Who’s the VP for the GOP?

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Now that Mitt Romney has been established as the presumptive nominee, we will waste no time before speculating who his choice for Vice President will be.  After all, it would be horrible to wait until a week or two before the choice is made, likely late August, before filling a column or two about who would best serve Mitt Romney as a running mate, and more importantly, who is best to put forward as the defacto future standard bearer for the Republican party.

The smart money for this pick is that it will be Marco Rubio, Florida’s junior Senator.  He’s well liked by TEA Party activists, but has quickly earned the respect of party establishment types.  He’s from the swingingest of swing states, Florida, which is a must win electoral bloc for Republicans.  He’s young, so he has a long future in politics ahead of him and would still be considered young, albeit seasoned, for a potential presidential run in 2020.  His Cuban heritage could even help the party’s image (and reality) among Hispanic voters.

Smart money aside, the Republicans should take a long look at the deep bench of governors they have assembled.  Both President Obama and Vice President Biden were Senators.  Their background is parliamentary, not one as executives who make decisions.  President Obama’s first term has demonstrated this weakness, deferring many major decisions to Congress.  A ticket of two executives, Romney both a former governor and business titan, bolstered by another accomplished “decider”, should contrast favorably to independent voters still looking for “change”.

Using the swing state strategy, John Kasich of Ohio is a great pick.  He served as Budget Chairman in the U.S. House, and delivered the only budget surplus in modern history under his tenure.  Thus, he has significant credibility on the fiscal issues likely to be part of the Republican campaign and unlike many current Congressional Republicans, doesn’t have to apologize for the 2000-2006 spending spree.  Now as Governor, he’s rounded out his Washington resume with some experience as a Governor, albeit early in his first term.  Still, he should make the short list.

Bobby Jindal also must receive serious consideration.  Now in his second term, Jindal took over the mess that was post-Katrina Louisiana and has made it an attractive place to do business.  His state is no longer the poster child for government corruption (Georgia puts hands in pockets, whistles, looks the other way).  The BP Oil spill, a crisis that occurred on his watch, earned him high marks for the state’s response as well as a good understanding of how broken many federal response agencies still are.

The person that Mitt Romney most likely needs on the trail with him is Chris Christie.  Romney does not go on the offensive well, and wealthy people tend to be cast as villains too quickly when they try.  Romney will need to adopt a Reaganesque “Morning In America” theme of optimism, of a country that can do better. There is no one better on the Republican bench who can buttress this theme from the attack dog role than Christie.  His press conferences are legendary in his ability to reject premises of questions designed to embed a negative light on a conservative agenda.  His ability to stand up to powerful interest groups with plain talk and steel spine would be must see political theater in Washington.

While Romeny’s pick of Christie wouldn’t deliver a swing state, and would probably not even deliver New Jersey, it would send a message that the party intends to be a national party.  Southerners may have an issue with this, and believe that the “base” must be placated with a social conservative.  A Christie pick would be straight out of the Clinton playbook, who picked fellow Southerner Al Gore to be his VP.  For those who don’t think Republicans should be looking at Clinton’s playbook, I respectfully submit that he served two terms by using it.

There are many others worthy of consideration.  PeachPundit.com’s readers seem especially interested in having Condoleezza Rice in the mix.  She’s certainly qualified if interested.  Should foreign policy be dominating the debate by mid-summer, her name will be floated much more frequently.

It’s still early. One of the reasons to delay the pick until near or at the convention is to make sure the person is not only properly vetted (when the candidate remembers to do that), but to make sure the selection is the right one for the issues the campaign will face in the home stretch.  Thus, you likely still have a few months to enjoy speculating about this.

37 comments

  1. griftdrift says:

    One thing about Kasich (who by the way, I’ve liked from way way back), he’s had some pretty goofy speeches. Vice President is about minimizing downside, not really maximizing upside (although we all fall into that trap). YouTubes of Kasich flailing around in the Ohio State House might be unpleasant. Not saying it’s killer, but…..

    Christie makes the most sense, but he seems to enjoy the courting more than the actual date (much like a previous New Jersey resident, Bill Parcells)

    Ah now Rubio. First let me clarify a comment I made in the other thread. I said his approval ratings were not that stellar. That needs some context. As someone pointed out, he’s north of 70% with Republicans and at 47% of independents. Those are indeed good numbers but the first one is irrelevant. VP is about winning the general, not the primary. The second one is more relevant and it ain’t bad. Until you consider it’s pretty much the same as Florida’s Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.

    Florida’s a weird state, bubba. Many who cast the bone have ending up foaming and flopping around as fate does not bend to the will of the weak.

    Having said that, Rubio’s autobiography is being published this summer instead of fall. That timing is as they say in the bidness, “interesting”.

    • Max Power says:

      Kaisch: He’s said somethings when guest hosting O’reilly that would come back to hurt him

      Christie: He said to a woman heckler on an open mike “You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.” I think the GOP’s got enough trouble with women this year.

      Rubio: It’ll be interesting to see what version of the facts of his childhood will be in the autobiography as they’re evidently a few versions out there.

  2. sunkawakan says:

    Oh, please. You can’t have a wealthy dilettante and an obese demagogue prancing around together on the same stage.

    Then again, that just might work in some states. Mencken [correctly] defined demagogues as “one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”

    • sunkawakan says:

      Isn’t Jindal still on 30 Rock playing Kenneth the Page?

      And has nobody read that Rubio says he won’t be VP (birther concerns)?

      My money is on Susana Martinez, who is being coy right now and saying she’s not interested.

  3. John Konop says:

    A rumor from a very reliable source:

    Romney is trying to gain the cyber/social media/blog/happy hour advantage over Obama. That is why the dark horse money is on Charlie Harper. He brings social media savvy plus throws a great happy hour party. If this happens we will see PP happy hour events all over the country. Drink-up and e-mail the Romney camp today if you support the plan.

  4. Three Jack says:

    Again the GOP provides such a loser candidate, it will come down to the VP choice in order for the ticket to be considered exciting or vote worthy. Might as well go back to the Palin well again because she is the only GOPer able to draw a crowd.

    Kasich, Rubio, Jindal, Rice…why would any of these folks want to be associated with a big government liberal like Romney?

  5. benevolus says:

    I think a legislator would be better. Romney may want a little advocacy at the Capitol instead of adversarialness.
    Therefore I suggest Nev. Rep. Joe Heck. He’s from PA AND Nevada, he’s a doctor, a veteran, and the bumper sticker would be great!

  6. frankriccard says:

    What about Kay Bailey Hutchison? She’s certainly not perfect, but she could work. She supported the bailout and she’s a couple of years removed from losing to Rick Perry for Governor. However, she’s a pro-choice republican from the South, but not so pro choice she’d horrify the much-too-easily-horrified far right. She voted against FOCA and she seems to be one of the few pro-choice repubs the national right to life folks cut a little slack to. She, or someone like her, is what we need in a VP pick. She’d soften the image and help bridge the gap among female voters, both of which are needed.

    • TheEiger says:

      This is a joke right? We have a moderate as the nominee. Why would we want another one as the vp? Do yo want the base to stay at home?

      • benevolus says:

        Let’s review past winners:
        Reagan/Bush
        Reagan/Bush
        Bush/Quayle
        Clinton/Gore
        Clinton/Gore
        Bush/Cheney
        Bush/Cheney
        Obama/Biden

        (Is Dan Quayle the least moderate name on that list? )

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          You might be on to something.

          I vote Joe Biden should be Romney’s VP pick. We’ll just call Bush/Quayle a statistical outlier.

  7. Harry says:

    Nikki Haley says she wants to complete her term as governor of South Carolina but maybe the Romneys could persuade her. I’m predicting a female….either Haley or Rice.

  8. Jimmie says:

    Doesn’t matter who he picks. Romney, Rick, or the Newt will never beat Obama in GE. The GOP party hacks are fooling themselves if they think they can. It will be a very unfortunate day come November. On the flip side it will be fun to watch the GOP get the enema it so desperately needs.

    • Baker says:

      Do you say that as someone who wishes for a more conservative nominee or as someone who thinks the GOP is run by the extremes?

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        It’s pretty bad when Obama out-does Bush’s Patriot Act with NDAA under the guise of “hope and change”. Now we have Romney in a previous debate saying that he would also have supported NDAA, and, if trends serve as any indication, if he wins, he will cook up something that is an even greater insult to our Bill of Rights than the NDAA. And whomever comes after Romney would probably just publicly burn the Bill of Rights to the sound of massive applause. All you’d need then is Lee Greenwood singing “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free”, and you’d have some idea of what this whole circus looks like to people watching from the ‘outside.’

        So, basically, we have two sides competing to see who can be the quickest to throw freedom in an incinerator, and people are lining up to vote for this sh**, because it would just be the most horrible thing in the world if “their guy” didn’t win.

        The only ones I see as being ‘extreme’ are the ones who keep voting for this nonsense.

        • Jimmie says:

          Well said. It’s very sad too. Obama and his ilk needs to go. Replacing him with Goldman Sachs Certified Romney is a damn joke. Most of the sane GOP knows it. (hence the 41% peak) Their Neo-Con Message combined with extreme social conservativeness will not fly in the GE. None of the 3 GOP Party candidates nor the Incumbent are facing reality when it comes to spending by the Government. Affordable Health Care or continuing the Military Empire. When China and the rest of the World abandons the U.S., we’re doomed. Always remember though….Corporations are People my Friend! lol!

    • Jimmie says:

      The Rick Perry one is a joke right? Really? Did you not see the same debacle I saw a few months ago? This is why America laughs at the GOP.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        Nope, no joke. Even after Perry’s repeated horrific debate performances, including the imfamous one where he couldn’t even remember his own personal talking point and speaking appearance in New Hampshire where he appeared to be as drunk as a skunk, there are still a few people that think that Perry should have some kind of major role in a national campaign when it’s painfully obvious to most of the electorate that he shouldn’t be within 1,000 miles of the White House in any way, shape or form.

        Susanna Martinez looks to be a good pick, though as the GOP is in dire need of some kind of positive outreach to both women and Hispanics, two critical groups of swing voters that the GOP finds itself on the outs with at the moment.

        Picking a Hispanic female for VP might help a situation that looks as if it has the potential to get out-of-hand at the moment.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            The conservative base of the GOP may not like the fact that her grandparents came here illegally, but the party critically needs to find some way to increase support amongst Hispanics voters, a crucial group of swing voters with whom the Republican Party is only polling at no more than 15 percent at the moment.

            By contrast, Bush won election to the White House with 40% of the Hispanic vote in 2000 and won re-election with 44% of the Hispanic vote in 2004.

            In 2004 Bush also won re-election with 12% of the black vote by appealing to black evangelicals by campaigning against gay marriage and by appealing to female voters by appearing very strong on national security in the wake of 9-11.

            Right now, Romney is trailing Obama 54%-36% amongst female voters in the wake of the flap over contraception which angered a lot of women and black support for the GOP is so low as to almost be non-existent.

            In 2004, Bush won re-election with the support of Hispanics, NASCAR dads, soccer moms, white evangelicals and black evangelicals.

            So far in 2012, Romney is having varying degrees of sustantial difficulty which each of those key groups of voters maybe save for NASCAR dads.

            Hispanics are mad at the GOP over Republican rhetoric on illegal immigration.

            Women are mad at the GOP because of overheated rhetoric on contraception and reproductive concerns, including a seeming continuing obsession with abortion.

            The Democrats’ base of black voters have likely been awakened in the wake of the Trayvon Martin controversy, which no doubt is being used by left-leaning media outlets (NBC, CNN, etc) to drive black voter participation in an election year in which a black President is up for re-election so you can count them out almost completely save for a few hardy souls who dare call themselves conservative or Republican.

            White evangelicals are very reluctant to embrace Romney as the GOP nominee for President because of a distrust of his Mormon heritage and the many moderate-to-liberal positions he has taken in his not-too-distant past as a Massachusetts politician.

  9. Gary Cooper says:

    A name that no one seems to mention is Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. He is a Tea Party and conservative favorite, Governor of a swing state with a huge Senate election, can only serve one term in VA, and is very well spoken and would make Biden look really goofy in the debate. Plus he is a good campaigner and would definitely prop up the Romney ticket.

    As backup, Suzanna Martinez would be a good choice. Also keep an eye on the Wisconsin recall. If Walker survives, he could be seen as someone to join the ticket as well. And of course Mitch Daniels could be a good choice in order to do a test run so his family can feel comfortable about a future run at the Presidency.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      McDonnell could definitely help turnout the conservative base of the GOP in the General Election.

      The problem with McDonnell is the almost deafening uproar amongst feminist groups over the pre-abortion ultrasound bill that he signed into law about a couple of months ago, a bill that originally mandated a more invasive ultrasound procedure than what ended up being signed into law.

      The left has used this law as one of the centerpieces of their argument that the GOP is conducting a war on women’s reproductive rights.

      In addition to the controversy over the pre-abortion ultrasound law and how the left has used it as “proof” of the GOP’s “War on Women”, there was a controversy about a thesis paper McDonnell wrote back 1989 when he was pursuing his Master’s Degree in Public Policy in which McDonnell supposedly spoke ill of women working outside of the home and spoke highly of a time when there were laws banning sexual intercourse in every state in the union.

      McDonnell also supposedly has a history of voting against government-sponsored access to and information about birth control and contraception as a lawmaker in the Virginia State Legislature.

      Because Republicans have more than enough problems with women (and Hispanics) right now and what looks to be an increasingly negative perception amongst the overall electorate on women’s reproductive health issues that I would not recommend McDonnell as a pick for V.P.

      Now maybe if this thing over contraception had not happened then McDonnell might would be a very viable pick, but Romney would probably serve his candidacy very well by moving as far away as is humanly possible from any negative perception on this supposed “War on Women” thing that the left seems to have a definite upper hand on at the moment.

      Trust me, this is probably not the year for Republicans to demagogue on issues like abortion and contraception or anything in the bedroom department that involves women because they are not in the mood for it this year and doing so could lose the election for the GOP, no matter the economic conditions which is what the GOP should be focusing on.

      • Calypso says:

        “…laws banning sexual intercourse in every state in the union.”

        Ummm, then how were we, to, uh, you know, like, reproduce?

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          Sorry, I meant to write “laws banning intercourse between UNMARRIED ADULTS in every state in the union”…key part of that statement.

          Sorry, that’s what happens with very late night typing…don’t try this at home, folks.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      As for Mitch Daniels, having spent much time in Indiana, I like Daniels personally as he has done a very good job overall of running the state and not just helping to attract business into the state during his time as Governor, but also in helping to create a good environment for attracting and creating new business in the state over the long-term by making long overdue investments in the state’s road infrastructure and finally getting the state to observe Daylight Savings Time after nearly 35 years of refusing to do so.

      Overall, he gets high marks as Governor of Indiana, though there are a couple of negatives.

      First is that Daniels’ family does not want him to be in national politics because they don’t want to reopen old wounds from when him and his wife were separated.

      Second, and this is one that could be a problem in a political environment where the Dems suddenly seem to have the upper hand with women, is that Daniels actively participated in a effort to defund and close down all Planned Parenthoods in the state of Indiana last year by refusing to let them have federal Medicaid funding.

      Granted, Daniels doesn’t have as much of a history with social issues as McDonnell does, anything that a candidate might have done that could be perceived as being negative towards women might be a problem in this particular year.

  10. registrar says:

    Simple: Sen. Rand Paul.

    (A) At an open convention in Tampa, Romney will need Ron Paul’s hundreds of actual delegates on the floor (no, we’re not talking the goofy “delegate totals” being bandied about by the idiots at AP) to support him in order to overcome Sanitorium attempt at his own “delegate strategy”.

    (B) It’s a given that Romney can’t win the general election without Ron Paul’s supporters, and the only chance he has to get them to vote for him as the GOP nominee is if he has Rand Paul on the ticket.

    Of course, even with Rand on the ticket, there’s no guarantee that Paul supporters will support it. They’re loyal to Ron, not the GOP.

    • Harry says:

      Personally I’d love to see Ron Paul on the ticket, but it’s an interesting question whether it would be a net plus or minus.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      “They’re loyal to Ron, not the GOP.”

      More like loyal to the idea of limited, accountable government, unlike a sizeable portion of the GOP.

      Besides, I think this whole idea that a vice president pick is going to sway a whole lot of people is a bit illogical. I mean, I haven’t heard much from Joe Biden (I’m not complaining). We didn’t hear much from Dick Cheney except for that time he filled someone’s face full of bird-shot on a hunting trip.

      The vice president’s job is basically to hide for 4 years. You could pick the most super-conservative VP to go along with Romney and it wouldn’t mean a thing, unless there happened to be a perfect 50/50 vote split in the U.S. Senate, in which the vice prez actually gets to do something substantial, which is be the tie-breaker. Other than that, it’s practically the weakest position in government.

      • Calypso says:

        “…it’s practically the weakest position in government.”

        Other than that ‘next-in-line-to-be-president’ part of the job description.

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          But, again, “Next-in-line” doesn’t mean anything if the guy at the front of the line stays there. Look at how relatively few times a vice president has been required to step up, versus how many administrations have passed in which a vice president had absolutely nothing to do for 4 years except go fishing. The Vice Presidency is a weak position, unless the unspeakable happens, and that hasn’t happened since JFK, and only a few times throughout our history.

          I mean, hopefully, no one here is waiting on a small-government vice president to team up with Romney in hopes that something happens to Romney should he win. Seems like it’d be easier just to not vote for the guy, but that’s just me.

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