John McCain should announce — either during the final debate or very shortly thereafter — what he should bill as the three most important appointments that he will make promptly upon being sworn in as president.
Promise to name Governor Mitt Romney secretary of the Treasury. Hail Romney as the man who took on a scandal-ridden Olympic Games mess and turned it completely around. Tell the country that your instruction to Mitt is to do the same with our financial markets. Remind America that Romney took Bain Capital from $37 million to more than $4 billion. Tout him as an accomplished governor of a large state. Say this is one very smart, very talented man who knows how to find real solutions that fix real problems. Say you will give him free rein to build a team of professionals who will not just solve our current financial problems but also develop plans for preventing future ones, including the looming crises in Social Security and Medicare.
Promise to name Mayor Rudy Giuliani attorney general. Remind the country about how as an U.S. attorney, Rudy vigorously prosecuted and sent to jail plenty of mobsters and Wall Street financiers. Tell the country that your instruction to the man who turned New York City around, the hero of 9/11, is to aggressively prosecute and send to jail anyone guilty of any crime that contributed to the collapse of the credit markets that has caused such harm to our country — and make it crystal clear that you fully expect that Rudy will be summoning a fair number of members of Congress and placing them under oath. Perhaps even sending some of them to jail.
Promise to appoint Senator Joe Lieberman secretary of State. Say that while you disagree with your good friend on many domestic issues, he is a great patriot who shares your foreign policy and defense views. Call him what he calls himself — an independent Democrat. Forget to utter the phrase “reaching across the aisle.”
Such a strategy could rescue the faltering McCain campaign. How?
First, it is a bold, rejuvenating step — à la the “Sarah Barracuda” selection. This is something the mainstream media could neither ignore nor effectively diminish. Before Obama gets to do his “presidential” act on October 29th, McCain will have beaten him to the punch. He will be the one acting like he is already president; Obama will look like a copycat. Out goes the wind from that Obama sail.
Second, it also ruins Obama’s October 29th prime time speech idea because it forces his opponent to either say or refuse to say whom he would pick for these key positions. McCain could badger him and keep badgering him about it, demanding that Obama “be specific” about his key cabinet choices during his prime time address. If he doesn’t, it helps McCain. If he does, so what? No way can Obama field a better Treasury/Justice/State team than Mitt/Rudy/Joe.
Third, by taking such a stunning step, McCain can offset some of the huge paid media advantage Obama enjoys by countering it with free media coverage.
Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Joe Lieberman are figures who command attention. It would be difficult for the media to ignore any one of them let alone all of them. McCain would be wise to simply send them out and let each of them do it his own way, free of any handling by the McCain team who have fumbled the ball so often.
The simple truth is that each of these stars does a far better job of presenting McCain’s views than McCain himself. They could save him. And if they do, America will have three outstanding leaders in three very critical areas in the years ahead. The rest will fall in place.
This idea works for me.
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