Sunday, August 24, 2008

Barack Obama's Secret Weapon: Tom Ridge?

I was thinking today, could Barack Obama's secret weapon against John McCain be none other than former Pennsylvania Governor and first Homeland Security Secretary, Republican Tom Ridge? May not be as crazy as it first sounds. Here's why.

As Marc Ambinder brilliantly points out today over at the Atlantic, John Mccain is running into a real problem with his choices for Vice President. A week ago, Mitt Romney was the odds on favorite, and I was a firm believer that even if McCain didn't like or trust Romney, he still had to pick him politically. Romney, because of his Michigan connections, would give McCain a coin-flip (or better) chance to win here (and Barack Obama, barring a very strange election, cannot win without Michigan) and Romney also could put both Colorado and Nevada, two traditionally Republican states Obama is showing real strength in, out of reach by maximizing Mormon turnout. But, Romney's chances took a real hit when McCain made his housing gaffe last week. After being painted as out-of-touch with middle-class Americans, can McCain really put Mitt Romney, worth north of $250 million, on the ticket without playing right into Obama's hands? And not only that, look at the ads McCain has run since Joe Biden was named as Vice President. Ads of Biden and Clinton bashing Obama. Mitt Romney said much worse things about John McCain during the Republican primary. And even worse, McCain said horrible things about Romney. Imagine those ads. And McCain opened the door by running his anti-Obama ads starring Joe Biden.

And as Ambinder notes, even the other supposed finalist, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, doesn't look that attractive anymore now that Biden is Obama's VP. Pawlenty, aside from being as inexperienced (if not more so) than Obama, would be eaten alive by Biden in the Vice Presidential debate (just as John Edwards was by Dick Cheney in 2004). And how can McCain continue to attack Obama for not being ready to lead, and then pick Pawlenty as his second in command?

So how does Tom Ridge play into all of this? In his heart of hearts, McCain would almost certainly choose Ridge as his VP. The two are very close, Ridge has both executive experience (Homeland Security Secretary and as Governor of Pennsylvania) and knows Washington well enough to help get things done on the Hill. Plus, electorally, he puts Pennsylvania very much in play, and if McCain wins Pennsylvania, just as does if he wins Michigan, he makes the electoral math very very difficult for Obama. The problem with Ridge? Just one. He's pro-choice. And the so-called "Maverick" of politics has given in to the right-wing of his party and has eliminated Ridge from consideration.

As soon as McCain names his VP, especially if it's Romney, Obama needs to come out with a Tom Ridge ad, very much in the same vein as McCain's ad today about Hillary Clinton and the Vice Presidency. The ad needs to tout Ridge's credentials, his closeness to McCain, and then ask "So why is he not on the ticket? Because he's pro-choice and John McCain gave into the right wing of his party and chose ____ instead. Some Maverick." Or something like that. Maybe "Is he looking out for your values or theirs" while flashing pictures of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

The ad would accomplish multiple goals. First, it would remind women, especially those Hillary supporters, that McCain is staunchly pro-life. Because of his "moderate" imagine, many women wrongly believe McCain is pro-choice, and because of that, they find him easier to support, especially given their feelings about the Hillary Clinton-Obama primary. This would show them how pro-life he really is. Secondly, it would show that McCain is giving in to the far right, and doing so against his own better judgment, and in many ways, against what's best for the country. And it would instantly create credibility questions about McCain's decision making process.

Would it last long in this era of a 24-hour news cycle? Maybe. But it would make a powerful point, and maybe help change the public's perception of John McCain.

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Ted said...

Despite the Dems and the allied main stream media’s desperation to see Romney as McCain’s Veep, Mitt is clearly out, with (1) Obama doubling down on the class warfare theme (McCain’s 7 houses) and (2) McCain doubling down with ads showing the hypocrisy of Biden attacking Obama in the primaries — Romney did way more than that contra McCain.

This leaves only Govs Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty. Pro-abortion Ridge and Dem-Lieberman were never real considerations, despite relentless media goading. Pawlenty’s lackluster TV performances, coupled with Palin pizzazz, the primacy of oil drilling and the ticked off women/Hillary voters, does now portend a McCain/Palin checkmate on the Dems. This is so albeit the Dems and liberal media dare not mention Palin’s name, that is, everyone but…..

And if there’s any question as to Palin being uniquely positioned and able to more than nullify Biden in debate, see the excellent discussion at

Team McCain, well done!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you're right. He's going to pick Tom Ridge:

Anonymous said...















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