The Corner

Rush vs Jonah

Re this dispute, I am the opposite of James Baker on the Balkans: I feel I have both dogs in this fight. I assumed initially that Jonah’s McCain-needs-a-Dem-veep column was a deeply Swiftian satire: A Democrat running mate! What better way for McCain to shore up his wobbling base (the media)?

But by the end it seemed as if Jonah meant it. The problem with the likely names is that they don’t do the job he envisages. Sam Nunn and Joe Lieberman shore McCain up on the one issue he doesn’t need shoring up on: The war. On everything else, they remain Democrats, so on domestic policy they drag the ticket further to the left, which doesn’t energize Republicans. And they don’t pull any Democrats either. The modern Democratic party is like Islam: You’re either a believer or an apostate. Lieberman is an apostate. So the Demo-media narrative would not be national unity, coalition of all the talents, end to bipartisan bickering, etc, but two elderly embittered white male warmongers, one of whom is a traitor to his party, and the other of whom is a traitor to Arianna Huffington’s dinner parties.

If McCain wants to neutralize the novelty value of the Obama candidacy, he can do it with a Jindal or a Palin more easily than a Lieberman.

On the other hand, if he wanted to do the grand bipartisan gesture Jonah’s arguing for, he’d be better to go all the way and put Hillary on the ticket. I tremble even to make that suggestion because McCain’s such a contrarian old coot he’s just nutty enough to do it.

Either way – McCain/Lieberman, McCain/Clinton, McCain/Graham, McCain/Bloomberg, McCain/Sharpton – this November will be a big test of the Nixon thesis that you can’t win with just the conservatives but you can’t win without the conservatives. Knowing McCain, my best guess is the veep will be no-one we dig. 

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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