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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

John McCain Veepstakes

The as-expected West Virginia victory does not change the race at all, despite a well executed, if not unoriginal speech from Senator Hillary Clinton. She is still facing the most difficult of mathematics. She is still facing a nearly impossible road to the nomination. She still either a) doesn't seem to realize she has no realistic chance or b) she doesn't care about the possible collateral damage her extended campaign is having on the Democratic Party's chances in November.

Since there was no change in the primary's narration last night, and it's been over a month since I've directly addressed the Republican Party due to obvious reasons, let's look ahead a bit. It will soon be time to gear up for the general election, an election to which I have been patiently looking forward.

So while we await Oregon and Kentucky numbers for the rest of the week, I'll try to project the competing tickets for the general election. Today I'll begin a two-day look at the top 10 VP candidates for John McCain and on Friday I'll do the same for Barack Obama. I'll return to the Democratic Primary on Monday.

Here's my take on McCain's top 10 VP list, ranked by whom I think he'll choose.

Considerations that did not make the list: Sam Brownback (Doesn't mesh with McCain), JC Watts, Michael Steele, (African-American vote not up for grabs), Condoleezza Rice (No AA's, no politics, and too close to the President), Fred Thompson (too old), Newt Gingrich (too overshadowing), Jeb Bush (too Bush).

10. Sarah Palin (Governor, Alaska)
Working under the assumption that Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, there is undoubtedly going to be a lot of disappointed female voters who are up for grabs across the country. Sarah Palin would be an excellent olive branch to a gender that consistently leans Democratic. She not only brings executive experience to balance McCain's legislative work, but she might be the most popular executive in the country. Indeed, in a poll taken in 2007, she had an astounding approval rating of 84% with only 5% disapproval. Other strengths include her strong pro-life stance and she's voiced an opinion against gay marriage, two core conservative tenants that will be welcome to Republicans who are skeptical of a McCain nomination.

Of course, there are nine people ranked higher on this list for a reason. First, the 44-year-old governor was elected governor in 2006, and with less than a year-and-a-half of statewide experience, she could be considered too green for the ticket (even if the average age of her and McCain is a perfect 58). Second, she has very little name recognition across the country, and even though that isn't her fault, it is something McCain and the Republican brain trust could be concerned with when selecting the #2. Finally, she brings nothing to the table geographically, as Alaska's three electoral votes consistently go red, and the state will not attract any region of the country, unless the Yukon Territory is somehow annexed and incorporated by November.

9. Joe Lieberman (Senator, Connecticut)I had to include him, if for no other reason than to once again bring up the Dream Election (2007 article), one of my first political articles. Of course, the Dream Election was only feasible if the conservative base screwed over McCain after he patiently waited for eight years after losing to then-Governor Bush. (McCain would run third party for his last hurrah, and he'd run on the platform of bipartisanship, targeting the moderate and Independent third of the country. To secure the middle ground, he would run with former Democrat Joe Lieberman, with whom McCain is famously friends. This would split the country in three parts, Democrat, Republican, and In-between.)

Alas, McCain has won the nomination, and a look at his struggle with the conservative base reveals that to select a former Democrat as his VP would be general election suicide. Still, if McCain wants to run on an aggressive foreign policy and an end to partisan politics, his buddy Joe Lieberman would be the perfect running mate.

8. Mike Huckabee (Former Governor, Arkansas)Would there be a more fun and amiable #2 to see in debates and campaigning across the country? Huckabee brings executive experience, the southern geography, experience in a national campaign, and nearly unrivaled charisma and genuineness for a politician.

Of course, ultimately, thanks to questionable fiscal conservative credentials, Huckabee was the third least preferred candidate of the conservative media and the far right (after Paul and McCain), and probably does not help McCain's desire to consolidate the Republican base.

7. Jim DeMint (Senator, South Carolina)
He's a southerner with a 100% conservative rating in 2006. That is crucial considering some conservative's dislike for John McCain. He is the perfect balance for McCain... but he's a Senator with no executive experience from a state that is not in play.

6. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Senator, Texas)
See Sarah Palin for the obvious reason. Additionally, Hutchison, in her third term, is the female Republican Senator with the most seniority, so inexperience is not a factor. She is from a southern state, which holds the geographical base of the party. She has a consistent conservative record.

Of course, Texas is in no danger of going to the Democrats, especially with Obama's nomination. Furthermore, she has no executive experience. Perhaps most importantly, she has said she does not want the VP nomination.

I'll see you for the top 5 in Part 2 of the McCain Veepstakes tomorrow.


DMZDave said...

Senator Hutchison doesn't have executive experience? She was president of candy company with national sales, president of a bank and Treasurer of the State of Texas. Frankly she has more execuitve experience than Hillary or Barack Obama combined.

Monica said...

Seems like every time I see McCain on TV, Lieberman's standing within ten feet of him, dressed in a conservative blue suit, head tilted just a bit down, hands clasped over his crotch. I think they're an item.

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