With the exception of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (and possibly Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin), it's difficult to see how any of the advertised picks for the veep slot help McCain sell himself as a different kind of Republican. And, at age 36, the still-green Jindal might not only seem like a gimmick, but he would undermine McCain on two fronts: He'd remind voters of McCain's age, and he'd diminish the anti-Obama argument that experience, particularly in foreign policy, really matters.
Meanwhile, a national-unity ticket would, among other things, expose Obama's fraudulent claims to be a post-partisan uniter and reformer. The party-line, left-wing Democrat has done almost nothing in his short political career to support either claim. He is a product of the profoundly corrupt Chicago machine, not an enemy of it. And his definition of bipartisanship amounts to welcoming the unqualified support of Republicans who support his liberal agenda. The most liberal member of the Senate in 2007, according to National Journal, wasn't even a member of the bipartisan gang of 14.
Such a daring move on McCain's part would also signal that the country might enjoy a timeout from partisan rancor. Even the Obama-sycophantic mainstream press would have to admire such a profound gesture.
The benefit for Republicans might be substantial. The party could rightly claim to have the bigger tent and the stronger commitment to serious reform. And for movement conservatives, the next four years could be a time for much-needed rebuilding. Obviously, a Joe Lieberman or Sam Nunn would not be the presumptive front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2012. And the lack of an heir apparent would encourage a healthy and vigorous debate for the future of the party.
McCain would still have to reassure Republicans that he would be reliable on judges and other issues vital to conservatives. But a unity ticket would provide the greatest assurance of them all: Barack Obama wouldn't be the one picking judges.