Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Evans and Novak VP Gossip

Well, here it is. All in all, an informative report.

Issues: Can carrying VA really trump all the negatives--including no charisma and few accomplishments--in the case of Kaine? I don’t believe he’s at the top of Obama’s list. I predicted Biden before, although Bayh would be better (both those choices would be from the standpoint of confidence in victory). In my opinion Rendell does look and sound presidential, and Bob Casey is just pathetic. The gay community will probably veto Nunn, and it’s true enough he hasn’t been in real politics for a long time. Gore and Hillary would be annoying gimmicks Barack doesn’t need.

More evidence that Romney is no. 1, although he’s not popular and Mac doesn’t like him. Pawlenty and Portman don’t offer what McCain needs, although for different reasons. Crist’s getting married late in life may allow Mac to pick a man he actually likes. I didn’t know about Jindal’s missteps in LA, or that Thune is an EARMARKER. Where is Sarah Palin??

Discussions - 19 Comments

Jindal's "missteps" actually demonstrate a good deal of character, if not prudence as well---here's a good summary of the issue:

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MTVjZTYxOWNhODZlOGVjMjdhNjk0MmJmNGQ1ZmU4MTE=

The more I read the more Romney looks like the most likely choice which is probably not a good thing for McCain's chances.

Selecting Romney would be a disaster.

He has to pick a strong Conservative, a REAL Conservative, and not someone who feigns it. And can't even feign it well.

Dear Professor Lawler,

During the primaries, Romney became the default candidate of many consevative writers and popularizers (I'm thinking Rush and National Review). This embrace of Romney was late and unenthusiastic, with the best arguments in Romney's favor being the weaknesses of McCain and Huck. There seemed to be little or no mass movement for Romney among the rank and file (there was a well drilled organization but it was swamped by Huck's genuine grass roots enthusiasm). Moderates seemed to have disdained Romney. Is it unreasonable to suggest that Romney does very little to help McCain among orthodox conservative voters, and might even be a drag with voters who are not strongly orthodox conservatives?

Pete, yes. The other two comments are on the money too.

Dear Prpfessor Lawler,

So it is an unreasonable suggestion?

Why are conservatives excited about defending the dunce that is Mitt. The guy is such an embarassment on many levels...who let the dogs out...his 100 flip-flops...his plastic looks...his fake smile. Although, as Pete points out, rank and file conservites are not--and never were--excited about Romney. The only people that like Romney are the power brokers because his managerial style assures them that their positions are safe.

If McCain picks Romney, it will show that he has caved to the right-wing power brokers. I will not defend Romney or work at all for the GOP if he is the VP nominee.

McCain's fundraising is growing, tell Mitt to stick his money and his Bush ties. What good are those ties anyway. The VP isn't about Geopolitics either, or hasn't been for a long time. Huckabee is still the lead dog in the hunt b/c he and McCain work well together and have balancing personalities. Pawlenty, and maybe that e-bay CEO are good ideas too.

I don't favor Huck. Of the three major GOP candidates with executive experience (along with Romney and Giuliani), he had the weakest record, and in a state that you would think was more open to conservative policies than New york City or Massachusetts. He didn't seem that interested in policy, and his view of the role of government seemed to be way too expansive for me. I don't want him as VP, but here is my best case for Huck as VP.

1. The evangelical factor. If white evangelicals had not come out in huge numbers and not voted for Bush by large margins, John Kerry would be President today. While not an evangelical himself, George W. Bush was able to rally that community behind him. McCain's less overtly religous style and clear lack of comfort with social issues hurts him with this group. His inability to connect with this group was part of the reason he did not win the Republican nomination in 2000. If McCain can not come close to the Bush margin among evangelicals, it endangers Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Missouri.Huck is a proven draw with evangelical voters and a conservative evangelical as VP might boost evangelical turnout and push it toward McCain.

2. Huck is a very good speaker and he would do a solid job of delivering McCain's message.

3. Huck is great at selling a socially conservative message in a way that McCain never will be. In the debates, Huck would be asked secularist leaning gotcha questions (usually along the lines of, "How can you believe in the Bible when it doesn't even mention dinosaurs?")and Huck would make the questioner look like an ignorant and vindictive jerk. And Huck did it nicely.

4. Huck is a master at hitting the low blow while looking like a nice guy. If you don't believe me ask Mitt Romney. This could be a valuable quality in a running mate, especially this year. Obama won't be brought down with meat cleaver style attacks. Obama seems like too much of a nice guy. Any effective attack on Obama will have to be more subtle and not seem too uncivil. Huck could be the guy to do that.

5. Huck seems to understand the stuggles of working class and lower middle class voters (unlike a certain former Senator from Texas). The McCain ticket could use someone who seems to feel the pain of those voters.

For the life of me, I don't understand this late infatuation for Mitt Romney. On top of his many problems, we must add as well that he was the fair-haired boy for the Bush family, as well as the groupies and roadies of the Bush clan, all of which desired Romney to get the nomination. To my mind, NOTHING identifies Romney so much a fraud than does the affection he commands of the Bush clan, {and their many and misguieded groupies and roadies...}.

So we have a guy who has far more of a track record flipping and flopping about on the issues than any Republican that I can think of; {feel free to toss in a name if he exceeds Romney for squalidly thrashing about on the major issues of our time}; we have a guy whose denominational preference mystifies good numbers of the party; and we have a guy who could be the poster child for Rockefeller Republicanism, -------------------------------- nonetheless some such as Laura Ingraham and Katherine J. Lopes actually EXTOL the guy.

Now were it merely a matter of bureaucratic and executive competence, ------ then I'd understand why they favour Romney. But that's not what's going on here. They favour Romney PRECISELY for his alleged Conservativism. Which to the rational mind, is non-existent.

Ingraham's political behavior of late is passing strange, to say the least. Not to mention she led a frenzied jihad against Giuliani. As if his nomination somehow would spell the end to Conservative resistance to Roe and its misbegotten progeny. Where has she been of late? Take a look at the numbers of Republican appointees to the high court who upheld the essentials of Roe. Hasn't it dawned on her that the GOP establishment hasn't any stomach for actually tossing abortion back to the several states? Whatever.

Pete, You've on the money on Huck's very considerable virtues, and if he hadn't dishonorably sucked up to McCain in the later primaries I would be very open to his choice as VP nominee. Huck certainly needs to brought into the campaign in a big way, and it should become obvious that he'll have a place in the McCain admin.
Although I think Romney would be a very competent president, I don't think he offers anything when it comes to winning the election. And one more ramble: I got two emails this morning from respected experts with more or less this message: You idiot, don't you know he's going to pick Lieberman. I can't be certain they're wrong.

Speaking as a political “dabbler” (and staunch conservative voter), all of these comments seem very informed and interesting to me as they compare the pros and cons of each possibility, what they bring to the “table”, and/or why they’d be a disaster. However, I can’t help thinking that this election, so far, has all been about IMAGE, not substance, popularity and perception, not position. The latest incarnation of American Idol (it’s not about who sings the best, but who would make the best celebrity).

From what I can see, if McCain picks a white male for VP, no matter what age, he might as well stay home for the rest of the race. To have any chance at all, he must pick a headline grabber, most likely a minority or a woman, who will generate lots of buzz among those who are not already going to vote for him. Of course, I myself want someone with a solid conservative record. And I think Mac is going to need someone who can attract the conservatives who are right now planning to stay home in droves in November. If I may quote Peter Lawler, “Where is Sarah Palin??”

How's this for a headline grabber:? McCain and running mate seek to be 44th consecutive white male White House.

Now that's making history.

I can tell 'ya that Lindsay Graham's staffers think it's going to be their guy. And they openly laugh at the notion that Romney is going to get it. They think that idea is a hoot.

Mechelle is right. Facts are facts about Mac needs to do to win: He has to pick a Christian woman (like Sarah P.) or minority (like Bobby J.). So we'd better hope he doesnt pick L. Graham, for example.

L Graham would be awful, and not just cause he's a white male.

The argument for Romney is simple: $$. He's a great fundraiser, and would donate his own funds. The McCain camp is hurting for $$. However, McCain had a great June fundraising-wise, and Obama's fundraising, while enormous, declines each month --a good trend. So the pressure seems to be moving away from Romney, not toward him.

Why not Pawlenty? What McCain needs is 35 electoral votes (as the map currently stands). MN, MI, WI are all said to be tight, and perhaps Pawlenty, an R who managed to get re-elected --in Minnesota!--in 2006, could swing 'em Mac's way? What does anyone else named here bring in terms of electoral votes?

I still like Lieberman. Picking a woman or a minority is one of the worse things McCain could possibly do.

To John, I talked to a brillliant and cultivated evangelical intellectual yesterday. He asked me with great sincerity, why should I vote McCain? Now he probably will, but his sincerity reflects the realities of turnout and enthusiasm. Lieberman would not rally the base; his choice would "say" that domestic issues don't matter at all. I like Lieberman too, that has nothing to do with it.

RC2 nails the Romney argument, and the better Mac's fundraising, the weaker Romney's chances.

I'm not even sure a minority or woman would help politically. All the "cool"/guppy people are voting for Obama anyway. A middle-aged white guy will appeal to Mac's base of older white working folk. Why give them a bigger excuse to stay home by making McCain's ticket unorthodox. Go with Mac and Huck, or Pawlenty and frame the election as who are you comfortable with. Not many people over 45 are going to resist that image, and they vote more than the 18-35 crowd.

But Dr. Lawler who is to say that Lieberman would "say" that domestic issues don't matter?

Lieberman might just as well signal that McCain is a man who values loyalty, and that he(McCain) is a man who makes his decisions on a VP on the basis character suited to the office.

I would ask your brilliant and cultured evangelical friend if he thinks it wise to marry a person with the hope that they will change. The consensus appears to be no. Who could McCain pick that would signal something that does not appear to simply be a signal?

I am opposed to the idea of McCain picking a woman or a minority simply because I believe that it will simply be seen as signaling. In fact I am well aware that you roll in much higher circles than I do, and in general I would hypothesize that as proximity to interpreting signals decreases the meaning of those signals is dilluted.

Here is what I think the buzz will be if McCain picks a woman or a minority:"Hey, Matt did ya hear that McCain picked a black woman to be VP?"

"Funny thing, James those Dems near killed themselves fighting so that one or the other would occupy the top slot, and Republicans figure that if they put both on the bottom they can assure that one doesn't get the top slot."

I would suggest that it might be delivered on the Colbert report, except that its sheer commoness would nullify the funny factor.

The other thing that it would be likely to nullify is the charge that republicans aren't playing identity politics, but that Obama is.

A lot of pundits it seem take the view that various demographics be they women or minorities are represented by groups like NOW or the NAACP or even the AARP...and certainly these groups have some support...but I would hazard to guess that they don't speak for everyone they claim to represent.

Certainly you would be hard pressed to suggest that McCain could or should draw from these groups. Yet I would suggest that if he wants to pick off moderates he should draw from those dissenting from these groups. And he should play up the "Maverick" credentials by running with it. The choice of Lieberman thus has interesting play on the Maverick front, because it is a real life example of a lifelong democrat breaking from his party.

In other words the choice of Lieberman(if VP selections are capable of signaling) is about the only credible concrete position from which to launch a credible attack on the rhetoric of Obama.

But the choice of Lieberman also puts signaling itself on trial, by bringing into question just how much leway politicans really have up against the inertia of party apparatus.

It is not in question who these various interest groups will support. I could have forcasted in 2000 that NOW and the NAACP would endorse the democratic candidate in 2008 and that the NRA would support the Republican. It is largely rubber stamped.

So being a "maverick" means in some sense not being rubber stamped. Yet being rubber stamped is in some sense a quality assurance question.

Maybe McCain could transition being "maverick" into home schooling?

Why vote for McCain?

My answer: "Is there a rubber stamp I can put on him that would outweight what you are already inclined to think that he is?"

Basically we are back in the Hegelian Dialectic: subjectivity vs. way of the world/authority.

Back to a question of accreditation.

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