Exclusive: McCain Should Pick Michael Steele for VP

by JONATHAN STRONG June 13, 2008

There is a great deal of speculation over who the two nominees for President should pick as their running mates. I couldn't care less who Obama picks because whomever his choice is can be guaranteed to be a liberal in favour of higher taxes, bigger government, more regulation, and a weaker America (whether they admit it or not). Sadly for conservatives, McCain, in many ways, is Democrat-lite on a host of issues. It is McCain's unpredictability and untrustworthiness as a conservative on domestic issues that worries so many Republicans at present. At the same time, McCain's hawkish stance on Iraq and the War on Terror prevent many in the GOP from abandoning him entirely. On the most important issue, McCain is right on.

McCain's history as a maverick is no secret. He has a long history of running against the conservative tide of the GOP. In the past, I've argued that it is not that McCain works with the Democrats that is the problem, it is that he sides with them. At present, the GOP lacks focus and is completely failing in their obligation to present a concise vision of the future. In 1994, Newt Gingrich presented such a vision and promised to deliver on a select number of objectives. Newt delivered, and a Republican dynasty in Congress ensued. Only when the GOP strayed from its smaller government, conservative, "Reagan" roots did it begin to lose ground to the Democrats. President Bush shares part of the blame for this as do Dennis Hastert, Tom Delay, Trent Lott, and other Republican leaders in Bush's first term.

For McCain to have a shot at winning, and the odds are against him due to history and Bush's legacy, he must present a clear and bold vision to rally conservatives, independents, and common sense Democrats, like Joe Lieberman, to his cause. He needs to provide answers to America's problems on energy, Islamic fascism, the economy, taxes, social security, and health care that do not rely solely on government intervention. These solutions may include government policies to foster change, reform, and economic growth, but they should not include new government bureaucracies, EVER.

McCain needs a reliable conservative at his side who is untainted by the Bush administration or the Congress, and it is for this reason that I believe Michael Steele is the best man for the job. That Mr. Steele happens to be black may be an added bonus since McCain faces Obama as his opponent, but it is Steele's character, record, and achievements that make him the best candidate available.

Steele has an impressive educational background that includes Georgetown University, Villanova, and Johns Hopkins. He is a self made man who came from ordinary, if not meagre, means. He excelled and achieved not because of government, but because of his own drive and determination. Steele also knows the economy from his work as a securities law attorney with a prominent firm Washington D.C., where he grew up and could be of tremendous benefit since McCain has admitted his weakness in the area.

Steele entered politics at the county level in the 1990s, but had become a Republican as a young man despite growing up in a Democrat household. In 2002, Steele became the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, quite an achievement for a black Republican in a liberal state and the first black person elected to state-wide office in Maryland.(source) He has shown himself to be a man of grace when he was subjected to horrible racial attacks by Democrats in his failed bid for the Senate.

Steele believes in the power of the individual rather in the state, in the taxpayer keeping their hard earned money, and the encouragement of entrepreneurialism rather than government job creation programs that lead to failure and dependence. Steele once said, "I grew up in an FDR-JFK-LBJ household and I was a Democrat for maybe 15 minutes. The first election that I could vote in was 1976. I was impressed by the peanut farmer from Georgia, but even more impressed by Ronald Reagan. He had the same values as my mother. It just clicked with me."(source)

Steele is opposed to abortion and in favour of capital punishment, but perhaps more importantly he knows how to take a punch and fire back. McCain seems wary of attacking Obama's policies despite their obvious socialistic tendencies and will barely reference Obama's dubious associates like Wright, Ayers, Pfleger, and Rezko however anti-American and corrupt they may be.

On a consistent basis, Steele emphasizes the limits of what government can do to better society. Instead, he focuses on individual achievement, government reform, and fresh thinking. It is very possible he could even pull McCain to the right considering his desire to abolish the federal gas tax. Few Americans would vote against that, and Obama & Co. would be hard pressed to oppose such a measure.

Kevin Combest of Human Events notes:

"In his stump speeches, he tends to focus less on Republican red-meat issues and instead focuses his attention on issues such as health care, Social Security and education, on which Democrats ordinarily believe they have the upper hand. He puts a conservative stamp on these concerns, advocating health savings accounts, private Social Security accounts for younger workers, and school vouchers.

His ability to attract traditionally Democratic voters has been built on personal interaction, as opposed to political pandering."

I have my hesitations over McCain, but it would go a long way to remove my doubts to have Steele on the ticket. McCain-Steele 2008!

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Jonathan Strong graduated from the Michigan State University College of Law. He is a member of the Florida bar and currently resides in a suburb of Toronto, Ontario. E-mail: strongconservative@gmail.com.

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