Michael Graham asks who should be at John McCain’s side come November.
Here’s my three-point test. The VP nominee must:
1-Be perceived as “ready to be president” immediately. One of the major issues of the ’08 general election will be John McCain’s age. That Washington Post story about McCain being required to get a special life insurance policy will come back in the fall, I guarantee.
2– Add a state to the GOP column. If the GOP has any hope of holding the White House, it will likely involve state by state fighting and getting smart, lucky or both in one or two key states. A Great Lakes state maybe, or Florida. . . .
3–Be a woman or a member of a minority group. It’s tragic but true. 2008 is the year of identity politics. It is dominating the political conversation this year.
To me, #1 and #3 add up to Condoleezza Rice.
She has more foreign policy experience than the two surviving Democrats together. Hillary Clinton’s experience jet-setting around to feel-good conferences as her husband’s stand-in counts for nothing, and Obama knows as much about foreign policy as you would expect from someone who apparently thinks all he needs to know he learned in kindergarten.
None of them has significant executive experience, but Rice was the provost at Stanford, and the Stanford faculty are a lot harder to manage than the hand-picked members of Hillary’s health care task force, and we all know how well that turned out.
A Republican black probably will not trump a Democratic black, given that blacks are going to vote overwhelmingly for the Democrat anyway, whoever it is. But a black candidate might shift a few of them.
A Republican woman may not trump a Democratic woman, but Rice should be competitive, and there’s the further point that if she runs, win or lose, she’ll be a stronger contender for future presidential nominations.
The Republicans can wait to name their VP candidate at their convention in St. Paul, after the Democratic nominee is chosen, whether at the convention in Denver or before. If Rice were not available, it might be prudent to delay until they know who they’re running against. But there she is. McCain doesn’t need to wait.