Veeps

We’re several months away from hearing the actual Vice Presidential picks, but why not look ahead?

Republicans

GOP Prez nominees traditionally make horrible mistakes with their Veep selections. They tend to pick people who bring nothing whatsoever to the ticket in the way of demographics or electoral tactics or strategies. This year, however, there are two potential Veep picks out there who are such obvious no-brainers you’d have to be Karl Rove not to figure it out.

1. Florida Governor Charlie Crist

Gov. Crist has won three major elections in 27-electoral-vote Florida over the past several years. He’s telegenic and conservative to boot. Did I mention Florida? (If Florida is not legitimately in play what would be the *real odds* — not media or academia-based fantasy — of the MediaDemocrat ticket winning the Electoral College?)

2. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Gov. Pawlenty is a re-elected CEO of an important swing state with a material number of electoral votes. A state which borders another swing state with a material number of electoral votes and similar politics to boot. (People might already have forgotten, but President Bush came within several thousand fraudulent Democrat ballots from winning Wisconsin not once but twice). There’s also the reality the GOP is conducting its nominating convention in Pawlenty’s home state. Flip MN and WI to the “red” column, and assuming the status quo elsewhere, and non-voting conservatives could throw away Ohio without affecting the outcome.

Pawlenty is young and very telegenic and he’s got those Mid-Western populist – libertarian – conservative – moderate viewpoints, which appeal to large numbers of adults who vote in partisan elections. It’s a no-brainer.

Democrats

Unlike the inept GOP you don’t have to explain to a Democrat that it makes no sense to pick people who haven’t ever won a statewide election, or who’ve been out of circulation for years and years, or who can’t spell potatoes to save their tomatoes. Every Democrat Veep choice over the past three decades has been designed to bring something to the ticket as far as demographics (Ferraro, Lieberman), geography (Mondale, Bentsen, Edwards), or fundraising and political muscle (Gore). It hasn’t worked out for them too often, but, still, at least they understand that you need to try to win and that “losing with dignity” means you lost.

The $64,000 question, of course, is who’ll get the nod.

If Hillary goes on to win the nomination she’ll want someone who’s loyal, who won’t outshine her, who hails from an important area of the country and who brings something to the ticket in the way of demographics.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson fits all those bills.

One thing’s for certain, however: Hillary’s Veep choice won’t be Oprah.

In the event Obama goes on to win the nomination he too will want someone who brings something to the table in the way of demographics, geography or money and political muscle. Plus Obama looks like he still should be in grad school, so he’ll want someone with a modicum of actual experience and a touch of gravitas (whether real or by perception). There’s also the reality of the reverse gender gap, i.e., severe Democrat weakness with male general election voters — especially those who work for a living in the private sectors.

I thought long and hard about this one. And I hate even to say it, because the guy gives me the creeps. But Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell would be a pretty good strategic Veep choice for Obama. Another viable choice would be Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. Yes, that would hand over a governorship to the GOP (Virginia’s Lt. Gov. is a Republican), but winning the presidency is 1,000,000 times more important than a lone statehouse.

Obama also could choose Richardson, but I seriously doubt he’d want a Clintonista anywhere near the Oval Office.

So, ergo:

GOP: Either Crist or Pawlenty should be the pick.
Democrats: Richardson (Hillary) or Rendell/Kaine (Obama) should get the nod.

How about a pole tax?
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