In shopping for a running mate, John McCain should pick someone he knows well, Ken Khachigian, a highly respected Republican strategist, tells Newsmax.
Khachigian, a California lawyer who was Ronald Reagan’s chief speechwriter and a speechwriter for Richard Nixon, says no vice presidential candidate will deliver the election for McCain.
“So instead of looking for someone who fits a series of benchmarks, he ought to be looking for someone who’s not going to do damage to his ticket,” says Khachigian, who was Reagan’s senior campaign adviser and is a veteran of eight other campaigns. “When mid-October comes around, I guarantee you people are not going to be voting for a vice president, or focusing on a vice president, unless that candidate is a problem.”
As examples, Geraldine Ferraro and Spiro Agnew became “basic distractions to their principals,” Khachigian says.
“What McCain ought to be looking at is someone who meets minimum standards of obviously, knowledge and capability, and campaigning ability, and perhaps with some geographic logic to him or her,” Khachigian says. “But the most important thing is picking someone about whom he has personal knowledge and has spent time with, and emotionally is connected to.”
Khachigian observes that historical precedents bear out his point, but he says it is also a matter of logic.
“Basically, thinking outside the box puts you outside the box,” he says. “It just doesn’t make any sense to go with people that you don’t know, because then you’re not sure what’s going to happen. You don’t know how they’ll perform or how they’d do under pressure. You don’t know much about their background and how they react to things.”
If George McGovern had known Thomas Eagleton well, he probably would have learned at some point that Eagleton had received shock treatments in a mental hospital, Khachigian says.
“Spiro Agnew is an example of someone that Nixon had no idea personally about. He met him twice,” Khachigian says.
Agnew resigned as vice president when he became the target of a federal extortion, tax fraud, and bribery probe.
Nixon made a similar mistake when he chose Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. as his running mate in his first unsuccessful run for the presidency, Khachigian says.
“He knew Lodge professionally, because Lodge was in the Cabinet,” Khachigian says. “But what he didn’t know about Lodge was how he performed on the stump. He probably had no idea that Lodge would take naps after lunch and was not a good campaigner. Nixon found out the hard way,” Khachigian notes.
Of course, in choosing a candidate, McCain should ask himself how well the person campaigns and what his or her positions are. But what is critically important, Khachigian says, is for McCain to evaluate how much he knows about the “character and depth” of the individual.
GOP Platform Goes Online
In a first, Cyrus Krohn, the Republican National Committee’s Internet guru, has set up an interactive Web site for developing the party platform.
“The Republican Party is seeking your input as we develop the policies and principles upon which we should stand for the next four years,” the Web site says. “On this Web site, you can share your thoughts, participate in polls, and communicate directly with the policy-makers who will be shaping the party's agenda.
"All comments and feedback will be reviewed and taken into full consideration as we prepare for our convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.”
Since www.gopplatform2008.com went live a week ago, 4,000 people have shared their thoughts through the Web site.
Before joining the RNC, Krohn was director of content production and election strategy at Yahoo!. Prior to that, he spent almost 10 years at Microsoft, where he was Slate magazine’s first employee and later became publisher.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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