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Jumping Off Bandwagons

Writing in the New York Times, former communications director for McCain 2000 Dan Schnur offers his take on the worst VP picks for McCain and Obama.

For McCain, says Schnur, that is Mitt Romney. After knocking Romney's economic strengths, Schnur gets to the heart of the matter with Mitt:

Mr. Romney's ability to motivate the G.O.P. base is even more of an open question. While Mr. McCain is still trying to shore up his support among conservatives, there's no evidence that Mr. Romney, who lost those voters to John McCain and Mike Huckabee in the primaries, would help close the sale. Already, several religious conservative leaders have come forward warning that naming Mitt Romney would be counterproductive. Indeed, Mr. McCain can still rally these voters on his own by talking about national security, tax cuts and energy policy, or by scaring them about Barack Obama. But it's hard to see how Mr. Romney makes that rally any easier.

I would say Schnur's close here, but focuses on the wrong constituency. Evangelicals are very important for McCain, who needs to get them on his side. But the negative response to Romney coming from Evangelical leaders is a ploy to get Huckabee on the ticket. As long as McCain doesn't pick a pro-choicer, the Evangelical base will come around.

What McCain's pick needs to do is excite the conservative movement in general, which is at a low ebb these days. That means picking a future leader of the party. Romney, for all his loyalty to the GOP, has never been seen as the future of conservatism. Some of what's going on here is cosmetic: Conservatives are excited about choices like Sarah Palin (Bill Kristol) or Bobby Jindal (Newt Gingrich) because they're young and offer a different face from the traditional party of white guys. I'd imagine the response from the conservative community to a VP Romney wouldn't be "How dare you!" It would be "Ho-hum."

As for Obama, writes, Schnur, the worst pick would be Tim Kaine:

The attraction of Tim Kaine as Mr. Obama's running mate is demographic. Mr. Kaine is Catholic, speaks fluent Spanish and has successfully reached the working-class voters who eluded Mr. Obama in the primaries. But his resume is even thinner than Mr. Obama's. Indeed, Mr. Kaine's previous experience as a lieutenant governor and a mayor of Richmond does nothing to bolster Mr. Obama's credentials on national security or foreign policy. Mr. Obama may have helped himself in this area during his recent tour of the Middle East and Europe, but there are a number of Democratic Senators -- most notably Joe Biden of Delaware and Jack Reed of Rhode Island -- who can give him much more help in this area.

This is essentially what Jim Geraghty wrote today as well, and it makes a lot of sense. The GOP would like nothing more than to mass produce ads showing how John McCain has more experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.