Friday, March 14, 2008

The M & M ticket (McCain & Mitt)

Another article about what a great VP Mitt Romney would be for the McCain ticket, and the list some of the reasons that I hadn't even thought of, such as:

• "With a 72-year-old president, the vice president has to be ready to take over," Jowers said. "I think Romney is the best choice for a vice-presidential candidate McCain could have."

• Additionally, Jowers said, Romney brings an important talent to the race — the ability to raise a lot of money. Romney said during Tuesday's interview that his top fundraisers have met with the McCain campaign.

• Romney's campaign was also viewed as well-organized. Add to that Romney's acceptance by many conservatives — something McCain still struggles with. And, of course, don't discount those presidential — or vice presidential — looks Romney brings.

• "The 2008 election is the Democrats' to lose," Jowers said. "Everything seems to be going in the Democrats' direction." But a McCain-Romney ticket could bring moderates and conservatives to the polls.

• Jowers said with McCain's popularity and the number of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California, the biggest prize of electoral college votes could go Republican.

• Charles W. Dunn, dean of Regent University's School of Government, who has met Romney on several occasions, said Romney would bring geographic balance to the ticket, putting states like Michigan and Massachusetts into play for the Republicans.

• Dunn said Romney would be a "strong asset" for McCain when it came to the age issues as well as McCain's often quoted line that he does not understand the economy well — which Romney himself used against McCain while on the campaign trail.

• Romney has strong support among conservatives, as illustrated by the crowd's reaction when he dropped out of the race at CPAC. "That would give the conservatives the enthusiasm to go all out for the McCain-Romney ticket,"

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Veepstakes

It turns out I'm not the only one who thinks Mitt Romney would make the best VEEP for the McCain ticket. Fred Barnes pretty much reaches the same conclusion in his latest column, as well as noting favorable nods from George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Jeb Bush.

That leads to Romney. He has run a vigorous national campaign and been vetted by the press and his opponents for the Republican nomination. These are very strong pluses. A pick who produces unhelpful surprises, as Geraldine Ferraro did in 1984 (her husband's business deals) and Dan Quayle did in 1988 (his National Guard duty), is exactly what McCain doesn't need. Romney is a known quantity.

Romney has three other add-ons. He's acceptable to conservatives and especially to social conservatives, who disproportionately volunteer as ground troops in Republican presidential campaigns. He's unflappable in debates. With the downturn worsening, the economy may surpass national security as the top issue of the campaign. And after years of success as a big time player in the global economy, Romney understands how markets work. He could shore up McCain's admitted weakness on economic issues.

Romney has allies in the Bush wing of the Republican party. President Bush favors him as McCain's veep. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, preferred Romney over McCain in the primaries, but never endorsed him publicly. Karl Rove, the president's political strategist, has hinted that he considers Romney to be McCain's best running mate.

It's all very interesting and it seems like the most solid advice from some of the best political minds of our time. Ultimately, the decision will be made by Senator McCain and he is after all the "maverick".

The Mormon Factor (Reason #8)

This is an addendum to the previous article on reasons why Mitt Romney would be the perfect VP pick for McCain. And, it seems an odd one, but it is true nonetheless. Reason number eight is: He is a Mormon. That may seem counter to everything we've heard in this campaign so far, but consider the following:

• Mitt Romney raised more money than any other GOP candidate in the primaries
• Most of his money was raised in California and Utah (both states with large Mormon populations)
• We know that Mormons were giving to his campaign in record numbers partially over excitement to see the first Mormon President

Those are the positives. There are other reasons John McCain should consider picking a Mormon for his VP. Namely, after the way that evangelicals spurned the Romney candidacy many Mormons feel like victims of religious discrimination. Had Mitt Romney been a Baptist, Pentecostal, or Methodist, many feel he would be the GOP nominee right now. While their are only 6 million Mormons in the U.S. (13 million worldwide) most Mormons vote conservative Republican. Given the religious smear tactics engaged in by Governor Huckabee and the seemingly offensive remarks made by Senator McCain's own mother, many Mormons now feel like outsiders in the GOP. Given the fact that Mormons make up a large percentage of the population (and even larger percentage of the voters) in states like California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada- and given the close call in the past two elections the question arises: Can the GOP win without the Mormon vote?

Sure, there is the chance that they will all show up on election day and vote Republican like they always do, but how many will stay home? And given the close elections of recent years, is it worth risking? On the other hand, imagine if McCain chose Mitt Romney for his running mate. Again you would have:

• Mormons contributing excited at the idea of the 1st Mormon Vice President
• An active pool of grassroots organizers from which to draw from
• A certain number of Mormon voters who aren't necessarily politically active but would show up to vote for the first Mormon VP in U.S. history
• Instant increase in the McCain-Romney's ticket ability to raise money