The quadrennial speculation over vice presidential running mates is in high-gear.
Of course, it’s just that — speculation. The candidates themselves are the only ones who can validate who they will choose to join them on the ticket.
But, trying to intuit which of the VP short-listers will get the nod is a parlor game as old as Washington itself.
So here goes.
Allow me to leave Hillary Clinton’s veep pick to my friends on the other side of the aisle except to say she better choose an “Honest Abe.” (Just ask Stephen Colbert!)
As for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, he has many fine choices, including the obvious complementary one: Someone with Washington experience. Thus the ascension of Mike Pence, Republican Governor of Indiana, into the group of finalists.
Yet, at this moment of peril for our country, the time is ripe for choosing an experiencedGeneral or Admiral who puts America first and who, by definition, has Washington experience. It’s a tradition as old as our country going back to our first president, General George Washington, through General Dwight David Eisenhower.
At the top of the list is the Pattonesque General Michael Flynn (USA-Ret.), former deputy at the Joint Special Operations Command, whose deft handling of intelligence led to, among many other successes, the killing, in June 2006, of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the one most responsible for catalyzing ISIS, its character and brand. Next, Flynn helmed the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama before being forced out because he had the temerity to suggest we were fighting an ideology — radical islamic terrorism — and that it was either us or them, the very ideas he has expounded on in his new book, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, published yesterday.
The contrast between the Obama-Hillary era and the envisioned Trump-Flynn era could not be clearer: feckless and careless vs. strong and deft.
Which would the nation prefer?
A team who “gets” that we are essentially fighting World War III and knows how to deploy the assets at our disposal to defeat the enemy and, by contrast, how the military has been decimated the last eight years.
Or a team led by Hillary, who is most deft when it comes to fending off threats to her continued political existence so she can spout platitudes instead of actually getting the job done and, in the case of our most vital national interest, killing the enemy before they kill us.
As for Flynn being a Democrat, I get the resistance. But, the fact is, his party registration would only broaden the coalition, and give Trump a winning edge. Remember Flynn is uniquely equipped to beat the enemy at their own game. No room for party factions here.
And, regarding Flynn’s allegedly pro-choice stance, what he said on ABC’s “This Week” was precisely accurate. The woman is the one who ultimately makes the choice. But, where the government can and should play a role is to help make the “choice for life” the obvious choice.
Sources say Trump has been frequently enunciating Trump-Flynn to see how it sounds. Great! Trump can win with Flynn!
And, then make Newt Gingrich Chief of Staff. For those, like Major General Paul Vallely (USA-Ret.) who has worked closely with Flynn and knows and likes both, the two, he says, are interchangeable in either role. But Flynn brings critical national security experience. And Gingrich can keep other critical issues in focus as needed, including overhauling economy, which is, in itself, a national security issue.
Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington-based writer and author of Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends. She served four years in the George H.W. Bush Administration as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Health.