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Last week I mentioned a fellow at my church as an example of an evangelical Christian who supported Mitt Romney. After Romney dropped out of the race, I asked this guy who he planned to vote for in the Virginia primary. He said that he planned to vote for Mike Huckabee and explained why.
He was convinced that John McCain will be the Republican Party's nominee for president. However, he felt that it would be good if Huckabee shows up at the Republican National Convention with enough support to have an influence.
I'm not such a stone-head that I can't be persuaded by a logical discussion. I know this guy well, and respect him, and what he said made sense. Social conservatives need to make sure that the Republicans don't take us for granted and ignore us. There is no chance Huckabee is going to beat McCain, but a credible performance would mean that he could be the man to stand for us at the Republicans' convention. With that in mind, I cast my vote for Mike Huckabee on Feb. 12 before coming to work.
I was pleased with the result of the primary. McCain swept the "Potomac Primary," and the delegates at stake. I remain convinced that McCain is the best candidate. He has an 82 percent lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union and he has the experience to conduct foreign policy in a dangerous world. He also has the best chance of winning the November election. Huckabee, in his turn, did well enough to remain credible.
Now, who should McCain choose as his running mate?
A man here in Bedford suggested Senator Olympia Snowe. His argument was that no conservative will vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. With the conservative vote locked up, having a woman on the ticket would provide balance and let a woman serve in a presidential understudy position before making a run at the White House.
With all due respect to a fellow military veteran, Olympia Snowe on the Republican ticket would be a catastrophe. A look at www.govtrack.us tells why. This Web site has all the folks in Congress arranged in a political spectrum, from left to right. Republicans' names are in red and the "Democrats'" are in blue. Their position on this spectrum is based on the bills that they have sponsored or co-sponsored. Snowe's name is surrounded by a sea of names in blue.
There are already plenty of conservatives who don't trust McCain. Choosing one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress would convince them that their worst fears about McCain are true. While conservatives, Ann Coulter aside, won't vote for a "Democrat," there is already a concern that a minority could simply not cast a ballot. Olympia Snowe would guarantee that a large number of conservatives would do that.
McCain needs a conservative running mate who can mitigate the concerns others have about him.
I've mentioned before that I think Mike Huckabee would be his best choice. Huckabee does very well among evangelical Christians, a group that McCain does very poorly with. Huckabee is also a dynamic campaigner. Popular among evangelicals, he could bring out enthusiastic campaign workers for a McCain-Huckabee ticket.
Although I think Huckabee would be his best choice, there are others who would make good running mates. South Carolina Governor Mark Stanford would be one. The Republicans who control South Carolina's legislature seemed to have caught the same fiscal irresponsibility bug from which Congressional Republicans suffered. When they overrode Stanford's veto of a large number of spending items, he showed up at the Capitol carrying two pigs that he had named Pork and Barrel.
Another good choice would be Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana. Pence voted against the McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform" bill. This bill was something for which McCain has justifiably drawn a lot of conservative ire.
There may be others, but whoever McCain chooses must be a conservative.