Road to the Naval Observatory: GOP Veepstakes

April 5, 2008

The Runners and Riders in the GOP Veepstakes

Here is my form book for the GOP Veepstakes:

The favourite

1. Joe Lieberman – Lieberman is popular with independents, conservative democrats, liberal republicans and certain sections of the religious right. He would guarantee at least 2-3% nationally and steal several news cycles. His role in registering voters in Mississippi in the 60s gives him the credibility to attack Obama on the issues without racist dog-whistling or challenging anybody to a duel. He also wins over many of the national security voters who disagree with McCain in issues like immigration. However, it is uncertain as to whether the Republican party is ready for a pro-choice former Democrat, although neither the Republican party nor the electorate at large got the message in 1980 and 84. Chances are about 40% (2.50).


2-3. Tom Ridge – Popular moderate former governor of an important swing state. Would add to McCain’s national security credentials. Endorsed McCain during the primaries. However, his pro-choice views might cause some problems. Chances are about 10% (10).

2-3. Tim Pawlentry – Early ally of John McCain and touted as possible running mate for a long time. Governor of winnable state (Minnesota) while respected by the right. However, his support wasn’t able to win the day in the Minnesota primary. Chances are about 10% (10).

Still in with a shout

4-5. John Huntsman Jr – Business experience and experience as US trade representative helps McCain in economic matters while support for expanded health care coverage helps McCain on this issue. Win LDS support in MO and NV without alienating Evangelicals. Has access to vast personal wealth. The look on Mitt Romney’s face alone would make Huntsman’s selection worthwhile. Chances are about 7.5% (12.5).

4-5. Condi Rice – Apart from Lieberman (and possibly) Giuliani, Condi is the only person who can re-frame Wrightgate around the issue of national security. Her candidacy would also be groundbreaking, and open up the African-American vote if Hilary Clinton manages to somehow win the nomination. She is relatively young and so would be an ideal compliment to McCain. Could also help McCain in California. However, her coldness and her association with Bush reduce her chances considerably. Chances are about 7.5% (12.5)

Real long-shots

6-10. Rudolph Giuliani – Giuliani would help McCain in the North-East and the two are obviously friendly. Wrightgate plays into Giuliani’s hands, although having the campaign picketed by firefighters would be a double edged sword. Evangelical voters might not accept this ticket and Giuliani Partners remains a huge skeleton in the closet, potentially on a par with ‘Wrightgate’. Chances are about 4% (25)

6-10. Mike Huckabee – Would help McCain with social conservatives and values voters. McCain obviously prefers him to Romney. However, he failed to win over any blue collar voters in Michigan and his extreme social conservatism would ailenate independants. Does McCain really want to run with someone who wrapped himself in the Confederate Flag? Chances are about 4% (25)

6-10. Charlie Crist – Crist is a very popular governor of an important swing state (Florida). He is also moderate and personable and he endorsed McCain before Florida voted. He also prosecuted telecoms companies as Florida’s Attorney General. However, rumours about his private life might prove a distraction. Good relations with the African-American community will be a bonus if Hillary is the Democratic nominee. He also spent less than five years in major state government posts (although he served in various posts four another four years). There are also questions about his involvement in fraud investigation. Chances are about 4% (25).

6-10. Mitt Romney – He is the chosen candidate of the fiscal right and adds business experience to the ticket. If the convention were settled in the back room he would be odds on to be the candidate. However, he performed poorly in his home turf, losing to McCain in New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut….need I say more? Seriously, McCain doesn’t need someone who ailenates both the religious right and moderates. Meghan McCain interview suggested rift between McCain and Romney camps hasn’t really healed. Also what can a one term governor with a negative approval rating really bring to the ticket? Chances are about 4% (25).

6-10. Rob Portman – The man behind the famous ‘experience of telecommunications’ statement. According to Bob Novak Portman is on McCain’s shortlist. Chances are about 4% (25).

Others: There is always the possibility of a complete unknown or a non-politician (such as Carly Fiorina or David Petraeus). There is also the possibility of another Democrat crossing party lines.



  1. Everybody loves Holy Joe, but he is resolutely pro-choice in a way that, say, Condi isn’t and is pretty much a liberal Democrat in all other issues other than National Security. Lieberman won’t be the choice, but he will be in the Cabinet.

    Rice isn’t cold, in fact, she’s rather warm in person and does good stump and her life story is excellent for the General. I put her up there with Tom Ridge at 1-2. Pawlenty is an unknown, which is why I put him waaaaaaay down there. JMC wants someone who CAN be POTUS if something happens to him.

  2. I’d agree with you but when was the last time Condi (or even Huckabee) quoted the Bible in an interview? Although Lieberman’s views on abortion are a major stumbling block he will simply have to say during his acceptance speech, “…I admire many Republicans including Judge X (insert name of moderate yet pro-life Republican jurist) whose legal writing I have always admired”.

  3. Do you honestly believe that Huckabee’s Confederate flag comments would disqualify him? Maybe in New York or Boston. Elsewhere, a non-issue. And NY and Boston arent going to vote for McCain anyway.

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