Points By Drew Pritt

June 23, 2008, 5:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Mn.) is fast becoming the consensus “safe” choice for McCain as a running mate. He’s young, puts a “blue” state into play, and most of all he’s conservative and known to Republican insiders and financial backers. During his first term, Mr. Pawlenty made trips to Bosnia, Kosovo, Poland, Iraq, and the Czech Republic; visited soldiers from Minnesota, and led a delegation to China in 2005, encouraging investment in his state. He also welcomed and feted then-President Vincete Fox of Mexico in 2004, and a year later, Mexico opened a new consulate in St. Paul. Most of all at 47 yrs., Pawlenty balances the 71 yrs. that McCain has accrued. Also, as Co-Chair of McCain’s campaign, Pawlenty has been loyal to McCain and the campaign while rounding up Republican Governors.

Pawlenty’s mother died of cancer when he was 16 and he was reared in a working-class neighborhood by a Teamster father who brought up five kids on a milk truck driver’s salary. Pawlenty also still laces up the skates and plays ice hockey. Add in his fondness for fishing — after hockey, and the nickname, “TPaw”, he fits the mold of an average Minnesota guy. Moreover he’s very Clintonian in connecting with the average voter.

Pawlenty is the safe choice for McCain because he’s traditional.

Governor Sarah Palin (R-Ak.) is the rockstar at the moment. She comes from a safe Republican state, but she’s fresh, new, and how many other potential McCain running mates can already claim to have made the cover of VOGUE Magazine? Palin is the rockstar who defeated a scandal-laden incumbent Governor, and former colleague of McCain’s in the Senate, in the primary. Then she went onto defeat a popular former Governor in the General.

She is a loyal wife, a fashionista, mother of five children (including one with Downs Syndrome) and she’s also insanely popular, with an approval rating around 90% consistently. Not only those things, but she is a fiscal conservative, anti-choice, and a member of the National Rifle Association. Strategically she offers something Pawlenty could never offer to the ticket. She’s a potential magnet for disaffected Hillary Clinton voters, many of whom are middle class women like her, just looking for a reason not to vote for Senator Barack Obama (D-Il.) The Clinton candidacy demonstrated how energized female voters are to crack the glass ceiling. Its interesting also to note the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate was a Republican….Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts in 1966.

Palin is the exciting choice for McCain because she’s non-traditional yet still safe.

When it’s all said and done, theres one potential VEEP who combines the qualities of Pawlenty and Palin. He’s non-traditional in that he’s an Independent, Jewish, and in 2000 was the Democratic nominee for Vice President. He’s traditional in that he’s been loyal to McCain, is well-known, moderate on most issues, and provides some disaffected Democratic voters with a reason to vote for McCain. Most of all, of the three, McCain is the most comfortable with Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.)

In 2004, John Kerry potentially missed a chance at winning the White House. It was long rumored that Kerry would pick his friend, McCain, a fellow vet as a running mate. A Kerry-McCain ticket had a compelling logic because it would have given Kerry a chance to outflank Bush, to win some Republican voters, and to carry McCain’s state of Arizona and its ten electoral votes.

Now in 2008, there is the potential for a McCain-Lieberman ticket and it has compelling logic as well. It puts Connecticut’s 8 electoral votes into play, but it lessens the margins in key battleground states with large Jewish voter populations and disaffected Democratic voters like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and others. Overnight it puts those “safe” states into play. Lieberman is a good debater and a strong campaigner and his addition would add a luster of experience and unity amidst the partisan nature of Presidential politics. Plus McCain seems to be comfortable and likes Lieberman.

McCain and Lieberamn have worked closely in the past on several issues:

  • In 2003, they co-sponsored the Climate Stewardship Act to limit emissions of global warming gases by electric utilities, industrial firms, and refineries. 
  • They were leading members of the “Gang of 14,” the bipartisan group of senators who devised a way to avert a fight over judicial filibusters that would have shut down the Senate in 2005.
  • They have been two of the prime movers in Senate efforts to restrict donations to political campaigns.
  • The duo led the push for military intervention by the United State in Kosovo in 1998.

Plus the addition of Lieberman adds a degree of comfort. That matters in a running mate and the two look compatible. Plus Lieberman would pick up a significant number of Jewish voters who distrust Obama and centrist Democrats.

This pick is the Hail Mary pick because it’s so unorthodox….but has that ever stopped John McCain before?


3 Comments so far
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Pawlenty is not a “safe” choice if it means he adds nothing really positive to the ticket. (He barely won election as Governor of Minnesota and it’s questionable he’d be much of a factor turning MN to McCain.)

By the same token, Sarah Palin is MORE than the “rockstar at the moment” if the implication is she’s merely a temporary flash. Sarah Palin IS the future of the Republican Party and McCain desparately needs her on the ticket. Therefore, PALIN IS THE “SAFE” CHOICE, not Pawlenty!

Comment by Ted

And read this from another blogger:

“The following is addressed to John McCain urging him to select Sarah Palin for a VP.

“First and foremost, Sarah Palin shares your values. She killed the bridge to nowhere. Need we say more?

As for the politics, Sarah Palin transcends geography. Her constituency, like yours, goes beyond state lines.

She will get your ticket access to voters all over the country based on who she is and what she stands for. Because she’s young, a woman, a mother with young kids, she will grab media attention more than any other potential candidate.

Gov. Palin also has a son in the active duty military. You have very wisely taken your son’s service in Iraq off the table as a campaign talking point. That is and should be respected. But others can talk about it and reflect on what it means.

A McCain-Palin administration would be the first in memory, which has family members in uniform during wartime from both the President and Vice President. That would be a powerful statement as to the importance of national service, especially in uniform.

Most importantly, any Vice President should be ready to step up and serve in the event she is needed. Frankly, who is really ever ready? Gov. Palin is as ready as anybody, she is a quick learner, and in her public career has exhibited the courage and decisiveness needed for a great leader.

Godspeed to you in your campaign and in making this important decision.”

Comment by Ted

McCain/Palin 08!!

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