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I Don't Like to Say "I Told You So!" But, I Told You So!

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(Dear Blog Readers: I don't make it a habit of reprinting my columns, but this one I wrote on August 3, exactly one month before Sarah Palin gave her acceptance speech. I've been on the campaign for nine months and think my insight was right on the money! And just maybe, John McCain reads my blog!)

Reprinted from August 3, 2008

(Santa Clara, California)

Today I find myself at the National American Miss Pageant in Santa Clara, California. My daughter is one of the contestants for Miss Teen California, having finished second runner-up in last year's junior teen competition. Lest you think this is a "beauty pageant," think again. The young women in this pageant are skilled in academics and community service. They learn poise, confidence, public speaking and charity, among other qualities. In short, these young ladies are the leaders of tomorrow. They are an impressive bunch.

As I am watching this all play out, a question begs from the world of politics. Apparently no women in either party are under serious consideration any longer for Vice-president. Why? Sen. Hillary Clinton, it would appear, is no longer being considered by Barack Obama. And John McCain appears to be taking a pass on Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. I think this is a critical mistake.

For now, we hear the Democratic finalists are Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA); Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE). On the Republican side, the rumor mill has former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA); Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA); and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN).

Here are some thumbnail sketches with pros and cons: Tim Kaine, Pros: Virginia may be a "toss-up," state; and if the Dems win, they could take the White House. Cons: Kaine is in his mid 40's, in his first term, and has zero foreign policy experience. Do those weaknesses sound just like Obama's? Evan Bayh, Pros: Long-time Washington insider whose dad was a Senator; some foreign experience and some executive experience, as he was a governor. Cons: He may not be able to carry the solidly conservative state of Indiana. Joe Biden, Pros: 36 years in U.S. Senate, with deep foreign policy expertise. He could give Obama "Dick Cheney" type depth on the bench. Cons: Young voters who came out in droves for Obama have no idea who Biden is (or Sam Nunn, or Bob Kerrey, etc).

Now to the Republican side: Mitt Romney, Pros: Solid conservatives love him. He has executive experience in government, business and the nonprofit sector. Cons: Can he carry Massachusetts? It's iffy at best. You MUST win your home state. Just ask Vice-president John Edwards and President Al Gore.
Eric Cantor, Pros: At 45, he's a young, conservative, energetic fundraiser, who could keep Virginia in the GOP win column. Cons: With four terms in the House, he's only slightly more qualified than Obama.
Tim Pawlenty, Pros: Believe it or not, the liberal-leaning Minnesota may be "in play" this year. If the GOP takes the Gopher State, that could mean the keys to the White House. Cons: Yes, Minnesota borders Canada, but that's hardly serious foreign policy experience.

The conclusion I draw from all this is simple. None of these men is head and shoulders above many of the prominent women who have been mentioned on both sides. Female voters cast more ballots than men. Many women are still angry that Hillary Clinton's thunder was stolen by Obama. There could be a backlash if Obama picks a man. So my advice to John McCain would be: Let Obama pick his VP first; and if it's another man, your short list should be: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX); Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK); or Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

The bottom line: The candidates need to send a message to young women, like those in this pageant today, that emerging young women will be taken seriously as candidates for leadership at all levels of society, including the White House or a heart beat away. Both parties need to end this cynical ploy by which they claim women are being considered for VP, yet no woman even makes it to the semifinals.

(Obviously, the Palin selection changes the landscape! Keep checking in at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com)

By the way, I am on KGO-810 AM radio Sunday September 7, from 9 to 10 am PDT with my old friend Brian Copeland. Out of towners can listen on the internet at www.kgoradio.com.

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