For someone who had fairly little enthusiasm about the primaries, I am unusually titillated about the Republican VP spot. Anyway, despite reports that Condi Rice was angling for the number 2 position, McCain has said that he was oblivious to any such angling, and Condi said she has no interest in elected office whatsoever. She wants to return to Stanford.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Condi. Even if you hate her politically, there is much to admire about her. Growing up in the Jim Crow South, she graduated from high school at 16 and went to the University of Denver (not Harvard, but don’t be a hater). She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at age 19. She then worked at the State Department during the Carter Administration. After getting her PhD in international studies, she became a prominent academic and the Provost of Stanford University. Outside of the ivory tower, she is an accomplished pianist and is a huge NFL fan. She is usually considered the most intelligent and poised (if gap toothed) member of the Administration. Plus she can crush your head.
Still I don’t want to see her on a ticket.
She would add little and subtract much. She adds little because she’s a foreign policy/national security specialist. Mac considers that his strong suit. Choosing a foreign policy oriented running mate would send the signal that the McCain administration would care little about the domestic issues that seem to be very important to voters this election. Not a winning strategy. Similarly, she’s not especially conservative socially, another weakness (this time in the eyes of his own party rather than the general electorate) of McCain himself. Finally, some might think a black woman on the ticket would diffuse or even overtake the diversity vote that either Democrat can expect. An attempt to usurp the diversity vote is likely to backfire for Republicans who criticize affirmative actions by claiming to put forth candidates on the basis of qualifications rather than minority status.
What does she subtract? Mostly one thing, but it’s a big one thing: she is VERY closely identified with the Bush Administration. Support for the war notwithstanding, Mac has (wisely) made attempts to distance himself from the current Republican Administration.
So whom should Mac choose? Well, I’m only 25, so it'll probably have to be someone else :) He or she (whom am I kidding? He) should have domestic issue gravitas, most importantly economic expertise, as that is McCain’s admitted weak point. Another asset in a race between a bunch of senators is executive experience—so I’d choose a governor. Finally, I’d choose someone who will placate the right wing screamers who only begrudgingly support McCain. This last criterion is a dangerous one, though. McCain has to find someone closer to the wingnuts than he is, but not so close as to lose the moderates and independents that McCain can draw better than any other Republican.
Sounds like Mitt. At least it doesn’t sound like the Huckster. Barely.