Political donors report Sen. John McCain complains he is under pressure from President Bush and his former political adviser Karl Rove to select former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his vice presidential running mate.
If someone were telling me I had to associate myself with Mitt Romney, I would complain, too, but the striking thing about this report is how Bush has continued not-so-secretly to prefer the one candidate of the 2008 major Republican candidates possibly less electable than he would be if he could run for a third term. (No, I’m not kidding.) If Mr. Bush is preoccupied with legacy-building at this point, it is quite odd that he would be pushing McCain to take on the
dead weight political strength of Mitt Romney, who demonstrated a remarkable ability to become less popular the more people saw of him. Perhaps this is an expression of Bush’s unconscious desire to see McCain fail, the product of some leftover animus from years ago?
What do they say the first rule of VP selecting is? Isn’t it “do no harm”? You don’t need to be as much of an inveterate Romney foe as I am to see that this choice would do a great deal of harm to McCain. Where McCain is beloved by the press, Romney is hated. McCain is considered, rightly or not, to be genuine and honest, while Romney is widely held to be a fraud. McCain wants to close Guantanamo as a detention facility, and Romney famously wanted to “double” it. McCain is supposed to run against Obama’s health care plan with a running mate who signed into law health care legislation that was effectively to the left of Obama’s position on mandates? McCain is going to compete in the Rust Belt with the living embodiment of corporate America standing by his side? Romney might help in Michigan and (marginally) in Massachusetts, but he would cost McCain dozens of electoral votes elsewhere. In the spirit of Romney’s withdrawal speech at CPAC, I think Romney should withdraw himself from consideration for VP, since he said he didn’t want to contribute to a Democratic victory and putting him on the ticket would all but guarantee one.