Thursday, 7 February 2008

McCain's running mate decision

Iain Dale visits the subject of McCain's running mate to agree with Simon Heffer that it won't be Mike Huckabee. Iain points out that, at 72, McCain is after someone who could reasonably take over within 4 years and says that Huckabee is just not that person.

I agree that this is what McCain wants. The trouble is that I think that Huckabee is becoming just too powerful a figure to ignore. Consider McCain's position. He is unpopular with the God brigade because he is perceived as weak on abortion and gay marriage. He doesn't play well in the South and he is viewed as weak on immigration. So the whole spectrum of the right are arrayed against him. As I said before, if Obama is the Democratic candidate then the GOP could face problems in traditional red states. McCain needs a good solid bible belt southerner to shore up his position. The trouble is that there just aren't that many credible candidates around. What Huckabee has going for him is that he hs proven he can win in these states and that he was brave enough to put his head above the parapet and compete. On Super Tuesday, Huckabee won 5 states and was second in a further 3. He is a force to be reckoned with even if he cannot win.

Life will be a heck of a lot easier for McCain if Huckabee 'does a Dean'. Howard Dean, you will recall, came from nowhere to national prominence in New Hampshire four years ago and looked to be cedntre stage for good until his incredible 'scream' speech. McCain must be desparate that Huckabee blows up in the same way so that he can be safely ignored.

Unless that happens, McCain will be forced to give serious consideration to adopting Huckabee as his running mate. Much as he doesn't want that to happen, we are talking realpolitik here.

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