I've been busy this past week with my day job as director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth. The year 2008 marks two anniversaries for us: 100 years since Nelson Rockefeller was born and 25 years since the Center was founded at Dartmouth. We are using the coincidence of the Centennial with the 2008 elections to examine Rockefeller's legacy in the three decades since he retired from public office.
This week, we hosted public lectures by two people with a lot to say on the matter. Yesterday, Richard Norton Smith gave a wonderful discussion of the biography he has been writing on Rockefeller for the last several years. On Thursday, Governor Christie Todd Whitman visited campus. She may be the only unabashed Rockefeller Republican with any political prominence today. A brief writeup of her talk is in the campus paper. She articulated as well as anyone I've heard recently the case for decentralized, responsible, and effective government. If she were running this year, she would have my vote.
So I started to wonder whether she might be a viable candidate. She would be an odd pick as McCain's running mate in 2008, particularly if Obama is the Democratic nominee. But what about 2012 against a Democratic incumbent? She seems to have recovered from her frustrating years at the EPA and has parlayed her success with It's My Party, Too into a PAC, which has now merged with the Republican Leadership Council (an odd name for a centrist organization given today's Republican leadership at the national level). She's clearly still active. Maybe the opportunity will present itself.