Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Veep Sweepstakes begin

unless Mitt and Mike's gods decide to work together and miraculously get them back in the race the nomination is John McCain's and so in these last days of February (!) it's only natural to start strategizing and hypothesizing and guessisizing who his running mate will be...6 months before the Republican National Convention. I must say my first choice would have been like Colin Powell but I didn't realize he was so old- where has the time gone? or maybe Condi to snatch the black and woman vote, though of course her association with GWeeB and possibly being a lesbian wouldn't really work.

George Will throws in his few cents in this WaPo column

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 him 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, which Bush won, McCain must keep Florida's 27. Crist won the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary 64 to 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 Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. As a political director in the Reagan White House and as national party chairman, 1993-97, 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 programs.

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 past 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.

Pat Tomey, who as president of the conservative Club for Growth probably carries a bit more influence than Will offered up five acceptable candidates earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal

The Republican Party spent decades building its brand as the party of small government, free enterprise and fiscal discipline. That brand put Ronald Reagan in the White House in 1980 and gave Republicans control of Congress in 1994. When it became clear two years ago that Republicans had abandoned those principles, voters swept them from power.

The path back requires re-establishing the GOP as a party of limited government and economic freedom. This is essential to Mr. McCain's political future, the fortune of his party, and the economic well-being of the nation. And the first big indication that he intends to bring back the party of Reagan will be who Mr. McCain taps as his running mate.

- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford: If there is a governor anywhere in America who has demonstrated a commitment to economic conservatism, it is Mr. Sanford. The mild-mannered former congressman has been willing to wage spending fights even against members of his own party. Facing an inherited $155 million deficit, Mr. Sanford vetoed 106 spending items. When the Republican legislature over-rode all but one of his vetoes, he carried two pigs into the Capitol, one named Pork the other Barrel.

Mr. Sanford also pushed through property and small-business tax cuts. As a member of Congress, Mr. Sanford was a reliable opponent of legislation expanding the size of government, and a supporter of personal accounts for Social Security before it was politically acceptable. He was also a champion of school choice.

- South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint: When it comes to fighting government spending in Washington, Mr. DeMint can be found on the frontlines. Mr. DeMint, a strong believer in the power of free-market solutions, has introduced a number of bills to restrict the federal government's reach. He's proposed legislation that would allow Americans to buy health insurance across state lines, opening the health-care market to greater competition. He is pushing legislation that would improve on the No Child Left Behind Act by expanding school-choice options and empowering parents and local officials. Mr. DeMint has also taken aim at the burdens Sarbanes-Oxley imposed on our public companies. He wants to repeal the death tax. And he's an ardent free trader, never wavering on the issue even when viciously attacked during his 2004 Senate race.

Indiana Rep. Mike Pence: Over seven years in Congress, the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee has established himself as a principled, determined conservative. An active defender of political speech, Mr. Pence voted against McCain-Feingold campaign-finance restrictions and led the fight against the ironically named Fairness Doctrine, designed to limit the speech of conservative talk radio. On taxes, Mr. Pence has been a strong proponent of tax cuts, calling the death tax "an economic growth killer." Mr. Pence opposed the Republican-backed Medicare prescription drug bill, calling it "the beginning of socialized medicine in America." Instead, he introduced the Small Business Health Insurance Act to make it easier for small businesses to purchase health insurance.

Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm: [Ed. Note: He's still alive?!] He is best known for the spending reduction measure that bears his name, the Gramm-Rudman law, which required automatic budget cuts if the deficit was not decreased to specified levels. But Mr. Gramm is a stellar economic conservative across the board. To quote him, he was "conservative before conservative was cool." Before retiring from the Senate in 2002, he led fights against energy price caps, the "windfall profits" tax on oil companies, President Bill Clinton's tax hikes and Hillary Clinton's health-care behemoth. And he fought for welfare reform. He has fought against big-government measures like increasing mileage standards on automakers and voted against McCain-Feingold.

Forbes Inc. CEO Steve Forbes: While Mr. Forbes is an out-of-the-box pick, the desire for an outsider this year is huge. And with voters also worried about the economy, Mr. Forbes would be a natural complement to Mr. McCain. Given Mr. McCain's acknowledged unfamiliarity with economic issues, Mr. Forbes would provide the Arizona senator with instant credibility both with conservatives and independents who respect Mr. Forbes' business acumen. In addition, Mr. Forbes's ardent support for free trade, personal accounts for Social Security, the flat tax, school choice and less government overall has made him a darling of economic conservatives.

But whoever Johnny Mac picks ( it probably won't be Newt, even though he's offered himself) and I'm leaning toward Crist or Sanford but one thing is reasonably sure, he, or maybe she will have to toe Johnny's line on Castro ""I hope he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon."
Oh snap!
And people dare to think McCain's a communist plant

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