Thursday, March 06, 2008

Veepstakes Continued...

The Financial Times provides an interesting run-down of potential running-mates for John McCain and the positives and negatives for each.

Charlie Crist, 51: (+) Popular first term Florida governor; Credited with helping McCain win the Florida primary and would probably deliver the Sunshine State again in November if chosen as VP. (-) Too moderate for many conservatives; At 51, his bachelor lifestyle is a source of intrigue – rumour mongers cannot decide whether he is a playboy or gay.

Mark Sanford, 47: (+) Second-term governor of South Carolina; Crusader against government waste – once brought live pigs into the state legislature to protest against “pork-barrel” spending. (-) Did not endorse McCain (or any other candidate) before the South Carolina primary.

Tim Pawlenty, 47: (+) Second-term governor of Minnesota – a key Republican target state; One of McCain’s staunchest supporters and a conservative rising star. (-) Failed to deliver his home state for McCain in the Republican primary.

Haley Barbour, 60: (+) Second-term governor of Mississippi; Competent and well-connected operator; One of the few people to win praise for their leadership after Hurricane Katrina. (-) His background as a powerful Washington lobbyist clashes with McCain’s image as a crusader against special interests.

Matt Blunt, 37: (+) Young first-term governor of Missouri -- traditionally an important bellweather state in presidential elections; Won the highest rating of any governor from the libertarian Cato Institute for reducing state spending; Recently announced he would not seek a second term, making him available for the VP job. (-) Backed Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination; His youth could raise doubts about his readiness to be Commander-in-Chief and undermine Republican attacks against Barack Obama for his inexperience.

Bobby Jindal, 36: (+) Corruption-busting governor of Louisiana and Republican rising star; His youth and Indian-American ethnicity would help neutralise the appeal of Barack Obama. (-) Less than two months into his first term – it would surely be too soon for him to quit.

Sarah Palin, 44: (+) First term governor of Alaska, with an approval rating above 80 per cent; Solid conservative; Considered the brightest female prospect in the Republican party; Mother of four and wife of a commercial fisherman, giving her populist appeal. (-) Relatively inexperienced; Comes from a politically peripheral state.

Rick Perry, 58: (+) Governor of Texas since George W. Bush stepped down in 2000; Would be a popular choice among ”red state” conservatives. (-) Is America ready for another Texas governor on a presidential ticket?

Condoleezza Rice, 53, and Colin Powell, 70: (+) Secretary of State and former Secretary of State, respectively; Would add to McCain’s foreign policy credentials and bring racial diversity to the Republican ticket. (-) Too deeply associated with the failures of the Bush administration; Both say they don’t want the job; Powell is only a year younger than McCain.

Rob Portman, 52: (+) Former US Trade Representative and White House economic adviser; Would bring economic clout to the ticket and could be an asset in his native Ohio – a crucial swing state. (-) Little known outside economic circles. Closely tied to the Bush administration.

Christopher Cox, 55: (+) Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and a former congressman and editor of the Harvard Law Review; Would bring economic and financial experience. (-) Lacks star power.

Joseph Lieberman, 66: (+) Independent senator for Connecticut and running mate to Al Gore on the 2000 Democratic ticket; Quit the Democrats because of his support for the war in Iraq; Would strengthen McCain’s appeal among independents and moderate Democrats. (-) Liberal views would alienate conservatives.

Mike Huckabee, 52: (+) Presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor; Popular among evangelical Christians and widely admired for his good-humoured approach to campaigning; Refrained from attacking McCain. (-) Socially conservative views could alienate moderates, while his populist rhetoric alarms economic conservatives.

Mitt Romney, 60: (+) Former presidential candidate, business executive and Massachusetts governor; Emerged as McCain’s fiercest opponent; Would provide executive experience and economic knowledge. (-) Hostile relationship with McCain could be difficult to overcome.

Rudy Giuliani, 63: (+) Former presidential hopeful; Highly-respected for his leadership as New York mayor after the 9/11 attacks. (-) Could overshadow McCain; Too socially liberal for conservatives; Volatile private life.

Michael Bloomberg, 66: (+) Widely respected mayor of New York, philanthropist and billionaire owner of the Bloomberg news organisation; Recently ruled himself out as a third-party candidate; Would bring executive experience, economic clout and bipartisan appeal. (-) Quit the Republican party last year to become an independent; Too moderate and metropolitan for many Conservatives.

Steve Forbes, 60: (+) Member of the Forbes publishing dynasty and twice a Republican presidential contender in 1986 and 2000; Campaigner for lower taxes and small government. (-) Anti-tax views may be too extreme for some; Out of frontline politics for years.

John Thune, 47, Richard Burr, 52: (+) Young and solidly conservative senators for South Dakota and North Carolina, respectively. Frequently named among the Republican party’s brightest rising stars. (-) Conventional wisdom suggests it would be unwise for McCain, a longtime senator, to add another lawmaker to the ticket, given the unpopularity of Congress. The same reasoning could rule out several other senators that have been linked with the job, including Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Kay Bailey-Hutchinson of Texas.

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