Veepstakes: More Important Than Ever?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: May 27, 2008 8:49 AM
Writing in today's NYT, David Brooks argues that, "... as a rule, recent vice presidential nominees haven’t had any effect on key states or constituencies."

He goes on to argue that,

".... the vice presidential pick is not really a campaign decision. It’s the first governing decision — and a way to see who is thinking seriously about how to succeed in the White House."
Brooks makes a good point, and I think it's one that conservatives should take to heart.  If the vice president pick is really a governing decision, then we should not accept a moderate Republican based on the argument that he or she will "deliver" a state or constituency.  Moreover, if the vice presidency is truly a governing pick, then it's vitally important to pick someone who has a firm grounding in classical liberal philosophy.

The veep decision is the most important decision John McCain will make in the next several months, as it will send a signal as to how McCain might govern.  A good conservative pick will establish a clear future successor, and send a message that McCain plans to govern as a conservative.  On the other hand, choosing someone deemed not acceptable to most conservatives would send the opposite signal.

Of the candidates currently being wooed by McCain, Jindal and Romney both appear to be acceptable to most conservatives.  Likewise SC governor Mark Sanford and OK Senator Tom Coburn are both popular conservative favorites, though they have not received the same level of attention from McCain.

While the "veepstakes" are always closely followed by political junkies, it's fair to say that the current lack of a GOP successor -- as well as McCain's age -- make this pick even more important than ever.