Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Punching Up the Tickets

Boredom with the ’08 candidates is so bad that speculation about running mates has already started.

Last week Maureen Dowd told us her Republican friends (how many can she have?) think Gore-Obama would be hardest to beat. Now speculation is floating around about Clinton-Vilsack.

In the spirit of this idle but harmless game, herewith a venture into the deep space of premature ticket-making: On the Blue side, former Governor Vilsack would bring judgment and experience to any nominee, not only Clinton but Obama or Edwards. John Kerry had him on his short list in 2004.

If Obama doesn’t go all the way, he could help not only Gore but Clinton or Edwards. Some combination of this handful, with Bill Richardson, Sen. Evan Bayh and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner as outside possibilities for the second spot, looks likely to be the Democratic ticket.

The Republican field is such a witch’s brew of ideological impairment, checkered personal history and leadership gaps that picking the most electable pair is close to impossible.

Giuliani needs everything--a conservative family man to offset his marriages and abortion stance, a smoothie to soften his rough edges and a Red Stater to balance his New Yorkiness. Preacher Mike Huckabee or Fred Thompson could do.

If McCain wins, he and Lindsey Graham, his certified conservative sidekick, seem joined at the hip. They even went shopping in Baghdad together.

Fred Thompson could use someone who looks good in a suit and tie. He and Mitt Romney might work, with either of them at the top of the ticket. Or if he would settle for the second spot, Giuliani would add some zing to the laid-back actor-politician.

Romney’s Mormon problem would be eased by having Huckabee or some other non-believer in evolution as his running mate.

If Clinton or Obama wins the Democratic nomination, there could be a lot of pressure on Condolezza Rice to run for VP to provide a gender and racial twofer for the Republicans.

Then again, there may be too much straining for geographic, ethnic and stylistic balance. The last couple of times, we elected two oil-company cowboys from Texas and Wyoming, and look how well that worked out.

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