Thursday, August 7, 2008

John McCain’s Lottery Game

Selecting the right vice-presidential running mate is like winning the lottery. A survey of Republican vice presidential picks since 1960 shows that Republican presidential candidates have had the wrong lottery pick six times.

As the saying goes, “He who does not learn from history is condemned to repeat it.” John McCain can greatly improve his chances of winning the vice-presidential lottery by testing prospective nominees against six types of losing lottery picks.

Type 1. Henry Cabot Lodge. In 1960 Richard Nixon sought to unify the Republican Party geographically and ideologically by selecting the handsome, suave and debonair Henry Cabot Lodge, but his choice backfired. Lodge upstaged Nixon, causing some critics to say that Lodge, not Nixon, should have been the Republican presidential candidate. And still other critics pointed out that Lodge was lazy, even taking afternoon naps, including one in the most critical State of Illinois the Saturday before the Tuesday election, which Nixon lost by about 9,000 votes.

Type 2. William Miller. In 1964 Barry Goldwater picked someone exactly the opposite of Lodge, choosing William Miller, a little-known Congressman from Buffalo, New York, who added no stature to Goldwater’s candidacy.

Type 3. Spiro Agnew. In 1968 Richard Nixon made sure he did not choose someone who would upstage him by selecting a little-known former PTA President, who had won a fluke race for the Governorship of Maryland. Although Agnew did not hurt Nixon’s candidacy, he did hurt his presidency when he had to resign in disgrace because of scandals in his closet.

Type 4. Bob Dole. In 1976 Gerald Ford chose the sharp-tongued Bob Dole, who alienated many voters with his acerbic campaign style. In a come-from-behind campaign, Ford almost closed the gap against Carter, leading some critics to say that Dole’s caustic style might have cost Ford the election.

Type 5. Dan Quayle. In 1988 George H. Bush chose Dan Quayle, whose youthfulness and inexperience made him prone to mistakes. Also the Bush campaign did not sufficiently vet Quayle to learn about some of his problems, such as his efforts to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. Throughout Bush’s presidency, Quayle was a drag and was one of the reasons he lost his bid for reelection in 1992.

Type 6. Jack Kemp. In 1996 Bob Dole chose Jack Kemp, who failed to live up to expectations. One of the reasons Dole chose Kemp was his speaking ability and knowledge of issues. What he did not account for, however, was his lack of preparation to debate Al Gore, who handily defeated him.

John McCain has bought many vice-presidential lottery tickets, including Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney, Tom Ridge, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Eric Cantor, Joe Lieberman, Michael Bloomberg, Mike Huckabee, Meg Whitman, and others.

How do these oft-mentioned lottery picks stack up against the six losing lottery picks? Does John McCain have a winning lottery number among them?


Ted said...

Regarding Gov Sarah Palin, Joe over at says:

Now that Palin has successfully maneuvered two tremendously difficult bills through the Alaskan legislature, each having to do with energy, she truly has stature on the entire energy issue, and has stature as a governor who can get things done in a political world where stalemate usually rules the day.

I now agree that McCain should make his move.

Imagine the ads...

1. "She is a young woman who ran against the Republican establishment, and has effectively moved Alaksa in the direction of reform, against all odds.

Don't just hope for change, VOTE FOR IT. McCain/Palin 2008."

2. "She is a governor who in 2 years of office passed a law that had been lanquishing for years; a law that will allow for the flow of natural gas resources from the great state of Alaska to the midwest, into energy hungry areas. Against all odds.

Don't just hope for change, VOTE FOR IT. McCain/Palin, 2008."

3. "She is a governor who insisted her state legistlature stay in session until a true energy plan could be put into place offering real and immediate relief to Alaska's citizens during this difficult energy crunch.

Don't just hope for change, VOTE FOR IT. McCain/Palin, 2008."

4. "She is a mother of 5. She is an avid hunter, fisher, one who loves and believes in the importance of the environment for us and for future generations. She also understands that energy resources can and should be tapped in ways that do not threaten our land. She believes it and is doing it.

Don't just hope for change, VOTE FOR IT. McCain/Palin, 2008."

5. John McCain. The Original Maverick. Sarah Palin. The New Maverick. Together they fought 'A Bridge to Nowhere' and knocked the establishment on its heals. Together, they will reform America.

Don't just hope for change, VOTE FOR IT. McCain/Palin, 2008."

Congratulations, Governor Palin. Senator McCain, please make your move.

Alison said...

In light of the morning speculation and now leaks by looks like commenter Ted has possibly foretold of our immediate future. And, I think I like it!

Louis said...

I would place Sarah Palin in the same category as Dan Quayle: inexperienced and not properly vetted. She did not tell the truth when she stated that she sold the Governor's jet on E-bay: She sold it to a supporter for under the list price. If she has a problem with telling the truth, then, we have some real problems. Never mind her gender or her family--those are not issues.