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".

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