As we near the end of the election cycle, one thought is universal: Whoever wins Ohio wins the election.
Mitt Romney would have a better chance of winning if he had chosen Sen. Rob Portman from Ohio as his running mate.
I’ve been reading “The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson” by Robert Caro. Like Caro’s other three books about Johnson, they are the definitive history of the person and the era.
Caro describes in great detail Kennedy’s decision to pick Lyndon Johnson as his running mate in 1960.
Kennedy and Johnson were as different as night and day and really didn’t care for each other personally. For Kennedy, it came down to one decision: He needed to carry Texas to be president and couldn’t do it without Johnson.
Kennedy won in a squeaker. Without Johnson, Kennedy would have gone down in history as the second Catholic to have tried for the presidency and failed. With Johnson, Kennedy is remembered as the Thirty-Fifth President of the United States.
Elections aren’t about promoting an ideology or making a statement. They are about winning. The winners get to set policy and wield power. The losers get to whine about it on cable television.
Thus, I thought that Mitt Romney had an easy decision to make: All paths to the White House for Romney go through Ohio. Obama can win the presidency and lose Ohio. Romney can’t. Ohio is a “must win” for him. Portman would have “sealed the deal.”
Instead, Romney picked Paul Ryan. Outside of a 15-second “debate” about Ryan’s innovative (if you are for them) or controversial (if you are against them) ideas about Medicare and Social Security, Ryan has been a non-factor in the presidential election.
Furthermore, Ryan is useless in the quest to pick up electoral votes. According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog, President Obama has a very high probability of winning Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.
When I was in graduate school at Vanderbilt, Dr. Michael Nelson, one of the world’s leading authorities on the vice presidency, was my master’s thesis advisor. Nelson, who is now a professor at Rhodes College, has written a series of books, entitled “The Presidency” and “The Political System,” about how the presidency works.
Picking the right Vice Presidential candidate is a big part of it.
I’ve never met Sen. Portman, but followed his career as a Cincinnati congressman to the Senate and know he has the “right stuff” to be president. He has wide and vast experience in government and doesn’t bring a lot of negative baggage to the table.
On the topic of “right stuff,” I keep thinking about John Glenn. Tom Wolfe wrote a classic book called “The Right Stuff” about Glenn and the brave pilots and astronauts who founded the American space program.
Glenn, the ultimate American hero, was a United States senator from Ohio from 1974 to 1999. In 1988, Democratic party nominee Michael Dukakis was looking for a running mate and needed to win Ohio.
The betting favorite was Glenn, and Dukakis did disgusting things like tease Ohio audiences with the possibility that Glenn was the pick.
Instead, Dukakis chose Lloyd Bentsen from Texas. Bentsen is credited as a wonderful choice because he delivered the most famous line in vice presidential debate history when he told Dan Quayle, “You’re no Jack Kennedy.”
On the other hand, Bentsen did not help Dukakis carry Texas. Or Ohio. Or almost anywhere else. Bush received more than 400 electoral votes and blew Dukakis out of the water.
He might have done better if Glenn was on the ticket. At least he would have had a chance of carrying Ohio.
This race is not going to be a blowout. Obama is leading in the polls, but it could still go either way. Ohio could still be the game changer.
This is one where the former Massachusetts Gov. Romney would have been better off following the lead of the Massachusetts presidential nominee who won (Kennedy) and not the one who lost (Dukakis).
Like Kennedy, Romney is a good looking, rich guy from a large, influential and politically active family. They both had to deal with questions about their religious backgrounds and how it would shape their presidencies.
They differ in party and ideology but on picking a vice president, this is one time where Republicans might say, “Governor Romney, we wish you were more like Jack Kennedy.”
DON MCNAY is a columnist for the Richmond (Ky.) Register. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we near the end of the election cycle, one thought is universal: Whoever wins Ohio wins the election.
Let kids start school on a normal schedule
Q: Our son’s fifth birthday is in August. He did just fine, socially and academically, in preschool, but the counselor at the school he’s slated to attend has recommended that we hold him back a year because of his late birthday. She says that kids with late birthdays, especially boys, do better if they’re given an extra year of maturation before starting school. What do you think?
A: The practice of postponing Kindergarten for so-called “late birthday” children — generally defined as children having birthdays after May — got its start about 20 years ago and has generated the usual unintended consequences. Prime among those is the fact that by delaying the start of school for children having birthdays after May, schools only create a new crop of children with late birthdays — those occurring after January.
It’s true that during early elementary school, boys are less mature in several respects than girls. In general, their attention spans tend to be shorter. Therefore, they’re more impulsive and more easily distracted. It’s also true, however, that some children, boys as well as girls, experience developmental “spurts” during Kindergarten. The slightly immature, impulsive 5-year-old may be at the norm one year later.
No one realizes how tough Okies really are — until this happens
Like many of you, I’m ending this tragic week emotionally drained. I was either glued to the weather report throughout the first part of the week or — when Su-the-dog and I weren’t settled down inside the storm shelter waiting for the all-clear to sound — I hovered with her about the shelter door leading down to it. Now as the week ends, I just might have changed my mind about a couple of things.
Many of us have been on our knees throughout this week praying that God will strengthen and comfort the state’s numerous tornado victims and their loved ones. Some have already contributed to organizations such as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army to aid this week’s victims of various tornadoes, and those who are able have either donated blood or else they will when the Bloodmobile makes its rounds.
Seeing yourself as the world sees you
Ever try seeing yourself as others see you, or your piece of the world as others see your piece of the world?
You know, if you could get others to see you, or if you could get other parts of the world to see your part of it?
Narcissism and inferiority, both, can trap us in front of a mirror, admiring or lamenting, pleased or not pleased by the vision we presumably offer others.
Yet, what’s happened over the last three days, since yet another deadly tornado rolled through Moore, offers an entirely different perspective.
Through strength or weakness, we may take an interest in how we project. But when the “Today Show” is broadcast from the rubble and the network evening news has placed its anchor amidst the carnage; and when the news channels descend upon the destruction and every newspaper in the country is playing your and your neighbors’ plight bigger than its own hometown news, it turns surreal.
ROCK DOC: Japanese find a new source of natural gas
The name “natural gas” might be a puzzle. After all, how could there be such a thing as unnatural gas? The reason we call natural gas what we do has to do with history. There was a day that people made burnable gas by heating coal. The gases that came off the coal were piped around cities where they did things like light street lamps and even power cook stoves in homes.
Coal gas had its down side. For one thing, it often contained carbon monoxide. And it took energy to make the gas, so it never could be truly cheap.
Witnesses missing; Behenna case could be heard at Supreme Court
The film “Breaker Morant” was nominated for an Oscar for the best screenplay in 1980. It told the story of Harry “Breaker” Morant, an Australian who served in the British Army and was court-martialed for alleged war crimes during the Boer War in Southern Africa in the early years of the last century.
That conflict pitted the British Army against the descendants of the Dutch settlers who had migrated to what is now South Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries. The majority of them were farmers and in their language of Afrikaans were known as “Boers.”
Don’t leave Oklahoma!
May is graduation season. As I have done every year as lieutenant governor, I have given multiple commencement speeches. Advice flows freely during this time and it usually runs the gamut. What to do, what not to do, how to do ‘x’, be sure not to do ‘y.’ Too often commencement speakers speak in big generalities. So general, the message is frequently lost or forgotten.
Last-minute funding proposals not in state’s best interest
All indications point to this being the last week of this year’s legislative session. The Legislature will go home a week early. This is good news for Oklahomans as not only will there be cost savings but all Oklahomans should breathe a sigh of relief when the Legislature stops making new laws a week ahead of schedule.
As usual, the Legislature will take a number of important votes during the last week. Some will be forced due to attempts to introduce and pass far-reaching, new policies that should have been introduced much earlier in the year.
BY THE NUMBERS: Oklahoma still needs to invest in its economy
After six months of stagnation, the Oklahoma economy finally appears to be expanding again albeit still weakly. Unfortunately, our leaders aren’t making the investments we need to give our economic prospects a boost.
Last week the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services reported that in April state General Revenue fund collections were 5.2 percent above the estimate and 14.7 percent higher than last year’s collections. Under normal circumstances, such a report would indicate that the Oklahoma economy was very strong. But this isn’t a normal circumstance, and April isn’t a normal month.
Americans deserve the truth on Benghazi
Lately, the media has been consumed by the controversies surrounding the White House. Among these controversies is the horrific terrorist attack on the United States’ diplomatic compound in Benghazi that took place Sept. 11, 2012. As more people come forward with additional information regarding the attack on the consulate, many Americans, including myself, are still asking for the truth.
The Obama Administration and the State Department have been less than forthcoming with key information on Benghazi and recent information points toward a major cover-up.
Seizure of AP phone records insult to independent press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
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