NOW that some of the polls, most of the political pundits, and a few of the other prognosticators have spoken, it's time for a serious prediction. Gov. Michael Dukakis won't pick any of the names currently afloat in the press. Mr. Dukakis will select a running mate based on criteria not mentioned to date. However, his selection will balance the ticket regionally and add several other winning dimensions.
Before my prediction of who Dukakis will choose, here's a little background.
A few years ago, I spent a very long morning with him. He was teaching at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and I was writing a book about executives - from both government and business - who had lost their jobs. From that interview, two dimensions of his personality have stuck with me: He looks upon problems as opportunities; and he has at least one hero no one has yet mentioned in print.
While others look at societal problems with either temerity, timorousness, or worse yet, deny their existence, Dukakis looks upon them as opportunities. He thinks ``comprehensively,'' not ideologically. Nor does he look through the wrong end of the telescope.
He is, and has been, particularly interested in the rebirth of cities in Massachusetts. Further, he knows that the growth of our national economy and its stability depends in no small measure upon the economic health and stability of our cities. Therefore he will pick a running mate who has considerable experience in solving problems as an urban leader. Next, given the governor's sense of ethnic identity, and impressive ability with Spanish, he will be predisposed toward a Spanish-surnamed running mate and other minorities.
During our interview a few years ago, he said that one of his heroes was Dick Tiger, the 1962-63 and 1965-66 middleweight boxing champion. How many potential presidential candidates would admit admiring a black man (other than Martin Luther King Jr.), especially one who lost and regained a boxing title without much fanfare?
Dukakis said he admired Mr. Tiger because, while he was champion, he refused to act like most of the boxing elite. As reigning champion, Tiger lived modestly (in YMCAs) and planned ahead for his re-entry into life in the slow lane.