McCain’s VP Selection Headache

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on

If the stakes were high for the Democrats – what with having to unify the party and all – the stakes are undeniably higher for the Republicans.  Why?

John McCain’s selection of Vice President could have the effect of creating disunity among the Republicans.  The Republicans can’t chance that, seeing as how they’ve been relatively unified for some time now.  Even many of those who were starkly against McCain at the beginning are beginning to shelve their pride (publicly at least) and are backing McCain.

So, it is a fine line that John McCain walks as he decides on his running mate.  The wrong choice could cause him major headaches.

Since I’m in a list mood tonight, we’ll go that way in looking at the prospects that are said to be in the running in these final hours before his announcement:

  • Mitt Romney: One of McCain’s biggest opponents in the primaries, Romney might bring some economic street cred to a ticket.  He’s also fairly charismatic, which can only be a boon to a McCain ticket (even my really liberal grandparents like him).  He would also make a good attack dog.  The problems with Romney are three-fold: 1) He was McCain’s biggest opponent, which the Democrats will focus on in the same way the Republicans are focusing on Biden’s statements during the primaries.; 2) His Mormonism might play against him in some circles, though I think evangelicals might look past this in order to win.; 3) He had some major change in political views before running for President, going from rather liberal to rather conservative on many issues in a short span of time.  See #1.
  • Joe Lieberman/Tom Ridge: One is a Senator, the other was a governor and first Secretary of Homeland Security.  Both can claim points on national security.  Both are also supporters of abortion.  Lieberman has a definite liberal record on many issues.  Both might be able to bring in Independents.  Lieberman is also friends with McCain, which could only help.  Working with a friend is undoubtedly easier than working with an enemy.
  • Tim Pawlenty: He also has economic street cred, seeing as how he balanced the budget in his first term without raising taxes.  He cut a lot of welfare and transportation funding to do it, but he did it.  Yet, he also raised the amount of ethanol mixed with gas, which earned him some ire with conservatives.  On the other hand, he has 15 total year in state politics.  Of course, as Republicans would have us know, his time in the Minnesota House of Representatives means nothing, since that’s apparently not real politics.  So, if you follow that truth, he only has two more years of real experience than Obama.

Out of this left, I think Pawlenty is the best choice for McCain, in terms of keeping party unity, anyway.  He has an issue with not many people knowing who he is, so McCain’s campaign would have to work on that.  However, that’s also a boost for him, since he has few political ghosts.

Of course, I just read that McCain has possibly picked Ridge, so I might be completely off the mark.

We ought to know for sure in about 9 hours or so.

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