McCain / Rice ?

[ Posted Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 – 12:51 UTC ]

Since Republicans have all but anointed John McCain as their presidential nominee, it's about time to start speculating on who he's going to choose to fill out his ticket. Most of this speculation has so far centered around the possibilities of McCain giving the nod to one of his primary opponents (Huckabee or Romney), in order to shore up his support among this GOP faction, or that right-wing interest group. Going further afield, there have been some guesses about Republican officeholders who may help a McCain ticket in other ways. But there's one name I haven't heard mentioned yet, one which should worry Democrats: Condoleezza Rice.

Think about it for a second, and you'll realize what a bold stroke it would be for John McCain. He's either going to be running against an African-American or a woman in the general election, so why not add a Republican African-American woman to his ticket?

No one can deny that Condi's got solid Republican credentials. She's even got extremely solid foreign policy credentials (as measured by Republican voters). She's proven to be a loyal underling who won't eclipse her boss in any way. She's also much younger than McCain. She would even shore up McCain's lack of support with the far-right conservatives, which has so far eluded him. Heck, Condi's even got an oil supertanker named after her! In short, an ideal vice presidential candidate for McCain.

Of course, she would tie McCain's campaign to the policies of George W. Bush, but McCain himself seems to have decided that this is the platform he wants to run on. Now, he could tack back to the center after officially wrapping up the Republican nomination, and to do that he'd likely pick a different running mate than Condi. But he's been known for "doubling down" on Bush policies before -- even when everyone in politics told him it'd be suicidal to do so (supporting the Iraq "surge" so strongly) -- so I could see him doing it again, by naming Condi as his candidate for the veepacy (or maybe "for veepification").

This could be a political choice worthy of Machiavelli. Let's face it, John McCain is an old white guy. He's going to have an enormous uphill battle against the winds of history in running against either a white woman or a black man. The only possible way his ticket could be "historic" is to pick as a junior partner a black woman.

This is how the Republicans have always addressed the race issue: find someone from a minority group who is sufficiently conservative to be palatable to the Republican Party at large, and then back them to the hilt to prove that the GOP is not racist, but rather out in front of the Democrats in terms of actually putting minorities into positions of power. This has been their operating method for decades now, so it should come as no surprise if McCain tries this tactic to counter a truly historic Democratic nominee.

If November's election is even close, Condi could peel off enough moderate suburban women for McCain (if Obama's the nominee) or enough black votes (if Clinton gets it) to make a difference in key swing states. Even if only five percent of one of these groups was attracted to McCain because of he is running with Condi, it could swing a few states his way. And as we all know, each and every state may be important in the electoral college.

Now, I'm not saying this is definitively how it's going to happen. Nothing is certain in the political sphere, especially not in this election cycle. But both the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign should be ready for such a move. Because John McCain could radically realign the choices voters will face in November, by making a surprise announcement that Condoleezza Rice will be his running mate.

And McCain/Rice 08 is going to be a lot harder to beat than McCain/Some-Other-White-Guy 08.


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post


-- Chris Weigant


4 Comments on “McCain / Rice ?”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    To paraphrase a very good quote from a VERY good book...

    The sport ends... The massacre begins. Democrat begins killing Democrat...

    As to the commentary, I agree completely.. A McCain/Rice ticket would be a REALLY tough nut to crack.. Even for Obama....

    ESPECIALLY for Obama..


  2. [2] 
    fstanley wrote:

    I think such a move by McCain would be very smart because it could get out the vote for the GOP. We have seen the high voter turnout for the Democrats in these primary elections and how low the turnout for the GOP has been in comparison. If McCain has Rice for his VP it would be a whole new ballgame.


  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    I also thinks it says a lot for the state of this country that this year we have real viable candidates that are female and of different race...

    Can you imagine what future historians will write about this era where, so close to cataclysmic attacks by arab terrorists, there is a real chance that a black man named Barack Hussein Obama will be President of the United States...

    I wish I could take a peek into the history books a hundred years from now... It will be a sight to behold, of that I am certain...


  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:
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