Kathryn Jean Lopez writes today at The Corner about one interpretation of the recent John McCain trial balloon that hadn’t yet arisen in mainstream analysis. What if McCain might be thinking of Rudy Giuliani as a running mate, rather than Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman? She even notes that a recent staff move could signal this:
The McCain campaign has already hired a Giuliani staffer as the unnamed veep’s communications director…
Rudy would make more sense than either Ridge or Lieberman. Ridge doesn’t exactly have a national following, and Lieberman is a typical liberal Democrat on all issues but the war. Giuliani had led most polling for months in 2007, only losing his grip in the final weeks before Iowa and New Hampshire, as his Florida Firewall strategy turned out to be a creative catastrophe.
The boss employs her usual brevity at the prospect:
In the primaries, I thought Rudy Giuliani would give Republicans their best shot at victory …. against Hillary Clinton. Only in the last few weeks did I change my mind, as Giuliani’s strategy started backfiring, but Giuliani could be a potent weapon on the campaign trail. Few politicians sound as authoritative and have banked as much respect as Giuliani.
However, that doesn’t make him a good VP prospect. Giuliani’s strength came in his tested leadership, and obviously not in his positions on social issues. John McCain already has the tested leadership qualities of Giuliani, and he needs someone with clearer ties to the Republican base on these issues. Besides, Giuliani won’t win New York for McCain, and even with his popularity, probably won’t make it close enough for Obama to spend more money there than he already has planned.
If McCain wants a game-changer for a VP selection but shies away from Sarah Palin for a lack of experience, how about — John Breaux? The Louisiana Democrat is pro-life, opposed to the estate tax, voted for NAFTA, supported the Bush tax cuts (the last of which McCain opposed), wants lower capital-gains tax rates, and supported tort reform over Bill Clinton’s veto.
A John Breaux pick would give McCain a stronger grip on the South, and the “unity ticket” could help bring independents and centrists to the ticket. If McCain wants to select someone outside the box, he could do worse than Breaux, who’d make a better Democratic partner than Lieberman on the basis of all these issues.
Update (AP): I’m mystified by the appeal of Giuliani as a VP. He brings all sorts of negatives, would destroy McCain’s newfound credibility with Christians, and adds nothing to the ticket except the same resolute hawkishness McCain himself already has in spades.