Friday, May 18, 2007

How to pick Fred's running mate

With rumors becoming speculation, and then speculation becoming ever-closer to certainty, the possibility that former Senator Fred Thompson will officially become a candidate for President in 2008 becomes ever-closer to reality, a fact even the once-skeptical Kleinheider is now forced to admit. Until Fred formally makes the announcement, we can't know for certain that he will run, but I do think that we can make the assumption that the odds daily increase that Fred will run.

With the odds of Fred Thompson running increasing-it seems by the hour-speculation is turning to who a running mate for Fred might be. Naturally, there are those who are saying that Fred ought to pick one of the other candidates-particularly one of Rudy McRomney-to run with him that victory might be assured. No matter what you think of Thompson's political views, he's the 800-pound gorilla in this race. The Democrats do not want Thompson in the picture because Fred Thompson is not only the most likely GOP candidate to beat a Democrat, he would likely crush anyone the Democrats put up against him as if they were an old aluminum can. Any other nominee stands a likely chance of getting beaten in November of 2008 (and not just beaten, but whipped good-some of my readers may not like that, but I am just being honest), but not Fred Thompson. I sincerely believe that you could run Godzilla as Fred Thompson's running mate and the only difference would be that the scale of the victory would go from a total landslide to a five point win.

I think many activists inside the GOP are aware of this reality, which is why the push for a Thompson candidacy is increasing within the grassroots by the day. Knowing this, I think we ought to do something in 2008 that hasn't been done in almost 30 years (or longer)-the Republican Party ought to have a real, genuine, bona fide convention in Minneapolis-not just a Fred infomercial in Minneapolis. You know, a real political convention where issues are debated and personalities come to the fore. A convention with floor demonstrations, shouting delegates and alternates, and people from the street with tickets sneaking on to the floor to influence the outcome of votes by starting impromptu cheers and rallies. People of "stature" trying to sway each other, and candidates trying to sway the crowd-maybe even a smoke-filled room with cigars and whiskey. The kind of convention that political conventions were supposed to be. We can have that again in Minneapolis.

How can we do it? It can be done, and all it would take would be for Republican Nominee Fred Dalton Thompson to throw the nomination for Vice President to the floor of the convention and let the convention choose his running mate. Sure, all of the current lot of candidates would undoubtedly be in the running, but some dark horses could emerge as well, people no one would otherwise expect.

There are those who would say (and I have heard the expression) that this is a "family fight" and should not be held in public. I could not disagree more with that kind of reasoning. Less than four decades ago, it was the common practice in both parties to fight it out for President and Vice President at the National Convention, and until recently, most of the convention could be seen on Big Three Network television (in modern times) for the world to watch in fascination. The prime reason that is no longer the case is because the Convention is becoming far less of a newsworthy event. The "family fights" were held in very public view, and voter turnout and public enthusiasm for Presidential politics in this country was much higher in the days of the meaningful political convention than is the case today. The Republican National Convention ought to be real news-and this would be big news indeed.

We need political conventions to mean something to the political grassroots in America again. The way to make that happen is to give the delegates and the grassroots relevance. They are the ones who work so hard for the Party, often giving up time with family and friends and even sacrificing their personal careers for the sake of bettering the country through public service in some form or other. The least we can let then do is pick who they might like the Vice President to be.



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