Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., wasn't exactly caught up in the Republican and Democratic veepstakes leading up to the national conventions.
Both are rather ho-hum stories, Kyl said last week before Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama named Sen. Joe Biden as his selection for vice president.
Neither Sen. John McCain nor Obama stand to get much benefit by naming a running mate, because McCain and Obama already were so clearly defined politically, Kyl said.
Besides, historically, veep nominees have done little to tilt votes to presidential candidates, he said.
The last vice presidential nominee who made a perceptible difference in the vote count was Lyndon B. Johnson, who helped John F. Kennedy win Texas in 1960, Kyl said.
There's an argument to be made that the last vice presidential candidate to help round out the top man's résumé was Dick Cheney, who had the defense and foreign policy experience that George W. Bush lacked in 2000, Kyl said.
"Potentially, Obama could have somebody that demonstrates more of an experience factor for his administration," Kyl correctly predicted.
"What does McCain need? McCain doesn't need that. The only thing McCain would want to avoid is somebody who is older than he is," he said. "You need to have somebody, obviously, younger. But all the people are younger, so it doesn't matter - I mean, all of the people he's been talking about."
Other than the 1960 and 2000 races, recent veepstakes have been mostly uneventful. Still, picking someone to fill the No. 2 spot on the ticket is serious business.
"My personal view is that most of the time with these selections, the upside potential is much less than the downside potential. You can be applauded for a good decision if you avoid making a bad decision," Kyl said.
In that regard, both candidates seemed to be sticking to safe choices.
Obama went with one of the most tenured men in the Senate; while discussion concerning McCain's choices generally focuses on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and former director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Rob Portman of Ohio.
"These are not dynamics-changing options. They're more playing-it-safe options," Kyl said. "Frankly, that's probably better governance for both of them. You don't want to make some big dramatic political statement. You want somebody who's competent to help run the government."
Incidentally, Kyl said that while he has been one of McCain's closest political allies for years, he doesn't have any special insight into McCain's decision for a running mate.
VENTURA TO SIGN BOOK
Former professional wrestler, past Minnesota governor and emerging independent political commentator Jesse Ventura will sign his new book "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me" in the Valley in September.
In the book, Ventura looks back at his time as governor and at life and politics in America since he left office in January 2003, according to promotional material prepared by his publisher, Skyhorse Publishing of New York.
Ventura also discusses his interactions with world leaders including President Bush, John McCain, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Fidel Castro, among others.
Lately, "The Governing Body" has been urging voters to vote for "none of the above" in November.
He's disappointed with both Republican presidential candidate McCain and Democratic candidate Barack Obama, and feels voters should be given more options, because neither represents what most Americans really want: a pullout from Iraq and an end to the $9 trillion national debt.
The former Navy SEAL and action-movie actor already has bona fide credentials as a political commentator with talk radio and TV gigs.
"Don't Start the Revolution Without Me" marks Ventura's third outing as an author. His first two books, "I Ain't Got Time to Bleed" in 1999 and "Do I Stand Alone?" in 2000 were both national best-sellers.
He's also entered into the debate about whether there's more to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack in New York than is publicly known. In fact, his book-signing dates sandwich his scheduled appearance at a 9/11 forum on the anniversary of the attacks.
Ventura is to appear at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S. McClintock Drive, in Tempe, and 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at Barnes & Noble, 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., in Phoenix.