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Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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McCain’s best VP choice–and when he should name her

Posted by James McPherson on June 18, 2008

There is naturally a lot of discussion over whom each of the candidates should choose as a running mate. The Los Angeles Times and others have named Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Mark Sanford, Richard Burr, Paul Ryan, Tim Pawlenty and Charlie Crist as possibilities–though since rumors that Crist is gay keep bubbling up and the last thing the party of Mark Foley and Larry Craig needs is another gay sex scandal, I doubt he’ll be any more than a campaigner for McCain. 

A popular choice among pundits–but probably no one else outside of Israel–is former Democratic vice presidential nominee and current McCain lapdog Joe Lieberman. (Yes, he acts more like an eager-to-please Labrador retriever than a lap-sized pocket pooch, but I can attest even a 100-pound Lab like mine considers itself to be a lapdog). Republican bloggers have broadened the list of potential running mates, including such possibilities as Condi Rice, J.C. Watts, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giulianni, Haley Barbour, Tom Coburn, Duncan Hunter, Marsha Blackburn or Sarah Palin.

Despite the advice he’ll get from the Huckabee Alliance and others, McCain should choose Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn or Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Both are young, attractive and female. That might make Cindy McCain, the one most familiar with his history, and some social conservatives a bit nervous, but in a post-Bill Clinton world I doubt that Democrats would raise improper questions. The youth and gender of either Blackburn or Palin would help McCain among young voters, disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters, and dirty old men. Of those two choices, I prefer Palin–a University of Idaho journalism graduate, former beauty pageant “Miss Congeniality,” mother of five, lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, and very popular governor.

As for when McCain should name Palin as the nominee (though I hate to help the GOP): I suggest Sunday, Aug. 24. That’s the day before the start of the Democratic National Convention, which runs Aug. 25-28. That would greatly reduce the positive attention paid to the Dems, especially since the networks have largely abandoned most coverage of the highly scripted conventions, anyway. It would also leave Democrats scrambling to consider responding during the speeches of the Democratic VP choice that Wednesday night or of Obama that Thursday night. Frankly, I’d recommend that they not address it at all, since there are too many ways they could do so badly–another reason McCain should introduce her then.

Since the Republican National Convention isn’t until Sept. 1-4, that would give people a week to learn more about Palin and for the news media to come up with all they could–which with such short notice would almost certainly be superficial and glowing. And that’s still more than two months before the general election, which would generate buzz at exactly the time most Americans will finally start paying attention to the electoral process. 

AUGUST 1 UPDATE: Lots of other folks are discussing Palin as McCain’s choice.

27 Responses to “McCain’s best VP choice–and when he should name her”

  1. Ted said

    One problem and/or risk in waiting before announcing Palin is that the Dems might name a woman or Hillary as Veep first, which would allow the Dems/liberal media to paint a GOP Palin (female) pick as a desparate gimick, overlooking the remarkable assets of Palin in her own right.

    Also, McCain’s negatives re old and crumudgeon (sp) suddenly look positive when next to and specifically coupled with Palin. Pre-Palin, the media’s trying to paint McCain as “dead-man walking”.

    Much excitement via Palin could be gererated throughout the summer, and she’s got so many media-type stories/attributes there’s enough buzz to go on and on — and I don’t think people/voters will tire of hearing and seeing her. She’s a natural!

  2. Mickey said

    Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
    She is no conservative.
    See her unconstitutional votes at my old blog:
    See current info at:

    Rossville TN

  3. section9 said

    I like Palin. I like and trust Rice a lot more. Palin is both conservative and popular with her state’s population and passes the conservative smell tests, but that’s not the issue here. The issues are McCain’s age and the Dick Cheney Test: can you do the Freaking Job On Short Notice With No Learning Curve?

    That’s not Sarah Palin. That is Condi Rice.

  4. Ted said

    Can’t realistically imagine McCain selecting anyone other than Palin as his Veep!

  5. Ted said

    Mac Pick Palin Veep BEFORE Hil Campaigns w/Obama!

    In addition to her overwhelming attraction on the oil/energy issue and the female/disaffected Hillary voters, her human interest story will generate millions and millions of dollars worth of publicity and media coverage — essentially free to the McCain campaign — more than offsetting Obama’s reported money advantage.

  6. James McPherson said

    “… more than offsetting Obama’s reported money advantage.” Perhaps, though Obama is raising mind-boggling amounts of money. If you live in a contested state, you’re not going to be able to escape his ads, appearances, etc., as election time nears.

  7. Ted said

    Actually, if Mac wants to win, he should pick Sarah Palin Veep this week, BEFORE Hil Campaigns w/Obama!

    In addition to her overwhelming attraction on the oil/energy issue and the female/disaffected Hillary voters, Palin’s human interest story will generate millions and millions of dollars worth of publicity and media coverage — essentially free to the McCain campaign — more than offsetting Obama’s reported money advantage.

    Again, since I can’t imagine McCain selecting anyone other than Palin as his Veep, there’s no time like the present to make the announcement.

  8. 4 bob said

    A commenter on another post says it much better than I can:

    “They say McCain reads the blogs, so here goes —

    Senator McCain- Don’t let the campaign kibbitzers muddle things up.

    First and foremost, Sarah Palin shares your values. She killed the bridge to nowhere. Need we say more?

    As for the politics, Sarah Palin transcends geography. Her constituency, like yours, goes beyond state lines.

    She will get your ticket access to voters all over the country based on who she is and what she stands for. Because she’s young, a woman, a mother with young kids, she will grab media attention more than any other potential candidate.

    Gov. Palin also has a son in the active duty military. You have very wisely taken your son’s service in Iraq off the table as a campaign talking point. That is and should be respected. But others can talk about it and reflect on what it means.

    A McCain-Palin administration would be the first in memory which has family members in uniform during wartime from both the President and Vice President. That would be a powerful statement as to the importance of national service, especially in uniform.

    Most importantly, any Vice President should be ready to step up and serve in the event she is needed. Frankly, who is really ever ready? Gov. Palin is as ready as anybody, she is a quick learner, and in her public career has exhibited the courage and decisiveness needed for a great leader.

    Godspeed to you in your campaign and in making this important decision.”

  9. James McPherson said

    4 bob: Some excellent points. How about a link to that other post, if you have one? Thanks for the comment.

  10. Not the original post, but it looks like 4bob is active. He posted the same message here: http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/2008/06/palin-leads-paj.html

  11. […] to float the possibility that he will name his running mate this week. That would be a mistake, in my view, but it wouldn’t be the first poorly timed McCain event during this campaign. Still, I think […]

  12. […] morning (though Drudge disagrees) that Sarah Palin might be the pick–which would mean both McCain and Obama made the selections I said they should (though I doubt either of them was reading my blog […]

  13. noleftturnz said


    Bravo on the right call. Two for two. You should be on the weekend shows.

    Hope you bought some lottery tickets, you are on a roll.

    Nice piece as well.


  14. noleftturnz said


    I did catch the “party of Mark Foley and Larry Craig” bit..(Refer: The Double Standard, The Thought of the Day)

    I think that two back benchers like Foley and Craig were given their “star status” by the salacious media. I don”t think that they quite match up to a President who uses an intern like a humidor and then lies under oath about it or a presidentail and vice presidential candidate who cheats on a wife suffering with cancer..

    The “suggestive emails and the touch of the foot” business falls a little short..

    Abetter choice would have been Bill Bennett from awhile back. Nothing sexual but a better case of hypocracy.

    Try the party of Wayne Hays and Gary Hart..Sorry, they were Democrats.

    Try the party of Wilbur Mills and Barney Frank..sorry, Democrats again..

    OK, Mel Reynolds and Gary Condit..Democrats again.

    This was a little harder than I thought that it would be..disregard..


  15. James McPherson said

    I agree that most of the Dems you mentioned also were pigs. And remember, I’ve been an independent in most of my presidential votes. But when I’m in a state that might actually make a difference, I vote for the major party that I most want in charge of the economy and Supreme Court appointments–which happens to be the Democrats. That doesn’t, however, make them more than the lesser of two evils, so to speak.

  16. […] Written elsewhere by James McPherson on August 30th, 2008 So Sarah Palin it is. And even though I recommended her back in June, I’m surprised by the selection, in part because of some of the things that have […]

  17. […] McCain’s best VP choice–and when he should name her […]

  18. […] warned before the nomination that McCain “couldn’t win” the general election. My own suggestion back in June that McCain pick Palin as a running mate now looks a bit silly, though at least I can […]

  19. […] appeal to media folks willing to give her a pass on her relative lack of knowledge or experience. (I recommended back in June that he choose Palin, predicting that the resulting media coverage would be […]

  20. […] my back-to-back June posts suggesting that the vice presidential nominees should be Joe Biden and Sarah Palin–though because a link to to it appears at the bottom of a popular CNN […]

  21. […] truth, Palin would not have been chosen as John McCain’s running mate (nor would I have recommended that McCain choose her) if she were not a woman. I also happen to agree with Geraldine Ferraro that […]

  22. […] small, often temporary defensive fortification.” In the case of Palin, despite my one-time support of her choice as John McCain’s running mate, I hope her political presence is more temporary […]

  23. […] But the fact is that she gave McCain a serious boost when he needed it most (why I and some others recommended her selection before most people had ever heard of her). She probably kept the race from getting away […]

  24. […] Since my first post, in which I predicted success for Barack Obama (not yet then the Democratic nominee) and problems for John McCain, a number of my posts have focused on topics of relatively short-term interest. Those include my June suggestions for whom Obama and McCain should select as running mates: More than two months before they made their choices, I suggested Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. […]

  25. […] probably bragged too often about recommending Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate months before she was selected, and maybe I write too often […]

  26. […] haven’t paid as much attention to the VP process as I did four years ago when I recommended Sarah Palin and Joe Biden as VP picks (and no, I don’t think the campaigns were reading my blog and […]

  27. […] Vice presidential candidates. Here again, at times I’ve thought these people mattered, but they haven’t since at least 1960. People vote for presidents, not vice presidents. […]

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