No surprise here folks, I got a prediction wrong. Though I had a good chance to nuance, I instead opted to double-down on my May prediction that there was no way Obama would pick Biden. As I often say at this stage, while wiping the egg away, my predictions are biased in terms of what I think would make the most sense and I have a hard time predicting that someone will make the wrong choice.
As potentially the biggest fan of Joe Biden in the world (or at least in Canada), it pains me to reiterate that I think he was a bone-headed choice for Obama. McCain launched within hours an ad using Biden against Obama. There is lots more roll around to do a series of ads. A candidate with Biden's strengths who didn't run against Obama and wasn't as tied to today's Washington (i.e. Sam Nunn) would have made more sense to me. It would have brought nearly as much to the ticket without doing collateral damage. However, in the end, I think the wisest choice would have been to double-down on change with Kathleen Sebelius.
The Obama campaign thought otherwise, and time will tell whether it works out for them.
In the coming days McCain will make his choice. I'll open myself up for another big fall: I think his floating the idea of Ridge or Lieberman (pro-choicers) is meant to show to the general electorate that he is not close-minded on that question and would not disqualify someone simply on those grounds, and will say so when he makes his announcement. However, in the end he won't actually choose a pro-choice candidate so as to keep the base behind him.
In addition to the candidates I've named as possibilities for the spot, I'd like to add Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska. A lot may depend on the result of today's primary where the state's Lieutenant Governor, and Palin protogé, is running against the incumbent Republican for the right to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Palin may be reluctant to accept the veep nomination if it means both her and Sean Parnell are running for national office which would mean, in the event they both won, control of the state would be handed back to the corrupt wing of the Alaska Republican Party she has recently defeated for control (UPDATE: This may not be as big of a concern, Palin's attorney general would succeed as governor, though this individual would arguably be more vulnerable than Palin or Parnell and the idea of both running for national office would still be a concern).
Palin is a strong candidate in a lot of ways. She is a reformer who has beaten down the corruption in Alaska which is so severe it would make most of the dirty tricksters in Washington blush. She is an outsider which will help provide credibility to McCain's argument that he would change how things are done. She is a woman who could help McCain make further inroads into the alienated Clinton voter and who has a compelling life story. The religious right would be totally energized by her candidacy and might turn out in similar-to-2004-numbers for a mother of five who is ardently pro-life.
If the Obama campaign or other Democrats want to criticize her for being inexperienced, McCain can say "I've served my country my whole life, first in the Navy, then in the House and then in the Senate. I want to be your president because I have always put my country first and through my experience, I think I can continue to do that as your president. Senator Obama, an outsider without a lot of experience, is criticizing Governor Palin's experience. Her experience is that of having battled corruption her whole time in public life and as serving as chief executive of a state. Senator Obama's experience consists of giving a popular speech in 2002, getting elected to the Senate in a race that was virtually non-contetested and after a year of few notable accomplishments there announcing his candidacy for president."
McCain's people will ask which is better - a change candidate without the experience to lead who needs to pick a Washington insider as his running mate in order to be sure he can govern or a change candidate with decades of service to country who is able to pick a less experienced running-mate, who has more experience (they could argue) than Obama, who can bring a real outsiders perspective to the West Wing.
I'll slot her into my list and slightly re-jig it. Rob Portman's star has faded somewhat and I think McCain is more apt to pick some like Palin or South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford - people who can help him take some ownership of the change message through McCain's record on reform / anti-corruption-and-pork-barrelling.
1. Sanford (raised from third)
2. Huntsman (no change)
3. Palin (new addition)
4. Portman (bumped from first)
5. Dole (bumped from fourth)
6. Watts (bumped from fifth)
7. Jindal (bumped from sixth)