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Required Reading

3:31 PM, Jul 18, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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3) From, "Why Would Romney Want to be McCain's VP?" by the Allahpundit.

Allah piggybacks on an essay by Patrick Ruffini that suggests Romney would be crazy to accept the running mate slot since it (not to mention the vice presidency itself) is the traditional burial ground of presidential ambitions. Quoth Ruffini:

Mitt Romney is already in line to be the nominee in 4 years if McCain loses under the GOP Law of Primogeniture. Why would he want to muck it up with a VP run? If McCain loses, it is all downside for Mitt. People would forget all the positive aspects of his Presidential run and remember his role on a losing ticket. (See Edwards, John.)

And even if McCain wins, Romney would face a tough road getting elected in his own right. Republicans are already facing voter exhaustion after 8 years in power. Could they win a third or fourth consecutive election even if they manage to pull it out in ‘08? The possibility grows progressively unlikelier.

I've steadily avoided vice-president talks, especially those involving Romney. When it comes to discussing Mitt Romney, I don't exactly have Nixon-to-China credentials. For what it's worth, in private conversations over the past several months I've expressed deep ambivalence about Romney joining the ticket because I wasn't sure he would help the ticket. (My wife would usually end those private conversations by saying, "I didn't ask you about Mitt Romney. I asked you to pass the peas.")

But $4 gas, a crushing credit crunch and a general (and accurate) sense of economic crisis change everything. It's been obvious during the past few weeks that neither candidate can address the economy with any authority. That's understandable enough - during their long careers, each candidate barely paused long enough in the private sector to enjoy a triple grande latte.

It will be the smart candidate who tabs as his running mate an expert who knows something about how an economy works and can communicate effectively with the public on such matters. Romney had his faults as a candidate in the primaries, but he was very strong when he discussed the economy. Additionally, it's not like either party has a strong roster of economic experts waiting to join the ticket. I can't think of a single Democrat who would fit such a bill, and on the Republican side the Phil Gramms, Jack Kemps and Warren Rudmans are mercifully non-starters.

As to what joining the ticket would do to Romney's long term ambitions, who cares? We've got four consequential years to get through. As Allah points out, if Romney were asked to serve, he would be unlikely say no so he could begin munching rubber chicken preparing for 2012 when duty calls.

4) From the Wall Street Journal, "The Blame Game" by Kimberley A. Strassel

Last week I mentioned a letter the airlines sent out to their customers blaming their woes on oil speculators. Today, Strassel responds with a letter of her own:

Dear CEOs of U.S. airlines:

I want to say thanks for the July 10 email you sent to all your customers seeking to explain why today's air travel experience is so painful. The letter, signed by 12 of you, explained that "oil speculators" -- presumably by betting on future oil prices -- are killing your industry and thus requested that I, as a consumer, pressure Congress to rein in this "unchecked" market "manipulation."

I admit that just lately I'd begun to feel that flying was something akin to having my intestines fished out with a long hook. Actually, I'd been wondering whom to blame for the fact that it would probably be cheaper, easier and maybe even faster to drive to wherever I want to go than to board one of your planes. Suddenly, all is clear.

I now understand that it is oil speculators who set your hiring policies and who must have outlined the three types of people you may employ: those who grunt at me, those who sigh deeply as if my presence has ruined their day and those who are actively hostile to my smallest request.

When the airlines come looking for their next federal bailout, one wonders whether they'll be shocked at the public's indifference to their woes.

5) From, Andrea Mitchell chatting with David Petraeus