Why did Gary Bauer endorse McCain?

A viewer asked this question on 2/18/2000:

Hello Government Expert:

Why do you think Gary Bauer endorsed McCain instead of W. who probably has more conservative credentials?

JesseGordon gave this response on 2/18/2000:

The non-cynical answer would be "because Bauer finds that McCain's stances on the issues more closely match his own." In politics, that's a pretty unlikely answer, so here's my cynical analysis:

Bauer had a staff position in the Reagan White House and wants one again. If he supports Bush, and Bush wins, Bush has countless other supporters to choose from, and Bauer would be just another name on a long list.

If McCain wins with Bauer's endorsement, Bauer's definitely on the short list for any position.

If Gore wins against Bush, Bauer is still qualified for a decent position, since he helped Gore by hurting Bush. (For example, Clinton appointed GOP Governor Weld as Ambassador to Mexico, in the "spirit of bipartisanship").

In game theory terms, I'd look at the odds like this:

Chance of Bush winning the presidency = 50%
X odds of a good job for Bauer in a Bush White House = 25%
= overall odds = 50% x 25% = 12.5%

Chance of McCain winning = 15%
X odds of a good job for Bauer in a McCain White House = 90%
= overall odds = 15% x 90% = 13.5%

Chance of Gore winning = 35%
X odds of a good job in a Gore White House = 10%
= overall odds = 35% x 10% = 3.5%

Using my estimates, Bauer has a better chance of getting a good White House job by endorsing McCain than by endorsing Bush. Throw in the small possibility of a good job under Gore, and the answer becomes even more tilted towards McCain.

Cynical? Yes. Did Bauer do this same analysis? Yes.

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