07.28.08 Prediction: McCain’s VP Pick
Last Friday’s Washington Post included a list of John McCain’s potential running mates, with pros and cons for each. I won’t bother repeating the Post’s analysis. Not only can you read it for yourself, but I simply can’t see anything “pro” about any of these cons, so why bother?
But, Dear Reader, one fundamental duty of a political blogger is to prognosticate. I shudder in fear as I take on this duty for the very first time, knowing the long odds of my getting this right. (Simple math here: The Post lists five potential candidates. If I select one, the odds are 4:1 against me.) So, as I step out on the ledge, I hope that my Dear Readers will be Gentle Readers, forgiving me if I fail and celebrating with me if I happen to succeed.
Here goes. . .
John McCain will pick Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to be his running mate.
Why? Because McCain is as desperate now as Walter Mondale was in 1984.
As you no doubt recall (those of you old enough to!), there was no way the hapless Mondale was going to beat Ronald Reagan, the “Morning In America” edition (who had succeeded the “I’m Going to Blow Up the World” and “I’m Going to Put Us in a Deep Recession” editions).
So Mondale hoped to shake things up by selecting unknown (and unqualified) Rep. Geraldine Ferraro*. Ferraro didn’t help Mondale in any way, succeeding only in making him appear all that more desperate. Mondale barely won his home state of Minnesota that year.
I’m not about to judge whether Jindal is any more qualified than Ferraro (though, at 37 years old, one can wonder whether he is ready to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office for what would be the oldest US president in history). But here’s the analogy: what XX chromosomes represented to Mondale in 1984, pigmented skin represents to McCain in 2008.
You see, Bobby Jindal is Indian American (not American Indian). And that, my fiends (as McCain likes to say**), means more to a desperate McCain than any other factor.
Bobby is Johnnie’s Great Brown Hope. Here is a man who is hard-right-wing enough to make the crazies in the GOP happy, colored enough to make the rest of the GOP feel better about themselves, and different enough (McCain hopes) to distract some moderates from thinking about things like gas prices and wars. Incidentally, another brown candidate just might close the “historic candidacy gap” and take some oxygen out of Obamamania.
The bottom line, though, is that vice presidential picks either make no difference for the picker, or (ala Danny Quayle) hurt the cause by demonstrating a lack of leadership. The more I think about it, the more I hope McCain picks his Ferraro/Quayle. Jindal cannot help but end up making the old soldier look weaker than he already does.
*Ferraro, who had mercifully receded into obscurity, managed to rise from the dead this year to take on the role of Chief Raging Racist for the Clinton campaign (at times, even managing to eclipse ol’ Billygoat’s unfettered – and unhelpful – ravings).
**Does McCain actually have any friends?
©2008 Keith Berner