Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McCain's Vice President? I vote for Michael Steele

Two different articles I saw this morning gave radically different predictions as to who Republican candidate John McCain's Vice Presidential nominee is likely to be. WorldNetDaily is reporting that it's a 'good possibility' that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will be selected. The report is based on 'Palestinian officials' who heard from 'US politicians.'
"We were told by U.S. politicians there is a good possibility we may still be dealing with Rice in the future, but this time as vice president," one Palestinian official told WND.

Another Palestinian official also said he recently heard from U.S. politicians Rice is likely to be McCain's running mate.

Neither Palestinian official would say which U.S. politicians provided them with the information.

Both Palestinian officials regularly meet with Rice, including during her trip to the region earlier this month to push through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations started at last November's U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit.

The Palestinian officials also meet regularly with U.S. regional security coordinators and State Department officials.

Rice in February denied she is seeking the vice presidential slot.

"I have always said that the one thing that I have not seen myself doing is running for elected office," Rice said at a news conference. "I didn't even run for high school president. It's sort of not in my genes."

The State Department has not replied to WND's request for comment.
Rice makes some sense as a choice for Vice President. She's a woman and black and has name recognition. On the other hand, it appears to me that she doesn't necessarily shore up the conservative right which is where McCain needs help. And there's no reason not to believe her when she says she doesn't want to run.

On the other hand, US News and World Report says that McCain's choice is going to be none other than Mike Huckabee:
Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and defeated contender for the GOP presidential nomination, is currently at the top of John McCain’s short list for a running mate. At least that’s the word from a top McCain fundraiser and longtime Republican moneyman who has spoken to McCain’s inner circle. The fundraiser is less than thrilled with the idea of Huckabee as the vice presidential nominee, and many economic conservatives—turned off by the populist tone of Huckabee’s campaign and his tax record as governor—are likely to share that marked lack of enthusiasm…

Let me add that a top Republican political strategist told me about a month ago that he also believed Huckabee to be the leading veep contender.
Hot Air explains why Huckabee is under consideration.
What’s changed in two months? For starters, remember that “Anyone but Mitt” campaign by Paul Weyrich and a bunch of other evangelical leaders? McCain can’t help but be jittery at seeing the Christian base taking a keen interest in his VP pick, especially with stories about their remorse for not having backed Huck in the primary circulating. Another thought: Romney’s always been touted as the logical pick for VP because of his fundraising prowess, to help close the money gap with Obama, but revisit this post from early March about Huckabee’s media savvy. By one estimate, the free coverage he received from the likes of Scarborough, Colbert, and the rest of the talk show circuit was worth $125 million in paid ads, more than Mitt could ever raise (especially with McCain accepting public financing). Having not one but two media darlings on the GOP ticket might convince the press to go merely hip-deep into the tank for Obama instead of face-first, like they’re planning. Finally, now that Barry O’s the nominee, McCain has both a worry and an opportunity that he wouldn’t have had opposite Hillary: Turnout among black voters in the south is sure to be huge this year, which, coupled with a weak turnout among southern evangelicals, could be lethal by putting red states in play. Adding a prominent Christian to the ticket solves that problem and frees McCain up to focus on the battlegrounds instead of fighting a rearguard action to preserve his base. Adding Huckabee specifically to the ticket, with his blue-collar populist rhetoric, holds an extra advantage in giving him a shot at Hillary’s base of working-class Democrats in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
But while Huckabee may appeal to the evangelical community, he's not a true conservative. The people who voted for Mitt Romney in the primaries who aren't happy with John McCain aren't likely to go out of their way to vote because Mike Huckabee's on the ticket.

I'm not happy with either of those choices for reasons I explained here, here and here. I have a bit of a dark horse candidate for the position. Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele.

Steele is the best of Rice and Huckabee. He's black, which will pull votes away from Obama just like Rice would. He's conservative, which is the side of the party McCain needs to shore up. Sure, he doesn't have Condi's name recognition or Huck's appeal to evangelicals, but Condi has never run for elected office (and claims she does not want to) and I believe that the evangelicals are robust enough that they will rally around a true conservative even if he's not an evangelical (although he did spend three years studying to be a Priest!). Since losing a 2006 election for the Senate seat of retiring US Senator Paul Sarbanes, Steele has gained media savvy. He currently appears on CNN's The Situation Room and various shows on FOX News as a political pundit. It sounds like he could be as effective as Huck with the media.

Steele has acted as a counterpoint to Obama before: At the 2004 Republican National Convention, Steele gave the Republican counterpoint to the Democrats' Barack Hussein Obama in a prime time speech, Steele's first major national exposure. And Steele knows how to run in adversity: Maryland is an overwhelmingly Democratic state, but he and Robert Ehrlich won the 2002 election 51-48%. Ehrlich became the first Republican elected governor of Maryland in 40 years.

Michael Steele is my pick to be John McCain's Vice President candidate. In an informal poll of conservative bloggers taken by Right Wing News (in which I did not participate), Steele finished second among Most Desired VP Choices for McCain (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad). By contrast, Rice finished fourth. Huckabee finished first - among the Least Desired VP Choices (Rice finished eighth among the least desired; Huckabee didn't even make the most desired list and Steele was not on the least desired list). Granted, that poll was not very scientific, but it may be indicative of where the 'activists' of the Republican party are headed.

Oh yes - almost forgot Michael Steele on Israel:
Michael Steele came down squarely on the side of Israel in its conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and called for more time for diplomatic efforts. As a sovereign nation, Israel has the right to defend itself, said Steele. "Israel was attacked. I've been appalled by the fact that people seem to play that down and have gotten to the point where they are now blaming Israel for what's happening. A cease-fire will come on terms that are hopefully favorable to both sides, but certainly on terms that will not put Israel at greater harm or disadvantage," he said.

Because Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, Israel's strong reaction is justified, he said. "You don't give them any leverage or any upper hand in any conflict you have with them," Steele said. "Your goal should be to take them out. Period. As quickly as you can."
Source: Clifford Cumber inteview in Frederick News-Post Aug 8, 2006
In 2005, Steele visited Israel on behalf of the State of Maryland.
Maryland and Israel have so much in common, the state's lieutenant governor says, that they're like sisters.

From their similar population, to their mix of "traditional and avant-garde communities" to their "technologically based ... intelligent" work forces, they are "so compatible in so many ways," Michael Steele said in a telephone interview from Israel on Tuesday.

He was in the Jewish state this week to encourage Israeli businesses to set up sites in Maryland and, he said, start an "exciting new chapter" in the Maryland-Israel relationship.

Sponsored by the Maryland/Israel Development Center and coming almost exactly two years after Gov. Robert Ehrlich's (R) similar jaunt to Israel, the mission was the lieutenant governor's first to the Jewish state. Last month, Steele officially announced his candidacy to replace Democrat Paul Sarbanes in the U.S. Senate.
If anyone knows more, please pipe up.


At 5:43 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

He's a good man. McCain's problem is that he's viewed by the base first as being overly liberal and second as doing too many "crossing the aisle" deals with the Democrats. And his positions on immigration and global warming are out of step with a good chunk of the Republican Party. He doesn't feel warm towards them and they reciprocate the feeling. Personally, I think Steele would make a better presidential candidate than McCain. McCain would be a good Veep like Cheney. But its now his turn at bat and if he can't turn things around with conservatives, he could well face the same fate Bob Dole met after a lackluster campaign performance in 1996.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Thanks for the quote. As much as I like Steele (and his puppies commercial was brilliant) he is a one term Lt. Gov. who hasn't won an election on his own. He didn't even come close to Cardin in the Senate race. You need a longer resume than what Michael Steele has.


Post a Comment

<< Home