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The Race to the Vice Presidency

As we get closer to the general election, a lot of names are being thrown around as John McCain's possible running mate. This includes Wisconsin's own dreamy Paul Ryan, who was named as a contender by columnist Bob Novak on "Meet the Press."

Conventional wisdom says that McCain has to pick someone strong on the economy, young, and from the Midwest - which is where he needs to shore up his support. This is why Ryan is such an attractive choice.

Another possibility is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a young Republican in a blue state. But after seeing him on the Sunday morning shows last weekend, it occurred to me that I can't possibly support the candidacy of anyone with a mullet like this:



I mean, I realize it's Minnesota and all, but are we picking a Vice President of the United States or the Grand Marshall at the State Fair? It appears in this picture that Pawlenty is doing his famous "You might be a Vice Presidential candidate if..." comedy routine.

Another favorite seems to Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who endorsed McCain during the Florida campaign. I was reading up on Crist in the Almanac of American Politics, and came across this crazy passage, related to his initial run for governor in 2006:

Below the surface of the campaign, and perhaps driving its themes, were persistent rumors that Crist is gay. A bachelor, Crist was divorced in the early 1980s after a seven-month marriage. At several public events, Crist was asked if he was gay and denied it; the issue did not get much attention in the newspapers, despite determined public efforts by the Reform Party candidate. [...] The sleazy disclosures didn’t stop there. Shortly before the September primary, Crist had to confront an 18-year-old paternity claim after sealed records were anonymously faxed and emailed to various reporters; Crist had denied the claim at the time and had relinquished any parental rights to the child, who was put up for adoption. Thus the 2006 Republican primary election will go down in the annals of dirty politics: here a candidate was attacked both for being gay and for fathering a child out of wedlock.

Ah, yes... Florida. Where a candidate can be "attacked" for being gay. Perhaps they objected to his plans to raise revenue through a statewide Oscar pool.

Given that this presidential election is all about racial, gender, and ethnic classifications, McCain should take these factors into account when picking a VP - especially if he's looking to win Wisconsin. The message from this campaign is that people are much more likely to vote for a candidate with their own ethnic background. Fair enough.

The Almanac mentions that Wisconsin is of 29.9% German ancestry, with the next highest being Polish at 6.5%. As a result, I fully expect this ticket come November: