Jonah — I also have always been puzzled at the chatter about Tom Ridge having what it takes for higher office. Notwithstanding his other achievements, he didn’t do such a hot job at Homeland Security. And he lacks the rhetorical style to hold an audience’s attention for more than a few minutes.
Years ago, when they were being touted as the new, can-do GOP governors, with future presidential potential, some wit called Ridge, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, and former Michigan Governor John Engler “the police chiefs.” That has always stuck with me, because, indeed, they all look like big-city police chiefs of yore. The three share a certain physical solidity, stolid bearing, and lack of sexiness that argues against being an asset on a presidential ticket, no matter their virtues.
Barnes is substance guy, but this year the GOP veep will have to make a splash. Obama is an exciting guy, who will need a quiet, competent type to run with. McCain is old and looks familiar. He needs pizzaz. Which is why Tim Pawlenty, the early favorite, is nowhere to be seen. And Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin, despite their lesser experience, have come to make sense.