Giuliani Blog Tracking the likely Presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani

Monday, November 27, 2006

Veep Watch

Because Rudy will need one.

The political calculus that goes into the selection of a running mate for any presidential contender is complex indeed. All sorts of factors must be taken into consideration, including geography, ideology, demographics, and experience. And as we've seen before, all of that is often thrown out the proverbial window following a tough fight for the nomination in order to create a unity ticket that includes the winner of the nomination and the runner-up, a la Reagan/Bush or Kerry/Edwards.

SurveyUSA released its latest 50-state poll today detailing the job approval of each of the nation's governors. If Rudy were to look to the states for a running mate, he appears to have several good options to choose from. Following are my recommendations.

1) Haley Barbour: The Mississippi governor seems well on his way to reelection, boasting an approval rating of 59% during an all-around bad Republican year. How'd he do it? By governing in a manner that has been competent, clean, and conservative. Barbour matches Rudy's gravitas on the ticket with an impressive CV. He's both been a governor and knows his way around the Beltway. He's a former insider who's been an outsider during the tumultuous Bush years. And he would protect Rudy's southern flank so that the Mayor could concentrate on the regions in which he'd flip the most voters from the last few elections: the Rust Belt, the northeast, and the west. Barbour would be an A+ pick if Rudy could snag him.

2) Tim Pawlenty: T-Paw held on in a blue state, in a blue region, during a blue year while GOP incumbents around him were dropping like flies. A young, well-spoken conservative executive from the upper midwest, Pawlenty would reinforce a Giuliani ticket by appealing to the same northern voters that Rudy would likely bring back into the fold --- those that may not have voted Republican since the 1980s. Whether a Rudy/Pawlenty ticket would be too regional or redundant is a question that needs to be answered.

3) Mark Sanford: The South Carolina governor also boasts a hearty approval rating, with 57% of the state's voters giving a thumbs-up to the job he's doing. The governor was easily reelected just weeks ago and would bring to the ticket many of the same benefits as Barbour. But Sanford's gregarious personality and no-nonsense style would probably mean that there'd be little tempermental contrast between the top of the ticket and the bottom. Is it wise for Rudy to pick someone exactly like him as his running mate, or do voters prefer a balance? Again, another question that will need to be answered before any decisions are made.

There are of course many other veep candidates that can be found at various other levels of government. But if Rudy wants to look to our nation's state houses to find a running mate, he does have at least a few very good options.

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At 11:19 PM, Blogger Argo said...

These aren't recommendations, as much as they are pragmatic predictions...

1. Condi Rice (likely if Hillary is the Dems' nominee, and a MUST if Obama is Hillary's running mate.)
2. Mike Huckabee (Like Obama, I think Arkansas' governor is 'running' for VP.)
3. Tim Pawlenty (with the GOP convention in Minneapolis, he has to be considered a top-tier candidate.)
4. Jeb Bush (he's in need of a job...and he can deliver Florida with ease.)

At 11:40 PM, Blogger DaveG said...

Thanks for the commentary, argo.

I do disagree a bit though.

I think both Condi and Jeb bring with them a huge albatross, and that is their connection with all things Bush. The president just isn't a popular guy right now; his approval rating is abysmal and anything connected with him is likely to be a drag on the ticket.

As for Huckabee, I tend to think that if Rudy's going to select a southerner, there are better southerners to go with. Like Barbour or Sanford. Huckabee's a bit too bossy for my tastes. Too big government. Barbour helped engineer the victory of '94, which was all about getting the government off our backs, and Sanford has been a real champ on pork and waste in SC. Huckabee, well, hasn't.

As far as Pawlenty goes, yes, I really, really like T-Paw, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him make the ticket.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Dale W. said...

What about Michael Steele? No national experience but a cabinet position now could change that. He ran an extremely smart (but doomed)campaign in Maryland. Not great for geographic diversity, but there is a huge hunger to have an African-American on the ticket. How else to explain the enthusiasm for a lefty junior senator and an unsuccessful Secretary of State?

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Paul8148 said...

I look down that list and after a year or so out of the spotlight that Bill Owens will have to be look at again. He is still very popular in CO depsite his problems (On again, off again marrige). If the Dems Dever as their convention site it will take CO away from them right away.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Gary Matthew Miller said...

Barbour was an immensely effective head of the RNC and has been an equally effective governor. But he and Huckabee (the taxraiser, a non-starter) are the archetypes of what the media perceives as the dumb, southern Republican.

And dear God, if you need help in Mississippi or South Carolina while running against Hillary, you might as well hang it up right now.

Pawlenty is the obvious choice. He's a conservative which they ticket will need to shore up Rudy's cred. He's an evangelical, but doesn't fit the stereotypes. He's genial, optimistic, good looking, well-spoken, and self-depricating.

I had the privilege of being invited to the Governor's mansion in the spring of 2005 and you would not believe what a talent this guy is on the retail level.

If Rudy (or McCain) is at the top of the ticket, Pawlenty is the only logical choice. He would carry Minnesota which last voted GOP in '72 and probably Wisconsin and Iowa as well.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Gary Matthew Miller said...

BTW, here's a nice picture of my likely 2008 ticket:

Click on the picture on the left to enlarge.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger DaveG said...


I'm liking Rudy/Pawlenty more and more. It sort of has a Clinton/Gore feel to it, as Rudy is basically reinforcing all of his strengths with someone a lot like him. And given that a comeback in the industrial north/Great Lakes states will be necessary if the GOP wants to ever control either house of Congress again, a Rudy/Pawlenty ticket could plant the seeds for such a revival up north.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger spadeflush said...

The Clinton/Gore ticket changed the conventional wisdom that one must "balance" the ticket, geographically or ideaolicially.

If he wants to win, he should pick a female that his Gore group would embrace...

Sen. Susan Collins.

The only people you ever hear say anything bad about her are conservatives who have nowhere else to go. Senior member of the Armed Services Committee, Homeland Security diva, known for being one of the 14 wishy washy deal makers in the Senate.

She's perfect for him. A match made in heaven.

Don't forget the Dems won every state in New England in the last election.

With Susan Collins on board, the Republicans win Maine, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, all states they lost last time.

It would be a lock.

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