Wednesday, August 27, 2008



With Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden as his running mate, and other developments in this fast moving presidential race, I am starting to rethink the wisdom of part of my 8/18/08 commentary.

As loyal readers will recall, I proffered in that post that

“Biden and Bayh would be good, safe choices.”

Clearly, I am not rethinking that portion of the post. However, I also stated

“So this leaves us with the front runners as the preferred choices: Crist, Pawlenty, and Romney. Are any of these men especially attractive? Probably not. But none would cost McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) the election, as would some others. Further, an attention getting “surprise” candidate is a lot less advisable now that it looks like McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) actually has a chance.”

But now I am rethinking this assertion. (Note that I said “assertion,” not “prediction.” I am out of the political prediction business. I was not, and am not, attempting to predict whom either Obama did or McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam? And I’ll only do it once this time; I know it gets tiresome, or so people, especially my wife, tell me. But it’s so much fun!) will select. I am only asserting whom they should select.) I think that Senator McCain would do well to select Senator Kaye Bailey Hutchison as his running mate, or at least that he should not pick Mitt Romney.

The first reason that Hutchison would be a good pick is the obvious one: McCain is trying to woo disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters, the hard core of which is women about my age and perhaps a little older, women who were in the vanguard of the feminist movement and who are understandably upset that Hillary was not selected as her Party’s standard-bearer. (It appears at this juncture that, as this race tightens, or worse, a LOT of Democrats, even many with no particular affinity for Hillary, are upset that Hillary was not selected as her Party’s standard-bearer, but, alas, it’s too late baby, it’s too late, but (they) really did try to make it. But I digress. At least I do so parenthetically and lyrically.) One would like to think that no rational voter, man or woman, who was an ardent supporter of Hillary would vote for John McCain because he chose a woman as his running mate, but, when considering the typical American voter, the adjective “rational” is not the first that comes to mind.

The second reason that Hutchison appears to be a good pick, or at least that Romney is not a good selection, is that John McCain is experiencing an increasing amount of well deserved “detached rich guy” flak of late. If he selects Romney, he will have selected yet another guy who is open to such criticism.

However, a Romney selection would have a perhaps even more dire effect on the Republican ticket. If the GOP runs with a McCain/Romney ticket, it will be running with two guys who were proverbially born on third base and think they hit triples. Though both McCain and Romney have achieved things, some might even say great things, in their lives, who can argue that Mitt Romney would be a multi-millionaire financier were his father not George Romney or that John McCain would have ever been let near a fighter plane, if his flight record was as bad as reported, were his father and grandfathers not admirals, the former the Commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet? Further, who would argue that McCain would have been a big shot senator had his wife not inherited a bundle from her father and thus been able to finance her husband’s campaigns? A McCain/Romney ticket would reek of inherited privilege, and contribute to the caricature, again, increasingly well deserved, of the GOP as the party not of the little guy striving to get rich but of the born rich seeking to get richer.

Pawlenty would still be a good pick. Crist has his downsides, especially the pervasive stench of obsequiousness that seems to surround him, and you don’t hear much about Crist of late anyway. But Hutchison seems to be a better pick, given what McCain is trying, probably vainly, to do with the “women’s vote,” which itself betrays at least a bit of largely justified condescension that transcends gender. In any case, Romney doesn’t look like nearly as strong a choice as he appeared even one week ago.

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