John McCain's Dwindling Outside-the-Box V.P. Options

l mccainveep John McCain's Dwindling Outside the Box V.P. Options

Yesterday, Barack Obama lost one of his better V.P. options when Jim Webb backed out of the running, apparently deciding that the rigorous vetting process and the intense scrutiny of a national campaign weren’t for him.

Around the same time, one of John McCain’s most intriguing options might also have removed herself – but not intentionally. That would be Carly Fiorina, whose nonchalant mentions of Viagra and birth control at a breakfast with reporters yesterday are reverberating in the blogosphere today, seemingly confirming the conventional wisdom that the ousted Hewlett Packard C.E.O. would simply be too risky an addition to the G.O.P.’s national ticket.

You can actually make a case that the bluntness she exhibited yesterday would actually help McCain and the G.O.P. – loosening up the party’s uptight image and simply drawing more attention to the ticket – but the conventional wisdom is probably still right: The circumstances of Fiorina’s departure from H.P. in 2005 alone would probably haunt her and McCain well into the fall if she were to join the ticket.

But if not Fiorina for McCain, then whom?

Obviously, if McCain wants to make a safe choice, he has plenty of options – chief among them, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty. But as I (and others) have written, he would reap no meaningful benefit from taking a Pawlenty, who would strike most Americans as a generic politician. But doesn’t McCain, who is running uphill, need a V.P. pick that will spark some more interest than that?

Fiorina obviously fits the bill as an outside the box candidate, but her prospects seem to be fading. Bobby Jindal, the 37-year-old Louisiana governor and son of Indian immigrants, is another obvious option, but some regard him as too green – and also risky – just as Sarah Palin, the 41 44-year-old first-term governor of Alaska (two years removed from being the mayor of a town of 800 5,500 people) is also dismissed as too inexperienced. Bill Gates’ name was floated last week, but that couldn’t have been serious. He’s not even a Republican, is he?

The idea of picking an unconventional running-mate seems entirely consistent with McCain’s political instincts and style. But when I try to think of who he could realistically pick to fill this role, the only name that seems truly plausible to me is Joe Lieberman. Are there others out there? Am I forgetting someone?


CORRECTION: Palin, as it turns out, is 44 and not 41, and the town she served as Mayor, Wasilla, has about 5,500 people, not 800. Also, she left the mayor’s office in 2002, and did not jump directly from Mayor to Governor in 2006.  No excuse for these errors.

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President