Will McCain pick a chick?


The Telegraph is reporting the Dems are quaking at the prospect of McCain naming a female VP running mate tomorrow. As a political move it would have the one-two punch of being both smarmy and canny. The Republicans have never had a woman on the presidential ballot,  so McCain’s ticket would be given instant historic import. It would also cast him the definitive alpha male, something that might be a problem, say, if he were standing next to the younger, chiseled Mitt Romney.

Herewith the femme front-runners:

The safe/uninspiring choice: Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Republican senator from Texas. The 65-year-old Hutchison is pro-life and knows Washington sub-committees, though she has never held office. Her name keeps resurfacing in cyber-chatter but months ago she said she doesn’t want the job.

The favoured outsider: Meg Whitman, the McCain campaign’s national co-chair. The 52-year-old billionaire former eBay CEO would bring major business cred to the ticket. She’s also a globalization expert and ace fly fisherman. The fact she’s an internet/technology guru will come in handy with a candidate who’s famously internet illiterate. McCain has referred to her as one of his three wisest advisors. And Whitman has made no secret about having political ambitions. Plus, she’s already been given a primo speaking spot at the GOP convention. That she lacks exposure to foreign policy machinations is a decided liability when squaring off against Joe Biden. She’s also pro-choice, a stance that could alienate McCain’s base. It’s a big risk for McCain to bring on a pro-choice male, say, Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman, as has been rumoured. But a pro-choice woman could be political suicide.

The dark horse outsider: Carly Fiorina, 53, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, one of McCain’s top economic advisors. Fiorina’s well-connected, presents well (Fox News has tapped her as a business commentator even though she’s sane) and she brings economic smarts. But she has already provoked a campaign flap about abortion, even though she’s is pro-life. And her high-profile ouster from HP could come back to bite her.

And the potential masterstroke: Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old governor of Alaska. She’s charismatic, popular (her approval rating is over 90) and a mother of five (including a newborn). She’s also a member of Feminists for Life so the pro-life McCain could score points endorsing female power while continuing to contain their reproductive rights. She’ll appeal to the GOP faithful (she’s pro-gun) but is known to stand up to oil companies. It’s high-risk/high-reward choice: the June-November pairing could give McCain’s campaign vitality and generational breadth. Or it could end up making him look like her out-of-it dad. But, then again, if John McCain brought aboard a working mother of five to replace Dick Cheney he’d go down as the most subversive presidential candidate in history. 


Will McCain pick a chick?


  2. I have always thought wouldn’t it be brilliant if Condoleesa said yes to an offer?

  3. Historic moment indeed, 24 yrs after Geraldine Ferraro. Them Republicans move quick.

  4. “But, then again, if John McCain brought aboard a working mother of five to replace Dick Cheney he’d go down as the most subversive presidential candidate in history. ”

    I think some of those words don’t have the meaning you think they have.

  5. Kay Bailey Hutchison is not pro-life.

  6. Palin is in fact the Vice Presidential nominee. Say what you like about John McCain, but say this – he is not afraid to take risks. The safe choice would have been a tried and true veteran of the national stage, an old white male who posed no threat. That, however, wouldn’t have changed the game, and McCain needed a game changer. He may well have found one.

    This is potentially a brilliant choice. Palin both firms up the conservative base and helps with both independents and outreach to disaffected Hillary Democrats. She is wildly popular in Alaska, with an approval rating of over 90%. She is the perfect choice to burnish McCain’s maverick, independent appeal.

    Thr risk, of course, is that she stumbles out of the gate, a la Dan Quayle in ’88. I don’t think that will happen, but that is certainly the potential downfall as the media pokes and prods Palin for the next week. If she passes the test, though, as I suspect she will, it will give the McCain campaign a huge boost. If I am a Democrat this morning, looking at this bright, energetic, potentially game changing VP nominee from my opponent, I am more than a little nervous.

  7. Palin also took on the Republican establishment in Alaska on corruption and won. She whistle-blowed her own party! Then as governor brought charges against the former governor’s chief of staff.

  8. She also has a son going off to Iraq next month as well as a newborn earlier this year.

    On paper, you can see all of the reasons they would pick her.

    And it certainly has bumped a lot of discussion of Obama’s speech.

  9. If I were a democrat looking to run a rovian, mean-sprited ad, i would make something like “Sarah Palin pointed out the corruption within the republican party – a move which paid off handsomely when she was able to fill the vacancies she helped create. But on the eight years of corruption from George Bush? Not a peep. At least one republican knows how to choose her battles!”

  10. …and all dem ads featuring Palin should be paid for by third party women’s rights groups.

  11. Fiorina would have been a disaster – she helped ruin HP and they are still trying to recover. Don’t know how Palin works yet but let’s face it, it’s just like Biden – try and fill in the gaps. Palin is youth to Biden’s experience, while appealing to women as Biden apparently will to white Catholic Pennsylvanians.

    This just got slightly more interesting but I don’t think it’s enough to beat Obama.

  12. “She also has a son going off to Iraq next month”

    again, like Biden.

  13. Let’s analyse the role of the vice-president before we throw out some uninformed ideas out there..John McCain did not need an experienced running mate in the ways of Washington.He has plenty of it.he needed someone credible for “change” in Washington,which is the battlecry of the American people.She is honest and has made her mark with changing some rot in Alaska.God help the team conserve what is best in this country.

  14. Lise: John McCain is 72. The average lifespan for an american man is 73.

    To say he doesn’t need an experienced running mate is to say that America needs no experience at the top two executive positions, because odds are that McCain won’t make it the full term.

  15. As a potential female President, Sarah Palin has far more experience actually running things than does Hillary Rodham-Clinton.

    It’s a brilliant choice.  And it’s already causing Democrats to froth at the mouth all over the blogosphere, the lefter the frothier.

  16. T. Thwim:

    Obama went from rookie senator to Democratic presidential candidate. Harper went from a lowly vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition uniter the right and Prime Minister of Canada. Schwarzenegger went from playing Mr. Freeze to the govenor of a state more populous than Cananda.

    Palin at least has several years of executive experience under her belt and (crucially) a chance for one-the-job training before she gets in a position to take the top job.

  17. Wasn’t arguing Palin’s experience. I have no idea what it is. I was arguing Lise’s idea that he doesn’t need a VP that has some.

  18. Hello back,T.Thwim.
    You make me smile to say the least..I am older than John Mccain,and my husband,a retired Marine Colonel is 80,and busier than ever! You are probably too young to know that a great life is ahead of you when your mind is sharp and you have excellent medical care like in the USA.She will learn very quickly this diplomatic job,and right now she is a great asset to John Mccain.He needed her just the way she is..by the way:I have lived in Washington DC since 1962.I think that I know of what I speak.Hope that you have a long long productive life T.

  19. Yeah Palin is supremely qualified – she would beat the pants off Joe Biden in a swimsuit competition.

    Jesus. Worst VP pick since….well, ever. I’m really looking forward to the VP debates now.

  20. Does anyone remember the Cheney-Edwards debate in ’04? Me neither. No one cares about the VP debate. Pretending for a moment that it does matter, I wohuld argue that Palin has the most to win from that encounter due to the expectations game. All she has to do is not crater, and she will be judged to have done well. Biden, OTOH, is in a no-win situation. He has a rep for being a bit of a verbal bully and blowhard, so he will really have to be on a short leash that night.

Sign in to comment.