McCain’s Veep

As soon as Obama announced that Joe Biden would be his running mate, John McCain came out with yet another attack ad, this time featuring Biden’s criticisms of Obama from during the primary.

Well, I guess that means McCain won’t be making Mitt Romney his running mate, then:

The frosty relationship between Mitt Romney and Arizona Senator John McCain, exposed during the debate last Tuesday in South Carolina, added a few more icicles yesterday when McCain chided the former Massachusetts governor for changing positions on immigration.


“Maybe I should wait a couple weeks and see if it changes,” McCain said of Romney’s immigration position, according to McCain’s campaign. “And maybe his solution will be to get out his small varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his yard.”

And there was this:

Republican Mitt Romney accused John McCain of using dirty tricks by suggesting the former Massachusetts governor wanted a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, in a spirited debate Wednesday night that underscored the intensity of their presidential rivalry.


“I have never, ever supported a specific timetable” for withdrawing troops, Romney said. McCain’s accusation on the eve of Tuesday’s primary, he said, “sort of falls into the dirty tricks that I think Ronald Reagan would have found reprehensible.”

And this:

Mr. Romney went on to call Mr. McCain, who has largely staked his campaign on New Hampshire but is flying into Iowa for a brief visit today, a “fine person,” before boring into him for voting twice against the Bush tax cuts and his championing of the immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate that would have offered a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants provided they cleared certain hurdles.

And also this:

Romney goes after McCain on taxes, immigration and that he’s essentially had his chance in Washington in this 30-second ad, running in New Hampshire. It cuts together man-on-the-street-style interviews with New Hampshire families hitting McCain on his record.

And don’t forget this:

“Ask the pro-life movement where his leadership has been in the six years since 2000 that he’s been running for president,” says Gary Marx, who is charged with handling conservative outreach for Romney.  “What has he done?”


McCain, for example, “votes pro-life,” Marx concedes, ” but he still doesn’t get it on what to do” to end the legalization of abortion.

Or this:

“John McCain, an honorable man. But is he the right Republican for the future?” an announcer asks in the ad that starts airing Friday in New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first presidential primary on Jan. 8. “McCain opposes repeal of the death tax. And voted against the Bush tax cuts – twice. McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant stay here permanently. Even voted to allow illegals to collect Social Security.”

And that’s just what I could find in 5 minutes of Googling; I’m sure a campaign–with their skilled and sophisticated researchers–could find a lot more damning material. The rivalry between Romney and McCain in the primary was far more heated than anything that occurred between Obama and Biden; if McCain is planning on picking Romney, his latest avenue of attack is treading on thin ice.

Who’s left on his VP shortlist? Well, there’s Tom Ridge–but he’s pro-choice, which would destroy McCain’s already-tenuous connection to the hard-core GOP base.  He’s also a former Bush Administration cabinet official, so choosing him would only help to prove that McCain is going to bring us Bush’s third term.

There’s the laughably pandering choice of Joe Lieberman, but he’s even less conservative than Ridge, which would also put the GOP’s right-wing base up in arms.  McCain might win over some independents, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough to overcome a demotivated GOP base.

Who does that leave? Tim Pawlenty, the nearly unheard-of Governor of Minnesota? John McCain has attacked  Obama for being, in his words, unknown and inexperienced–yet McCain would put someone even more unknown and inexperienced a heartbeat away from the Presidency? In an election where John McCain is emphasizing his supposed foreign policy credentials, he’d put a man second-in-line to be President who has no foreign policy credentials whatsoever? Choosing Pawlenty would expose most of McCain’s attacks on Obama as nothing more than hot air and bluster.

It seems like every choice is a bad one for John McCain.  He’s backed himself into a corner and now he has to deal with the consequences.