What's should be more worrisome; who Obama will choose for his VP or who McCain will choose for his Number 2?
No contest. It's who McCain picks. And if I were an Obama advisor I would wake up screaming each night in terror that McCain picks his current economic advisor, Carly Fiorina.
Such a bold move would pose the single most significant threat to Obama's hopes. In fact, it's such a no-brainer that I'd be surprised if McCain/Florina is not already baked into the cake.
Here's why I think so:
1) Millions of Hillary women will still be licking their primary campaign wounds come November. Those hurt feelings will not pass away easily or gracefully. (Dare I use the old -- "Hell hath no fury like women scorned?" Ah, belay that ...) Putting Fiorina on the ticket would help McCain mine a rich vein of feminist anger pervading the Democratic camp.
2) It would be a move Obama would find difficult to counter. Sure he could pick a woman too -- but what woman? It looks increasingly unlikely it would be Hillary ... for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that Bill refuses to release the financial records necessary to adequately vet the couple.
Obama could pick another woman. But picking a woman as his running mate who is NOT Hillary Clinton would be rubbing salt into a still open wound. All those women out there who worked their hearts out for Hillary would react to Obama picking another woman as the final outrage. Scorn them once, shame on --- well -- someone. But scorn them twice and you're toast.
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3) That leaves Obama the second of two hard options -- pick a man as VP. That might do less harm than choosing "that other woman," but would also reinforce what Hillary women feel they've faced their entire lives -- being elbowed aside at the finish line by boy's club bullies.
So either way Obama goes, gender-wise, will do little heal the wounds among Hillary's Helga brigades.
4) McCain, by his own admission, is no financial wizard. Adding Fiorina to his ticket would blunt that big problem. She's best known as the former head of Hewlett-Packard where she served as CEO and chairman of the board. Fiorina was touted as the most powerful woman in business by Forbes magazine.
Sure she was fired by HP's board in 2005 due to shareholder dissatisfaction with they company's performance. But in the Fortune 500 world there's an old saying, "After you move to the top, the next move is out." Getting canned and walking away with a double or triple million severance package is a badge of honor in that world, not a sign of failure. (I think if something like that happened you, you'd agree that you walked away a winner. I know I would. All I ever got for being fired was a measly unemployment check.)
So, adding Fiorina to the ticket would let McCain claim the GOP now had the strongest team to handle whatever the future threw at the nation, be it on the national security front or to tackle America's mounting fiscal crisis.
5) Finally Fiorina would be a huge generational and gender asset for another reason. While she's not exactly a spring chicken, she's a quarter century younger than McCain, (but then, who isn't.)
McCain would be a crusty 80-years old by the end of a seciond term. It's almost unthinkable an 80-year old could survive an office that puts that much stress on it's occupant. Voters know that too, which is why the McCain camp has already dropping hints that he only wants to be a one-term President.
Putting Fiorina on the ticket would not only calm fears among many voters that McCain is too old to be a two-termer. It would also infer to women still fuming over Hillary's defeat, that there's still a chance for a woman to reach the Oval Office, if only they wait four years. And that woman would Carly Fiorina, who would almost certainly face down Hillary Clinton's second run in a rousing madam y madam slap-down come 2012.
McCain has already been making cooing noises to Hillary's women. He knows they're mad as hell and ripe for the picking. Even more important, McCain needs them -- every one of them he can attract, even if only because they want to exact vengence on the Obama camp. McCain needs those white women as a counterbalance to the virtually unanimous African American vote that will go for Obama. Because, if you think white, middle aged women feel slighted, imagine how the black community feels about all that.
McCain has about as much chance of bagging a significant portion of the African-American vote as George W. Bush would if he were able to run again. So the millions of seething Hillary gals out there are McCain's only hope. And, from the emails I get from those very women, its not a misplaced hope.
So, expect it. I'm not predicting that picking Fiorina -- or some other clearly qualified woman -- as his running mate, will turn the tide and sweep McCain to victory. It will help, but it may not help enough to counter the sense that McCain is too old, been around too long, is not hitting on all cylinders and is -- in short the real-world embodiment of the well-meaning but bumbling cartoon character, Mr. McGoo.
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