Now that Senator John McCain is absolutely the Republican nominee who will be his running mate? The choice is much more limited than it may at first appear.
If he picks Mike Huckabee he risks seeing some Mormons in the Mountain States sitting at home on Election Day. Many of them are simmering over Huckabee’s heavy handed political style during the early primaries. And those Mountain States, though small in electoral votes, are needed, every one of them, in any Republican electoral victory map.
On the other hand, if he picks Mitt Romney he will see some Evangelicals in the South quietly sitting at home on Election Day. That was the lesson learned from the primaries. And no Republican can win without a solid South.
If he picks another white male who didn’t actually get in the primary races, say Florida Governor Charlie Crist or Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour or South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford or Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty, he risks disgusting both Mormons and Evangelicals besides reducing his ticket to the level of hopelessly boring in a year when American’s are crying out for change. Facing either Barack Obama, a Black or Hillary Clinton, a woman, or maybe even both of them, McCain will look terribly old fashioned and traditional with another white male on the ticket.
Colin Powell would work. But he wouldn’t take it and good thing, he has never really been forgiven for dissing Evangelicals in a nationally televised Barbara Walter interview after the first Gulf War. It made him the darling of the media but it ruined his chances to win the Republican nomination and anyway, McCain already dissed the Evangelicals himself in 2000 when he called their leaders “agents of intolerance.” So the media should already be sufficiently sated and the Evangelicals would be hard pressed to be enthusiastic about a ticket that boasted two of their detractors.
Condoleezza Rice would be perfect, a woman and a Black, who also happens to be a born again Christian, except for the fact that she is joined at the hip to George W. Bush whose approval ratings are now in a virtual dead heat with Rosie O’Donnell’s.
Which leaves us with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas. Yes, that’s it folks. There is no other choice. True, she has some right to lifers on her back and she is a lifelong Episcopalian. Members of her own staff say she is a bit looney, with a temper that erupts monthly like old faithful. That will have to be under control. Maybe they can pump her with valium until the election is over. And yes, she is another Senator, which is a decided disadvantage. But she is a woman. The media will gush over the fact that no matter who wins history will be made. And if Obama ever wins the marathon on the other side and just happens to pick Hillary Clinton as a running mate, (everyone says it is unlikely) then we would all see Hillary and Kay mud wrestling in a national debate that would be truly, truly historic.
Yep, that’s it, folks. That’s what it has to be. McCain and Hutchinson. So get used to it. Unless something changes, like Osama Bin Ladin is captured and offers America a tearful apology, and McCain goes with Condi Rice after all. But even that may not be enough to counter the failing economy. McCain and Hutchinson. Go ahead and print the bumper stickers.