Op-Ed

Let's pull a 'Dave,' substitute real conservative for McCain

Remember the movie Dave, in which a stroke victim president (Kevin Kline) had a look-alike stand-in (also Kevin Kline) whom the first lady (Sigourney Weaver) liked better than the original?

I think there's now a potential for reality imitating art — especially since it's being asserted North Korean Kim Jong-Il may have died in 2003 and has had a body-double keeping up appearances for the last five years.

Prematurely-white-haired conservative Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., might well pass for John McCain, and could supplant him for the rest of the election campaign.

Yeah, I know Pence is 23 years younger than McCain, but it may not matter. Liberals look at McCain and see President Bush anyway — sometimes even Vice President Dick Cheney.

Maybe liberals would be so blinded by partisanship that they couldn't tell the difference between McCain and Pence.

If that's true, GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin could have a running mate more in line with what the Republican base wants.

Pence describes himself as "a Christian first, a conservative and a Republican in that order." (This agrees with what all Christian conservatives say.)

Pence may be a much-maligned lawyer, like Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but Pence, like Palin, originally opted for a career in broadcasting. (Two Republicans who can actually talk? Now that would be change.) After seven years of public advocacy on the airways, he ran for and was elected to Congress in 2000.

In 2005, Pence was named "Man of the Year" by conservative magazine Human Events. The American Conservative Union awarded him the 2006 Courage Under Fire Award. In 2007, Pence was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Conservatives in America.

On Martin Luther King Day in 2007, he received the Dave Duerson (Chicago Bears) Award for extraordinary commitment to the community.

Pence, instead of taking a vacation while Congress is adjourned, is leading the fight to highlight the need for offshore and onshore drilling for oil.

While McCain is a "Scoop Jackson Democrat" akin to his best buddy, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Pence is an actual Republican conservative. Since Democrats think liberal McCain looks like moderate Bush, maybe conservatives can pull off this switcharoo, and benefit America greatly.

Pence, like Obama and Biden, has no executive experience, but Palin would still be calling the shots.

But what if Pence wouldn't do it? A friend of mine at George Mason University's think tank suggests Paul Ryan, 38, a representative from Wisconsin, would be a good substitute.

Of course, we'd need to dye his hair white. But anyone smart enough to author House Resolution 6110 — "A Roadmap for America's Future," which would revamp Social Security, Medicare and the tax system — deserves consideration.

Either of these surrogates would be better than McCain.

Reverse Grecian Formula, at the ready.

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