Tuesday, August 19, 2008

McCain’s Most Effective VP Selection, Ones Not Talked About and What to Do With the Best of Those Who Are

There are several candidates who can add momentum and broad appeal to the McCain campaign. It’s crucial that they be explored in selecting a vice president. The McCain campaign needs to build national momentum, a key element in any presidential race, and one crucial momentum building moment is that of the vice presidential selection.

John McCain can pick a conservative veep without doing any damage. The best picks in this category are, not surprisingly, names not being touted by the media. They include Sen. John Thune and former Rep. J.C. Watts. Both would do no harm to the McCain campaign’s broad appeal and would even help the ticket. Watts would be a momentum builder and Thune would do well in the Midwest as well as bring some momentum, having not long ago received national attention for his successful campaign against former Senate leader Daschle.

Rep. Mike Pence, Rep. John Shadegg and Sen. Tom Coburn are also good choices. They would bring to the campaign a reformist message that should be highlighted. The broad media will try to paint this message and they themselves as “extremists,” but as people are clamoring for smaller more effective government, the McCain campaign can easily overcome this message and they can end up being huge assets to the ticket.

Another consideration worthy of mention is Hawaii’s Governor Linda Lingle. She’s another Republican the media won’t mention. Born in Missouri and elected (and reelected) in a very Democratic state, she’s an intriguing choice for a national ticket. The drawback is that she’s largely unknown. Both Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman also bolster the McCain ticket on economic issues and both would gain wide acceptance.

In This Election, The Most High Reward Choices Are the Best Ones, Provided…..

Additionally, two of the names that are being touted by the media would be excellent choices, provided they agree to one condition, a condition that is key. Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge offer McCain a unique chance to broaden his electoral support. But he must pay heed to his most active and supportive base as well. Is there a way to accomplish both? One would say yes, and for good reason.

Either of these two candidates can and should make a pledge that if they were to assume office under any circumstance, despite whatever personal views to the contrary, they would uphold John McCain’s policies. They must also pledge to appoint strict constructionist judges, ones he would appoint, out of respect to him, to the electorate that voted for these policies in voting for him, and to the dedicated party workers who worked tirelessly on the campaign.

Appointing either Ridge or Lieberman also bodes well for the GOP base. Were McCain to appoint a vice president who was only acceptable to economic or to social conservatives, yet held a chance at being the party’s nominee in the future, the backlash from the other side of the party would be intense and rightly so. (Incidentally, Mike Huckabee would have less of a problem in this regard, as his economic record, when examined fairly, is that of a conservative, as can easily be pointed out. But even though his economic conservatism mixed with pragmatism and social stances are popular with a broad spectrum of the electorate, he is not the type of national conciliation candidate that Ridge and Lieberman are. He’ll make a great candidate in the future, after reaching out to and working with all parts of the party. But being nominated now to the veep slot wouldn’t help him or broaden our appeal in this cycle). Neither Ridge nor Lieberman have such aspirations.

Selecting a vice president who would resonate with the broader public seems to be crucial this year. And all who want to do whatever they can to stop the far left Obama ticket should realize this, so long as they don’t need to compromise their principles in doing so. A firm pledge as outlined above allows for this to happen.

In the eyes of the public, the most deplorable elements of this election are the media saturation that led to voter fatigue and the partisan bickering that led to the disdain of same. To counter voter fatigue we need to take a bold step in countering their other pet peeve, partisan bickering. Selecting Lieberman or Ridge would do that. In fact, selecting one of them may be McCain’s only way of doing so.

I’d encourage them to agree to the above imperative condition. Doing so is in the nation’s interest and strengthens the McCain ticket as few other choices can. And should they do so, they would be John McCain’s best choices for vice president.

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