Thursday, August 28, 2008

The McCain Veepstakes

Here is the Official CS Take on the McCain VP Prospects:

Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN): A boring and predictable pick. Notice that I didn't say he was a safe one. If Pawlenty is the pick, look for a consensus to emerge that this is Quayle Redux. If you thought Bush got through the Gore and Kerry debates by winning the expectations game, wait for Pawlenty-Biden. Pawlenty might win the expectations game simply by not pulling down his pants and molesting children on the stage.

Former Governor Mitt Romney (MA): Nice enough guy, does a good job with attack talking points. But the houses debate will only get worse. And I guarantee you -- I'd bet every penny I have -- that the Obama team has a similiar ad waiting if Romney is the pick.

Senator Joe Lieberman (CT): Lieberman is the dangerous girl in a motorcycle jacket that McCain wants to be with, but knows he can't (as odd as it is to compare a Jewish kid from New Haven to a motorcycle chick). He would love to govern with him, but the convention would become about nothing other than Republicans Gone Wild. If Lieberman was the pick, I don't know if Republicans or Democrats would be more ticked off.

Governor Bobby Jindal (LA): I think he has other things on his mind this week.

Governor Sarah Palin (AK): I don't get the groundswell for support for this pick. I want to say she is a rising star in the party, but I am not sure what concrete policy achievements she has had to back that up. Picking her would hurt the argument on Obama's qualifications and a McCain-Palin stage would look more like an old man hanging out with his decidely-attractive younger wife than it would resemble a presidential ticket. I am pretty skeptical of the "women automatically want to support a woman politician" argument, so the benefit to the ticket could be fairly minimal.

Congressman Eric Cantor (VA): A rising star in the party, only big-time Jewish Republican in who knows how long. He definitely has a future, either as Speaker of the House or the Senate or possibly on a national ticket. But he is very obscure and I am not sure what the media consensus would be.

Former Congressman and OMB director Rob Portman (OH): Probably the best pick McCain can make. He's got experience on economic and budget issues, comes from a swing state, conservatives would be happy and doesn't seem to have any major flaws outside of obscurity. He's old enough to avoid the experience questions (52) and young enough that it doesn't make the ticket look like two old men.

McCain has got to approach this pick remembering the No. 1 rule of selecting a vice president: First, do no harm. Portman does the least harm and has a decent upside.