Tuesday, 17 July 2012 10:13

Whom should Romney not pick for Republican Vice President?

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romneyDuring a campaign stop with the candidate in Baton Rouge, a top Romney aide speculated that his candidate could very well choose his running mate as early as this week.

Granted that’s not saying Mitt Romney will announce his selection this week or anytime soon, though that hasn’t stopped media outlets from jumping the gun.

I’m betting the pick won’t be promulgated until the weekend before the convention.


 An early roll out would take away some of the suspense and intrigue from the start of the Republican National Convention, turning it into an even less interesting prolonged political infomercial while providing the Democrats weeks to define Romney’s running mate in paid and free media before the convention.

There are far better (and cheaper) ways to shift discussion away from Romney’s taxes and his time with Bain Capital than to play the veep card this early.

Below is a list of individuals who may very well be presidential candidates themselves in the future but would make less than ideal running mates for Romney.  

  1. Chris Christie  Though I had hoped the brash and bulky New Jersey governor would have sought the GOP’s presidential nomination, Chris Christie should not join Romney on the ticket.  There’s little chance Christie could flip his state to the GOP and his outspokenness would provide too much of a personality contrast.  That said, Christie should have a prominent speaking slot at the convention.
  1. Paul Ryan  Considered one of the party’s rising stars, Ryan’s greatest liability as a running mate is the budget proposal that bears his name.  Romney has been struggling to frame the election in terms of what President Barack Obama has done with the US taxpayers’ money instead of what Bain Capital did with their own, which has taken a toll in the polls. 

Choosing Ryan would make the election as much about the Wisconsin US Representative’s budget as it would ObamaCare.  Think endless Democratic nitpicking.  Though Ryan possesses many of the traits that would ordinarily make him an ideal running mate, Romney cannot afford to spend time defending and explaining Republican theoretical budgets when he needs to focus all of his time and resources railing against Obama’s very real (and expensive) budgets.

  1. Marco Rubio  Sixteen years ago, there was a lot of excitement about the possibility of Colin Powell serving as Bob Dole’s running mate...and a lot of disappointment when someone else got tapped.  To avoid a similar letdown, the Romney camp initially got out word that Rubio was not being considered for the second spot on the ticket only to have to declare that the Cuban-American conservative would indeed be vetted.  As I have said previously, I don’t think either is interested in a Romney-Rubio ticket.  Rubio would risk his favorite status in 2016 by being part of a November 2012 defeat while Romney would risk being overshadowed by his own running mate. 
  1. Bob McDonnell  The Old Dominion state could be the Florida of 2000.  Though Virginia has been reliably Republican in presidential elections since the 1970s, the combination of a large black population with a growing white liberal/federal bureaucrat electorate in NoVa has made it a true toss-up.  The big rub against McDonnell was the state legislature’s acrimonious handling of a bill mandating an ultrasound prior to an abortion being performed, though I don’t see how this should be a disqualifier.  McDonnell should only be brought on if it will make or break Romney in a state where he has consistently trailed the president this year.  For what it’s worth, the state’s attorney general Kenneth Cuccinelli would be a better pick, firing up the right while making a parochial play in Virginia though I am not holding my breath about that scenario. 
  1. Tim Pawlenty  The candidate I initially supported for president in 2012 was the former governor of Minnesota.  The “first runner up” who lost to Miss Alaska in John McCain’s veepstakes, Pawlenty was considered the default electable conservative to Romney in 2012.  But after an emasculating debate performance where he wouldn’t own up to his ObamneyCare crack in the presence of the GOP frontrunner and a decapitation at the hands of US Representative Michele Bachmann in the Ames Iowa Straw Poll, the self-proclaimed Sam’s Club Republican dropped out the race and fell in line behind Romney. 

Aside from being a “safe pick”, I don’t see what Pawlenty brings to the table.  He couldn’t deliver his own state during the primary/caucus season (which went to Rick Santorum) and he won’t carry it in the general election (Minnesota hasn’t voted Republican for president since Richard Nixon’s 1972 landslide).  If Romney wants two scoops of vanilla ticket, he might as well get a sprinkling of electoral votes from a true swing state. 

When measured against Pawlenty, McDonnell or Ohio US Senator Rob Portman would be far better selections.


Mike Bayham is a political consultant in south Louisiana.  He posts his political column at www.MikeBayham.com and can be reached at [email protected].




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