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Now that the Primaries are over and each Party has its candidate, the popular parlor game of guessing who each will pick to be their V.P. is moving into high gear. It’s fun, and I’m not afraid to admit I’m playing the game too.

Who the candidates pick tells us a lot about the kind of Presidency they intend to have. And with the Democratic Party having run both several “minorities” as serious legitimate candidates for the U.S. Presidency, and now with the first African-American candidate ever to win their Party’s nomination, just who these candidates pick as their running mate will be open to more scrutiny than ever before.

Senator McCain has a serious problem here because no matter who he chooses, it’s going to spin badly. If he chooses another “old white guy” like himself, it will only reinforce the idea that the Republican Party has become “the old white guy Party”. So I think it is safe to say that none of McCain’s competitors for the nomination are likely to find their way onto the ticket. That eliminates Romney and Huckabee.

The Bush Administration is already political poison for McCain, doing his best to limit the amount time he is actually seen with President Bush. Choosing someone from the Bush Administration is highly unlikely because of it. Two of the top names being floated from Planet Bush as possible running mates are Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge.

Rice would seem an obvious choice if McCain were looking for someone to carry both the “black” vote and the “woman” vote, but everyone and his dog would know that is EXACTLY why she was put on the ticket. And I believe Ms. Rice knows this as well, as she has publicly stated that she is not interested in the V.P. nomination. But simply based upon qualifications, Rice has been an absolute disaster. First appointed as “National Security Adviser” in the first Bush term, how does one argue that she didn’t totally drop the ball on 9/11? The infamous “August 6th PDB (Presidential Daily Briefing) compiled by the CIA for the Presidents eyes only, entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.”, she dismissed as “historical” providing “no new information”, and 3,000 people died one month later. One has to question the judgment of someone that thinks the country’s top intelligence agencies would waste the President’s time with “a history lesson” and do no follow-up. I wonder how much sleep she lost… if any… over that decision?

Her track record as Secretary of State has been every bit as big a failure. She has towed the Bush line on “not negotiating with our enemies” (so who do we negotiate with, our friends?), gave the equivalent of Bush’s “Bring ’em on” speech encouraging our enemies to attack our troops by publicly denouncing Iraq’s al Sadr as “a coward“, and has become such a “tow-the-line” mouthpiece for George Bush that the Big-3 networks don’t even bother to invite her on their shows anymore.

It’s no surprise Condi doesn’t want to be the “token black” or “token woman” on anyone’s ticket. The GOP is so short on both, a “black female Republican” is as rare as moments of candor in a speech by George Bush. Strike Condi from the list.

Tom Ridge was President Bush’s first head of “Homeland Security”. Earlier this year, he went on record as denouncing “waterboarding” as torture… something McCain voted to allow the CIA to continue doing. And who will ever forget Ridge’s 2005 revelation that the Bush Administration played games with the “terror threat level” during the 2004 Presidential campaign? Putting Ridge on the ticket means raising those issues again, making the two candidates answer a litany of uncomfortable questions. Ridge is also anther “old white guy”. Scratch him off the list.

So, no white guys. What about a black guy? Presently, there is not one single African-American Republican serving in Congress. So if McCain wants a black Republican running mate, he going to have to look elsewhere. Wikipedia has a list of high-profile African-American Republicans. Some of them, like baseball legend “Jackie Robinson” and singer “Pearl Bailey” have since passed away, making the list of “living” black Republicans even shorter. I don’t know what’s more embarrassing, having to include people that passed away over 30 years ago to pad your list, or the fact you can fit almost every known 20th century black Republican that ever lived on a single page.

If being “black” is important, but not specifically African-American, Louisiana’s young governor of East Indian heritage “Bobby Jindal” has been floated as a popular pick. He was elected governor just last October. Young but inexperienced. If McCain picks him, everyone will know why: he’s young… balancing out McCain’s advanced age… and he’s dark-skinned, making him a minority… something exceedingly rare in the GOP nowadays. Naming someone so inexperienced to be your running mate would create a big problem for McCain: How do you criticize your opponent (Obama) for being “too inexperienced to be President” when your own running mate has even less experience? So scratch Jindal.

No white guys. No black guys. What’s a Republican to do? Pick a woman, hoping to appeal to those disaffected Hillary voters. With Condi out, that leaves no black female Republicans above (and including) the rank of Governor in the entire country (someone please correct me if I’m wrong). That leaves just white women Republicans, of which there are many.

Some of the top names floated:

Carly Fiorina: McCain’s economic adviser. This is the same person that was drummed out of her job as CEO of “Hewlitt Packard” after pushing them to buy the floundering “Compaq Computer” in 2002, which became a financial albatross that nearly sank both companies. Fiorina fought hard to convince the board of HP to buy Compaq, promising huge returns. Before her ouster in early 2005, other members of the Board were criticizing her “leadership style” as being “hard to get along with”. A stubborn, dead-wrong ideologue that’s difficult to get along with? Perfect! Sign her up! Well, maybe not.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson is another popular choice among McCain supporters. Bailey is best known for dismissing the investigation into “Scooter” Libby’s 2005 indictment for perjury as “a waste of taxpayers dollars” because of “no underlying crime” (nonsense) despite being a vociferous critic in support of Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1999. An uninspiring Senator with few significant legislative accomplishments to her name, has served as Senator of the very Red State of Texas since 1994. Though a partisan hack like her junior Senator John Cornyn, she ran for re-election in 2006 (despite a prior pledge to “term-limit” herself) promising to end the war in Iraq quickly through “partitioning” (similar to the solution offered by Democrat Joe Biden)… a position she reversed just 10 months later. During her re-election campaign, she hoped to win over war-weary Independents with this nugget:

“If I had known then what I know now about the weapons of mass destruction, which was a key reason that I voted to go in there, I would not vote to go into Iraq the way we did,”

Texas voters fell for it, and upon returning to office, went right back to being a mouthpiece for the Bush Administration, criticizing Sen Russ Feingold’s bill to start pulling troops out of Iraq “within the next 120 days” as “put[ting] a bullet right through the hearts of our troops.” Hutchinson also doesn’t bring with her a state McCain isn’t already likely to win in November. Like President Bush, Hutchinson was also a cheerleader in high school (college?).

Another popular female GOP fav, Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee… the latest blond Republican Stepford Wife hack to come out of the GOP’s secret underground cloning lab in Montana. Again, another partisan hack with few legislative accomplishments to her name, Blackburn initially endorsed Mitt Romney for President until “Hollywood” Fred Thompson entered the race and she switched her support to him… (anybody but McCain?) Blackburn differs with McCain on “stemcell research” (she opposes, he supports) and illegal immigration (no path to citizenship). Somehow, I just don’t see McCain giving her the nod.

Another GOP female VP possibility for McCain is “M. Jodi Rell”, reelected Governor of Connecticut in 2007. Rell has a comparatively “liberal” voting record (for a Republican), voting to legalize Gay Civil Unions and joined with Arnold Schwarzenegger to criticize the Bush Administrations fight to deny states the right to set stricter emissions standards than set by the federal government. So far, so good… unless you’re a Republican. Never graduated from college, Rell earned an “honorary” doctorate from the University of Hartford in 2001. Like McCain, Rell has also been diagnosed with cancer (McCain’s melanoma is in remission, Rell underwent surgery for for breast cancer in 2004), which could be problematic for someone that would be “second in line to the oldest man ever elected as President.” She could tip Connecticut red (highly unlikely), but cost McCain some bigger narrowly red states like Indiana or Colorado.

As I said, “No good choices”. But if I had to pick one of the above, the candidate with the least baggage is Hutchinson. A Bush partisan with lackluster public profile, a voting record on the environment that would win back Republicans upset with McCain’s embrace of “Global Warming”, and thinks that if we leave Iraq, “the terrorists will follow us home“. By no means does this mean McCain won’t pick one of the other problematic nominees mentioned above, just that if he does, if he isn’t aware now of the liabilities he’s bringing onboard, he will soon enough.

Who do you think McCain will pick? Let us know in the Comments.

Oh, BTW, as for loyal McCain attack dogs like Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, with their nose so far up his butt they can tell you what brand of toothpaste he uses, expect them to be rewarded with other choice positions, like “Attorney General” for former JAG lawyer Graham or Secretary of Defense for “We need to bomb Iran” Lieberman.

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