Imagine you’re Giuliani and you get the GOP nomination — and that you don’t care much about philosophy, just winning the general election.
Do you pick Thompson as your running mate to keep the social right (which distrusts you) happy or McCain to win over more moderates (note that Thompson does not fare that well in head-to-head polls vs. Hillary, whereas McCain, like Giuliani, nearly ties her)?
I think I’d try to go with a bets-hedging, pre-announced “super-Cabinet” that included rivals, if they’d do it, such as, say: Thompson for V.P., McCain for Defense Secretary (or maybe HomeSec Sec — my brain has not gotten used to thinking of that strange post as real yet), Romney for Health and Human Services — and of course Ron Paul for Treasury, which is the most important (and principled) part.
(Not that I’m counting Paul out for prez just yet: indeed, you can attend another pro-Paul party this Friday (the 26th) from 8pm to 2am, a Grand Opening party for the NYC Ron Paul HQ at 515 West 29th St. [suggested donation is $10 or more] — and they’ll have live bands, a DJ, and cheap drinks [but I'll be visiting some Reason and Phillips Foundation folk in DC -- Reason.TV officially launches this weekend, you should know, and already contains a blog post about George Takei's government-induced conflict with The Simpsons over my favorite episode, so the site has my endorsement].)
Some on the right hate McCain for restricting political speech through campaign finance laws, but even while rightly deploring those laws, they would do well to remember the popular sentiment behind them: the idea that we should know who’s paying for our politicians. There are ways to achieve that end without restricting speech, too, such as requiring officeholders to disclose all gifts and services given to them, which is what my Arkansas state-rep. friend Dan Greenberg is trying to do in that state. Put simple restrictions on officeholders instead of onerous restrictions on private campaign donors — while still responding in a meaningful way to popular (and populist) annoyance at the money/politics nexus.
In Democratic news, it looks like I may need to change my rankings of who’s least-sane among the presidential candidates: Richardson only called for an expose of the UFO conspiracy, but now Kucinich appears to claim to have personally encountered one — if you believe Shirley MacLaine’s recollections, not always a safe move, since she claims to have been reincarnated from ancient Atlantis and to have received wisdom from aliens living among the Pleiades.
P.S. And speaking of personal transformations, the Japanese have ways of fighting crime without electing Giuliani, if you believe this article from the New York Times is as dead-serious as implied.
P.P.S. About ninety minutes ago, Fox Business Channel was interviewing the daughter of Shari Lewis — and Lambchop — about their flight from the Malibu-area fires.