The Crist for VP Campaign

Joe Follick with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has a very good article analyzing what a Charlie Crist Vice Presidential candidacy would mean.

One issue he noted, is the Governor’s “limited” resume, vis-a-vis previous VP candidates:

Not since Richard Nixon chose Spiro T. Agnew in 1968 has a running mate been selected with Crist’s limited résumé. All of the other selections in both parties had D.C. experience. Crist has been governor for less than two years after stints as attorney general and education commissioner.

One of the nation’s top vice presidential scholars is Joel Goldstein, a law professor at St. Louis University and author of “The Modern American Vice Presidency.”

He said it seemed “impossible” that Crist would be McCain’s running mate.

“If you’re running against Obama and part of your main attack is going to be that he doesn’t have much experience, it seems to me that you mitigate that, or sort of undercut your attack, if you put someone on your ticket that has less experience,” Goldstein said.

I would suggest part of the reason the VP candidates had DC experience is because most of the presidential candidates did not: Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W Bush were all Governors when they ran – so selecting someone with DC experience was important. McCain, a sitting Senator, has all the DC experience necessary — McCain needs a candidate with domestic experience.

However, according to Follick’s article, Goldstein is right about why presidential candidates select VP candidates: governing.

Conventional wisdom suggests Crist’s popularity in Florida would make him an ideal pick for McCain since Republicans must win the state to compete in November.

But rarely has a running mate been selected because of electoral math. Goldstein said that since 1968, with the possible exception of Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis’ choice of Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, no candidate has made a vice presidential selection with an eye on carrying a state or region. And he adds that such a decision would reflect poorly on a candidate by focusing on elections rather than governing.

“If you put Gov. Crist on the ticket, everyone is going to perceive it is that McCain picked Crist because he wants to carry Florida,” Goldstein said. “It sends a message to the public that is different from the message he’s going to want to send.”

Ultimately, I do not believe McCain will pick Crist for the VP slot. And it’s not because of Charlie’s “limited” experience.

First, McCain will not need Crist to win Florida this year. Oh, to be sure, polls are close — but there are a number of issues where McCain’s position is more closely aligned with Floridians, the most important of which will be the embargo on Cuba.

Second, Obama was challenged to win Hispanic and rural democrats during the primary. Florida’s Hispanic population is certainly heterogeneous, making it hard to generalize, but Obama is starting at a disadvantage here. Moreover, North Florida democrats are not going to flock to Obama.

Who will McCain select? I don’t know right now — but I don’t think it will be Charlie Crist.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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One Response to The Crist for VP Campaign

  1. Vince says:

    Speaking as someone who voted for Crist, he has been a terribly disappointing Governor, IMHO. From his silly Global Warming initiatives, to giving convicted felons the right to vote, to his endorsement of reparations for the descendants of slaves- stances that he never highlighted during his campaign for Governor- he is just another “new” Republican trying to remake the Republican brand in his moderate image. I agree with you Jim that McCain won’t select him as VP, but his moderate Republican platform fits McCain’s governing philosophy to a T.

    And the surest path to Republicans losing the governorship will be if Charlie continues aping Democrat positions, rather than to aggressively reign in State Government expenditures.

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