Saturday, July 26, 2008

Leave the Mittens behind, McCain!

By Rick Morris

Disturbing reports continue to leak out of the John McCain camp indicating that the brown-nose campaign of Mitt Romney and Hugh Hewitt, which began during Romney's concession speech back in February, is having a significant effect and may well lead to a Republican McCain-Romney ticket. DON'T DO IT, JOHN! [See, just to prove my sincerity, I did not refer to him as "Juan McCain."]

I would refer McCain and his peeps to my Romney take-down of last October 17, in which I pithily summed up the major arguments against Mitt Romney ever being allowed anywhere near the levers of power in a country that purports to be a serious-minded constitutional republic. Searching on the Romney tabs on this site alone would provide enough reasons to go against Romney, let alone what's available on the rest of the old Interwebs.

But I'll make my closing argument to John McCain on a visceral, grudge-filled level. It's well-known that McCain makes many arguments for and against dealing with people based on whether he likes or dislikes them, and dislike for others does not fade easily for him. Just in case he's reaching a sufficient comfort level with his sycophantic former rival and beginning to fall for the idiotic JFK/LBJ "parallels of 1960" that every desperate campaign trots out as a reason to pick somebody completely out of sync with the top of the ticket, consider these more relevant examples:

^ 2004: John Kerry more or less had John Edwards forced on him by Democratic insiders after Edwards waged a shameless public VP campaign for months. In a campaign that was very close and where Edwards failed to make any kind of a difference, do you think that Kerry might want a mulligan on that decision?

^ 1996: Bob Dole always had a tenuous-at-best relationship with the supply-side wing of the Republican Party (due to Dole's lack of understanding of how economic forces work). When he finally broke through and captured the GOP nomination, he knew he had to find somebody to excite the base -- since they were notably ho-hum about him. His reluctant choice? Kemp. Did Kemp play attack dog on the Democrats that fall? Nope. Would Dole make the same choice again? Nope.

These are just the two most recent examples of a nominee swallowing his bile and choosing to share his once-in-a-lifetime spot on a national ticket with somebody who he probably did not exchange Christmas cards with before or (certainly) since. Now, as my fellow FDH Lounge Dignitary points out to me, Reagan/Bush in 1980 is an example that cuts the other way, but this is at best a mixed bag. Is the sacrifice of personal trust and comfort between a nominee and his second-in-command worth the tradeoff when the brass ring is within reach? In a vacuum, not necessarily, and when the choice is the Romnoid, not at all.

In the interest of being helpful, here are the only good choices for McCain:

1. Bobby Jindal: A brilliant and proven mechanic in terms of government reform, he reinforces all of the (good) aspects of the McCain economic and governing message. Along with Alaska's Sarah Palin and South Carolina's Mark Sanford, he is one of the three best governors in the country. Palin is now having a few troubles in her administration, so she's sadly dropping off the radar and Sanford is (unfairly) not being considered because he was not on the McCain bandwagon during the South Carolina primaries. Fred Thompson is another pick at least as good as these three, but insipid fear of the "two old white guys" ticket will sink what would be on substance an outstanding selection.

2. Eric Cantor: While I as a paleocon am a bit wary of the blank check for militarism that he seems to indicate that he would extend to Israel, he's so good and so principled on so many issues that I think he's on balance a great and exciting choice.

3. Tim Pawlenty: Acceptable on social conservative grounds, acceptable on economic grounds, good blue-collar pedigree. Not the most inspiring of choices, but at least not an empty suit like Romney, Charlie Crist, Bushee Rob Portman, Tom Ridge or any of the other wannabees.

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