March 28th, 2008 by Rightsideup

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.