There has been talk (for example, here) that Sen. John McCain, presumptive GOP nominee for president, is seriously considering several pro-abortion figures as his vice presidential candidate, Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Homeland Security chief, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.
Of course this gets everyone talking, and it gets me wondering where this is coming from and why. Some possibilities:
1. People not actually connected with the McCain campaign are doing this, for their own purposes. Examples would be: someone promoting these fellows in particular, or someone else who would be a more acceptable alternative, or someone trying to keep McCain from picking someone "too prolife" by setting things up so that it would seem McCain had "caved in to the wingers" if he goes that way. I couldn't help noticing Giuliani on TV the other night saying how wonderful these guys would be; political consultant Dick Morris keeps pumping up Lieberman; if he isn't picked, and McCain goes down, Morris can always say (and I predict he will say), if only he'd followed my advice.
2. McCain's own people are doing this to test the waters for these folks--meaning he really would like Ridge or Lieberman. Given what we know about McCain, this seems very plausible, but not certain.
3. McCain's own people are doing this to make who they do pick seem so much better by comparison, as a way to make prolifers and conservatives, who don't much like or trust McCain, feel they won something; that would validate the outreach McCain and his advocates are making, when they say, really, he's your guy, trust him.
4. McCain's own people are doing this to serve their own interests, not necessarily the candidate--i.e., back to #1 or #2 -- or they are just feeding stuff to the media to build themselves up. If its bogus, this might not seem a smart play--because you'd think the reporter would, once the veep candidate is named, note any disparity--and, indeed, it may not be particularly smart, but it may do the job.
Ever notice how all these folks show up on TV as "strategists"? Why do they do it? Because they may get more business, it may help them get a column or a successful website, it may help them get a paid gig on TV as a talking head, or maybe they find it gratifying, or they think they are helping the cause. But notice, its not very important to the networks that what you say really is sensible or true, only that it sound plausible, be controversial or seem newsy, and be presented in an engaging way, so that it fills the "news hole." I'd love to see the interviewers put up graphics showing accurate and insightful these predicters and insiders prove to be--but they will never do it; why bite the hand that feeds you?
Note that the explanations above are not mutually exclusive: there may be several sources for this, both actually inside (someone who really does know), seemingly inside but really outside (someone who doesn't know, but folks in the media can't know that). After all, this sort of thing needed be very credible, it's simply fodder, just as it is for yours truly!
Okay, I've chummed the waters...