Dark Horse Veep Watch: Don Carcieri (Gov-RI)
By Leon H Wolf Posted in 2008 | Fun with baseless speculation | Republicans we should be talking more about | Veepstakes — Comments (48) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Some of my fellow RedState contributors and I were discussing via email today why it is that a certain segment of the population is determined to push Condi Rice for Veep, as though it would be a good idea for the entire executive branch to run like the State Department currently does. During the course of this conversation, which inevitably turned to potentially *good* choices for Vice President, an unexpected name came up: Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri.
I was initially very skeptical of this suggestion. I didn't know much about Carcieri's record, and so I just automatically assumed that a guy who got elected twice in statewide Rhode Island elections had to be pretty moderate, especially if he survived the slaughter of 2006. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was mostly wrong.
It turns out that, among other things, Don Carcieri is pro-life. The comments attributed to the Governor and his wife in that article were positively shocking to me for their strength. He has also taken strong stances in favor of traditional families. Carcieri is also a much stronger opponent of illegal immigration than is McCain, which might help to offset McCain's biggest weakness with the Republican base.
Carcieri has grown somewhat less popular within Rhode Island over the last two years, and one of the primary reasons appears to be that he has supply-sider instincts. The State of Rhode Island ran into a $200 million budget shortfall, and instead of addressing the problem by raising taxes or fees, Carcieri responded by revamping the entire government, including the layoffs of over 1,000 government employees. Watch this series of videos here where Carcieri discusses his decisions with a local reporter and you will see that Carcieri's budgetary instincts are sound and surprisingly conservative.
Also, it should be noted that Carcieri makes all the right sorts of enemies. I offer you exhibit A:
Carcieri also has a very interesting and diverse background, including experience in education, business and manufacturing. His expertise in financial matters would offset one of McCain's confessed weaknesses. Carcieri has also earned a reputation in Rhode Island as being a guy who is willing to take on one of the most notoriously corrupt state governments in the country - experience that could help allay the general public dissatisfaction with politics as usual in Washington.
Now, have I heard anything at all that indicates that Don Carcieri is actually being considered by McCain? No. But I think his resume clearly indicates that he should be. No, Carcieri probably isn't going to help the Republican ticket carry Rhode Island (which went to Kerry by 21 points), but the value of Vice Presidential picks in that regard has always been overstated. I think it's very possible that Carcieri could help McCain nationally as a guy the nation would feel comfortable having his hand on the wheel in the event that anything might happen to McCain. And for that reason, Carcieri should at the very least be on McCain's long list for Veep choices, if not his short one.