Okay, assuming John McCain is the nominee, who should the running mate be? Pat Toomey in the Wall Street Journal suggests Gov. Mark Sanford and Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, and, interestingly, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, among others. The Weekly Standard suggests Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The Guardian offers Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi.
A number of people have said, "Why not Mike Huckabee?" and that's a good question. What McCain presumably needs in a running mate is someone who will appeal to the party's right, the social conservatives, the evangelicals. Most of the men listed here would do that to one degree or another. Huckabee, of course, is an ordained minister, which wouldn't hurt.
Candidates who've dropped out? Probably not Mitt Romney (they don't like each other). Certainly not Rudy Giuliani; conservatives would go bananas. AOL's Justin Paulette wonders about Democratic Sen. Joe Liebermann, a good friend of McCain's. But, if you're trying to reach out to those conservatives, a fusion ticket with a Democrat probably isn't the way to go. Be fun, though. Would Clinton or Obama then have to look for a Republican?
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is another name that pops up. But, of course, we're all just guessing. It's up to the nominee. It should be someone he likes and respects, someone he'd trust to take over if need be. It doesn't always work out well; I'm old enough to remember George McGovern, the Democratic nominee in 1972, saying at about four o'clock in the morning, "Tom Eagleton. I know him from the Senate." What he didn't know was that Eagleton had undergone electric shock therapy for depression. That bothered a lot of people back then and McGovern had to get Eagleton to resign from the ticket. I don't suppose he would have beaten Richard Nixon anyway, but after the Eagleton pandemonium, he carried just one state.
My favorite--an AOL reader suggested this in a comment--is Condoleezza Rice. I've never met her, but she is obviously smart and well-spoken. And wouldn't putting a black woman on the Republican ticket shake up the odds in this seemingly Democratic year? Oh, yes.