By Paul Goldman
For Southerner Bob McDonnell, as Queen might say, Another One Bites the Dust. Mike Huckabee doesn’t wannabee. Why is this such a big break for His Excellency, The Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Honorable Robert McDonnell, who now moves up higher in the VEEP rankings on the GOP side?
In the modern, post WWII history of what remains of Mr. Lincoln’s party, every winning national ticket has had at least one person from the Sunbelt – Nixon in ’52, ’56, ’68, ’72, Reagan-Daddy Bush in ’80, ’84, Daddy Bush in ’88, and W in 00, ’04. Indeed, except for the 1976 Ford-Dole ticket, every GOP duo in the modern era has had a Sun belter somewhere.
Of the 5 largest states generally regarded as possible swing areas in next year’s presidential elections, 3 of them are in the Dixie part of the Sunbelt: Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. The other two are Indiana and Ohio. Even what passes for the GOP brain trust knows they need a sun belter on the 2012 ticket. However, outside the South, they don’t have anyone now that Sharon Angle lost to Harry Reid. (Just kidding of course: She might be elected to the Congress in a special election later this year.)
This leaves the Southland proper, from The Alamo to Little Havana to Mt. Vernon on the VA
side of the Potomac River. Inside that triangle has to come at least one of the two GOP runners in 2012.
With transplanted Floridian Mike Huckabee (former Governor and head of the Baptist Minister’s group of Arkansas) now opting to make cartoons to teach history as opposed to being a cartoon character himself, this leaves Newton Gingrich as the leading Southerner with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as the top Southwesterner. .
Or does it? Actually, Sir Newt was born in Pennsylvania and Mr. Johnson in North Dakota. Herman Cain, the pizza guy, started his deliveries in person in Tennessee. No wonder Cain was so able in that South Carolina debate: the crowd picked him as a winner because they could tell the real Southern deal.
Personally, I would have preferred him to say “Frankly, Chris Wallace, I don’t give a damn!” in response to the debate questions. But he knows Clark Gable is passe. A real man would have asked for 50% of everything she had in a palimony suit.
But Cain does have a point: In a political party obsessed with birth certificates, can Gingrich really be a true Southerner having been born above the Mason Dixon line?
Surely, he can’t claim to be “native born” as that term is used in the Constitution.
Bottom line: Sun belt Republicans want the real deal. That ain’t Newt. Or Garry.
They will lose the primaries.
With Floridians Senator Marco Rubio and former Governor Jeb Bush saying they won’t run in 2012, this leaves Bob McDonnell as the best Southern boy standing when the GOP presidential nominee looks for a running mate.
But you say: Bob was born in Philly.
True: But it was South Philly. That’s good enough for government work.