Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich is running for County Executive with public financing and plans to take on developers. Kim R. Ford is challenging fourteen-term Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for her seat. We talk to both of them about their campaigns and look at the biggest political news of the week.
The Supreme Court hears arguments tomorrow on Arizona’s immigration law, the Secret Service and General Services Administration face scrutiny over inappropriate behavior and the Washington Nationals keep on winning. Talk about these or other topics — It is Your Turn to set the agenda for a lively discussion with Kojo.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt's now Your Turn. 80-433-8850. No one can convince me that you are not interested in who Mitt Romney picks as his running mate. Now that we know that he is going to be the Republican presidential nominee, there's a great deal of speculation about exactly who should be his running mate, his vice presidential running mate, and I have been told that you're not that interested, that you won't call, and I've been betting that you will.
MR. KOJO NNAMDISo make me right. Call us 800-433-8850. What is your suggestion about who Mitt Romney's running mate should be, but there are other issues that you might be thinking of. The fact that the Secret Service scandal in Columbia over prostitutes seemed to attract more attention than the summit that President Obama attended in that country seems to have drawn a little bit of attention. Also, I guess significant is the fact that it was a woman, Paula Reid, who is the head of the Secret Service for that region who moved swiftly to make sure that all of those involved in this Secret Service scandal would be either dismissed or reprimanded, and that there would be some control immediately.
MR. KOJO NNAMDII have heard the argument made that we are fortunate that there was a woman who was the head of that region because an old boys' network may have clicked into place that was already in place that lead this to happen in the first place, and were it not for the presence of Paula Reid in that situation, we might not have been looking at a faster resolution of this incident. And then of course there is the scandal involving the spending of the general services administration in Las Vegas.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIA scandal that has received a great deal of attention because the event involved spending of $800,000, several people lost their jobs, GSA head Martha Johnson, Dan Tangherlini is now the acting head of GSA. Of course he is well known here in the District of Columbia for having held several positions as the head of the Department of Transportation, and others in the District of Columbia. But what are your own feelings?
MR. KOJO NNAMDISome of the feelings of federal employees who happen to work in this town about that scandal is that, look, it is showing us all in bad light. Again, there are people who like to beat up on Washington anyway, and all you're doing now is giving them more of an opportunity to beat up on Washington. You should point out that this is an isolated incident, doesn't happen a great deal in Washington.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIYou should also point out as is being reported now, that there were people inside the general services administration who were whistleblowers internally who pointed out that this should not have been taking place, but who feared retaliation because there were high officials in the GSA who wanted to shut them up. What is your thinking? 800-433-8850. And, of course, back me up here, who should be Mitt Romney's running mate? We will start with Carlene in Silver Spring. Carlene, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
CARLENEHi Kojo. I love your show, and I actually called in ten minutes ago when you were talking about the Chinese official.
CARLENEOkay. So two comments on that. I'm not sure, number one, that there's much of a difference between these top party officials serving in private equity firms over there to here in the United States all our Congressional people who are supposed to be enacting laws are able to basically do insider trading and profit money from stocks and whose prices fluctuate based on the laws that they enact, my first point. And my second point, I'm not sure that the Chinese officials, you know, making money and being in top firms are different from our Congressional staff being able to go back and forth serving as lobbyists and then back in Congressional office.
NNAMDIYou know, I was thinking about that, Carlene, indeed as we were having this conversation, and what you are really talking about it seems to me is human nature, and that is among every population of human beings you inject the opportunity to make large sums of money and people, regardless of the ideology or the philosophy to which they lay claim, will find ways to attach themselves to those large sums of money so that you have people who were the leadings in socialist or communist regimes, who when the economy in those places tends towards, as they used to call it in China, taking the capitalist road, all of a sudden these very same leaders and their family members find themselves in the forefront of people making large sums of money off of a system that they used to denounce.
NNAMDIAnd you pointed out about how it happens among congressional and other leaders here who lay claim to all kinds of philosophical notions having to do with a higher calling, but in the final analysis, it boils down to the money and it is not really in my view a statement on human beings generally, but that in every large group of human beings you will find enough human beings like that to tarnish the image of the entire system.
CARLENEI agree. So I thank you for that, but I just want us to just always be aware as Americans that things may be a little different abroad, but not that different when you get down to it. If you pay attention to the politics, there are a lot of similarities. Thank you, I love you.
NNAMDIAnd thank you very much for making that statement. Here now is Don in Woodbridge, Va. Don, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
DONHey -- Hey, Kojo. It sounds like you guys are having problems getting people to call in and give their take on who Mitt Romney ought to take -- select as a VP candidate.
NNAMDINo. I was just goading the audience a little bit.
DONWell, I'm one of those -- mark me down for one of those who could care less.
DONIn fact the one -- well, the people he's selected -- the people's whose names I should say have come up thus far on that list, Rob Portman, Bob McDonnell, our governor here in Virginia, who else, Marco Rubio and others. They're as bland as he is, as milquetoast I should say, as white-bread bland as he is, to include Marco Rubio. And if he were to select him as his choice, that would be one of the more cynical moves in recent history of VP selectees given the fact that he's just trying to reach out and pander to the Hispanics that he's already superbly alienated.
NNAMDIYeah. But when you talk about bland and uninteresting, you know we'd have a major story about trying to look for a vice president who would juice up a campaign and would draw attention to the campaign. That did not work out that well for John McCain.
DONWell, he did -- he did juice it up considering she was outrageously incompetent which was determined over time and is portrayed in that recent HBO movie. But it...
NNAMDISo you would like -- you would like to see somebody both colorful and competent?
DONFor -- well, for starters, I don't care. Again, I'm not a -- I'm as far from being a Republican as far can be, but I don't think he's gonna find a competent Republican, one, but colorful, if he wanted to juice things up, he'd go for Sarah Palin again.
NNAMDIExcept that having gone that way before, the Republican party realizes that what started out as a minor distraction can become a major disadvantage in a campaign, and when you think about it, what does the vice president do -- actually do anyway?
DONNot much, but of the list of candidates that he has -- that has so far been publicized, none of those guys -- they're so incredibly safe, including our governor.
NNAMDIOkay. Well, give me a name. Give me a name. Who would you go for if you were Mitt Romney?
DONIf I were a Republican voting for Mitt Romney?
DONI don't know. I have -- out of the list, I guess Rob Portman perhaps because...
DON...he seems like he -- I mean, let me preface this, he seems like the guy who is perhaps most pre-disposed to be bipartisan.
DONIf such a thing is possible with the Republicans again, but possibly Rob Portman.
NNAMDIOkay, Don. Thank you very much for your call.
NNAMDIWho do you think should be Mitt Romney's running mate? It's your turn. 800-433-8850. But you can call us about anything else on your mind, the GSA scandal, the Secret Service scandal. Here is Dave in Ocean View, De. Dave, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
DAVEHello, Kojo. I really enjoy your show when I chance to listen in. Hey, I'll throw in my two cents for the Republican vice president. Like the caller before mentioned, I don't think John McCain did a very good job -- well, his crew with the selection for Sarah Palin. So yeah, the vice president is -- yeah. If something happens to the president, he's on. So, you know….
NNAMDISo it's got...
DAVE...not that I'm -- pardon me?
NNAMDIIt's got to be somebody who you feel is ready and...
NNAMDI...competent to step into the president's shoes at literally a moment's notice.
DAVEI agree. And like I say, from what I've heard, I'm not a fan of Bob McDonnell, but the fact that he has 21 years Army experience, I'll -- you know, that would be my leaning.
NNAMDIBob McDonnell would be your -- but why are you not a fan of Bob McDonnell?
DAVEWell, you know, his -- he was all for what I call state-sponsored rape for their abortion program.
NNAMDIOh, yeah. You mean...
DAVEAnd I was in Norfolk a couple years ago working, and it was confederacy awareness month, and I went, what? Because I just moved from Washington state, so...
NNAMDISo you don't agree with him philosophically, but if you had to choose somebody for Mitt Romney, you would think he would be -- Bob McDonnell would be competent.
DAVEYeah. Yeah. Yeah. My...
DAVEIf I was, you know, my fantasy pick would be Bob McDonnell.
NNAMDIOkay. Dave, thank you very much for sharing that with us. We move onto Ike in Bethesda, Md. Ike, you're on the air, Ike. Go ahead, please.
IKESure. Mitt Romney should probably take my advice and pick Newt Gingrich.
NNAMDIWhy would you pick Newt Gingrich?
IKEBecause he's a counterpoint to the bland -- perceived blandness of Romney...
IKE...and he is certainly no worse as far as -- probably not much worse as far as foot in mouth than Joe Biden was.
IKEAnd, you know, he's...
NNAMDIAnd you think -- do you also think that Newt Gingrich would help to rally the quote unquote "conservative base" of the Republican party?
IKEOh, yeah. The guy is so clever with his words and, you know, I mean, he's, you know, he could do that. He could absolutely do that.
NNAMDIExcept for one small problem. The possibility that he might overshadow the presidential candidate.
IKEYeah. But, you know, then they're getting -- I don't think that's gonna happen. Overshadowing? No.
NNAMDIOh, you don't think even -- you don't think even if Newt Gingrich were picked that he would overshadow Romney that his personality tends to be so dominant that you don't think he would overshadow Romney on the campaign trail?
IKEI think he's enough of a team player to avoid that.
NNAMDIOh, okay. He's a professional politician indeed. He knows how to play the game you say.
IKEOh, I think so.
NNAMDIOkay. We have a suggestion for Newt Gingrich. Ike, thank you very much for your call. Onto Jesse in Washington D.C. Jesse, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JESSEHi, Kojo. Thanks for taking my call.
JESSEI would just like to convince you of the profound indifference of many people toward his choice of running mate. I think Romney's lack of any heartfelt opinions of his own or positions has proven an asset in this -- in his race for the nomination, and I would imagine they would use that formula and pick a VP that is just gonna be uncontroversial.
NNAMDIWell, if both the candidate and the vice presidential candidate are going to be uncontroversial, by which I assume you mean that unlike in the primaries he would not have to play to the conservative base quite as much as he did in the primaries, that they are both likely to take more, I guess, positions closer to the political center if you will...
NNAMDI...how do they then distinguish themselves from the Democratic candidates?
NNAMDIWho will also presumably be taking positions more to the center?
JESSEThe candidates -- I mean, Romney will simply serve as the anti-Obama, you know, sort of a canvas that the conservative -- full conservative spectrum will sort of use to paint these anti-Obama agendas, or make anti-Obama points.
NNAMDISo you're saying the specific issues, the issues of healthcare, the issues of education, and the overriding issue of the economy might not play as largely as we think it might. The issue of personality, might dominate this campaign? It's all about being against Obama you're saying?
JESSEYes. Yes. I think whoever is the candidate, and it's going to be Romney, the issues -- it will be issue driven, but it will all be anti-Obama driven. So, you know, Newt has had very specific ideas, I think more specific than Romney, as did Santorum...
JESSE...and they were more polarizing.
NNAMDIOkay. Jesse, thank you very much for your call. We move on then to Andrew in Washington D.C. Andrew, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ANDREWGood afternoon, Kojo. I have a very interesting running mate for Mitt Romney...
ANDREW...who is safe, competent, stable, and uncontroversial.
NNAMDIWait a minute. Safe, competent, stable, and uncontroversial? This person has any experience in Washington at all?
ANDREWIt would be Condoleezza Rice.
NNAMDIAh, fascinating choice. First, another selection of a woman, Sarah Palin being the last. This time an African-American vice presidential candidate who would be running against an African-American presidential candidate. The issue of the conservative base, I suspect that Condoleezza Rice is not seen as particularly -- at least not seen by the Tea Party aspects of the conservative base as being conservative enough. What do you think?
ANDREWWell, you see, I would agree with you on the base part, but we're past the primaries. The base is important, but not...
NNAMDIBut it's in place -- it has no place to go.
ANDREWYeah. It's not cripplingly important. I think Condoleezza Rice would also split a lot of independent minority voters.
ANDREWA lot of people who don't necessarily -- people who were disenfranchised with Obama, but don't feel like they can go to Republicans because of empathy issues and many other things. I think it would -- I think her experience as secretary of state before that, I want to say secretary of defense, it was something else, oh, my gosh, I can't believe I forgot what her...
NNAMDIWell, I saw a video of her yesterday shaking her head vigorously saying no, no, no. But then that's what everybody else who has been speculated on was saying, and that's what everybody apparently always says. So you can't be sure.
ANDREWAnd that's the other thing is all these governors and all these senators and everything else that have been talked about, and I think this is a very big drawback of picking up very localized Democratic or Republican heroes from states and putting them into the national stage is the fact that we don't end up knowing anything about them. They weren't in the primaries, they weren't running as long as...
NNAMDIYou're right. Condoleezza Rice has never run for office, but she has been on the national stage for awhile, so she's somebody we know. Interesting choice, Andrew, thank you very much for your call. We got a tweet from Scott saying, "The vice presidential choice should be Congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington state because," argues Scott, "she is a descendent of pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail. She's married to a retired Navy guy. She went to Pensacola Christian College."
NNAMDIBut I suspect, Scott, that the reason you had to tell us all of that is because she is not very well known, so it's going to be another difficult situation of making somebody who is fairly obscure nationally run on a very high profile national ticket, and the question, of course, will be, will she be ready for primetime? But thank you all for calling and sharing your views about who Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate should be, and thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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