One of the time-honored (but usually fruitless) practices of pundits at this stage
of the presidential campaign (that is, when it first becomes obvious when a
non-incumbent is going to receive his or her party's nomination) is to speculate
about the vice presidential choice.
Being the out-of-the box contrarian that I am, I cannot help but throw out a few
names that may not be mainstream and well-known choices. At the same time,
having observed so many presidential elections professionally (since 1972), I
know a few pragmatic rules for the choices that many others might ignore.
So it may not surprise my readers when I say that Marco Rubio, Chris Christie,
Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush will probably NOT be Mitt Romney's selection
(announced sometime between the end of the primaries in June and the start
of 'the GOP national convention in late August.
What are my assumptions?
First, and foremost, the veep nominee should do no harm to the ticket.
However charismatic and well-known, a controversial candidate does harm.
Second, the veep nominee cannot overshadow the presidential nominee.
Third, the veep nominee must be likely to bring a large state into the GOP
column that was either unlikely to vote Republican, or a state previously in
doubt; or if not a state, the veep nominee must bring a major constituency
to vote for the ticket.
Finally, the nominee must have the stature and experience to be credible
to take over the presidency should the need arise.
While Rubio, Christie, Jindall and Bush do bring the last two requirements to
a Romney ticket, they clearly violate the first two.
Here are some names of those who I think fit all the requirements:
Susana Martinez is a first-term governor of New Mexico, a lawyer and a
former prosecutor. She has solid conservative credentials.
Robert McDonnell is a first term governor of Virginia, a former state
legislator and state attorney general. He is also a lawyer, former prosecutor
and journalist. McDonnell served 21 years in the U.S. Army.
Rob Portman is a first-term U.S. senator from Ohio. Previously, he was a
six-term congressman from Ohio; and later held two cabinet positions, U.S.
Trade Representative and director of the Office of Budget and Management.
Mitch Daniels is second-term governor of Indiana. Previously, he was chief of
staff to Senator Richard Lugar, senior adviser to President Reagan, and director
of the Office of Budget and Management. He has also been the CEO of a major
U.S. corporation and of a major conservative think tank.
Governor Daniels is perhaps the most well-known of the four since he was
frequently mentioned as a 2012 candidate for president. He declined to run,
but his glittering resume, remarkable record as governor of a midwestern
state and his obvious stature might make him an attractive choice for the
Romney team. Rob Portman has many of the advantages that Mr. Daniels
might bring to the ticket, plus he would almost certainly ensure that the
critical state of Ohio would go Republican this year. Robert McDonnell
likewise would probably ensure the electoral votes of Virginia, plus would
bring his military background to the ticket. Governor McDonnell has been
one of the remarkable Republican governors who won office in 2010, and
unlike some of his colleagues, enjoys great popularity. Susana Martinez
has perhaps the least national profile of the four, but her years as a lawyer
and prosecutor, demonstrate a maturity that, combined with being an
Hispanic woman, might make her a big plus for a ticket led by a former
governor from Massachusetts.
These are just my first thoughts, and I do not presume to know what the
Romney team will decide are its priorities, but it may be that their choice
will come from this list. I do know, however, that my four assumptions
listed above are valid and will be central to the person finally chosen.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman
All rights reserved.