Selecting the right "balancing candidate" for a ticket under the modern Electoral College system for the first few elections, President and Vice-President were separate ballots, resulting more than once in cross-party issues can be a real pain in the ass. There are so many things to "balance" in the eyes of political operatives, such as "age" and "foreign policy experience." The current administration managed to achieve a nice balance between sheer ignorance/stupidity and hostility to knowledge/intelligence in its ticket.
Of course, having a gun-toting hunter from a sparsely populated state as candidate for Vice President will certainly help the Republican image. Maybe being governor of any state provides an perceived edge in "executive experience" over being a mere US Senator. Based on the administrative/executive gaffes regardless of ideology committed by each and every one of the post-Korean War governors who made it to the White House, that's highly unlikely. Carter's problems with getting anything done and handling the military; Reagan's problems with dubious subordinates, PATCO, and handling the military; Clinton's problems with getting most of his purported "agenda" done and handling the military; George III's problems with dubious subordinates and handling the military; having been a governor sure seems helpful experience for a President of the US.
Maybe what matters is just "experience." Sometimes they try too hard to reach a balance (although if they ever reach "Fair and Balanced"TM, I'm moving). That leaves lots of room to wonder about the real purpose of McCain's selection. Perhaps he believes that whoever he picks for VP won't matter, and is just trying to set up a younger neocon for 2012/2016. Perhaps he's just completely insensitive to the Constitutional and practical roles of the Vice President, and is desperately doing anything he can to take attention away from race by nominating a woman (cynical? me?). Perhaps he just likes being around beauty queens more than he does around thinkers.
But for the first time in decades, there are no apparent relics of slavery and the Confederacy on the ticket for either party. That is, I suppose, a good thing, even though being a native of one of Those States doesn't always carry them (as in 1964 after Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through).
- 1960: Kennedy/Johnson (TX), Nixon (Duke Law/architect of Republican "Southern Strategy")/Lodge
- 1964: Johnson/Humphrey, Goldwater/Miller
- 1968: Humphrey/Muskie, Nixon/Agnew (MD)
- 1972: McGovern/Eagleton/Shriver (MD), Nixon/Agnew
- 1976: Carter (GA)/Mondale, Ford/Rockefeller
- 1980: Carter/Mondale, Reagan/George II (TX, self-identified)
- 1984: Mondale/Ferraro, Reagan/George II
- 1988: Dukakis/Bentsen (TX), George II/Quayle
- 1992: Clinton (AR)/Gore (TN), George II/Quayle
- 1996: Clinton/Gore, Dole/Kemp
- 2000: Gore/Lieberman, George III (TX)/Cheney
- 2004: Kerry/Edwards (SC), George III/Cheney