

McCain & It Doesn't Matter.

No matter who McCain picks, Obama is going to be the next President of the United States. Republicans might as well just start planning now for 2012.

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

beatrice (Anonymous) says:

"No matter who McCain picks, Obama is going to be the next President of the United States."

Um, aren't you the same beatripe who made this comment:

I thought Hillary is the one who couldn't lose, bea?

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

max1 (Anonymous) says:

"Yep, Clinton caught the terrorist before he could do damage."

Newsflash for max1:

The terrorist had friends.

Nice cherry picking (not to mention subject changing) ... my comment you're replying to dealt specifically with the list in your 11:44 post, which all had to do with the terrorist attack by airplane on New York and Washington, which you so ably pointed out Mr. Clinton had plenty of warning about, and did nothing to stop those guys who were, at the time, taking flying lessons right here in the U.S..

But I guess if you just want to count people driving around with large quantities of explosives, Bill did catch one ... out of three. I suppose your link library is missing details on the first WTC bombing, not to mention Oklahoma City.

lori 10 years, 2 months ago

McCain/Powell McCain/Rice or McCain/Elizabeth Dole

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

Well, maxh@le, let's see:

1) You post a list of 6 instances where the Clinton administration had some warning that there may be a terrorist attack using airplanes, possibly against New York and Washington.

2) I refer specifically to that list and ask you what Billy-boy did to prevent that particular attack from happening.

3) You say he caught a terrorist who was not involved in the air attacks coming across the border with explosives in an unrelated plan to attack Los Angeles.

Well, it was from the same website, so it must have been somehow related. Good call.

sdinges 10 years, 2 months ago

I think you missed my point, Max1 - It doesn't matter what McCain's VP candidate -actually- stands for, or whether they are -actually- competent and substantial, or if they complement him.

All that matters is surface appearance. Youngish, black and female trumps all the Democrats' cards. Most voters are shallow. Don't give them too much credit.

If voters acted on something more than surface appearance, then Obama wouldn't be angry about that picture of him in African garb.

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