May 15, 2004


The NYT has the latest Veep speculation, focusing on a fantasy Kerry-McCain ticket: Undeterred by McCain Denials, Some See Him as Kerry's No. 2.

First off, I just don't see it. As annoying as McCain can be, I simply don't see him jumping ship and he has given me no reason to think that he would so radically go back on his rather clear statements that he will not accept a veep slot.

Second, what does all of this say about Kerry? When he thought he was the shoe-in for Democratic nomination last year, he was willing to vote for the war resolution and support the president in regards to Iraq. When he thought he was going to lose the nomination to Dean, he became a major war critic (to the point I thought he was going to suggest withdrawal), voted against the $87 billion to fund the policy and was highly critical of the entire effort, even when things were going fairly well. Now that he is trying to overtake Bush in the polls he is thinking about adding a Republican who is extremely hawkish on this war to his ticket?

Further, I would note, the other day, when asked about who he he would replace Rumsfeld with, he cited McCain and Senator Carl Levin. Now, those are two rather substantially different persons who have almost diametrically opposed visions of US defense policy. They certainly view the Iraq situation and the war on terror rather differently. It's like saying that to replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice he might consider either Scalia or Bader-Ginsburg--it is a statement that tells us nothing about the man's values or policy goals. It is simply something that sounds good in the hopes of generating political support. Citing McCain might appeal to Reps and Levin appeals to liberal Dems. All he is doing is covering as many bases as possible.

Back to McCain as veep, and this absurd notion from the NYT piece:

"Senator McCain would not have to leave his party," Mr. Kerrey said. "He could remain a Republican, would be given some authority over selection of cabinet people. The only thing he would have to do is say, `I'm not going to appoint any judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade,' " the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, which Mr. McCain has said he opposes.

First, I love how everything always boils down to abortion. Second, the notion that McCain would be some kind of co-president is ludicrous.

What strikes me the most about this is that it isn't a principled stance by Kerry & Co. that McCain is the right man for what Kerry believes in, but simply an electoral ploy.

Further, it is a move that would likely have a backlash at the core of the Democratic Party:

Such an offer would undoubtedly be controversial among Democrats. Some say Mr. McCain would upstage Mr. Kerry; others regard him as too conservative. Among the latter is Donna Brazile, who ran Al Gore's campaign in 2000. "McCain has not been pro-choice; he's not been out front on affirmative action," Ms. Brazile said. "He's not been out front on core issues that have defined the Democratic Party."

And why would McCain give this up:

For Mr. McCain, 68, joining a Kerry ticket would mean giving up his Senate seat, since he is up for re-election this year. He is also in line to become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee when the term of the current chairman, John W. Warner, expires in 2006.

Further, since McCain has stated on numerous occasions that he thinks Bush should be re-elected, and since he has said he will not be anyone's veep, would not much of his forthright plain-speaking be blunted by this move, and hence damage his value to Kerry?

No, this is an absurd fantasy on the part of some in the press and amongst some Democrats.

UPDATE: And this would make for some interesting interviews and stories:

The two senators were not instantly close. When Mr. Kerry first ran for the Senate in 1984, Mr. McCain, then a freshman House member, went to Massachusetts to campaign against him. Mr. McCain, a former Navy pilot who spent more than five years in captivity, had little use for Mr. Kerry, who became a war protester and famously threw away his ribbons.

"I didn't approve of it," Senator McCain said in an interview. "I still don't approve of it."

Plus, by comparison, wouldn't McCain's Viet Nam experience diminish Kerry's? The more I think about this, the worse of an idea for Kerry this becomes.

Posted by Steven Taylor at May 15, 2004 09:23 AM | TrackBack

The Democrats do not allow pro-life speakers at their conventions. I'm not sure how one would pull off a successful convention where the VP nominee isnt allowed to addresss the delegates.

Posted by: Professor Kaos at May 15, 2004 09:40 AM

I'm just waiting to see what McCain does to quash this latest incarnation of a rumor; his insults towards the Democratic Party... um, never mind, Steven, you've given me idea for a blog entry. Thanks! :)


Posted by: Moe Lane at May 15, 2004 02:35 PM
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