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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

McCain-Who?

Since it’s probably just a matter of time until John McCain wins the Republican presidential nomination, it’s not too early to speculate about his vice-presidential choice. And as Alan Abramowitz notes in the last post, McCain has some serious party unity problems.
Some non-Republican media types seem to think it’s obvious that McCain should go ahead and give Huckabee the veep nod, getting him out of the race and providing a congressional/gubernatorial, secular moderate/Christian conservative ticket balance. They do not reckon with the power of the Republican Conservative Establishment, which is much more formidable than any counterpart on the Democratic side. Uniting the Wall Street, K Street, Neocon and Theocon factions of the GOP, and broadcasting its views through the airwaves and blogosphere, this establishment dislikes Huckabee as much as or more than McCain. Whatever its theoretical electoral value, a Mac/Huck ticket would tear the fragile coalition that Bush and Rove built entirely apart. So it probably ain’t going to happen.
A Staff post the other day noted that the moneyed wing of the GOP, represented by the Club for Growth (or as Huckabee calls it, the “Club for Greed”), had weighed in with some suggestions for McCain’s running mate. A more interesting discussion is under way at National Review Online, where Lisa Schiffren reports on responses to an informal query about Veep possibilities at NRO’s blog The Corner.
The top vote getter there was newly elected Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is an Indian-American and an adult convert from Hinduism to Catholicism. After promoting MN’s Tim Pawlenty, SC’s Mark Sanford, and CA’s Chris Cox for the veepship, Schiffren also mentions Alaska governor Sarah Palin, touted as a member of “Feminists for Life” and also as a former Miss Alaska.
Schiffren’s list shows how seriously conservatives are taking their various economic and cultural litmus tests for the national ticket–and also how far they may be willing to go to accept demographically unconventional candidates like Jindal and Palin who meet those litmus tests. Then again, the best bet for McCain’s running-mate is some white guy in a suit who satisfies the various conservative factions, and adds nothing to the ticket other than a tentative unity and the certainty that the Right will control the party, if not the country.

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