Watcher’s Forum: Whom Will Mitt Romney Will Pick As His Running Mate? Whom Would You Pick?
As the 2012 presidential campaign winds on, one question on everyone’s mind is who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate. The Council and our invited guests weigh in:
The Razor: I believe that the VP slot cannot help a ticket much but it can hurt it. Consequently whomever Romney selects should be more conservative than he is, to solidify the base, but different enough from him to get people talking. I would like to see Allen West because he presents such a contrast to Romney. Ex-military, African-American from humble roots, and a vicious attack dog of a conservative. The press wouldn’t know what to make of him and would have a very difficult time painting him as a GOP “Uncle Tom.” His pick would excite and rally the base in a way that Palin did 4 years ago.
The Independent Sentinal: Realclearpolitics listed Paul Ryan, Bob Portman, Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal as the four they think are on the short list. Portman might bring in Ohio and I like Paul Ryan but we need him where he is. Pawlenty doesn’t bring enough to the table and Jindal will forever be remembered for one bad speech.
The women being mentioned as long shots are Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Susanna Martinez of New Mexico with its 5 electoral votes. She is a female Hispanic who has been critical of Romney’s ideas on illegal immigration. Ayotte is too similar to Romney, coming from the NE, but Nikki Haley is someone I find compelling.
Despite others’ picks, Marco Rubio is my first and only choice. He brings intelligence, he’s Hispanic though I heard Cubans don’t count as much as other Hispanics. He has a real talent for speaking and he has the charisma the ticket needs. I don’t buy into the media’s version of his alleged negatives – they want him gone. That should tell us something. The ticket needs excitement and Rubio will bring that and possibly Florida.
Joshuapundit: I think there are several criteria involved here. Obviously,Governor Romney will want someone he’s comfortable with. He will also want someone who is articulate, perhaps a bit more conservative in reputation that he is and a good campaigner…remember, the traditional role of running mate is that of an attack dog so the candidate can stay above the fray to a degree and look presidential. And most of all, he will be looking at what his running mate can bring to the table in terms of electoral votes in what could be a very close election.The idea, after all, is to win.
Based on that, I doubt he’s going to pick someone from a solid Red state like Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley or John Thune. I think his overall best pick would be someone from the following list: Marco Rubio, provided he can be counted on to deliver Florida’s 29 electoral votes; Rob Portman, if he can carry Ohio; or Tim Pawlenty if he can deliver Minnesota, in that order. Wild card picks would be Rep. Paul Ryan (if he wants to leave the House, which I doubt), or Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who is eminently qualified but like several others people are speculating on brings little to the table electoral vote-wise in terms of carrying her home state. On the other hand , she would appeal to voters because she’s smart, conservative, attractive, articulate, has farm roots, and is well qualified as a 4 term Congresswoman who has served on the Armed Services and energy committees and is part of the House leadership. Don’t be surprised if she ends up being 2012′s Sarah Palin, in the good sense of the word and with a happier ending.
Any of these people can count on being slimed by the media, so that isn’t a concern of mine. If they deliver on the stump and in debate, the American people will make up their own minds.
Bookworm Room: Mitt Romney should pick either Paul Ryan, which will show that Romney’s serious about the economy, or someone with real foreign policy chops (unlike Biden’s fake foreign policy chops) to balance Romney’s perceived domestic and economic strengths. I suspect that Romney will manage to pick someone who leaves me cold — and I’ll be irritated if he picks Sen. Ayotte just to get a woman on the ticket.
The Right Planet: Marco Rubio probably has the greatest name recognition among Americans, and certainly would be a fine pick for the VP slot. Paul Ryan, while not as well known as Rubio, would be a good personality fit with Romney, in my opinion. Additionally, I have read reports the Romney camp is looking at some female candidates: New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
If I could have my choice for VP, it would be Rep. Allen West (R-FL). Although, I’m not sure how well Romney and West would gel; their backgrounds are quite different. I don’t think Romney has the spine West does. So, I doubt Romney would consider him. West would probably upstage Romney.
Right Truth: Since Mitt Romney has all the charisma of a wet blanket, he will pick someone for his VP running mate who is less exciting, less animated, because he doesn’t want to be overshadowed. So Tim Pawlenty or Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio appears to be the top choices.
In spite of the fact that six in 10 Americans say they’ve never heard of Portman, pundits on both sides keep bringing his name up as a likely choice. Pawlenty was on John McCain’s short list for VP.
As to who would I pick, the list would start and end with Congressman Lieutenant Colonel Allen West of Florida. West has it all: not a career politician, Military experience, a true Conservative, TEA party supporter, strong speaker, not politically correct, able to take criticism, doesn’t change views depending on which way the political winds are blowing. He is the perfect pick. With Allen West as VP, he would be a perfect President-in-waiting. I rest my case.
The Noisy Room: My money is on Marco Rubio. He helps solidify the Hispanic vote. Although I don’t believe Rubio is the best choice. I can’t reconcile his stance on Amnesty and lately he strikes me as too politically ‘moderate.’ It’s a shame as he was Tea Party, but seems to have fallen into step with the beltway crowd. He’s handsome, charismatic and the perfect second fiddle to Romney. At least neither Romney or Rubio is a communist. ‘Nough said. Pawlenty might be a better choice in my opinion and may land the spot. Portman and Ryan also have a shot. But Rubio is the highest profile candidate out there as of now. Among the women out there, Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire would be the best of the lot I believe. Closely followed by Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.
If this were a sane world, Allen West would be VP. But he is too honest and brave for the Romney camp. That’s okay – West has a future as President of the United States.
Liberty’s Spirit: If I had my druthers I would chose Gov. Bobby Jindal for Romney’s VP. His term as governor of Louisiana has been characterized by tremendous competency. His first course of business was fixing a broken ethics system, which actually gave businesses the desire to come invest in Louisiana. This led to the turn around in Louisiana’s economy which in turn led to an upgrade in the state’s credit rating. While downsizing the size of government he kept a humane view of the people involved in the downgrade by allowing a private placement firm to help those fired find new jobs. He successfully had the state take over the failing New Orleans school district leading to a dramatic improvement in the students’ test scores and retention. He revamped and upgraded the hundred-year-old state-run-healthcare system.
He has been able to reach across party lines to become a highly Respected Republican in a traditionally blue-governor- state. He is what we used to call a compassionate conservative. The truth is that he is not afraid to do what is necessary for all the people of Louisiana, including standing up for State’s rights against the Obama Administration particularly in the wake of the BP oil spill. He is seen as honest, ethical and fair-minded.His inclusion would add another element to the narrative, that the GOP is not anti-immigrant, but anti-illegal immigration, two issues that the Democrats have been trying to solder together.
The Pirate’s Cove: There are lots of good choices out there. Bobby Jindal. Marco Rubio. Paul Ryan. Many others. Many have talked about Mitt picking a vanilla male running mate, someone who won’t over-shadow him, ala Sarah Palin with John McCain. Mitt certainly doesn’t want someone who is going to overshadow his run for the White House, but someone who will be a compliment and provide stability, knowledge, capability, and power. With the way the election is playing out, Romney doesn’t need a Southerner to offset his Yankee-ness. Ann Romney has talked about Mitt picking a woman, and while there are some excellent candidates, the best is Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa.)
Rodgers was first elected in 2004, and has worked her way up to being vice-chair of the House Republican conference, and the GOP’s fourth most powerful official. She’s worked on the Armed Services and energy committees. She has a 96 percent rating from the American Conservative Union. The Club For Growth rated her with a 94. Rodgers is stable, knowledgeable, capable, won’t make massive gaffes, and is no wilting flower. She knows how to fight back. People give her respect, because she has earned respect. She’d help Romney tremendously with the military vote, as she is married, with children, to a retired officer. Over-all, a fantastic choice, and the choice Mitt will make.
The Colossus of Rhodey: For this week’s question, I believe Marco Rubio is the best choice. He is a smart, handsome — and most importantly — conservative legislator who would certainly help Romney make needed in-roads with the Hispanic voting bloc. As much as I despise identity politics, they are, unfortunately, a fact of American political life. And Rubio will certainly assist in debunking the liberal meme that minorities have to be Democrats and/or liberals. Not to mention he’ll be a huge asset in Romney winning the battleground state of Florida.
Rhymes With Right: Who should the GOP vice presidential candidate be? That’s a great question, and one that is near and dear to my heart. Why wouldn’t it be? After all, I started writing about the possibility of a real outsider as McCain’s pick in April or May of 2008 — and began suggesting the somewhat obscure governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, could be a contender for the number two spot on the GOP ticket. And the rest is history. Unfortunately, not necessarily good history.
So as I look at 2012, I take a couple of things into account. I think that Mitt Romney needs to pick someone with solid credentials who is seen as having dignity, substance, and depth — what the Romans called gravitas. Sadly, that leaves out a number of individuals who I like — Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, Alan West, and Nikki Haley — as potential vice presidential candidates. None has been on the national scene long enough to be seen as a serious choice by an admittedly hostile media that has been gathering dirt on all of these contenders. At the same time, any of the crew of conservative white men who gets mentioned — Paul Ryan, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush — adds the sort of “oomph” to the ticket that we need to get a surge of excitement that will be sustained through the Democrat Convention and beyond.
That leaves me with three candidates who might provide the GOP with a surge that can be sustained. One is a policy wonk. One is a foreign policy expert. One is incredibly well-rounded, if relatively unknown. They are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. Rice, who would balance the domestic policy strengths of Romney with foreign policy credibility, would unfortunately tie Romney too closely to the most controversial aspects of the Bush years. Sandoval, who is my wild card, is a former legislator, former head of a regulatory agency, former federal judge, and now a governor — but while he might help carry the swing-state that elected him in 2010, he is not well known outside of Nevada. And that leaves us with Bobby Jindal, a running mate whose major public policy focus has been health care and has experience reigning-in runaway spending on government medical programs — making Jindal the ideal choice.
Tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.