McCain's V.P. Selection

Click the below link for an updated compendium of prospective running mates for McCain.

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MS Gov. Haley Barbour

Pros: Proven conservative governor.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state.

Grade: B-plus.

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MO Gov. Matt Blunt

Pros: Young conservative governor from a key bellweather state.

Cons: Arguably a bit too young to be taken seriously (Blunt only is 37). Plus he might not have been re-elected this year had he remained in the gubernatorial race.

Grade: B.

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TX U.S. Sen. John Cornyn

Pros: Proven conservative. Possesses executive, legislative and judicial branch experience.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state.

Grade: B-plus.

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SEC Chairman and former CA U.S. Rep. Chris Cox

Pros: Proven conservative with executive and legislative experience. Relatively young.

Cons: Presence or absence from the ticket won’t affect the results in his home state.

Grade: B-plus.

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Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist

Pros: Young governor from a large and fast-growing state.

Cons: Florida this year is not actually in play (McCain easily will prevail there). Crist is single and the inevitable “rumors” about homosexuality along with press reports of prior marijuana usage would be a distraction and inevitably would dupe various (additional) segments of the right wing into not voting.

Grade: B-minus/C-plus.

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NV U.S. Sen. John Ensign

Pros: Young conservative from a potential battleground state.

Cons: No executive experience.

Grade: B-plus.

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Former VA Gov. Jim Gilmore

Pros: Conservative former governor of a potential battleground state.

Cons: Last won an election in 1997. Ties to Bear Stearns would be a media-driven distraction, although truth be told by November the general public won’t remember Bear Stearns from Huggy Bear. Gilmore would have been an excellent Veep choice in 2000, but in political terms that was eons ago.

Grade: C.

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Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Pros: It’s a national security election and he’s a national security candidate. Proven fundraiser. Could boost McCain in the Northeast.

Cons: Liberal social positions would be anathema to various segments of the single-issue and evangelical right. Too old and too unhealthy to be Veep.

Grade: C.

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S.C. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham

Pros: None.

Cons: No executive experience. Struggles to see the big picture. Prone to episodes of idiocy. Creepy personality.

Grade: F.

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N.H. U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg

Pros: Would all but guarantee New Hampshire flipping back into the GOP fold. Has executive experience (state governor) in addition to experience overseeing a key U.S. Senate committee. Would add geographic balance to the ticket and potentially boost McCain in other areas of the Northeast.

Cons: Slightly too old to be ideal. Would open up a U.S. Senate seat the party ill can afford to lose. Not quite conservative enough for certain elements of the self-defeating right.

Grade: C-plus.

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N.D. Gov. John Hoeven

Pros: Young conservative governor. Would add geographic balance to the ticket.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state. Catholic religion would be an issue for certain elements of the extreme Protestant right.

Grade: B-plus.

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Former AR Gov. Mike Huckabee

Pros: Multi-term governor.

Cons: Too overtly sectarian for a national general election. Doesn’t hail from a battleground state. Can’t raise money.

Grade: C-minus.

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UT Gov. Jon Huntsman

Pros: Young and telegenic conservative governor.

Cons: Mormonism would be an issue for various segments of the Protestant electorate. Doesn’t hail from a battleground state.

Grade: B-minus.

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TX U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

Pros: Female conservative.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state. Too old to be ideal. No executive experience.

Grade: C.

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AK Gov. Sarah Palin

Pros: Young and telegenic female governor.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state. Remoteness of Alaska undercuts legitimacy

Grade: B-minus.

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MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Pros: Young and telegenic conservative governor from a battleground state with a track record of pragmatism.

Cons: No drawbacks of any substance

Grade: A-plus.

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TX Gov. Rick Perry

Pros: Conservative and telegenic big-state governor.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state.

Grade: A-minus.

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OMB Dir. and Former OH U.S. Rep. Rob Portman

Pros: Proven conservative. Young and telegenic. Has executive and legislative experience. Has won multiple elections in a large and electorally-important state.

Cons: Not strong enough politically to have attempted a statewide run in the past. This year Ohio might not even be in play.

Grade: B-plus/A-minus.

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Sec. of State Condi Rice

Pros: Would destroy every liberal meme about the GOP being the party of old white men. A demographic nightmare for the media/Democrats.

Cons: Being single and never married inevitably would create issues for certain segments of the evangelical right wing. Not strongly affiliated with a particular state, much less a battleground state. Experience is derived from appointed posts as opposed to having won elections.

Grade: B-plus.

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Former PA Gov. and DHS Sec. Tom Ridge

Pros: Political icon from a large “purple” state. It’s a national security election and he’s a national security candidate.

Cons: Pro-choice viewpoints would be a major issue for segments of the single-issue right. Too old to be ideal. Pennsylvania is not really in play this year (since pre-election media polls show McCain winning the state just imagine what the actual numbers must look like).

Grade: A-minus.

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MI U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers

Pros: Proven conservative. Young and telegenic. Possesses law enforcement experience (FBI Special Agent) in addition to stints in the state senate and the U.S. House. Has won multiple elections in a large and electorally-important state. It’s a national security election and he’s a national security candidate.

Cons: Executive experience limited to the private sector. Not strong enough politically to have attempted a statewide run in the past.

Grade: A-minus.

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Former MA Gov. Mitt Romney

Pros: Tenacious and proven fundraiser. Telegenic. Would add geographic balance to the ticket. Potentially would boost McCain in the Northeast.

Cons: Mormonism would be an issue for various segments of the Protestant electorate. Doesn’t hail from a battleground state. Too old to be ideal.

Grade: C.

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S.D. Gov. Mike Rounds

Pros: Young and telegenic conservative governor. Would add geographic balance to the ticket.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state. Might not be the best choice from South Dakota (see Thune, John). Catholic religion would be an issue for certain elements of the Protestant right.

Grade: B-plus.

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S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford

Pros: Young and telegenic conservative governor. Would add geographic balance to the ticket.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state.

Grade: A-minus.

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Former MD Lt. Gov. Michael Steele

Pros: Young conservative with executive experience. Would add demographic and geographic balance to the ticket.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state. Lost his most recent bid for office by a wide margin. Probably would not affect the black vote in Nov.

Grade: C-plus.

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S.D. U.S. Sen. John Thune

Pros: Young and telegenic conservative. Would add geographic balance to the ticket.

Cons: Doesn’t hail from a battleground state. Limited executive experience. Might not be the best choice from South Dakota (see Rounds, Mike).

Grade: B-plus.

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Looking Ahead to North Carolina and Oregon