Thursday, May 22, 2008

Top ten McCain Vice Presidential picks

May 16, 2008
Top ten McCain Vice Presidential picks
Daniel Finkelstein

McCain needs to pick his partner very carefully. A heartbeat away from the Presidency matters more when the heart in question will be 72 at the time of the inauguration. Here are some of the suggestions:

1) Tim Pawlenty

The Governor of Minnesota is at the top of many pundit's lists. The Springsteen fan likes to emphasise his working class roots and has managed to win twice in a traditionally Democratic state. He's renowned for his personal and rhetorical skills and liked by left and right. The one to watch.

2) Joe Lieberman

Connecticut Senator Lieberman bridges the political divide. A former Democrat, he still supports most of their policies but is also in favour of the Iraq war. He's made presidential and vice-presidential runs before and is an old friend of John McCain. The two Senators were together on the recent UK trip of McCain's and were frequently see yukking it up. But age is a big, big issue. Lieberman is 66. Together the ticket will add up to 138 years of experience.

3) Mitt Romney

McCain and Romney fell out several times during the Republican nomination race. But they've been cozying up of late and Romney has been spotted fundraising with McCain in the west. The worse the economy gets, the higher his chances. His impeccable financial credentials are his strongest card. He would make McCain seem more conservative (probably - Romney is, ahem, flexible). This would help with the base but would it put off independents?

4) Condoleezza Rice

The dream ticket for some. The nightmare for others. The Secretary of State's race and gender would boost the Republican argument that they're not just a party for white men. Condi speaks five languages and would provide some much-needed foreign policy clout. The odds of selecting her might have been higher if Clinton had wrapped up the Democratic nomination. But no-one would sneeze at this option. So what's not to like (if you are a Republican)? In a word - Bush. McCain's presidential bid won't fly if he is tethered to the President. And wouldn't Condi do just that?

5) Charlie Crist

Also a popular option. The popular Governor of Florida might bring the swing-state with him, and he's not even a Bush. The Times has written before about the likelihood of him making VP. He appeals to both independents and more conservative Republicans. A possible snag? He's single and has been forced to repeatedly defend his sexuality. Or is that a snag?

6) Bobby Jindal

The Governor of Louisiana, his name's cropped up several times recently. He's made waves with ethics reform in his homestate. The child of Indian immigrants, he'd add some diversity to the ticket and, at just 36, years old, he's half McCain's age. He also has a strong background in healthcare.

7) Sarah Palin

A former Miss Congeniality, the young Alaska senator has made quite a splash. The first female governor of her state, she might help bring women into the fold. And her strong support of family values and pro-life views will appeal to Republican voters who might be alienated by McCain's more maverick opinions.

8) Colin Powell

The former Secretary of State is a much-loved and well-respected moderate. But his denouncement of the Iraq mission may make him less appealing to McCain. Another catch? He's advised Barack Obama on foreign policy and praised him heavily in the past. An endorsement isn't out of the question.

9) Haley Barbour

The Governor of Mississippi would help secure the South. He's been head of the RNC and no-one could quibble with his conservatism. Knows everyone in politics but there is one large cloud hanging over his head. A series of Katrina-related ethics violations were alleged last summer. McCain might decide to steer clear.

10) Mike Huckabee:

If he really wants to propitiate the base, McCain should go with Huckabee. The former Arkansas Governor scored surprisingly well during the nomination campaign, taking Ohio, Kansas, Louisiana and West Virginia. And McCain would get two for one. Huckabee's bound to bring celebrity endorser Chuck Norris along for the ride. On the other hand, the guy doesn't even believe in the theory of evolution.

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