Wouldn’t it be great if we could get the nominee for our party no matter what year it was, to pick a Vice Presidential running mate based on only their conservative beliefs and their ability to take over. Now the Romney camp is saying that first and foremost they are looking for someone who can take over should the worst occur…and this makes sense. Romney is a businessman and CEO of a massively successful company and at that level you find most CEO’s think long-term and make sure that their senior VP is always being groomed to take over. Now for Romney that would mean that their conservative credentials are pristine …and maybe there would have to be the third factor that they do not have any major
personality conflicts.And at the absolute outside you would consider who wants to run in 2020. We should have learned that one of W.’s biggest mistakes was leaving no heir apparent to run in 2008 and I would hope that Romney is not planning on repeating that.
But we also live in the real world and know that a VP is also in part (and sometimes in whole) picked because they’re meant to shore up some group that the candidate themselves has a problem with. (Do you really think Reagan put that bleeding heart Bush on the ticket because of his understanding of economics?) And I’m sorry there is a simple fact that a lot of American voters vote sometimes on the dumbest damn things…I’ve heard both men and women comment that they’re voting because of a candidate’s (or the candidate’s wife’s) appearance. This boggles my mind because I’d vote for a ticket of the Elephant Man and the Phantom of the Opera if they were preaching Chicago School Monetarist economics and I was convinced they would do what they said…but apparently, what I consider a truly disturbing amount of people think Presidential candidates or their spouses often get into trysts with random people like themselves….and even that comes off as intelligent compared to the people who vote because of race. Let’s not waste time and argue about how people SHOULD makes themselves informed of all the candidates positions and SHOULD vote only on positions, experience, and character. No here in reality the unfortunate problem of democracy is that people vote for some candidates for some very dumb reasons. And while in a perfect world this wouldn’t be an issue, the fact is that a candidate who doesn’t take this into account is probably pretty dumb as you have to get elected before you can lead (and leadership at a national level does include a little showmanship and convincing legislators and the public you are right, and someone who doesn’t understand the wackiness of human psychology and know how to play some of these odd roles isn’t effective as a leader). Or to look at another way, Rick Santorum’s ability to even make it to the ballot in two contests and has failed to file a full slate in a lot of other primary runs…in other words if you’re too incompetent to be executive of a campaign, you’re definitely too incompetent to run the nation.
So let’s go over some of the people whose names have appeared.
Starting with the: NOT A SNOWBALL’S CHANCE IN HELL category…otherwise known as I WOULDN’T VOTE FOR ROMNEY IF HE PICKED SOMEONE IN THIS CATEGORY
Sarah Palin-liberal demagogue who is only out for herself and would do just about anything if you paid her enough. Yes I’m hard on Sarah. Probably because I’ve never heard her actually articulate a conservative position. She’s squawked some conservative sounding platitudes, but whenever she gets on a roll she starts talking about “government on the side of the people” and government doing things and helping people…and well that’s not the mind of a conservative. Luckily I don’t think anyone, but Sarah, thinks she has a chance.
Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Herman
Cain…this collection of losers has done a fine job of convincing us why they shouldn’t ever be allowed near a public office.
I’ve heard the name Jeb Bush also thrown around. No. This dynasty must end.
Overall everyone in this group only brings someone who would stab the campaign and administration in the back while undermining policy at every turn. Now if you wanted to make this lot ambassadors to Mongolia, Iran, North Korea, Antarctica and for Newt, the moon, I’m fine with that. Sending them to places where there are few, if any people, or to very hostile nations is an excellent place to put this lot.
Moving onto the category of really long shots I’ve heard mentioned.
Allen West. Now Allen says some stuff that I love, but he’s a bomb thrower. He’s great for making speeches and pushing policy which works in the legislative branch…but not in the executive branch.
Mitch Daniels. The Governor of Indiana has a good track record but he stated he didn’t want to run for president in May of 2011 due to the lack of privacy it would bring to him and his family. I doubt that’s changed. Also as he’s 63 he would make a poor choice in 2020.
John Kasich. The Governor of Ohio also has a decent conservative track record. He also has hours upon hours of footage from his show on FOXNews to look through and take things out of context. I think the odds he could pull Ohio are vastly outweighed by the negatives.
Condi Rice. She doesn’t want it…and frankly to call her positions conservative is a bit of a stretch.
Rudy Giuliani. Now I love Rudy, and if the contest right now were Romney v. Giuliani I would be firmly in the Giuliani camp. That said, he’s a little old for the number two spot and while every scandal has already been brought to the light of day and would just seem cliché at this point, I don’t think he brings anything election wise to the table. It will be a cold day in hell for New York to go red, and Romney’s foreign policy or executive experience creds (where Giuliani shines) aren’t exactly his weakness.
Slightly less of a long shot
Rand Paul. Rand is a Tea Party favorite and also could possibly pull his father’s fans in both the Republican and Democratic Party. However, given how much speculation there as been about a backroom deal between Romney and Paul this just has the appearance of politics as usual, and politics is sadly a place where perception is reality. Also as with Paul, I have serious doubts about his understanding of foreign affairs.
Bobby Jindal. The Governor of Louisiana is a rising star in the party, but given the fact that he didn’t endorse anyone after his endorsement of Rick Perry (which quite frankly puts Jindal’s competence in serious question), there is the cloud of possible backstabbing that hangs around all the other guys who were at one time candidates. Besides Louisiana, like most of the South, is a red state and a safe red state, from a purely cynical perspective Jindal brings little to the table.
Michele Bachman. As you will recall I supported Bachmann early in the primary contest, and while I support her understanding of the economy and foreign policy fully, I am not sure she makes a strong choice of VP selection from a pragmatic stand point. The media has ignored her strong stance on states rights and painted her as a Rick Santorum brand of social conservative who will try to impose her moral beliefs on the entire nation via law and fiat. It’s a lie, but it’s also the message that media did a superb job in repeating over and over until it seemed like the truth…and unfortunately this would play all too easily into Obama’s hands of trying to make this election about social issues.
The Short List
Gov. Susan Martinez of New Mexico. Who? Yeah, I know. Conservative-ish. She was a Democrat before 1995…My guess is she is making the media short lists as she is a Republican Hispanic female from a swing state. If you are just looking for what she can bring that might look good on paper, but the issue of having been a Democrat coupled with the persistent lies that Romney is a flip-flopper or economic moderate this has a deadly potential to kill any enthusiasm in the base.
Rob Portman. Another favorite among the pundits, but not necessarily the base. Senator from the swing state of Ohio, he also has White House experience as W.’s Trade Representative and then OBM director. He brings Ohio and some government experience, but also the name W. and doesn’t do much to compensate for Romney’s low key personality.
Chris Christie. We would all love to see Christie given a national forum to beat up on liberals. We would all relish the tongue lashing he would give Biden in the debate; probably ending up with Biden huddled in a fetal position in a corner rocking back and forth. But, two north east governors from bluest of the blue states makes for a terrible time energizing the base. And while Romney has unjustly been accused on not supporting the 2nd Amendment, Christie actually has a questionable record. And I’ll be blunt. We all remember how the Nixon/Kennedy debates turned out? With everyone listening on the radio thinking Nixon won, and everyone watching on TV seeing Nixon look like death warmed over thinking Kennedy won? Chris Christie offers some terrible optics. And you can already see all the jokes about being asked to tighten the belt of the budget from a man who can’t tighten his. That’s cruel and unjustified…but you know the left will go there with a vengeance.
Bob McDonnell. The conservative Governor of Virginia. Swing state Virginia. Very conservative very likable. But like Bachmann, with his recently signing an abortion law in Virginia (yeah, let me thank the Virginia legislature for playing right into Obama’s plan, jackasses) he creates an opportunity to weakness more than he brings any help.
Tim Pawlenty. Former Governor of swing state Minnesota (but calling it a swing state is a bit optimistic, it will likely be blue). Defender of education reform and budget cuts he could certainly take the office if he had to. He is the safest of safe choices. And while he might make a good executive and meet all the rational criteria he doesn’t bring anything else to the table.
Nikki Haley. Governor of swing state South Carolina. Tea Party Favorite. Strong on immigration and budgets. Pro-life but as far as I can tell the left hasn’t managed to unfairly pin her as Christian psycho the way they did to Bachmann…also kind of hard to as she was raised as a Sikh. Daughter of immigrants she seems to embody the American dream and Romney’s call to believe in America. But…she seems to gather scandals like no other politician. She’s been accused of two extra-marital affairs and the South Carolina legislature is trying right now to get her impeached on some trumped up corruption charges. I searched for a couple of hours today and all these accusations seem to be a bit on the lacking any evidence side…really lacking any evidence. But I worry that in a profession where the accusation is more damaging than the crime if she is too risky a choice.
Marco Rubio. We all know the case. Rising star. Tea Party. Good looking. Charismatic. Florida. Hispanic. …and says he doesn’t want the job. Add to that picking him almost looks like pandering to Latinos and that he has very little actual experience (not to mention that he was the genius who introduced SOPA, which he has apologized for after reading the bill)…it becomes an iffy proposition.
Paul Ryan. The Golden Boy at the time of writing. Ryan is charismatic and knows how to use media to his advantage. His conservative and Tea Party credentials are unquestionable. Wisconsin is an iffy proposition this year so a Wisconsin representative could swing things.
So where does that leave us. Well let’s take a look at where Romney stands. According to the latest McClatch-Marist Poll, Romney is doing better than you’d think (I’d like a poll of likely not registered voters, as likely voters are more often Republican this can actually help to highlight weakness a little more in lieu of campaign internal polls). In a head to head right now it’s Obama 46% Romney 44% with 9% undecided. One the face of it this is good as you give 1-2 points for the difference between registered and likely voters and undecideds historically split 2 to 1 for a challengers (so you would likely see an actual result more along the lines of Romney 50% Obama 48% on election day). But it gets better when you look at the actual details. The bulk of the undecideds come from the “Conservative” to “Very Conservative” category…translation Santorum supporters who don’t want to make Romney appear strong. A strong Southern governor should help win them over. Obama also seems to be doing exceedingly well with “Very Conservative” voters. Again I think it’s Santorum supporters who right now want to make Romney look weak but come November they’ll vote against Obama more than for anyone if nothing else. Income is as it almost always is the poor and rich favor Democrats, while the middle class like Republicans. No surprise Obama does better with the young crowd and Romney does better with older voters. White voters, Romney by 11 points, African-Americans, Obama by 85 points and Latinos…Romney by 11 points. Wait what? Latinos voters are favoring the Republican by double digits? (15% undecided and remember, undecided voters go for the challenger). Well there just went the stronger and more cynical points for Rubio. And keep in mind that Obama and his team and surrogates are completely pissing off and alienating the Hispanic community in Florida with their over politicizing of the Martin shooting…so the Hispanic vote should be fairly secure for Romney if he doesn’t blow it. (Also it’s not a sampling error because, Obama v. Santorum in the same poll is effectively neck and neck with Latinos).
Romney’s biggest loses are Moderates by 12, the Northeast by 18, less than $50,000 by 8, age bracket of 18-29 by 8 and women by 6. If a Massachusetts governor can’t win the northeast just give up (although I have this far-fetched fantasy of Romney and Scott Brown turning the commonwealth red this one time). The only chance you have of winning the under $50,000 crowd is convincing them that Romney is going to improve the economy (so that’s Romney’s job) or by putting up a VP who grew up as the parent of immigrants (point to Rubio and Haley, but let’s not get too much into the details of Haley’s early life, her parents were well off). 18 to 29 crowd, well besides realizing that the 26th Amendment may have gone too far, the younger the better (point to Rubio, Haley, and Ryan). And to get women, more accurately to kill this BS that subsidizing birth control is somehow a right, you need someone who can’t be easily painted as a psycho-Christian (point to most of them, but I think this is hardest in Haley’s case).
Let me say up front from a policy standpoint from what I know I like Pawlenty, Rubio, Ryan and Haley. But…
Were it up to me, I like Haley. She energizes the base. She brings a swing state. Unlike Rubio and Ryan (or most of the people on this list), she has real business experience. She deflects the arguments of Romney as a psycho Christian who is hell bent on creating massive social conservative laws (which you know they’ll try the minute Ricky drops out—and the left’s never too subtle accusations of racism are kind of hard to justify when your VP’s full maiden name is Nimrata Randhawa. She doesn’t upset Romney’s lead with the Hispanic vote as they can emphasize with the daughter of immigrants (and for the most part her hard line on illegal immigration policy is only unpopular with most illegal immigrants, and they’re voting Democrat anyway…yes I said that, I dare you to bring me factual proof to that illegal’s don’t vote Democrat). And if any woman on this list has the most chance of swaying the vote among women I think it would be Haley. But as I said there are the scandals. So if Haley were the top choice the Romney campaign should probably do everything it can, quietly mind you, to push Haley into the limelight and make sure the scandals float to the surface to ensure that the lack of evidence becomes obvious long before the convention and that they not only come out as baseless but lose their effect in the general election as a scandal only has a very limited half-life in the media or ADHD mind of your average voter. Hype her name, float the trial ballon, and see if the scandals stick.
Now if for some reason, like the scandals stick, I think Ryan is the next best choice because A.) he seems to have a larger vision than Rubio (that SOPA thing was kind of dumb) and B.) Florida while all important is looking safer with every day and a candidate who can help turn a mid-West state or two might be a greater advantage.
And there’s a second factor to consider. The longer the press is chewing on all of these VP potentials the longer they keep the limelight focused on Romney, but not on his positions. If Romney is very bright he will string the VP selection process out for a very long time, letting the press simply treat him as the heir apparent, working to dig into Obama’s press time, and doing Romney’s job of vetting people for the VP slot for him.
One other thing on Haley, Being Indian-American it would be interesting to see her debate Joe Biden…you know the guy who made this racist remark…