Stumble over Rubio vetting highlights opportunity in VP selection process.
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….great things… [that] came from the heart of a great nation — from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries…. the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense.”
Like Romney or any sensible presidential nominee in waiting, Carter kept his innermost thoughts on the men he was considering for vice president to himself and the Beth Myerses of the Carter inner circle.
But unlike Romney, Carter realized that there was a seemingly contradictory goal that had to be achieved. While maintaining secrecy, Carter had to bring the American people in on his vice-presidential deliberations. In the summer of 1976, the secrecy of the Nixon-era cast a long shadow. Carter had won his nomination by pledging a new era of openness and transparency. His vice-presidential selection process had to become the most open in American history.
Jimmy Carter used that process to communicate transparency and a great “rediscovery” (to use Reagan’s words) of American values and common sense.
How did he accomplish this? Jimmy Carter became a 1976 political version of Simon Cowell, hosting his own political version of what would decades later become famous as the reality show called American Idol. The only difference was that instead of potential superstar singers these were potential American vice presidents.
One by one by one, those who emerged as finalists on Carter’s list as prospective vice presidents were flown to Plains, Georgia, for this political reality show. The press was there, the television cameras acquainting Americans not only with the potential vice president but with Carter himself. Beginning in June of that year Americans became pleasantly accustomed to learning about the Jimmy Carter of small town America.
The prospective vice presidential nominee — always a man of prominence — would land at the tiny Plains airport. There the public watched as famous senators Edmund Muskie, John Glenn, and Walter Mondale arrived one-by-one for face time with the soon-to-be nominee. Americans not only were charmed by Carter’s modest Plains home, where each man would come out and talk to the press with their gracious host at his side after a lengthy meeting. Particularly striking was the openness of it all — with Carter following the press conference by giving some of the interviewees of the moment — and the press — a folksy walkthrough of tiny Plains and the charms of small town America. Muskie, charmingly, got his loafer stuck in a rail of the local railroad tracks as they walked, leaning on the much shorter Carter as he hopped on one foot and retrieved his shoe.
There were cynics, of course. Republicans grumbled that Carter was milking the selection process for publicity. Doubtless true.
But using the selection process as a way to introduce Carter to the American public as a potential president was a decided hit. Not all the candidates came to Plains. The four others on Carter’s list — Senators Frank Church of Idaho, Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, and Henry Jackson of Washington, along with New Jersey Congressman Peter Rodino — met with Carter when the candidate arrived in New York for the party convention. By the time Carter took to the podium of a New York hotel to announce Minnesota Senator Walter F. Mondale as his choice — the selection process was seen as a political ten-strike for Carter.
The contrast with Romney is thus far stark.
So far, to the extent the American public knows anything about a potential Romney vice president it is that Romney has some staff person in charge (Ms. Myers) and, according to ABC, isn’t vetting the one guy conservatives have repeatedly demonstrated so much enthusiasm for — Senator Rubio.
Oops… that’s wrong. Actually he is vetting Rubio and had to say so to correct a false news report. But that’s all Americans know.
Now is exactly the moment Americans should be getting to know not only the policy details and decision-making process of a prospective President Romney — but the personal side as well. And something about the people he is considering as a potential vice president as well.
As gleaned thus far, Romney is the rich guy from that mean old Bain Company, he’s got several houses, and his wife is into all the horse business that only the rich have time for. In communication terms — everything wrong is being communicated.
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?