The Hill has an interesting article on the Club for Growth's involvement or lack thereof in the Presidential campaign. The Club for Growth could get involved for McCain or they could sit out. The big difference:
Toomey also stressed that McCain’s vice presidential pick will help influence the Club’s decision.
“I think it’s very important,” he said. “It’ll be an important signal, indicating whether he wants to help consolidate the Republican coalition and energize the base of the party or not.”
The Club feels very strongly about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), whose name comes up often among those speculating on McCain’s short list. Toomey also suggested in a February Wall Street Journal column that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) and businessman Steve Forbes would make strong vice presidential candidates — a slate of names less frequently mentioned, if at all.
The Club for Growth seems to be taking the stance that if America's electing a 71 year-old cancer survivor, then the real future of the country lies with the Veep. While the other names mentioned are quite farfetched (Steve Forbes and Phil Gramm? What is this? 1996.) Sanford has currency and I think he's the desire of Club insiders.
Andy Roth on the Club blog went after Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for banning text messaging and watching videos while driving and then pointed to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal refusing to fight a legislative pay increase. They actually released a full fledged hit on Jindal's conservative credentials from Nachema Soloveichik. It's clear, they want a governor and they'd like Sanford.
I've met Mark Sanford and he is a fabulous guy, let there be no question about this. He would be a great President. I think he has absolutely nothing to do with these games the CFG is playing, but it's clear that they want him to be Veep and don't mind knocking people off the road to get that result.
This brings a very interesting choice to John McCain. If he places Sanford on the ticket, his campaign coffers are sure to swell from CFG members who would love to see Mark Sanford a heartbeat from the Presidency. Not only that but CFG.net as a 527 could be counted out to pound Obama with millions inunds from the last loophole for free speech, McCain left in McCain-Feingold.
Money is key for McCain. The FEC has a map that lays the numbers bear. McCain trials Obama badly in fundraising by 2.93:1 margin. Put another way. If you added the total funds raised by Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Fred Thompson to McCain's total, he'd still trail Obama in fundraising by $30 million. Given that money is the mother's milk of politics, McCain's in trouble on that front, and a Sanford pick would close the gap.
The problem with Sanford is that he's unknown by all but a few political geeks like me. I realized this when I mentioned him on the Michael Reagan show, Reagan thought the guy was still in Congress. Given that few people know of him, it'd be very hard to fix the widespread problems McCain has with conservatives.
Then, you have Mike Huckabee who could shore up McCain's sagging base among Evangelicals and in America's heartland. While, he wouldn't bring gobs of money along, he would bring volunteers who would work the campaign hard, and really believe in it. Most of Huck's Army would do everything they could for McCain/Huckabee.
However, the Club for Growth would spend money to elect Mike Huckabee Vice-President about the time I'd cheer for the San Francisco Giants, and so McCain would be cash-strapped.
So for love or for money?
Or what about somewhere in between? Mitt Romney would bring a little bit of money. (Not as much as the Club would for Sanford) and a little bit of love. But how much of this will add up to foot soldiers is questionable and Romney has a lot of detractors.
Of course the most likely result is that McCain goes with neither Sanford nor Huckabee, nor Romney either. Which will leave him with neither a huge amount of love or money from the Veep choice.
And neither Social Conservatives or Economic Conservatives will get what they want. There's a lesson in there for us if we'll learn it.