Try this on for size: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States, Bobby Jindal! How about Vice President Mitt Romney? Or, Vice President Charlie Crist! If what’s about to happen this weekend at John McCain’s Arizona home is any indication, and John McCain does somehow win the November election, we may be hearing one of these three phrases quite a bit for the next four years. Of course, not “Vice President Dick Cheney” often, but often nonetheless.
Most news outlets are reporting that McCain is returning home for the three-day weekend and will be meeting with each of the above three men. This weekend’s meetings are deemed so integral and consequential that McCain has cleared his campaign schedule of all activities for this weekend.
There’s no word from the McCain campaign whether or not these three are the finalists (out of a rumored, serious list of 20 contenders), or if these meetings will just be the beginning of many more meetings with potential VP picks. However, much of the buzz on the net seem to indicate that the McCain camp have settled on these three. If so, this would clearly attest that Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty are out of the running.
Apparently, McCain is focusing on more color and more flavor as a way to counteract Barack Obama’s presumptive nomination. In November, two older white men may not be as appealing when put on stage across from an African American and…A) a woman, B) a Latino, and C) a white man that is clearly and easily identifiable with working class voters.
In the “final three,” McCain has really only one good choice for VP, and that’s Charlie Crist, the Governor of Florida.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is an interesting prospect, but would be a poor choice at this point in time. The man is young, which would counter McCain’s age of 72. However, Jindal may be a tad too young at a barely riping 36, turning 37 in early June. I’m not sure the American public is willing to put the presidency in the hands of a 72 year old, with a 36 year old as his back up. As well, Jindal may be popular and seen as both potent and potentially great in his state of Louisiana, but he’s not really nationally known. He was overwhelmingly voted in as Governor because the residents wanted rampant state government corruption ended and cleaned up in Louisiana. What message about current government corruption would McCain send if he brings Jindal in on his ticket?
Lastly, Jindal has two more weaknesses working against him. Though he has “executive experience” as governor, the man has only been governor since January of 2008. He’s been governor for less than six months right now, and in November would have been governor for less than a year. Not exactly impressive. Finally, his other weakness, unfortunately, is his ethnicity. Though born and raised in the US, he is an ashen-skinned man with a funny last name. If people are concerned about Obama’s name and skin color working against him (see West Virginia and Kentucky vote results), Jindal will face the same obstacle.
Mitt Romney may be a good second considering he could fill some of McCain’s obvious weaknesses. Executive experience and the economy come straight to mind. However, Romney, at this point in time, is damaged goods within his own party. He’s developed a reputation as a flip-flopper, and if conservatives thought they couldn’t exactly trust John McCain, Romney is an equally large slice of bad cake to swallow on that token. And sadly, in the end, Romney’s Mormonism will become an issue with those hardcore conservatives who believe only Jesus Christ is real.
Looking at these three folks, and the naked weaknesses of Jindal and Romney, Crist becomes the unmistakeable choice. Crist is extremely popular in his state of Florida and it would certainly guarantee that state for McCain come November. It will be crucial for McCain to win Florida and its 25 electoral votes.
Personally, I think Crist would be a good, solid choice. However, I am surprised by the “final three.” I think there are a lot better names and choices out there in the Republican Party for McCain. Mike Huckabee, for one, would deliver to McCain a block of voters (Evangelicals) that I don’t think any of the three above can come close to touching.
Only time will tell if these are indeed the three from which McCain will choose.