Home National Politics Bob McDonnell: The Next Sarah Palin?

Bob McDonnell: The Next Sarah Palin?


Based on this and other indications, it is clear that Governor Bob McDonnell wants to be the GOP 2012 vice presidential pick. If this actually comes to pass, what are the implications for George Allen, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe, and Mark Warner?

First, let’s look at the scenario where McDonnell is actually elected Vice President of the United states.

1. Bill Bolling would be the big winner, as this is the only way he conceivably gets to be Governor.

2. Mark Warner would be the next biggest winner, since this would take McDonnell off the 2014 grid.

3. Terry McAuliffe would catch a break, as the Virginia cycle since 1977 has always had the Governor coming from the party losing the White House.

4. Ken Cuccinelli would be the big loser, as challenging an incumbent governor for the Republican nomination has proven to be lose-lose; even if you win, you lose the general.

5. Finally, since this scenario has the GOP as strong, McDonnell would provide good coattails to George Allen, which of course would hurt Tim Kaine’s run for Senate in 2012.

Now, what happens if McDonnell is the next Sarah Palin, part of a losing Republican presidential ticket in 2012?

1. Ken Cuccinelli would be the big winner, since he then gets to cream Bolling.

2. Mark Warner would be the next big winner, since McDonnell would then run for President in 2016, skipping the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

3. George Allen would gain, since we have to assume McDonnell will help the GOP in Virginia in 2012 even if they lose the state.

4. Terry McAuliffe would be a winner, since his best shot in 2013 is against Cuccinelli.

5. Tim Kaine would get hurt in his run for Senate in 2012, but not as badly as in the McDonnell becomes Vice President scenario.

What are the odds of Bob McDonnell being nominated for VEEP? Better than you think. The GOP needs its 2012 presidential nominee to be super strong in the Midwest. That logically suggests a Southern VEEP, as there are no big swing states in the West or North. If Marco Rubio of Florida says no, then McDonnell becomes the Dixie favorite under the theory that he can deliver Virginia.  

  • pontoon

    Tim Kaine will be the Senatorial candidate.  What if he is not?  If McDonnell is the VP candidate and George Allen the Repub Senate candidate, Kaine has little chance of winning, but a strong progressive like Tom Perriello just might.  I know, you don’t want to hear that.

  • aznew

    I appreciate how Lowell is interpreting this interview, but I think McDonnell has something else in mind.

    I think what McDonnell wants is to be considered for VP, but not actually get the nod this year. This gives him the benefit of some national exposure and an opportunity to engage in some national organizing, without running the risk of running on a losing ticket (this was one tactical factor in JFK winning the nomination in 1960, for example).

    So, asked if he would accept were the VP offered, he has to answer “probably” in order to ensure he is a part of the conversation, without committing to anything.

    You write that if McDonnell runs for VP and is on the losing ticket, he would then run for president in 2016. History suggests he would be unsuccessful even getting the nod for the run, much less winning the office. Since WWII, there have been 16 elections; the only losing vice-presidential candidate to win their party’s top place on the ticket in the next election was Walter Mondale (NOTE: Dole lost in 1976, and was ultimately able to secure the nomination — in 1996. Oh, yeah, he got beat pretty badly, also).

    None have become president.

    Sure, if the political landscape changes significantly between now and 2011, which is certainly possible if not probably, the GOP prospects might look better and a run for McDonnell might look better and more likely to lead to victory. Of course, if GOP prospects change so radically, then I’d suggest there will be any number of more appealing GOP VP candidates.

    To paraphrase Groucho, if McDonnell wants to be president someday, he should not want to be part of any ticket that would have him, and any ticket that he should join should have no interest in wanting him.

  • leedynamo

    As Senator, he did next to nothing for the people of VA.  Raised a lot of money for the Senate Republicans.

    I am a devoted Perriello fan, but if the Democrats nominate someone who cannot beat a piece of shit who was bored at his job, stunk at it and is basically a zero then they are weaker than I thought.

    I like Tom best but either one of them will shred Allen.