Update 2012 - Over the last four years this post has received many many hits from Google searches about the short list for VP candidates. On this blog I sort-of predicted both candidates selections.
History has shown that Ms Palin was not qualified or ready for the spot. Many have made her out to be some awful person..... but so much was made of her on both sides that she has become an icon. Love her or hate her... she was an interesting selection. And in the end, McCain was going to lose anyway.
I have stayed out of politics since the 2008 elections. I used to love the whole process.... but too many people get too ugly about it. Both parties have ugly twin souls in how nasty they get, and I no longer feel comfortable with the process.
If you have come to this blog on a search..... enjoy reading my analysis. But this does not really define anything about me or anything else.
Update August 29th - 9:45 AM-- The News Media is reporting that John McCain has selected Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party.
WOW. While still undecided about this race, I wanted to see McCain prove his "maverick" image and go with a BOLD choice. I think this is a very interesting and exciting choice. As the father of two daughters I am thrilled to see him select a woman. Both parties have done amazing things in this election to buck the "same old, same old" - and I am proud of Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Palin for their roles in knocking down walls. I think the future looks very bright with the way both political parties have gone with regards to race and gender. Rock on.
Now will come the really ugly stuff. I already got a twitter message from an Obama supporter who questioned Mrs. Palin's level of experience. I thought that Bill Clinton said the other day that it was not years on the job that mattered. Now I guess it does to some. I am confused. Maybe those who are left think experience (or limited experience) matters for Palin.... and those on the right think experience (or limited experience) matters for Obama. I warn all of both parties to be careful about double standards, they make you look cheesy.
I think this election period just got a jolt of spice. I think if it can stay out of the gutter, the next couple of months will prove to be the most exciting times of all our lives... no matter who wins. I encourage everyone to relish having a seat to history as we have the most historic presidential election of our time. I ask those who are hatred filled party extremists in both camps to shut the hell up and let the amazing nature of this whole thing shine.
Come on.... no matter who you supported when you woke up this morning, this announcement has to make you says "WOW".
Update 8/29/08 - 5:30 AM. Today McCain will make his announcement. The press seems to think he is going with a "traditional" choice. That would make me yawn. As an undecided voter, I would be more interested in McCain if he had a "maverick" choice. My gut tells me that he is going to go BIG. My brain says Romney. I am going to hold out that he picks a woman. I have done a lot of reading about Sarah Palin and Kay Bailey Hutchison...and both are strong choices for his vice president. Meg Whitman (former CEO of EBay) and Carly Fiorina (former CEO of HP) are two additional names that have been floated around as "dark horse" picks.
Come on John, be a maverick. Make us take notice.
It is rumored that all of his short list are on their way to Dayton, Ohio for the announcement. Maybe he will have all of them on stage and open an envelope "And the winner is...."
I do think having everyone on stage at once would be a great event. It would show that all of these fine candidates are on board and support the ticket. This would get a lot of attention, and maybe take the focus off last nights great speech by Barak Obama. If nothing else, having your whole short list appear together would be unique and worthy of the attention it would garner. (however, people will complain it was grandstanding...as these political times make people just pick sides. If John McCain cured cancer there would be democrats who would be pissed off about it! --- ditto goes for Barak Obama .... the republicans would have the same issue).
Good Morning John McCain. Thank you for coming to my blog to read my ideas for your VP pick! (hey, a kid can dream!)
Over the weekend Barak Obama selected Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate. I had predicted the choice here, and analyzed his choices on filling the number two spot. While I am not a political expert, I have loved presidential politics since my early childhood memory of Nixon's resignation (I was 6).
Now the Democrats will converge on Denver for the convention. I love watching the conventions on television. As a professional speaker, these event are like "Speaker's University". Many who will take the podium during prime time will deliver wonderful prose, while others will just fall flat in connecting with the audience. Using this as a study in presentation skills is always my favorite part every four years.
As soon as the excitement in Denver dies down, it will be John McCain and the Republican's show in St. Paul. I will watch both conventions with the same gusto (my wife hates this, as watching politicians speak on TV for two weeks is just one step above a root canal). I am enjoying my status as an "undecided voter" (something I have never really been before).
While I think Biden was the best choice for Obama to win the White House, it was also a "safe" and "political" choice. He is not a beacon for "change in Washington", but he does help the ticket.
The best line I heard somewhere this weekend was "If Obama was looking for change, who knew change had been hiding in the US Senate for over 30 years". But Obama is not going to be focused on change for the next three months, he is going to be focused on winning the election. All other bets are off until November (that is not a jab at Obama, McCain has the same goal and will do all the same yucky political backstabbing stuff that the you will see from both parties. Anyone who thinks their side is somehow above the dirty stuff is blinded by their own ideology! I get really sick of those on the right and the left who point fingers at the other side. Both major parties are equal co-conspirators in the ugliness of our politics).
So now the point of this post. John McCain's vice presidential running mate. Hmmmm..... what should he do? Here are my thoughts:
The choice of Biden gives McCain a bit of a gift. Joe Biden is a good choice, but not one that stirs the hearts, minds and imaginations of the electorate. It leaves an opening for Washington insider and old white man John McCain to once again prove that he is a maverick. It is why people have liked McCain for decades. He does thing his own way and bucks his party's line when he wants to. If this mean breaking with the Republican party traditional views and party leaders... he does it.
If we remember 2004, there were those in the Democratic Party who thought McCain would make a good running mate for John Kerry. He was not asked, but the idea was certainly floated out there. McCain's history of crossing the isle on many issues is what those in the center like about the guy. Kerry might have been better served by McCain than John Edwards, as it turns out.
So if the Republican nominee picks a political insider who is an old white guy he misses the opportunity to put some pizazz into his campaign. Much like the selection of Biden brings balance to the young, charismatic, and lovable new comer, Obama..... McCain needs to find someone who creates balance to his image. A running mate that makes people stand up and say "WOW, bold choice!"
The "Short List" for John McCain is not really that short. The press and others keep adding names. Here are some, but not all the choices that I have heard in recent days: Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney, Joe Lieberman, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Colin Powel, Condi Rice, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty and Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Tom Ridge and Mitt Romney seem to be the media favorites. Tom Ridge is a good man, but brings little to the ticket beyond delivering Pennsylvania (although that is important). Romney has experience and the look (quick, call central casting and get us a president), but too many people are jerks and get all quirky that he is a Mormon. That should not be an issue, but it is not the diversity that McCain is looking for to have a "historic" choice (nobody cares that Biden is Catholic, so the Mormon thing is not really the bold move here). Both of these two seem to be the current front-runners, but I think either is a boring choice. Good men, well qualified, but not where I would advise McCain to go with this one.
Ridge is pro-choice and Romeny has flipped-flopped on that issue. Either way I think the republicans need to get away from making abortion the center piece of their platform. I am not saying they should not care about it, but having it as a litmus test alienates many who would support them on many other issues. The republicans need to be a "big tent party". But McCain sees having a pro-choice running mate as proof of his "maverick" image. I agree, but it is not big enough. It only tells the far-right, who are already suspicious of him, that he is a maverick. That message needs to play wider.
Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, is an interesting choice. But he is too young. I like that his parents were from India, as as first generation American he has a great prospective. But the VP should be more than 50% the age of the Pres. It just looks like he is hanging out with someone younger than his own kids.
Sara Palin, the governor of Alaska, is one of my favorite choices. I don't think she will be selected, but it would be a great move. She is 44 years old and the mother of five children. While Alaska is not a state that would be considered a "battleground race", the fact that she is from such a random state would make people pay attention to her. Come on, everyone thinks Alaska is cool. Nobody has ever been there...but we all think it is neat.
Her readiness to step into the presidency would need to be discussed (I don't know enough about her... and she has only been Governor for a couple of years).... but the Idaho native who grew up in Alaska would certainly stir up the pot. She is pro-life (and one of her children has downs syndrome), but much like those on the right should not use this topic as the only factor, the same goes for the left. I think women who could get past this one topic would be impressed with Mrs. Palin. It might get some of the Hillary supporters who were focused on a woman candidate (another silly criteria... but this is life) to at least look across the isle at the Republican ticket.
Kay Bailey Huchison, the senior senator from Texas would be an amazing choice if she was not from Texas. She is experienced, tough, smart and one of the highest ranking Republican women. But her Texas roots will mean that the other side will hog-tie her to George Bush. McCain is not Bush (although, that seems to be the mantra lately), but he would be smart to stay away from being liked to him. Mrs. Huchison also has made her intentions to run for governor public, and that is the office she has always desired. Update 8/28/08 -Since I wrote this blog post 5 days ago, Mrs. Huchison's name has suddenly popped to the top of the speculation lists (one friend asked me how I knew she would emerge as a front runner. I didn't, but she would be an impressive choice). None of those in the media seem to discredit her as a choice by the nature of her being a Texan. Maybe I spoke too soon and she will be selected. She would be a great choice, and it would the a "maverick" choice...which is what the Republican ticket needs for this race!
Condoleezza Rice. Wow, I think she is one impressive person. But the current Secretary of State from the Bush Administration is not a good choice if McCain wants to win. I find it funny that people who do not agree with her politics try to discredit Ms. Rice as a person. She rocks. But she has never been elected to anything, and is not really the right one this time. Her involvement in the current administration would be an anchor around McCain's campaign.
Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota. I know nothing about him. Never heard of him. Maybe I am just out of the loop, but if others don't know him, he misses the mark of being a "splash" of a choice. The Republicans need to get some mileage out of their VP pick, not host a coming out party for some future candidate.
Colin Powel. His name has come up as a possible VP choice for both parties for the last several elections. If he would do it, he is the winner. The American people love this guy, and he too is a maverick in some respects. Sure he was in the Bush Administration, but he left four years ago...and nobody knows exactly why. It is assumed the left because he disagreed with Bush's policies. That is a plus to most voters, so he is probably free from being liked to Bush. He is an honorable man and one we all would want to serve in the top offices. But he has seemed to avoid the run in the past, yet if he would take it, McCain should make the ask! The world is still a scary place and McCain and Powell have a great understanding of the dark side of international politics. Some people will freak out on two former military officers on the ticket, but there are a lot of positives that come from the experience of serving in the military. In the end, they could not be questioned on experience, and this could help lead to victory. The down side is he is 71 years old, and so you would have two old guys. But I bet people would be excited by this ticket.
Mike Huckabee. Not.
Joe Lieberman. I love the idea of the first guy to run of VP from both parties in just a few years. He is the Democrat's version of the McCain maverick. He crossed party lines when he had a belief, not just falling into step. The fact that he and McCain both did this in their senate careers is appealing. I want my politicians to vote their mind, not their party leaders minds. Lieberman got tossed aside for it by his party, but won re-election as an independent (seems the people of Connecticut don't listen to the party leaders either and do their own thing).
I did see one friend, who is a big Obama fund raiser, write on his blog this week that he thought Lieberman was a "Judas" even back in 2000. My guess is that my friend was a huge supporter of the Gore / Lieberman ticket at that time and never once questioned the sainthood of the Connecticut senator during the Florida election debacle. But alas, now that he could be the Republican nominee for VP (and is publicly supporting McCain), many on the left feel the need to discredit him. I hate the side of this that makes passionate feelings cause good people to stop being respectful of our elected officials. In the end, I am sure most of our leaders are decent people who want to do good. I really do believe this. I don't think they are "Judas" or any other of the nasty names that those on the right and left toss about to make their case!
Picking Lieberman would make the whole election season a lot of fun.
I can't see the far right of the Republican party having the stomach for Lieberman, but he and McCain are good friends and have a history of working together. It would cement the maverick thing. And since most Americans claim to be solidly in the "center"...having the two most "centered - cross party line" senators from both parties on one ticket could make for that big "splash". The downside is that he, too, is old, and two old white guys, even one being Jewish, is a tough image for the GOP to get past.
My prediction - John McCain will select Tom Ridge or Mitt Romney.
My suggestion (yes, I am sure that John and Cindy McCain read the Some Assembly Required Blog daily. In fact, if elected, he will name me to the cabinet as Secretary of Networking...okay, maybe not). - Pick Colin Powell. If he says no, go with Joe Lieberman. If that wont fly, select Sarah Palin.
Be a MAVERICK. Select someone who would make a huge impression on everyone. Show you are not worried about having a big celebrity for VP. (I hear Paris Hilton is available).
From marketing this campaign the Republicans need someone who is more than Joe Biden. Not just another Joe Biden, or an unknown nobody. The McCain team needs to be bold and step out of the box. Obama has the "historic" campaign sewn up. The best they can do create their own history. They need to make the moderates take notice. The victory comes from attracting moderates!!!
Guess we will know in a few days. It will be interesting to see what he does.
Have A Great Day.