John McCain’s campaign has been calling influential Republicans and asking how conservative activists would react if he picked a pro-choice running mate, according to the National Review. The report suggests that former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge is still under consideration as the GOP candidate for vice president. (National Review’s The Corner blog)
What the commentators said
Selecting a pro-choice running mate could be a smart move for McCain, said Andrew Romano in Newsweek’s Stumper blog. If he can assure evangelicals that his “long-held pro-life views” remain unchanged, selecting Ridge could boost his appeal with moderate swing voters and serve as an “olive branch to pro-choice former Clintonistas” dissatisfied with Barack Obama.
That’s faulty logic, said National Review Online in an editorial. Picking Ridge—or “quasi-independent” Joe Lieberman—might go over big with pro-abortion voters, but it will destroy McCain’s momentum with the supporters he really needs—conservatives.
That’s why it’s “not gonna happen,” said Erick Erickson in the blog RedState. Ridge and Lieberman are “non-starters, deal breakers, and totally unacceptable.” Selecting a pro-choice running mate would instantly flush down the drain every drop of goodwill he has worked so hard to build up, and McCain knows that.
If he didn’t before, said Mike Allen in Politico, he does now. McCain’s “trial balloon” about picking an abortion-rights vice presidential candidate drew “very negative feedback,” so the prime contenders are now former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.