This weekend Republican runner-up Mike Huckabee went on the air and said he wants to be John McCain's running mate.
McCain is under no obligation to choose Huckabee however. It is true that the runner up is sometimes the veep nominee (for example John F. Kennedy famously chose Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan chose George Bush Sr. and John Kerry chose John Edwards.) But there is no obligation to do so. I will say that I do believe, and I say this as an Obama supporter, that Hillary Clinton has done so well this year in just barely finishing second that I believe that she has earned the right to be asked to be on the ticket (emphasis on the word, 'earned.' (though I don't know if she would accept it.) Huckabee, whose main role in this year's Republican primaries was to help derail Mitt Romney and clear the path for McCain to sweep to the nomination, has not come so close as to be able to say he's earned the right to be asked.
It may be that McCain, still trying to re-connect with conservatives, may need Huckabee, but I don't think he does. Huckabee's base of support-- white evangelical southerners, are likely to turnout in higher numbers than African-Americans in the deep south, simply because there are more of them. That will probably be enough to beat Barack Obama in the most racially polarized part of the country. And among some conservatives, economic conservatives in particular, Huckabee (who raised taxes in Arkansas) is even less popular than John McCain.
Beyond that, Huckabee, the man who proudly raised his hand during a Republican debate last year when a moderator asked anyone who did not believe in evolution to do so, showed himself unqualified in the highest degree with his remark at the NRA convention in Louisville last week joking about someone threatening to shoot Barack Obama.
Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee drew cringes Friday when he made a joke at the National Rifle Association convention about Barack Obama getting shot at.
“We believe the government should get its hands off of us as much as possible, we don’t need that much of it, we’d like less of it and we darn sure would like for it to be less expensive but the reality is and I’m worried,” Huckabee said when he was interrupted by a loud thump from backstage.
The quick-witted Southerner looked behind him and said to the Louisville, Ky., crowd: “That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair and someone pointed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”
The audience fell silent and the charismatic former Arkansas governor seemed to immediately realize he had made a mistake with the offensive jab at the Democratic front-runner.
He may have realized it was a mistake, but it took two days before he released even a weasely apology of the "I'm sorry if what I said offended anyone," variety-- the kind of semi-apologies politicians make (usually late) when they don't really mean it.
So we have a man whose base is largely the same group of voters who are likely to show up just to vote against Obama because he's black, who doesn't believe in evolution and supports teaching creationism as an alternative, and who's just told a tasteless and obscene joke about someone threatening the other party's likely nominee with a gun.
Another loose cannon running around is not what McCain needs. Clearly he and the GOP have the right to choose which ever Vice Presidential nominee they want but in my opinion it would be hard for McCain to make a worse choice than Huckabee.