Sunday, August 5, 2007

Huckabee-Palin? Worth Some Thought

In choosing vice-presidential candidates, Republicans over the past two generations might as well have put up a bunch of names and thrown darts at them.

I wrote a column recently on the subject and went back to Eisenhower's selection of Richard M. Nixon, who himself later chose Henry Cabot Lodge (1960) and Spiro T. Agenew (1968 and 1972). I concluded that the choices over 50-plus years consisted mainly of the bland, the corrupt -- including Nixon and Agnew -- and the unelectable, including the current vice-president. (Note: I voted twice for Richard Nixon and twice for GWB.)

In today's (Sunday's) Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (and also appearing in Townhall), Salena Zito bemoans GWB's choice of Cheney. She notes that with no sitting president or vice-president running for the highest office, the Republican effort for the presidency lacks focus. Unlike the Democrats running for president, the GOP candidates have no political "red meat" to throw to conservatives.

Salena noted that GWB's short-list of possible candidates for the V-P slot in 2000 consisted of: Frank Keating, then governor of Oklahoma; (2) Tom Ridge, then-governor of Pennsylvania; and (3) Dick Cheney, then CEO of Halliburton.
She believes the Oklahoma governor would have been a better choice for V-P, an assessment with which Keating is in agreement.

Yikes, Salena! Yes, Keating is a very conservative guy -- the only type who gets elected in Oklahoma. He's also a man with no strong attractiveness outside the reddest of the red states. Specifically, he has no special appeal to Blacks, Hispanics, female professionals, "Reagan Democrats," and young people, all of whom are big problems for the GOP.

We don't want to become a Party consisting mainly of angry white males. In that regard, 2006 was a warning signal. Another ominous sign is the decline in the number of people who identify themselves as Republicans -- without a corresponding decline in the percentage of Democrats.

As for Tom Ridge, he was my governor in Pennsylvania, and he did a good job. However, he was a disappointment as Head of Homeland Security, mostly remembered for the color-coding nonsense related to the WOT. In his cabinet role in DC, Ridge usually came across as uninspirational and probably misplaced.

I have a high regard for Dick Cheney, his wife, and his daughters. However, GWB made a bad choice, resulting in one more in a long line Republican vice-presidential nominees who didn't quite measure up to his role in the nation's second-highest office.

He's one of several Republican vice-presidents who have served as lightning rods, a role closely associated with Nixon and Agnew. If Cheney's role was to deflect criticism from Bush, he was a failure. He's been a net deficit to the Bush Administration.

The case many of us have been making for Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as the vice-presidential candidate rests in part on her being a person with a future. She's a conservative who can make a compelling case for the positions she holds. She's entirely credible as a future President. She's NOT old, tired, and crippled by a reputation for partisanship.

In 2008, the Democratic ticket probably will be Hillary Clinton, a woman, and Bill Richardson, an Hispanic. Against that kind of dynamic ticket are we really going to offer yet another duo of grumpy white males?

Consider a possible nomine (for either slot) such as Fred Thompson. He would be 67 -- eligible for both Social Security and Medicare -- at the time of the Inauguration. If we go that route, we almost ensure that the person inaugurated will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. We may choose to follow that course, but we should be fully aware of the consequences for the nation.

Some of the people strongly backing Sarah Palin are equally strong (or moreso) in their support for Governor Mike Huckabee, a longshot but a very appealing candidate. A Huckabee-Palin ticket might not win -- both are evangelical Christians -- but it could do wonders in attracting new people to the Party.

(In Arkansas, Gov. Huckabee got 48% of the Black vote. Sarah clearly has great appeal to moderate and conservative Democrats.)

I may write more about Huckabee-Palin in another week or so, after we see what happens in Iowa.

However, right now my focus is on the vice-presidency. For many years, Republicans have made very bad choices regarding that position. It's time to make a good one, and HER name is Sarah Heath Palin.

Stephen R. Maloney

Note: I keep urging people to read the columns of an Alaska blogger "4 palin." Sometime ago, she stopped blogging for a week because, as she said, she realized she didn't have enough fish stored up for the winter, so she had to go fishing. The perspective from Alaska is certainly different. Here's part of her current column (at

"As summertime moves along, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay inside and work, like updating this blog, when there’s so much fun to fit in before the snow flies. Fishing, hiking, camping, road trips…they all take priority with the days getting shorter and shorter. I was thinking about this and I wonder how big the corruption scandal looming over Alaska [mainly the one involving Senator Ted Stevens] would be if these investigations would have started in December. It’s kind of topsy turvy that most dirt in Alaska is exposed in the long, light days of summer when most people have no time to keep up with the whole story and the long, dark days of winter are when we all have little better to do than pay attention and ask questions. Summer is about play in Alaska, we don’t want to work or pay attention to anyone else’s job either."


James H said...

Great post. I am going to link it and give my thoughts on it as well in a bit.

Larry Perrault said...

I want to talk about Huckabee, but make a comment about Dick Cheney. Cheney s smar and, experienced in both public and private realms. He may have been abused more terribly than Bush. He didn't earn that. He's made out to be an evil genius, but he's extraordinarily able and qualified. I might grant that he is not charismaticallt gifted to soften the criticism, but the idea that Lynne Cheney's husband is the Lex Luthor that he is made out to be, is not even credible, except to a liberal acolyte who discards all evidence to the contrary. Rumsfeld and Cheney were painted to be liabilities, but speaking as someone who was tepid about Bush, I think they were very wise selections. As ardent and hateful as tese people are, they'd probably make a witch of Sarah Palin, too. Hey, Christopher Hitchens makes a with of MOTHER THERESA!

NOW, I wrote up Ames Straw Poll predictions about a week ago. I was admittedly optimistic, but declined to post them yet, sure that events before the poll would demand more tweaking.

Today, I tweaked it a little: still not posting, but also speculating about fallout and implications for the January Iowa caucuses. Like I said, I'm not posting numbers yet, but I'l say that I expect Huckabee to finish well in the straw poll and conjectured a follow-up WIN in the Iowa caucuses.

Speculating about a strong Straw Poll showing and ensuing drop outs, I could not move new numbers anywhere but to Huckabee. I may have given Romney a point or 2 for spending money, and Giuliani will do that, too.

But, the fact that the loer candidates' supporters already are indicating a preference for someon else, tells me that Brownback, Hunter, Tancredo, and most Tommy Thompson support would largely go to Huckabee.

Also, Frank Luntz's focus group responses led him to call Huckabee the clear winner, this morning.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

As I said, I like Dick Cheney, Lynne Cheney and their daughters a great deal. In a way, they're all free spirits and very independent people, something that's rare in DC politics. I question naming the CEO of a big corporation as second man on the Republican ticket, because it reinforces stereotypes about the Party. Cheney (unlike his wife and oldest daughter) is a behind-the-scenes guy who doesn't suffer fools gladly (and there are a lot of fools out there). Ridge would have been a better choice than Frank Keating. You know me: I probably would have leaned toward Lynne Cheney rather than Richard! In Salena's piece, she quoted Frank Keating about "the way Republicans do [things]." I want to do it differently. At some point, I might write a specualtive piece about how the Democrats and their media followers might attack Sarah. Hey, the media portrayed Gerald Ford, an All-American football player as "clumsy." I believe history is going to be a lot kinder to Cheney than his contemporaries have. In a way he seemed to relish the "Prince of Darkness in an undisclosed location" role, which may have made him more susceptible to the media's negative potrayal. About Rumsfeld: he's a very talented guy but at times he may have been his own worst enemy.

On Frank Lunz, he's as good as advertised, which is very good indeed.

Joshua said...

Hi, I was gone for a while, but I just read your post on my blog, and I am interested in learning more. BTW, I will be too young to vote.