Posted by Brad @ 10:57 am on April 16th 2008

No Sanford for Veep?

My personal favorite in the Veepstakes, David Freddoso is reporting that he may not be in serious consideration, due to his decision to not endorse this year, and McCain and his people not taking kindly to that. The American Spectator doesn’t like that one bit.

Be a shame if true. Understandable that McCain would put high value on endorsement—he’s a loyalty guy, and how people treated him during his nuclear winter this summer is probably a very enticing way to “find out who your friends are”, but Sanford would have been a great choice just the same. Hope Freddoso is just picking up on some disgruntlement from staffers rather than the man himself.

Update: The other great reporter of this sort of stuff, Marc Ambinder, has a different impression.

David Freddoso has sources who tell him that Sen. John McCain remains angry with S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford for not endorsing him ahead of the South Carolina primary. Thus Sanford, a tax-cutting, environmentally-conscious, spending-paring governor is no longer on McCain’s short list. I’ve heard something a bit different. McCain was a bit angry but after a series of conversations with Sanford, has come to respect Sanford’s point of view on the matter. Sanford, for a variety of reasons, promised, in public, to stay neutral. He kept his promise despite intense lobbying from McCain allies in the state. He told McCain that he did not want to reneg on his promise, and McCain, being a man who respects someone who hold fast to principles, told Sanford that he accepted the explanantion.I don’t know whether Sanford is on McCain’s short list or not, but I do know that Sanford and McCain are not on the outs, and that they do communicate, and that McCain’s hard feelings have softened.

So, the two reporters I explicitly trust with this stuff have different—though not mutually exclusive—impressions, probably from talking to different people within the campaign who also have different impressions.


  1. I don’t imagine Am Spec’s opinion matters much to McCain. Nor should it.

    Nor is this much of a story. Loyalty is always one of the uppermost criteria considered for the VP slot, though it is not always a decisive one. I think it would be very hard to explain a Sanford pick to Tim Pawlenty or Sam Brownback.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/16/2008 @ 11:07 am

  2. I suppose it depends on if you read the governor of one of the first states in the process opting out of endorsing entirely to “leave it to the voters of my state” as an exercise in disloyalty.

    Loyalty is a lot easier when you have nothing to lose and your entire up-ticket ambitions depend on it, ala Sam and Tim.

    Comment by Brad — 4/16/2008 @ 11:10 am

  3. Do you think that’s why they supported him, Brad? I don’t.

    Whatever Sanford actually believed about the Presidential nomination, he chose to keep his options open. I don’t know how one would make the case that ANYONE is somehow entitled to consideration for the Vice Presidency, particularly not under circumstances like Sanford’s.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/16/2008 @ 11:23 am

  4. No, it’s just a shame, I think, that that would be considered a disqualifier for otherwise strong candidates for the position. One wouldn’t expect that of, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger, for instance.

    Mostly I’m just sour that my guy, it looks like, won’t be in. Hopefully Sanford continues to keep his options open and throws his hat in the ring for 2012. He’s a guy Ron Paul supporters could get behind.

    Comment by Brad — 4/16/2008 @ 11:35 am

  5. Schwarzenegger is surely ineligible for the office? Or is it that he’s eligible, but could not succeed to the Presidency?

    It probably wouldn’t be wise for the Republican party to put Nancy Pelosi second in line to the Presidency behind a 72-year-old man.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/16/2008 @ 12:06 pm

  6. I meant him as an example of a national political figure not endorsing, not out of disloyalty or opportunism. Presumably it wasn’t because he couldn’t ascend to the President (though I suppose maybe so).

    Comment by Brad — 4/16/2008 @ 12:20 pm

  7. I believe that the current state of the interpretation of presidential qualification is that the VP must have the same qualifications as the President. Beyond the “natural born” thing, they’d have to meet the age requirements, too.

    I’m disappointed that Sanford seems to be out of the running, too–for several reasons. For one, as Brad alludes to, he’s one that might have been able to firm up support amongst us long-time Republicans who have become disenchanted by the party except for the recent Ron Paul campaign. Second, the idea that McCain wouldn’t choose him because he failed to endorse in a highly contested primary seems pretty petty–given that VP’s are often chosen from among the vanquished, who obviously didn’t endorse previously (of course Brownback is in a bit different situation here, having bailed out really early). Third, though, the geography is important for McCain. A Republican who can’t win the South is going to have an awfully hard time winning the presidency, and while most people don’t vote FOR the VP, that geography could be important.

    Comment by Laura — 4/16/2008 @ 2:25 pm

  8. I almost mentioned you by name, Laura, as I know you’re a fan too.

    Your post is pretty much what I was trying to get across. I don’t begrudge McCain, of course, giving special consideration to those that went out of the way to give him support when nobody else would. But it does strike me as a bit depressing that he’s taking it a step further, and actively punishing (or at least discounting) those that did not.

    That is not, by the way, the same thing at all. Though McCain, from what we know of him, might disagree.

    Plus, Sanford would have been a very thoughtful choice on ideological grounds, indicative more of trying to give real conservative leadership rather than just nickel-and-diming his pick for the same of the 2008 horserace (though one can hardly blame him on that front). There are a lot of reasons to pick a VP—one that we don’t often consider (because it’s not often done, though there’s no reason it can’t be) is a choice that is ideologically progressive for the sake of leading the party a certain way. McCain, being who he is and given where the party is, has a lot of opportunities in that regard. Sanford would have been a very interesting step in that direction. Though, again, I’m obviously biased (as I would like the Republican party to agree with me more, natch).

    Comment by Brad — 4/16/2008 @ 2:34 pm

  9. Is there any confirmation as to whether or not it is true (other than people reacting to Freddos’s account).

    I wonder if the manner of Sanford’s refusal to endorse was a part of it. Answering that would require more information than I have, though (but we can imagine plenty of things that might have soured the two of them on each other).

    Comment by Adam — 4/16/2008 @ 3:00 pm

  10. McCain ruled out Tom Ridge yesterday, incidentally, but what he was really saying was that a “pro-choice” running-mate just wasn’t likely to happen (so, not Giuliani either).

    Comment by Adam — 4/16/2008 @ 3:01 pm

  11. Is there any confirmation as to whether or not it is true (other than people reacting to Freddosís account).

    I wonder if the manner of Sanfordís refusal to endorse was a part of it. Answering that would require more information than I have, though (but we can imagine plenty of things that might have soured the two of them on each other).

    No. Freddeso has very good insider sources, but it’s a story much like the stuff that Ambinder goes on, i.e. he’s embedded with the campaign and he passes on his sense of things, i.e what he’s gathered from talking to the insiders.

    Very tough to judge whether these things are true or not; usually you just go on who has good sources and who has historically passed on good information. Of stories of this kind, Ambinder nad Freddeso are about the best, and as the American Spectator noted, it’s popped up in other places. Could just be a single prominent insider who doesn’t personally like the Sanford choice and mouthes off to reporters about it, or it could be the genuine conventional wisdom of the insiders in the know that Freddeso and Ambinder, in the course of their reporting, have correctly picked up on.

    My guess would be the latter, or at least closer to the latter. Freddeso would be more likely to say “one McCain insider” if he was just talking about a single source, rather than passing it off as his general sense of where the campaign at large’s head is at.

    Comment by Brad — 4/16/2008 @ 3:08 pm

  12. I like Freddoso, too. I just wondered if there was confirmation (and more detail, I guess).

    Comment by Adam — 4/16/2008 @ 5:02 pm

  13. No; it’s purely a campaign embed impression from a good reporter. Though, as The Spectator notes, it’s come up in a few other places too.

    I’d also add it doesn’t sound like something the McCain camp is actively DISPERSING to embedded reporters (which campaigns do sometimes with stuff they don’t want to “on the record” speak about, but want out there just the same). It sounds more like the smart reporters are picking up on a (to them) fairly clear consensus from the insiders.

    Comment by Brad — 4/16/2008 @ 5:16 pm

  14. For the record though, the OTHER great “insider” type reporter going right now, Ambinder, is reporting something different. I’ll update my post to reflect that.

    Comment by Brad — 4/16/2008 @ 5:19 pm

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