The Spectacle Blog

Ridge Over Troubled Waters

By on 2.26.08 | 4:34PM

Over at the Weekly Standard's blog, Michael Goldfarb says he has "heard from two different sources that Tom Ridge is at or near the top of the list to be VP." Despite his combat experience, service at the Department of Homeland Security, and popularity as governor of the key swing state of Pennsylvania, Ridge would be a less than ideal running mate for John McCain. Stephen Hayes mentions one reason: Ridge is pro-choice on abortion. McCain simply doesn't have the goodwill among conservatives necessary to survive the backlash over a pro-choice vice presidential pick.

But even Hayes gives Ridge too much credit for "strong national security credentials." As a member of Congress, Ridge frequently opposed the Reagan defense buildup. He voted against the MX missile and was a leading foe of the Strategic Defense Initiative. Ridge supported nuclear freeze and opposed aid to the contras.

Although his record as governor was somewhat better, Tom Ridge is basically a moderate Republican, regardless of whether the issue is defense, economics, or abortion. Whatever he adds in terms of putting the Keystone State in play, he subtracts from McCain's efforts to solidify his conservative base.

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