The Corner

More on Fred Smith

Here’s Quin, and the incomparable Greg P.–the media blog should be on your reading list everyday–passes along this:  “The DNC has launched a new website called, to cover McCain’s possible VP picks.  Fred Smith is on the DNC list fwiw.” And other e-mails: 

1) Rich–He’s a terribly successful executive who backed promise (“When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”) with flawless delivery (sorry).

Problem is–John McCain is pushing the longevity tables.  Do we want a person who’s never really held political office one heartbeat away, etc.?


2) I work for Fred Smith’s biggest competitor….

FedEx’s close ties to the U.S. Post Office could raise cries of conflict of interest.  Also, FedEx has been fighting for years to keep their “home delivery” drivers classified as contract employees, because this exempts the drivers from unionization and means FedEx doesn’t have to provide insurance & other benefits.  Fred Smith on the Republican ticket could send a lot of rank-and-file moderates over to the Democrats, and it would send Big Labor into orbit.


3) Rich-It strikes me on reading your Smith post that the longer McCain waits to name his VP, the lower the probability that a lesser known person is chosen. My sense is that only a very small portion of Americans know who Smith is, and that McCain would have to waste his already scarce assets in establishing Smith’s credentials in the very small amount of time we have left before the election. I think there is a similar story to be told with Pawlenty. The longer McCain waits, the less likely it is that he is the guy. My sense is that his national name ID is probably in the low double digits.

In my view, all signs point to Romney as the guy…although that may just be blind optimism on my part.


4) Mr. Lowry,

I know very little of Mr. Smith but I recall that his son Richard Smith was involved in a messy assault case while a student at the University of Virginia. A good collection of the Cavalier Daily’s coverage of the events may be found here.



5) Very interesting choice…I used to work for UPS in Competitive Analysis and, of course, we covered FedEx extensively. He understands business as he is the heart and soul of FedEx and was their driving force becoming a very successful multi-national corporation. He understands the economy as FedEx’s growth mirrors that of GDP. FedEx’s economic forecasting unit has won awards for accuracy. He certainly understands the oil/fuel market and that is a major component of FedEx’s costs. He understands China and other emerging markets as they are the #2 international carrier in Asia. He understands international trade as FedEx is a major participant in the execution of that trade. He is not the most dynamic guy in the world, but he would be a very intriguing pick. No clue about his thoughts on domestic social issues but he would be a pick in the Cheney mold i.e. former very successful CEO running day to day operations. 

6) Smith hasn’t had his name linked with lots of controversial public policy debates. But the one Washington think tank on whose board he sits is CATO. Given that Smith would be somewhat of a blank slate on policy, it wouldn’t be a stretch for Democrats to fill the slate with CATO material that will sound pretty scary to economically insecure voters. I like the idea of Smith because I don’t think McCain can afford to play it safe. But there’s pretty significant risk there.


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