McCain & Romney Not Sitting in a Tree Anytime Soon

1204921994Today’s Herald has a story about a favorite (kinda) new scenario: A John McCainMitt Romney ticket.

All the McCain quotes used in the piece help puff up the general premise: That, during yesterday’s stop in New Hampshire, McCain “would not rule out Mitt Romney as a possible running mate.”

OK, but I’m still not buying it, and you shouldn’t, either. This is nothing more than slight of hand.

Let’s not forget that McCain’s hatred of Romney was well chronicled during the primary. You really can’t underestimate the ill-will there. Of course, there’s a long list of former enemies who joined forces because it was politically expedient: JFK and LBJ, Reagan and Bush, Clinton and Gore to name a few.

The difference here is that, in each of those cases, the former needed the latter. JFK was seen as a weak Northern liberal (and a Catholic to boot); LBJ helped him overcome those stigmas in the South. Before Reagan became everyone’s favorite Republican president, he was little more than the Governor of California and a bad actor; Bush, meanwhile, was a CIA honcho who represented the kind of evil, I’ll-kill-you-in-your-sleep attitude that the GOP adores. And Clinton was a sex-crazed bubba from a backwater state who needed some inside-Washington polish from a well-known Senator. Bingo.

But McCain? What the hell does he need Romney for? What states might Willard deliver that McCain wouldn’t already win on his own? Go on, name one.

No, what McCain needs is a Bible thumper or, at the least, someone who’s long been in good standing with the party (as opposed to a well-known flip-flopper and shameless panderer). My money is still on Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina. Not only is Sanford a fiscal conservative, but, unlike Romney, he’s the kind of guy the GOP base reflexively loves: a hardcore Christian from a Southern state. Barring that, I like the chances of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a man who worked magic to help McCain win the primary there. More important, Florida will be a key swing state (yet again) in the general.

But let’s get back to McCain’s comments yesterday, or at least the ones the Herald chose to highlight. McCain said nice things about Romney? Well, yes, he did. But you have to consider where he was at the time — New Hampshire, a state right in Romney’s backyard and a place where he not only did well in the primary, but still has a lot of supporters. Call me when McCain says something semi-sweet south of the Mason-Dixon.

One last thing: What the Herald didn’t mention was that, before leaving the door open for Romney, McCain literally laughed at Willard and his transparent oooh, oooh, pick me! comments from earlier in the week.

The Arizona senator joked Wednesday he got the impression Romney is interested in the No. 2 spot on the Republican presidential ticket after watching a recent interview with the former Massachusetts governor.

“I got that impression from him watching his interview last night, I got that impression,” McCain said laughing on his campaign plane in New Hampshire.

The real message? Run along and play, Mitt, the adults are busy.