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By Tom Cushing

The VEEPstakes 1: GOP Edition

Uploaded: Jul 12, 2016

Both parties will be selecting Vice Presidential candidates within the next few weeks. Neither choice is clear. The Republicans’ open-carry lovefest in Cleveland precedes the Dem gathering in Philly, so they get to go first. Who’s your choice? Winner gets a free subscription to this fine publication.

Here are some of the individuals prominently mentioned as possibilities. The candidate has indicated only that he’d prefer somebody who is familiar with government, which makes awfully perfect sense.

Mike Pence (age 58): the Indiana governor seems to be gathering a head of steam, but a casual googling contained three ‘news’ entries in the past day about why he will—and won’t -- be the nominee. The times have thrust some prominence upon him as a social conservative and he’s aligned with The Presump on immigration. He’d have to forego a re-election bid this fall; it is apparently not a sure-thing, despite Hoosieriana being a solidly red state.

Jeff(erson Beauregard) Sessions (69): the Alabama Senator since 1996 has been tapped as an advisor on national security matters, and shares space on matters of immigration. It’s not real clear how he helps geopolitically, as the south is already as crimson as his law school alma mater, but he’s a capable campaigner – so much so that he ran unopposed in 2014. There’s a lot of smart money on him.

John Kasich (64): the re-elected Governor of Ohio makes great sense to me, but the GOP has made a habit of not doing what I think is a good idea. He’d bring all the Congressional and executive experience and horsepower that made him a formidable candidate – in any other year. He’s also wildly popular at home, perhaps the swingin’est state of them all. He opposed The Nom on many issues, however, and is continually being courted by the Never-Ts to usurp the presidential nomination in his home state. If he could be persuaded, it might present an interesting opportunity for papering-over the divisions within the party, but I doubt he can be.

Newt Gingrich (73): the hardy perennial professor and darling of … somebody. He’s been around as long as Hillary, however, and has racked-up similar levels of negativity. The contrast between him and some possible bright young-un on the Dem side wouldn’t help. Besides, if the ticket was elected, Newt’s past flexible loyalties might raise concerns that he’d be another Frank Underwood.

Chris Christie (53): governor of New Jersey. Christie is an aggressive campaigner who could take the fight to the opposition, like he took down Marco Rubio. His local popularity has nose-dived, however, a record that would be made amply clear. His recent behavior has seemed more toady than heir-apparent, as if he was seeking a position as vice-valet. I’m guessing the George Washington Bridge is once again closed in the Manhattan-bound direction.

Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn (ret.) (57): he’s been appropriately critical of the Administration since being deposed from his position as Defense Intelligence chief in 2014. He is said to be direct and his management style “chaotic,” which only the boss may properly appreciate. Further, some of his non-defense-related positions and affiliations may be tough to swallow – he is a recently self-described “pro-choice Democrat.”

Here are some others, a few of whom have apparently bowed-out:

TN Sen. Bob Corker
SC Gov. Niki Haley
ND Sen. John Thune (no, wait – make that South Dakota)
AR Sen. Tom Cotton
Present or former Govs Palin (gasp, but it’s happened before), Huckabee, Brewer, Fallin, Martinez or Sandoval

Of all those, NV Gov. Sandoval is most substantial, and intriguing. He probably has a better, safer shot at greater prominence during another cycle, however.

Okay, Republicans – the floor is all your’n. Who’s your choice?