Over in the Corner, Kathryn asked for reaction to a Fred Thompson-Michael Steele ticket. I hate to do this, since I like the guy so much, but I’ll have to throw some cold water on the idea.
Michael Steele is a brilliant speaker and a true rising star in Republican politics. Having said that, four years as lieutenant governor of Maryland does not spring to mind as the ideal training to be a heartbeat away from becoming the next commander in chief and leader of the free world. If he were a sitting senator, you would hear a lot more speculation about him in national politics and a national ticket. But last year the voters of Maryland decided they would prefer a standard-issue Democrat with all the raw red-hot charisma of David Broder over Steele. Lost by 10 points, broke my heart.
He’s a great guy, but he’s not ready for a national ticket. He needs to demonstrate that he can win statewide office (heck, even a House race!) in a year that isn’t a great one for the GOP like 2002. Even Steele’s running mate, Gov. Bob Ehrlich started wondering towards the end of his term if he were a “historical accident,” the result of Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend running a terrible campaign. Steele’s got a great future ahead of him, but he needs to win a race before any serious veep buzz begins.