Press Box

Kristol-Balling the Veep Selection

Talking heads? There’s a reason they are not called “talking brains.” Clearly, most of the veep-prognostication occurred before even George W. Bush had made up his mind. So it was, quite literally, the most baseless of speculation. There’s nothing wrong with playing a guessing game. With the nomination battles (such as they were) over, the vice-presidential selections were the next best thing for horse-race-obsessed pundits. But there’s a difference between supposin’ and predicting. As shown below, anyone who dared cross that line–who foresaw Dick Cheney?–ended up looking the fool. As Al Gore’s pick-to-be becomes the next big thing for the political-media crowd, let’s see whether Bush has taught this crew a lesson.

“I think if I had to bet right now, I’d go back to … Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.”
–Al Hunt, July 8

“I think the decision has been made. I’m pretty confident that it will be Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating.”
–Sean Hannity, July 12

“The final five are said to be: OK Gov. Frank Keating, CA Rep Chris Cox, OH Rep. John Kasich, In Sen. Richard Lugar and NE Sen. Chuck Hagel.”
–Washington Whispers, US News & World Report, July 17 issue

“I know a lot of people think that because of the [abortion issue], Ridge is out of the running, but I think that in George W. Bush’s mind, he would like to name his friend.”
–Juan Williams, July 19

“The DRUDGE REPORT can reveal that Texas Governor George W. Bush has selected his VP choice. … The DRUDGE REPORT revealed last month that Keating had become ‘the de facto nominee.’ Bush told his running mate sleuth Dick Cheney that he would ‘feel most comfortable’ with Keating, according to three sources.”
–Matt Drudge, July 19

“I think it’s going to be a huge surprise. … It’s going to be dramatic.”
–Tucker Carlson, July 19.

“[Bush is] fairly predictable and safe. He’s made it very clear that he wants somebody he’s comfortable with. … That says ‘governor’ to me, because he knows governors. … If Bush is going to be predictable, he picks Keating.”
–Jay Carney, July 19

“He is going to pick John McCain. … Based on what people I have talked to say, I now believe he is going to take John McCain.”
–Bill Kristol, July 19

“[Cheney is] an impressive pick.”
–Bill Kristol, July 23