So I started thinking... what if McCain had picked the guy who had been the supposed front-runner in the VP search, Mitt Romney?
Think about how the race has changed since Palin became McCain's running mate: the economy tanked, McCain has lost a ton of ground in hard-hit areas like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the Republicans have been forced to do major damage control because of the Alaska governor (see Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, David Letterman, etc. etc. etc.). Had Romney been the running mate, McCain may very well have still been tied or even ahead right now. Here's why:
- Real experience. Yeah, Palin's a governor, but there were more people in Obama's State Senate district than in the entire state of Alaska. She's also been governor for fewer than two years. Executive experience my ass. But Romney was a Republican governor of a big blue state - Massachusetts - and was the highly-regarded head of Bain Capital and helped save the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The guy's a douchebag, but that's executive experience.
- The economy. Even I couldn't argue that Romney doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to the economy. Yes, he's so elitist that he makes McCain look like a bum on the street, and like I said before, he's a douchebag. But he can talk about the economy with an ease and comfort that McCain doesn't have (and Palin certainly doesn't have). McCain started losing this thing - big - once Lehman went down in mid-September and people really started realizing just how big of a hole this country is in. McCain proved to be erratic in the crisis and had Palin, a know-nothing, moose-hunting yahoo, as his backup in case something happened. Romney would have been much more reassuring as #2 to McCain, especially regarding the economy.
- Michigan. Romney's dad was governor of Michigan in the 1960s and, thanks to his family's strong roots there, Mitt won the state's primary in January. It's hard to imagine the McCain campaign being as many as 16 points down and pulling their apparatus out of Michigan with the state's favorite son on the ballot.
- Already vetted. News flash: McCain didn't vet Palin. That was a big deal, because vetting your VP is, like, kinda important, but it would have been less of a deal if Romney had been selected without having undergone much of a vetting process. Why? Because he's already been vetted - by the public. He ran for president for a year and got millions of votes (shudder). People know who he is and, while they might not uniformly like him, they are certainly bound to be more comfortable with him than with Palin.
I never thought I'd say it, but I want Mitt Romney. McCain will be remembered as being stupid for not having chosen him.