Look, I know that Chris Cox hasn’t shown much interest in the vice presidency. But the McCain team ought to try to convince him to run. Four considerations now should make Cox’s star ascendant.
First and most importantly, there is the renewed focus on the threat from Russia. The Georgia disaster has gotten through the clutter and impressed the American public mind as something very important. And it makes it all the more important, therefore, to have an administration that understands Russia. Chris Cox, better than anybody out there, can make that claim. He actually knows the Russian language, fluently. So fluently in fact that he once ran a business translating Pravda into English, during the height of the Cold War, so that State Department types could see what the Soviets really were saying (and thus better be able to counter whatever the Soviets were up to).
Second, there is the big Olympic spotlight on China right now, and on how potentially dangerous China can be, along with what opportunities they offer as well. While Fred Thompson’s special committee looking into Chinese influence-peddling was fizzling a bit in the 1990s, Cox led a similar House committee, focused mostly on Chinese espionage, and it was a tremendous success. It unearthed a bunch of highly useful data, and it issued a unanimous, bipartisan report — a near miracle during a time of strong partisan antipathy on Capitol Hill. The report was almost universally praised at the time. And in recent months I have been at a private lunch where, apropos of nothing, the host (an impressive man) began reminiscing about the days when Cox was leading House Policy Committee discussions on the Hill, specifically on China, and about how thoughtful and insightful Cox was.
Third, there is the uptick in the past month in the stock market, and in the value of the dollar. It is true that Cox has been widely pilloried for his move at the SEC to crack down on naked short selling, but the simple fact is that the market began recovering ON THE VERY DAY that Cox announced his plan, indeed almost to the minute. The McCain camp can make a serious argument that the Cox move on short-selling was exactly the thing that stopped the economic panic and started the recovery. Along the same lines, I and others who know him far better than I do can all attest that Cox’s knowledge of economics, commitment to conservative economic principles, and ability to talk about (and explain in comprehensible terms) those principles, are all absolutely first-rate. Again, this ability of his would greatly help alleviate one of McCain’s weaknesses.
Fourth, while this isn’t a major public issue, it also should be of way more help than hindrance: This is THE year, of all years, that the class-action plaintiffs’ bar is most in disprepute, what with folks like Bill Lerach, Mel Weiss, and Dickie Scruggs all going to prison. Well, the fact is that the guy most responsible for putting Lerach and Weiss in jail is Chris Cox. IT was Cox who wrote the law, almost singlehandedly, that explicitly made it illegal for lawyers to do the exat sorts of underhanded things that Lerach and Weiss were doing. Cox even mentioned Lerach by name, at the time, as a target of the law. After Lerach visited Clinton at the White House, Clinton vetoed Cox’s law — and then Congress overrode the veto and implemented the law anyway, the ONLY time in eight years that Congress overrode a Clinton veto. Then Lerach and Weiss broke the new law, and now they have been caught and imprisoned.
There: Those are four good reasons. Add to it the pro-life record of Cox, even going so far as to write a pro-life column on the Supreme Court for the Wall Street Journal when Cox was a junior congressman, at a time when McCain needs to continue working to reassure the Christian right of his pro-life commitment, and you see why Cox would add a lot to the ticket.
Even if Cox hasn’t shown much interest in the job, there is still time for McCain’s forces to vet him fully (the job is easier because Cox already was fully vetted by the FBI just three years back when he was up for the SEC Chairmanship, a job for which he was unanimously approved by the Senate) and to prepare a great, moving, convincing narrative around a McCain-Cox ticket.