The Odd Couple

After Mitt Romney endorsed McCain last month, we figured Romney would crawl into a cave, never to return until 2012. The strained smiles, the too-tight handshakes—it felt like a testy family reunion. But since then, Romney has said repeatedly that he would take the VP slot if offered. However, McCain didn’t exactly reach out.

Until today. Right now MittCain (too soon?) is taking a whirlwind fundraising tour around Rocky Mountain country, starting in Utah and finishing up in Denver this evening. The main reason is to drum up cash—McCain raised $11 million in February, compared to Obama’s $55 million. But it’s also a chance for the former rivals to show everyone that now they’re besties. (They look so exuberant it’s frightening .)

Naturally, speculators wonder if this means Romney tops McCain’s veep list . After all, presidential candidates have overcome former bitterness to forge alliances of convenience before. George H.W. Bush, for example, accepted Ronald Reagan’s VP offer after ridiculing Reagan’s “voodoo economics” during the primary season.

But McCain’s situation is different. For him, picking Romney would fly in the face of his entire “straight talk” image. (However spurious .) McCain spent much of the primary slamming Romney not for minor policy differences, but for fundamental dishonesty. Given that McCain already arouses suspicion among many conservatives, the last thing he needs is someone whose reversals on abortion, gay rights, and stem-cell research make McCain’s own reversal on Bush’s tax cuts look consistent. No doubt McCain needs the cash, but as Romney himself discovered, money can’t buy votes. Especially when there’s video evidence your running mate can’t stand you.