A few people have posited that Sarah Palin may be too great a liability for the McCain presidential campaign to sustain; even some strong conservative loyalists are suggesting that she step down for the good of the party/country/etc. While the McCain campaign is not, at the moment, noted for its flexibility or listening skills, it is within the realm of possibility that Palin could withdraw (for personal or professional reasons) or that McCain could dump her (to demonstrate his willingness to learn or general command of news cycles or just to be different, whatever). I don't know how I feel about the odds -- I would have dumped her by now, but then I wouldn't have picked her in the first place -- especially since she goes into the Thursday debate with such low expectations that she could be declared the winner if she manages to avoid frothing or drooling.
Still, it raises the question: who'd be her replacement? I'm assuming, at this point, that the former shortlist is out, having been passed over publicly and embarassingly once, and most of the leading primary challengers are probably not viable: Huckabee, Romney, Jindal, etc., are all out of the running, I think. Would McCain feel obligated to continue to pander to the evangelical fundamentalist religious wing? Would he shift gears and go for moderate, reassuring competence? Would he stick to female candidates? Or would he do another full-bore "shake-up" and go another direction entirely?
I still don't understand why Jeb Bush wasn't mentioned. Sure, he's a Bush, but he's got loads of experience and credentials which his barely tolerated brother lacked, while still attracting much the same broad Republican respect -- religious, business, neo-con. He puts Florida pretty solidly in McCain's column, which makes the electoral math competitive again.
Anyway, I think we should be thinking about who the potential picks are, because we're not going to have a lot of time to parse the selection and integrate the new biographical and political landscape. That's what makes me worried.
He has the proven ability to talk to the press and debate without sounding like a babbling idiot. There are no surprises that could come out. He wants the job and seems to genuinely get along with McCain. And people trust him to lead in a crisis if McCain dies in office.
Guiliani's negatives are pretty strong, though his campaigning style is quite a bit like McCain's: broken records, both of them.
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