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Three Bad Possible McCain Choices

...for VP nominee are promoted by Fred Barnes. Fred seems most enthusiastic about Tom Ridge, who wouldn’t, in fact, win PA for Mac and would hurt him big-time with social conservatives everywhere. Again, I’m not being politically correct but only social scientific when I say that picking a boring (even if experienced) white man would be an unforced error on McCain’s part.

Discussions - 24 Comments

Count on Barnes to get it wrong.

It should be recalled by one and all, that Barnes signed up for the the Meirs nomination.

I'm from Pennsylvania, and I can assure you that Ridge is a stiff, a major league, USDA certified stiff. Now I know that everyone can't be Mr. Personality. But of Ridge, it can well and truly be said, that he treats his vocational calling, which is to be one of the greatest stiffs in Pennsylvania history, with the utmost gravity.

Barnes's idea that Rep. Cantor would help McCain with Jewish voters is delusional.

If these are the best we can find for Veep, then I suggest we follow the adage "What would Reagan do?" (that seems to be an obsession with the numbskulls on talk radio). Specifically, in 1976, while battling for the GOP nomination, he picked Richard Schweiker, one of the most liberal republicans in the Senate, to be his running mate. This was supposed to convert Rockefeller Republicans to the Reagan Camp.
Well, I say McCain could do the same thing; get someone from a region of the country where the GOP is weak, and who is not from the conservative wing of the party. For instance, how about Lincoln Chaffee, Jim Jeffords (a fellow maverick), or Christie Todd Whitman? That would be the ticket!

The political analysis is questionable. The idea that Cantor will add a substantial number of Jewish votes is ludicrous. He's too young, too conservative, and not from a Jewish area. The idea that Portman will be a game-changer in parts of Ohio is less ludicrous, but still suspect. A young congressman or ex-congressman(!) will not be accepted as a heavy hitter by voters concerned about McCain's age -- i.e., his possible incapacity or death in office. It does nothing to reinforce one of McCain's few advantages, the fact that Obama is such a young guy, in the bad sense of the word. In addition, Portman was in the Bush administration, which is a net minus. Ridge still seems a fair possibility to me (even though he was in the administration), but Barnes doesn't give us a case for why he'd win Pennsylvania. He merely asserts it as a probability. I don't know to what extent Ridge is seen (and disliked) as a stiff in PA, or to what extent he would be in OH. But Barnes should have addressed the issue. If one of our posters think he's a stiff, many other people must as well. As it stands, the Barnes piece is a thumbsucker that's of little help to us.

3: Heh! Good point, "Dante."

Clarification of my #4: Cantor is too conservative *to bring in Jewish voters.*

I like Eric Cantor, and he runs a good staff. But Cantor isn't going to deliver the Jewish vote.

There is a segment of the Jewish vote that is so espoused to the Left, that it's now beyond reason. David Horowitz develops that point in his book, The Politics of Bad Faith.

Absolutely right. It's a large segment.

Christie Whitman is one of the sincerest people I've ever met in politics--a genuinely decent and kindly person. (Unlike her Republican predecessor in the New Jersey governorship, Tom Kean, who, beneath that country-club exterior is a very tough and calculating pol). She is also a liberal, so she would add to the skepticism of conservatives about McCain's candidacy. Not sure that he needs any more erosion at the base of his party.

I fell asleep reading this article. No . . . these suggestions won't do. I've heard that McCain is using "Google" and the blogs to help him learn what people are thinking about his possible VP choices. If he stumbles upon this I sure hope he takes Lawler's advice to heart. But let me repeat: BORING is the problem and the thing above all others to be avoided. White and male may not be assets for a candidate coming out of the box in this election, but they needn't be handicaps if the guy is not boring. Of course, it will be more more difficult for a white guy to prove he's not boring in this political season. But at some point I think (or, more to the point, I hope) it will be necessary for all the non-boring and non-white or non-male people to prove that they are something other than "exciting" or "fresh" because of this fact alone. Of course, I'd like to see excitement sustained because of their ideas rather than because of their sex or color . . . but I don't think it is foolish to acknowledge that sex or color may initiate the interest and begin the excitement. It is naive to deny it.

Colouration can't provide excitement. There has to be a certain confidence, a certain glint in the eye, a certain zeal for political combat, an ease before the camera.

Which is why I suggested earlier Rick Santorum, who has twentyfold the personality of most of those suggested, except Bobby Jindal. The woman from Alaska seems an interesting choice too. But I need to learn more about her.

If he hadn't had his clocked cleaned in the last election (and the facts here don't matter as long as we're talking about perceptions) I'd agree with you, Dan. Whatever technicalities can be marshaled as evidence to support the contention that it was not Santorum's fault, etc., etc. are going to fall on deaf ears now. He is too close to defeat to eek out victory right now.

Dear Professor Lawler,

Some pros and cons on Gov. Ridge.

1. Pro - Great resume. Vietnam war hero, member of the House of Reps, two term governor of a big state and a national security orientented cabinet post. McCain and Ridge could be the "Ready to be President ticket".

2. Pro - Ridge looks like a President. That might be shallow but its a consideration. Looks are one reason why guys like George W. Bush and Barak Obama get nominated and more accomplished guys like John Engler don't.

3. Con - Who thinks Ridge did a bang up job at the Department of Homeland Security? Who wants a Vice Presidential candidate associated with the Bush Department of Homeland Security?

4 Con - Ridge is pro choice. Barnes tries to argue that Ridge could have a convenient pro life conversion just like George H. W. Bush in 1980. Probably not. Conservatives already distrust McCain on his commitments to border security and the Bush tax cuts. Ridge would give conservatives every reason to distrust the Republican ticket on domestic issues.

10: Being boring is a problem, but it's only one of the problems that McCain should watch out for, and not necessarily the worst one. Let's remember, too, that even minorities and women can be boring.

Pete, Good list, but the Cons overwhelm the Pros.

McCain could do the same thing; get someone from a region of the country where the GOP is weak, and who is not from the conservative wing of the party.

McCain is not from a part of the country where the GOP is weak. But McCain is not from the conservative wing of the party. (To put it mildly.) So I think that appeal, if it is an appeal, is already taken care of.

There is a Pennsylvanian worth considering, who isn't a stiff like Ridge, nor is tainted like Santorum, and I'm surprised it hasn't dawned on me before.

He's a former Lt. Gov., who took over for Ridge, and his name is MARK SCHWEIKER, {sp?}.

Schweiker is ENORMOUSLY popular, and would have handily won the seat outright against Rendell, had he chosen to run; but he decided to spend more time with the family.

The Schweiker name is very well known in Pennsylvania.

But I don't know if he's pro-life.

But he's somebody to consider, if you're looking for a Pennsylvanian that is.

The "woman from Alaska" is a pro-abortion liberal who was appointed to the Senate by her father. She won Alaska in her last election by 3%, even though Alaska is an overwhelmingly Republican state. Yeah, that's definitely what we need. A liberal who got her job through nepotism, who can barely hold on to what should be one of the safest seats in the country.

I assume the woman from Alaska is the governor of Alaska, who has none of those shortcomings.

No. 17: Respectfully, I don't think that a former Lieutenant Governor, who left politics to "spend more time with his family" and hasn't been heard from since, would make a credible candidate to be next-in-line to the presidency, in his own state or anywhere else.

No. 17: Having re-read your comment, I gather that Schweicker became governor when Ridge ascended to glory in the Federal Bureau of Colored Lights. But the bottom line does not change: the highest office the man was elected to was lieutenant governor, and, once he inherited the governorship, he did not have the gumption to run for it in his own right. Not vice presidential matieral. Also, from the name, I would bet that the man you're referring to is the son of (or otherwise related to) Senator Schweicker, a Rockefeller Republican of the '70s. If so, there's a good chance the Schweicker you're boosting is a RINO.

20: Ditto. What you said.

I didn't mean the Senator from Alaska, rather the Governor.

And DJF, I criticized Schweiker for not running for the office of Governor in his own right. But I was one of the only ones. In fact, I ran into a great deal of flak at this very blog for demanding that Republicans read the riot act to Schweiker, and tell him that he's running whether he likes it or not.

Many here waxed enthusiastic over Schweiker for bailing on Pennsylvania Republicans, and ditching them for his family.

Is Schweiker expereinced enough? Was GW? The question isn't how much time he's had in public office, the question is how seriously he's addressed himself to the issues of our time. GW for instance occupies high office, and often chirps about islam, but it's painfully clear the guy has little or no genuine familiarity with what he's talking about. So office alone insures nothing. What's determinative is how much time the guy has spent on the issues, and that means real time, not that time spent by Bush for instance, who has put in some time poring over politically correct tomes regarding islam.

Ronald Reagan held no public office or trust between his leaving the California's Governor's mansion, and his entering The White House, -------------------- but he was ready, more than ready, because he kept himself abreast of the serious issues of the time, and he had developed by then a serious body of thought on public policy, the role of government, separation of powers, foreign policy. Those that said he was an amiable dunce only demonstrated their own lack of savvy, not to mention their own viciousness. Reagan soon proved himself equal to the challenge.

Somebody ought to at least go talk wtih Schweiker, and somebody ought to run a cursory check.

It's not like we've got a deep bench right now. I hope McCain doesn't do something brain dead like tapping Lindsay Graham.

As for Schweiker being a Rockefeller Republican, sure his dad Richard was, but I don't think that's the case with his son, Mark. I'm not as versed on Schweiker's political positions as I am on a Pennsylvanian like Santorum. I'm not even sure Schweiker is pro-life.

I just threw his name out there, but he was popular, he didn't get blown out, and there's some value in going after Pennsylvania. But Schweiker should be checked out, if you're determined to go after Pennsylvania.

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