Who will McCain find for Vice President?
This is more than just an academic exercise. If/when he takes office, McCain will be 71. He’s weak on core conservative issues. He’s weak on social issues. He’s a Washington insider.
According to Fred Barnes over at The Weekly Standard, “the list of plausible (vice-)presidents is short. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Tom Ridge, and Joe Lieberman qualify. That’s about it. There are a number of popular Republican governors–Charlie Crist of Florida, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Haley Barbour of Mississippi.”
Former Congressman JC Watts has a different take on the issue. But then, he’s different from the rest of them. And not just because he’s black.
A University of Oklahoma football star quarterback and Canadian Football League pro, he represented Oklahoma in Congress from 1995 to 2002. While in Washington, his assignments included serving as chairman of the Republican Conference of the US House. In the 1997 Republican response to Bill Clinton’s State of the Union speech, he accused some black civil rights leaders as “race-hustling poverty pimps”, whose careers he said depend on keeping blacks dependent on the government. He’s the only black in recent memory to not join the Congressional Black Conference.
In 2002, he chose to not run for re-election to spend more time with his family. He is currently chairman of J.C. Watts Companies, a business consulting group. He’s a personal friend of John McCain. And he’s been a Southern Baptist youth director.
So what does he say? In his local newspaper, he wrote that “Mike Huckabee spoke to so many issues that I’ve been trying to get the GOP establishment to speak to as a black, a social conservative and an opportunity conservative.”
Watts describes the current presidential dilemma for blacks. “Huckabee’s exit leaves the Latino and black faith communities in a real quagmire because they don’t feel like McCain and the GOP are in sync with them. While they agree with the GOP on most issues, they don’t feel embraced by the party. They disagree with the Democrats, but the Dems reach out to them. Many white evangelicals are disgusted because the establishment and consultant class of the GOP are not connecting with them. This class of voters is abandoning that form of politics, but not their core beliefs. ”
So who does that leave us as an ideal candidate for VP? I say Watts himself. At 51, he’s relatively young. He’s got Obama’s good looks and rhetorical elegance. He’s got solid conservative credentials and is an easy sell to the Evangelical block. He serves on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America, the United States Military Academy, Africare, BNSF Railway, Clear Channel Communications, Dillard’s and Terex Corporation.
That’s my choice.