McCain-Portman

Mike Allen is reporting that McCain will announce his running mate on Friday, August 29 in Dayton, OH, with a second event that day featuring the running mate in Pennsylvania. He also says that Tom Ridge is out of consideration because of his views on abortion, which means that Rob Portman is the only person who makes sense regionally. If it were Romney it'd make more sense to announce in Lansing, and if it were Pawlenty Minneapolis would be a better location.

Portman's probably the best McCain could do. He's from a swing state, and from an increasingly competitive district to boot. His time as trade representative and OMB director backs McCain up on the economy, easily Mac's weakest issue area, and his 12 years in the House reinforces McCain's experience argument. At 52, he's more than young enough to run in 2012 or 2016, or to succeed were McCain to die in office. So far as I know, he has very few real negatives, either with the Republican base or with a national audience.

Which is to say, I'm pretty disappointed. A Romney VP run would have been extremely entertaining, and a Fiorina bid, in which all the sordid details of her tenure at HP are combed over by the public, would have been better still. Portman, though, isn't likely to make many headlines. He'll be a good little surrogate and not much more. Come on, McCain! There are far more amusing and disastrous choices out there. Try harder!

2 thoughts on “McCain-Portman

  1. The most obvious negative to Portman (beyond almost no one knowing who he is outside beltway/wonk circles) is he’s a direct link to Bush’s tenure. It would make McCain’s attempt to divorce himself from Bush and his failed economic policies even harder. That seems like a pretty real negative to me. I will grant you though (with the exception of Pawlenty) there are a lot of choices he could make that would cause more trouble for him. Was hoping for either a social conservative rebellion by picking Ridge or Lieberman or the wacky fun of another Mittens campaign… I’m still keeping my fingers crossed it’s not someone as boring as Portman.

  2. Portman has a long history of national service for a man who I don’t believe is quite yet 50. He was a Congressman and Director of OMB and US Trade Representative. He can speak cogently and convincingly on the economic issues that will dominate the campaign and will provide a powerful rationale for McCain’s pro-trade bias. A bias that, by the way, is in line with the interests of one in five American workers. That he was associated with the Bush Administration is a minor distraction. His own humble Midwestern charisma and his popularity within Ohio will quell much of that. He is from rural south east Ohio where all those anti-Obama Appalachians live.
    Portman will also be aided by the coming re-assessment of Bush’s Presidency. As things have improved on Iraq, as gas prices fall due to the growing impetus to drill, and the economy continues to show signs of picking up, Bush’s standing may get a second look.
    I think he would add gravitas on important non-foreign policy issues while burnishing the ticket’s appeal to values based voters.

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