Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Vice Squad

I dropped by to chime in on Jo's question about the viability of Tommy Thompson as a Vice Presidential candidate. To make a long story short, I don't think it's a problem the world will soon have to worry about.

In the original comment that I wrote to Jo Egelhoff I dropped Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's name as a more desirable alternative, largely because that's a name I see in print as a fashionable (and reasonable) pick, but now I'm starting to rethink that original call.

Here's why: the knock against the leading GOP candidates for President is that each of them don't exactly conform to the conservative orthodoxy in their own little ways. Giuliani is the gay-loving abortionist drag queen. Romney is the health care socialist flip-flopping cultist. McCain is, well, John McCain, which appears to be more than enough of a reason to be distrusted by the GOP base. None of them are particularly "Southern," which makes me think that it might be a good idea to compensate for this fact by choosing a running-mate with more of a conservative edge to him (and, let's face it, it certainly will be a him). Don't ask me who, I can't think of a name that really can both compensate for the current crop's conservative heresies and appeal to a national audience. I don't know if Romney/Giuliani/McCain-Pawlenty ticket will get your typical GOP ideologue to the polls.

That, of course, might change if Fred Thompson becomes the nominee, but I just don't see that happening. Once Thompson gets into the race I have a feeling that the fascination with him will dissipate quickly once voters figure out that he's not as Reaganesque as they would like him to be.

The Minnesota gambit makes a certain degree of sense for Republicans in so far as it's parter of a larger plan to win over the Midwest where they see demographic trends moving in their favor, much in the same way the Democrats are currently angling for territory in Big Sky Country (both party conventions next year will be as much about making new inroads in the regions where they are held as they will be about candidate and platform promotion).

But '08 will not be the year that happens. Minnesota may be trending red, but that might still be a few years down the road where the mostly progressive infrastructure consistently cranks out the highest voter turnout in the nation (it was at 77% in 2004). Maybe the Republicans will inherit that machine in the future, but not in time to make a difference next year.

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