Will McCain announce before the Olympics? Before Obama does? Who will it be? Who should it be?

Here is your VP Speculation Thread.

Let’s start with some data from Intrade, a futures market. As of Saturday morning, the odds of each candidate is listed below:

Romney 39Pawlenty 29Palin 15Portman 12Crist 10Thune 10Ridge 10Everyone else is in single digits. Looking at the recent movement in these markets, I would speculate that the above 7 are being (or have been) actively vetted. Most are at or near their highest probability this year. And other names have dropped notably, including Jindal, Kasich, Cantor, Lieberman and Fiorina.

More grist for the mill. Novak argues that Romney would add value for several reasons, but most notably because some polls show him helping significantly in MI.

On the other hand, Romney hurts McCain in most states and nationally. Importantly, Romney never had great appeal to working class voters; he won upper class professionals in most states but never connected with the blue collar workers who are the likely swing voters in PA, OH, MI, MN, and IN. In fact, while his role as a Wall Street man may help him make economic policy decisions; it is not going to help on the campaign trail with those who want someone to feel their pain at the pump.

Other Redstaters have made more arguments for Romney including fundraising ability, no October surprises, and a dubious claim that he reassures conservatives.

OTHER TOP CHOICES ANALYZED BELOWWith Romney as the current favorite, most MSM pontifications have focused on him. However, Pawlenty actually has the background that might play well with the groups who look to be the determining factors in November.

His working class background has helped him win in MN as the GOP got smacked upside the forehead in 2006. He coined the term “Sam’s Club Republicans” to describe the groups that he connects with well. Those voters in the upper midwest (Pawlenty’s region) are the ones who hold the keys to the largest swing states: PA, MI, and OH.

Pawlenty has some things in common with Romney: no known personal issues, clean image, young but not boyish, and acceptable to the right and the middle of the party. Neither would make conservatives cheer, but neither would lead to large defections.

Finally, the third member of the A list is Palin. She would make conservatives jump for joy. She would be the highest ranking pro-life female in history if elected (currently only 1 or 2 of the 16 female Senators are pro-life). She booted out an establishment, corrupt GOP GOV which lends credence to her Reformer Republican status. Along with Jindal, DeMint, Coburn, McCain, and Sanford, Palin embodies a new spirit of anti-earmark, anti-corrupt, anti-business as usual. It’s this background that has (probably) landed her on the short list. And being a female in a country that still has not elected a lady to the VP or Presidential positions surely does not hurt.

But she has her drawbacks. She is the least known of the A listers. She is the least known by McCain; Pawlenty has been a long time loyal ally and Romney has campaigned with McCain often this summer. Alaska is not on the radar of most news organizations much less the general public. And she has been in office for about 18 months without too many Earth shattering policies enacted. She’s closer to a blank slate than other candidates.

If Palin is chosen, the only major gripe would be that she was a gender-affirmative action pick. But no major parts of the party would be upset and unless she has unknown skeletons in her closet, she is also a low risk choice.

Your thoughts?