The Wall Street Journal had a piece a couple of days ago on Chris Cox, currently SEC Chairman and a former Congressman and Reagan staffer, suggesting that he is being considered by some as a VP option for McCain. The Journal’s suggestion is that his financial knowhow would counter-balance McCain’s self-confessed weakness in that area. But does McCain really need a VP with financial credibility enough to worry so little about everything else?

Now, no-one is suggesting that Chris Cox is a liberal in conservative clothing. His time working for Reagan is reassuring, and the fact that he earned law and business degrees from Harvard (though not, apparently, at the same time) reminds me of another VP candidate… It’s also an intriguing thought that we might have a ticket with two men with severe physical handicaps. But the Journal’s case for this man seems to rest entirely on his financial street cred and the strongest words it uses in support of him are “serious,” “sober minded,” “careful,” and finally “successful” (in reference to his stint at the SEC).

Presidents have Treasury Secretaries to deal with the detailed economic stuff (although you hope they’re committed to some basic principles like low taxation, tight spending and sound monetary policy). Does McCain really need to give away so much of what the VP choice could provide just to solve the financial issue? Does anyone believe that either Obama or Clinton has the financial chops to make this a serious problem for McCain? It seems misguided to believe any of that, and McCain would do much better to select a VP who would provide a more clearly conservative counter-balance to his own more centrist positions on some of the issues.

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One Response to “Journal wants a financial whiz as VP”

  1. NorCalDude Says:

    If one thinks that if Chris Cox is selected as John McCain’s running mate that it will suddenly make a traditionally blue state like California competitive, then they have clearly missed out on a two word drama that polarized Orange County and the rest of Southern California for 10 plus years – El Toro! As a congressman, Chris Cox singlehandedly did more to negate aviation reuse at El Toro than any other human being on the planet!

    Of course Cox will have the gratitude of a mere 13 of 34 (South) Orange County cities that voted to scuttle El Toro Airport in 2002, even though their “Great Park” today is nothing more than a grounded balloon and lots of pretty brochures. But outside 949 area code, Cox will find far less support and even a lot of resentment. For example, residents near outlying airports such as LAX, John Wayne, Burbank , and Long Beach are not exactly enamored to be burdened with expansion in order to offset the loss of El Toro.

    Even within his hometown of Newport Beach, Cox cannot be incredibly popular for abandoning his very powerful congressional post (at number 5 in the nation no less) within a mere 20 days after Lennar assumed title to El Toro in 2005. Especially, when the long term future of John Wayne is unresolved.

    Then there are thousands of pilots around California and elsewhere who cannot possibly take great joy in seeing El Toro set the record for being the largest military airfield ever to completely go to waste. We are talking 39,000 feet worth of runways! No other defunct facility in the nation is even close!

    Even when it comes to non-aviation uses of El Toro Chris Cox has not exactly scored many brownie points. In 2003 some veterans approached him to use his immense congressional power to set aside the commissary and some sorely needed military housing for reuse.

    Instead Cox who has never served, sided with developers who had far more lucrative ideas for the base. As a result, Camp Pendleton Marines continue to languish on a long waiting list for housing, and veterans must make further drives at $4 a gallon for shopping privileges that they earned.

    Just imagine if word got out about Cox and El Toro to a military community like Pensacola, which just so happens to be located in the critical swing state of Florida. As one can see, Cox’s presence on the ballot will not only make McCain’s long odds in California even longer, it would also put some other states (with large military populations) into play for his Democrat opponent. Cox is an anchor that a former Navy officer like McCain should not set sail with, lest he sink his candidacy for President. Therefore, it would behoove John McCain to find another running mate without so much baggage.