Friday, March 28, 2008

Why Not Dan Quayle?

Not literally, of course, but those familiar with my writings will get the jist.

Pundits, bloggers and forum denizens have been speculating since John McCain won the Republican nomination over whom should be the Vice Presidential pick of the victor. There has been almost unanimity amongst these groups not as to a particular person, but rather to the group from which this person should be selected.

Most people seem to favor those who are fresh in the recollections of the voters; the people who were contestants and losers most recently. Why should this be? To be fair, even though we political-thinking types are up-to-the-minute junkies of the news, by the very nature of our thirst do we forget so quickly former stars of the office of "X". To sum up, once they're out of the public eye or office, they seem to fade from memory.

Dan Quayle was a relatively unknown Senator from Indiana who never saw the tap coming from George H.W. Bush. Suddenly thrust into the national limelight, Quayle was overcome by the enormity of it all. He has since been the butt of jokes and collectively remembered as an intellectual light-weight. But that was in the olde days, the days before the instant information age. We have learned since that Dan Quayle is quite the brilliant mind.

So who does McCain pick? Romney, Thompson, Huckabee? Why do these names readily come to mind?

Familiarity, that's why. With all of the information available to us today, we still insist on clinging to the familiar. There is a whole world out there that we never bother to explore. Let me be your guide on the new tour.

The Obama campaign has brought to the forefront of the American consciousness the prospect of the first Black President. Are we ready? I would venture to say that the resounding reply would be yes. Are we ready for this particular Black President? From my own perspective I would have to say the resonance of negativity dwarves the enthusiasm of the Obama supporters. I could be wrong from a purely Zogby-esque viewpoint, and that remains to be seen, but here's where it gets interesting.

There is a very good man that McCain could select as a VP nominee. His name is J.C. Watts, and he is probably the best thing that could happen to American politics, assuming that his ascension to national office would assuage the angst of anyone who views racism as a continuing bane of our country. Some people will never be happy.

Watts is a youngster by politcal standards at 51 years old. He's good looking, charismatic and pragmatic. He is an American first and a Black man second. He is the embodiment of what we should all strive to become, and he has a ministerial background. One of the most endearing things about Watts is his plain-spoken demeanor. At the Republican National Convention in 1996, Watts had this to say:

"You see, character does count. For too long we have gotten by in a society that
says the only thing right is to get by and the only thing wrong is to get
caught. Character is doing what's right when nobody is looking."

Anyone who has seen Watts on television has seen a man uncomfortable in the spotlight but a man who nonetheless is capable of speaking his mind. I have never seen him utter a single word bourne of expediency, nor have I seen him rendered speechless, a foible for which Quayle attained notoriety.

No, I believe that J.C. Watts would be ready if a McCain tap-on-the-shoulder should ever come. And I sincerely believe that he would be a blessing if something should ever befall McCain.


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