(Page 2 of 2)
Choice #4. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan: A brilliant rising star who worked for Bill Bennett and Jack Kemp before, at the young age of 38, rising all the way to the GOP’s ranking membership on the Budget Committee, Ryan could help McCain bolster his economic credentials. He has proposed the best comprehensive economic plan any conservative has seen in years. Plus, if he can bring his native Wisconsin into play, Ryan could produce huge political dividends for the ticket.
*Choice #3, on an ascending rocket. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft: The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank this week meant to be at least a little snarky when writing about Ashcroft, but his lead sentence actually had very much the ring of truth: “The rehabilitation of John David Ashcroft has been a wonder to behold.” A loyal footsoldier hung out to dry by the Bush administration after willingly acting as its chief spear-catcher, the former Missouri senator endured brutal treatment by an ignorant and horribly biased establishment media. But the truth is now coming out, so that the same media, joined by liberal Democrats such as John Conyers, are rightly portraying Ashcroft in almost heroic terms, especially because of his now-famous hospital-bed refusal to be bullied into improper actions by Alberto Gonzales. The fact is that Ashcroft’s Justice Department was a model of professionalism and attention to constitutional detail, and his two-term governorship and term in the Senate were both impressive. No single choice by McCain could so energize the religious right without turning off economic and foreign policy conservatives; nobody could boast a fuller resume; and very few are as smart or, frankly, as personable when allowed to make his own case rather than being forced to twist in the wind by White House overlords. Give Ashcroft free rein, and he’ll soon dispel the caricature of him as a right-wing scold and recapture his true, middle-America persona.
Choice #1A. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox: I’ve made the case for Cox plenty of time, and he remains superbly qualified on all levels, terrific on TV, and a continuing favorite of conservatives, especially when more attention is given to his long-ago column criticizing the liberal Supreme Court in the Wall Street Journal (“The Sad Career of the Reagan Justices,” July 1, 1992). The column contained this passage that, in the context of being written by somebody representing socially liberal California, should energize pro-life forces: Justice O’Connor’s role in crafting the abortion decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, was predictable, but it was surprising that Justices Kennedy and Souter joined her. For those who have long believed that Roe v. Wade was bad constitutional law… the decision they propounded was especially disappointing. Cox is hurt a little because his dual home states of California and Minnesota now seem less in reach for McCain, and he has been hurt by unjust blame for the Bear Stearns collapse and for market volatility — but he also suddenly looks like a hero again because his newly announced rule against naked short selling launched a huge and immediate market rally this week. If the McCain team would make the effort to create a good narrative template to introduce Cox to the public along the successful John Roberts model (which Cox fits perfectly), and if Cox would more aggressively become a spokesman for the wise economic policies that his record shows he clearly supports, he could be a huge boon to the ticket.
Choice #1. Former House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich: More and more, the Pennsylvania native and former Ohio congressman looks like, all things considered, the wisest choice. Compare Kasich to his fellow Ohioan, Portman. Kasich’s credentials are more Reaganite, while Portman is heavily tied to the unpopular Bush. Kasich helped lead the fight to balance the budget; Portman was OMB Director when the deficit was huge. Kasich represented a tougher (less Republican) district in Ohio than Portman did and is more likely to attract swing voters in that state — plus in his native Pennsylvania, too. And Kasich’s blue-collar persona is far more likely to attract Reagan Democrats than would Portman. (A friend of mine who works in Portman’s Cincinnati office building and often rides the elevator with him said, perhaps unfairly, that Portman strikes him as “somebody who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”) Plus, through his regular host position at Fox News and his popular books, Kasich starts out with higher name recognition than do most people on this whole list. Plus, he left Congress while it still had a reformist bent and many successes to point to, before it fell into disrepute.
FRANKLY, IF I WERE RUNNING the McCain campaign, I’d still go with Cox. But I’d be running a different style of campaign than they seem to be. If I were to advise the McCain campaign how best to take advantage of the sort of campaign they seem intent on running, I’d tell them Kasich’s the man — unless Obama picks Bayh (see Pence) or unless Ashcroft looks, upon close inspection, to offer the best answer to McCain supporters’ lack of enthusiasm without causing a loss of independent-voter support.
Conservative thinker extraordinaire Michael Novak has made a good case for Kasich, and Novak is a very wise man. When Kasich is examined in light of both qualifications and of political advantages, the more you look, the more you like.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?