His selectors should also be thinking beyond November.
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For years the GOP has been concerned about the “gender gap.” In 1980 Reagan won 55 percent of men and 47 percent of women; in 1988 those numbers for Bush were 57 and 50; for Dole in 1996 they were 44 and 38.
Former Reagan-Bush cabinet member Elizabeth Dole, who withdrew from this year’s presidential campaign before the Iowa caucuses, is much talked about. As a pro-life moderate, she might attract women voters without alienating any part of the Reagan Republican base. Washington State Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn is also much discussed as a possible VP. Although she lacks Dole’s national name recognition, she was a Reagan supporter as far back as 1968 and, as a strong conservative, has championed killing the death tax.
Colin Powell, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs under George Bush, would attract African-American voters, moderate whites who would like to vote for a black candidate, and countless Americans impressed by his bearing as a military leader. In 1998 black Americans made up ten percent of the electorate and voted 89-11 Democrat over Republican for Congress. Richard Nixon won 18 percent of the black vote in 1972, while Reagan won only 11 percent in 1980 and 9 percent in 1984. Bush won 12 percent in 1988 and 10 in 1992. Dole won 12 percent in 1996. Unfortunately, in his autobiography Powell expressed hostility to the Reagan Republican worldview.
The press has been pushing the idea that Bush must court the McCain vote, which raises the question of whether John McCain has a base that is transferable to the Bush ticket. We now know that the fawning press admiration available to McCain when he trashed Reaganism and Christian conservatives hasn’t continued. The same press that loved it when McCain attacked Republicans ignored his criticism of Gore’s illegal fundraising. Those Democrats ordered to the polls by labor unions and the Detroit political machine to win Michigan for McCain won’t be available to Bush in November. It’s also not clear what having McCain on the ticket would do for party unity, given that his principal role in the primary was to attack the various parts of the Reagan coalition. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, a supporter of McCain, could attract McCain voters without alienating those McCain attacked.
Conservatives have suggested Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, based on his success in cutting taxes, party building, and defending the Internet against taxes.
Last, there is an argument for choosing a vice president who is “old and/or sickly,” so that the GOP’s 30 governors and many senators won’t see the presidency closed to them for twelve or sixteen years. The Republican bench is so strong that the “don’t pick someone who will be a prohibitive favorite in 2004 if Bush loses or 2008 if Bush wins” lobby might well be the strongest voice inside the Republican leadership. The race for the presidency in 2008 begins the day George W. Bush announces his running mate for 2000.
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.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?