Earlier today, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins participated in an on-line Q&A on The Washington Times’ website during which he set out the characteristics the Right is looking for in John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate. His choice of words that the running mate “needs to be strong where he is weak” by having “have a record of delivering” on the issues that matter to the Right suggests that he, like so many others, is not particularly enthused about McCain:
Question: There has been a lot written about possible VP candidates for McCain that will be acceptable to the Christian value voters. Who are a few possibilities that you could see this coalition being comfortable with?
Answer: To date I have resisted the temptation to play the name game. Rather, I have focused on the qualities we would like to see in John McCain’s running mate. His running mate needs to be strong where he is weak, someone who is not reluctant to talk about the issues that remain top priority for most social conservatives; the sanctity of human life, the preservation of traditional marriage and the strengthening of the family. Not only must this person be able to communicate a concern and a commitment for these issues, they have to have a record of delivering on these and other issues.
So who would be a good choice? Mike Hucakbee, of course:
Answer: There is no question in my mind that Mike Huckabee would raise the intensity level of support for John McCain, something the Senator really needs. I do have some policy differences with Mike, but we share a common view on most, if not all, of the social policy issues. I think he would compliment John McCain and I would be supportive of him as John McCain’s running mate.
It seems that just about every right-wing activist currently supporting McCain wants him to pick Hucakbee and is warning him not to pick Mitt Romney. In fact, as we reported yesterday, McCain is currently in Michigan meeting with former Huckabee supporters who are telling him the same thing yet again. And just in case that message hasn’t yet sunk in, another group of Huckabee supporters in Ohio are starting groups all over the state in order to get the message out:
Some Ohio social conservatives say they know whom they don’t want John McCain to pick as his running mate: former Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney.
In a move that may say as much about their continuing uneasiness regarding McCain as it does about their mistrust of Romney, an alliance of Buckeye State social conservatives is trying to form a group: Social Conservatives Against Romney.
Although McCain is keeping his potential vice-presidential choices a tightly held secret, Romney is said to be on the short list.
“Christians are praying earnestly for the right person,” said Diane Stover, a Parma resident who was a delegate for GOP candidate Mike Huckabee, a favorite of many social conservatives, in the Ohio primary. “McCain wouldn’t have been our person. But we definitely feel like it would be a huge help to John McCain to pick someone we can be confident will represent the value-voter position. I don’t think it helps him (McCain) at all in Ohio if he picks Romney.”
Jane Maines of Hamilton, also a former Huckabee delegate, said the anti-Romney Ohioans hope their group will spread to other states.
Stover and Maines are among about a dozen activists who met near Cincinnati last week, with Stover participating via phone from the Cleveland area, to discuss how to launch the group.
“We’re hoping this will become hugely widespread,” Maines said.
Presumably, the fact that McCain is not ruling out the possibility of naming a pro-choice running mate is only going to displease the Right further:
IN A WIDE-RANGING INTERVIEW aboard his campaign plane this morning, John McCain said that he is open to choosing a pro-choice running mate and named former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge as someone who merits serious consideration despite his support for abortion rights. McCain also criticized Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for attempts to “politicize” the debate over Georgia and criticized President Bush for failing to recognize the true nature of Vladimir Putin.
“I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party,” McCain said. “And I also feel that–and I’m not trying to equivocate here–that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don’t think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out.”