The biggest problem McCain has faced in drawing support so far has been in energizing the conservative Republican base. Well, after hearing listener response on Rush and the opening of the Hannity show, I think that problem has been solved... at least, for now...
Folks from all across America are repeating many of the things I said in the post directly below this one. I predict a massive surge for McCain - and the momentum will continue to build even during the DNC convention (the conservative base will be rallied even more by seeing what the left really stands for). Add in a 60-day ad campaign comparing "Saddleback McCain" to the inexperienced leftist Obama, and there is no way McCain can lose... unless...
Unless McCain grinds his momentum to a stop with a controversial VP choice. If the Saddleback performance hadn't occurred, and McCain still needed to shake things up, he might be tempted to do something daring, like choosing Joe Lieberman. But now McCain is in a position where his strategy should be "do no harm."
Because of this, I expect McCain will eliminate from consideration Joe Lieberman, and possibly also Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani, or Lindsey Graham. I am not certain what this means for Mitt Romney: it is unfortunate that Mike Huckabee is still out there attacking Romney, even though the primaries are over. This does nothing to help the GOP, or Huckabee, for that matter. McCain no longer has a problem with values-voters, so there is ZERO possibility of him choosing Huckabee to shore up a weakness. So Huckabee is doing nothing for himself or the party here in attacking Romney. So Romney may or may not be out of the running if Huckabee's rants have any impact.
Who is left? Well, Pawlenty is still an option, but he is such a yawner! I'd like to McCain find a running mate who not only will keep the base upbeat but also add a little pizzazz to the ticket. Bobby Jindal has already pulled a Sherman in stating he doesn't want the job. So... Sarah Palin? But would her relative inexperience on the national scene be a liability? Fred Thompson? The base loves him, but did the media damage him too much in the primary?
I've heard a few people bring up some "dark horse" names like Mike Leavitt and John Engler. I think either one could do a good job, but would their relative anonymity among the general population do anything positive for McCain?
Folks are still talking about Colin Powell... for both candidates. I could see him working with McCain, and I could see McCain choosing him. But there are more and more rumors about Obama and Powell teaming up somehow. I guess all we can do is wait and see with Powell. But there is one other military leader who just might make a surprise appearance on the GOP ticket:
McCain named Petraeus first among people to whom he would turn for guidance. He is a true hero and our number one expert on the Middle East. He also had a strong background before the Iraq War working with NATO in Eastern Europe; given the Russia/Georgia situation, we need that sort of experience. And let's not overlook his intellectual credentials: he earned his M.P.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton while serving full-time in the Army.
I have no idea where Petraeus stands on non-military issues. But he is clearly an attractive potential candidate, who has already impressed McCain. I would not be surprised if McCain is very, very quietly vetting Petraeus and asking him detailed questions about his beliefs on social and economic issues.
So... assuming Petraeus embraces typical conservative Republican ideas about socio-economic matters, what would you think about him on the ticket?