Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Will John McCain choose a Creationist as his running mate?

Transcript of today's show:

With McCain the Republican 2008 presidential candidate, the “Dream Team” may include Mike Huckabee as the vice-presidential nominee. Huckabee proved the strength of the evangelical vote by winning the first republican Iowa caucus & then stayed in the race long after big spender Mitt Romney bowed out. McCain-Huckabee vs. Clinton-Obama would be a presidential contest of Biblical proportions.

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from The News & Observer:
Who will be Arizona Sen. John McCain's running mate? Party activists are more interested than usual in his pick for three reasons:

* He needs to shore up support from conservatives, and the running mate is his best chance to do that;

* The vice presidential nominee could be first in line to win the presidential nomination the next time it's open;

* Given McCain's age -- he'd be 72 on Inauguration Day -- the presidency could come open sooner than eight years .

The most-discussed name right now is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Here are the pros and cons of Mr. Huckabee, according to conventional wisdom among the Republican party:

Pro: He's shown his ability to win in the South and has support among evangelical Christians. A solid social conservative.

Con: He raised taxes as governor and supported equal benefits for the Arkansas children of illegal immigrants. Picking him might not excite conservatives.

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from the blog A Lanson Boy:
Huckabee is becoming just too powerful a figure to ignore. Consider McCain's position. He is unpopular with the God brigade because he is perceived as weak on abortion and gay marriage. He doesn't play well in the South and he is viewed as weak on immigration. So the whole spectrum of the right are arrayed against him. As I said before, if Obama is the Democratic candidate then the GOP could face problems in traditional red states. McCain needs a good solid bible belt southerner to shore up his position. The trouble is that there just aren't that many credible candidates around. What Huckabee has going for him is that he hs proven he can win in these states and that he was brave enough to put his head above the parapet and compete. On Super Tuesday, Huckabee won 5 states and was second in a further 3. He is a force to be reckoned with even if he cannot win.
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from a commentary by Abe Greenwald, published at Commentary

Since Mike Huckabee’s surprise showing on Tuesday, talk about a McCain - Huckabee ticket has neared the level of legitimate speculation. The thinking is that Huckabee victories in southern states like Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia, demonstrate the value of an Evangelical-friendly name on a GOP ticket.

When this idea was floated on Fox News Tuesday night, Karl Rove, in his new talking head role, dismissed it immediately—with good reason. Christianity Today reports that evangelical voters are now more concerned with national security than with social issues such as abortion. (Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Giuliani made that clear.) John McCain’s vision of the enemy as a threat to the American way of life is comfortably close to the Evangelical vision of jihad as a threat to Christianity. Somewhat shockingly, unlike some of the conservative media, Evangelicals can prioritize. John McCain has said many times (including, once, to me) that he’s looking for a strong national security vice president. He’d have an impossible time defending his choice of the man who didn’t know of the existence of the NIE on Iran. The compulsion to over-strategize in speculating about the McCain campaign has grown directly out of the Limbaugh-right’s insistence that McCain is embattled within the party. And in a national election, few evangelicals are going to pull the lever for Hillary or Obama over him. But if, after running almost entirely on national security, he hitched himself to a foreign policy ignoramus like Huckabee, he may first face detractors en masse.
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