Right Wing News kicks around some names that might be on the short list for John McCain’s running mate. It’s an interesting list, full of people who I never would have considered, but when I look at them I say, “Hmmm…”
Since I’m into making predictions (even though I suck at it; just wait til you see my NCAA tournament bracket), I’d like to see the likelihood of these people actually making it onto the ticket. So, with a little noodling and lot of wild guessing, I’m going to pull some numbers out of thin air.
My two basic assumptions going into this enterprise are: 1) Since the Democrats will be running either a woman or a black guy for president, Republicans will decide that there’s no way they can afford to field a ticket with two old white guys. It’s not a must-have, but most political advisers will push in that direction. I think if you’re black or female or both, your odds of being John McCain’s vice president go way up. 2) McCain will likely use the veep slot to throw a bone to his conservative base. Again, not definite, but the odds of McCain picking someone more liberal than he is are low, low, low. On to the names…
Joe Lieberman (100 to 1): This would be absolutely flippin’ insane. Lieberman is the conservative’s favorite Democrat, but that doesn’t mean they trust him with the keys to the liquor cabinet. He’s been good on the war, but he’s undeniably liberal in everything else. Of course, this would be a perfect pick if he wanted to give the finger to the conservative base one more time. And then it would be a funny story to tell on his speaking tour after he lost the election. Lieberman wouldn’t accept anyway.
Rudy Giuliani (90 to 1): Only slightly less insane than Lieberman.
Mitt Romney (80 to 1): In a normal election year, this would probably be the pick. Conservatives liked him; they just liked him too late to cause McCain any trouble. It would coalesce the base and put somebody in the queue to be the front runner next election. It’s said that they don’t like each other, but politicians are remarkably quick to overcome that when they smell opportunity. But remember what I wrote earlier about the veep pick being black or a woman? Romney is about as far from either one of those things as a person could be. He should walk around in Ricky Bobby’s Wonder Bread jumpsuit.
Mike Huckabee (80 to 1): Unquestionably angling for the veep slot, but his goofy, liberal ideas would steal the thunder of McCain’s goofy, liberal ideas. McCain isn’t going to jockey with anybody for the role of head maverick. Look for Huck to end up in the Department of Commerce or maybe Housing and Urban Development, which will be bad enough.
Fred Thompson (75 to 1): Another logical pick, but again, one that is estrogen and melanin challenged. Plus, I don’t think he’d take it unless he could keep his acting gig on the side.
Elizabeth Dole (50 to 1): When I think of successful presidential campaigns, I think of the name “Dole.” Liddy is a chick, and she did give us that third brake light, but she doesn’t bring much else to the table.
Phil Gramm (35 to 1): The old white guy with the best shot. Widely respected by conservatives, and friends with McCain to boot.
Marsha Blackburn (20 to 1): I love this idea. She would easily be the best looking vice president ever (although John C. Calhoun did have that smokey, come-hither look about him). But she doesn’t have a lot of name recognition, and some women voters might reject her for being prettier than they are.
JC Watts (15 to 1): A name that got floated out of nowhere. He’s been out of the political game for years, so I don’t know why anybody brought him up for this in the first place. But he is charismatic, a Christian, an entrepreneur, fondly remembered by conservatives, and black. Hmmm…
Kay Bailey Hutchison (12 to 1): A pretty solid conservative woman with a ton of name recognition. Also, she kind of gives the impression that she could step in and take the reins were McCain to keel over.
Michael Steele (8 to 1): John Hawkins discounts him because he hasn’t won a big election, but vice presidents don’t have to win elections, they just have to stand next to the president and look pretty. As chairman of GOPAC, Steele is intimately involved with the Republican base, and he knows a thing or two about what a serious, elbow-throwing political campaign looks like.
Somebody we haven’t thought of (3 to 1): I think the most likely thing is that McCain will go all crazy maverick on us and pick somebody out of left field. The two caveats I mentioned at the top still apply, but I think his pick will probably make everybody say, “What the…?”