The Joe Biden pick complicates things for John McCain as he considers his choice for a running mate. Bill Kristol points out some of the drawbacks of selecting Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney.
The two leading G.O.P. prospects have been Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor, and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. But with Biden’s foreign policy experience as a contrast, could McCain assure voters that the young Pawlenty is ready to take over, if need be, as commander in chief? Also, Biden is a strong and experienced debater. Pawlenty is unproven. If he is the choice, there will be many anxious Republicans in the run-up to the vice presidential debate in St. Louis on Oct. 2.
Romney might match up better against Biden in debate. But it’s clear that the Obama-Biden campaign is moving aggressively to embrace a traditional Democratic populist economic message. Such a message will have appeal this year — especially, one supposes, against a doubly multimansioned G.O.P. ticket of McCain and Romney.
It’s hard to imagine Pawlenty going up against Biden. Also, Pawlenty made comments last month basically praising Barack Obama’s positive message and arguing that the GOP needs to move away from negative campaigning. Those words will present problems for McCain. Kristol also states the obvious – Romney’s wealth will reinforce the populaist message from the Democrats, and Romney’s history of being involved with companies that laid off thousands of workers won’t help.
Kristol goes on to argue for Joe Lieberman, the ultimate neocon. This would be a gift to the Obama camapign, as there would be a revolt among pro-life conservatives if Lieberman is added to the ticket. McCain has already trashed his image as a “moderate” as he’s embraced his far-right positions on abortion, judges and taxes. Adding Leiberman would confuse that message and undermine all the progress he’s made getting Republicans to come home and support his candidacy. Let’s hope he listens to Kristol.