Which people do Sam Nunn and Rob Portman know, and how much are they paying them? David Brooks put forward the names of these two for what seems to be the umpteenth time as possible VP selections for this cycle by one columnist or another (though usually Nunn is mentioned as a choice for McCain, not Obama), and I have yet to see anything approaching a good rationale for either one. If competently running the OMB were a qualification for success in an elected executive capacity, Mitch Daniels should be a giant among Republican governors. In fact, no one talks about him as a potential VP choice because he is poorly regarded in his own state and his own state is Indiana, the birthplace, as Vice President Thomas Marshall of Indiana said, of second-rate men. Portman also has the distinction of being a former Congressman, which would make him the most underqualified VP selection in decades. Nunn might be an intriguing choice, if reviving aged, blue dog
hawkishness were a top priority of the Democratic Party and the country, but it isn’t.
Meanwhile, Daschle makes for a more amusing possibility, but he is such a dedicated Obamaite that his selection would do nothing for party unity. Pawlenty is a far more credible choice, since he at least has some executive experience, and would fit the bill of aiding McCain in governing far better than Portman. Portman’s name keeps coming up, I suspect, because the GOP is desperate to find an Ohioan who isn’t deeply unpopular or under indictment who could stand to be associated with them, and they know that they need Ohio in the election, but as a matter of how McCain will govern after the election selecting Portman makes little sense.