Monday, July 16, 2012

Mitt Romney is expected to choose a running mate this week.

Oof. I'm not ready to predict. I think I'll wait to predict once the Romney campaign announces a running mate. Then I'll feel comfortable doing so.

However, let's see who's a possibility, and who's probably not, and in no particular order:

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte - Not stupid, but not the best TV presence. Plus she'd put too much New England on the ticket. Probably not.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie - Too abrasive, too Northeast, and too pro-choice. He's a hit with the basest of the base, but that's not enough to get him on the ticket.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell - He'd get the base excited, but he might be too far right to appeal to moderate voters. However, I'd still class McDonnell as a possibility. This will be a base election, and McDonnell would get more of the base out than a lot of choices. So... maybe.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum - It's dubious how much of a boost Santorum would bring to the Romney ticket. It's also moot: Romney won't pick him, and Santorum wouldn't accept if Romney did.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley - She's got the right political leanings, and she does okay in front of the cameras. That sex scandal (or was it?) that she had last year probably won't dog her. So she's a possibility.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush - A definite possibility, except for his being Catholic and being named Bush, which means he won't be chosen.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio - Rubio has plenty of chatter, but I think the only reason there's been so much chatter is to reach out to Hispanics, where the GOP has been doing progressively worse over the past decade. I don't see Romney choosing him. Romney's going to need a Protestant on his ticket to smooth the feathers of the religious right, who are uneasy with a Mormon at the top of the ticket, and who wouldn't like a Mormon/Catholic ticket any better.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul - Though there's plenty of love for the Paul family among a certain segment of the Republican Party, there's no love for the Pauls coming from Romney. He won't pick Rand Paul.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman - It seems that Romney would want someone with economic gravitas, so on the surface, choosing a former Budget Director would make sense. However, since Portman was George W. Bush's former Budget Director, the value of picking him drops. Does Romney really want to remind people of the Bush administration and its economic fallout? Romney's having enough trouble convincing people his ideas would be different. Oddly enough, I think Portman's still a possibility.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan - Okay, this could actually happen. Ryan is young, telegenic, and has a reputation for coming up with ideas that Republicans like. He won't appeal to Democrats, but he'll thrill Republicans, which is what the Romney campaign no doubt wants. Plus Ryan's one of those rare running mates whose presence on the ticket could actually tip his own state into his party's column. Ryan is a strong possibility.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann - She's got her following, and she'd drive both Democrats and Republicans to the polls. Of course, she'd drive too many Republicans to the polls to vote for Barack Obama, so no, Bachmann won't be chosen.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty - Pawlenty wouldn't outshine Romney, so that's a plus. And Republicans seem to like him. He'd also do some good in reëstablishing the Republican brand in the Midwest, where it's flagging. He probably wouldn't put Minnesota in the Republican column, but he's inoffensive enough. Romney might choose him.

Louisiana Gov. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal - Romney might well consider Jindal, but I'm inclined to think that Jindal won't want the job. He's young enough and is probably considering a run in 2016, so I'll bet he doesn't want to gamble getting on a losing ticket this year. Not that Romney is guaranteed to lose this year. Even if Romney doesn't lose, Jindal would do all right to wait until 2020. He'd have two terms as governor under his belt by then, and he'd have time to build up a national profile. I don't think Jindal will be picked—or that he'll accept the job if he is.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry - Probably not. Some talk has emerged about Perry appearing on the ticket, but... no. Romney would not want this particular loose cannon on his ticket.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin - She's smart, she's conservative, she's Protestant, and she's a woman. A bit obscure nationally, so she'd initially invite comparisons to Sarah Palin—but those would fade once she does a few interviews. The Republican base will like her, the Democrats won't, but she's no idiot. She'd be an asset to Romney. I haven't heard anything about him vetting her, but... who knows? Maybe he is. She'd be a good choice.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune - He's conservative and Midwestern, sure, and will appeal to the GOP base, especially with his reputation for having knocked Tom Daschle out of the Senate back in 2004. A drawback is that Thune, who explored a presidential bid last year, traveled in Iowa, where locals frequently confused him with Mitt Romney. Romney might not want to have his clone on the ticket.

New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez - A smart woman, and a Hispanic, Martinez is a logical choice. However, she snuffed out any speculation about her being chosen months ago, explicitly stating that she didn't want to leave New Mexico because she has to take care of her special-needs sister and her father, who's in a nursing home in not-so-nearby El Paso, Texas. Further, Republican voters might not react well to a Mormon/Catholic ticket. Her being fluent in Spanish could alienate the GOP base, too.

Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rogers - She's a conservative who could also serve as a game-changer. She's rather young, age 43, but could breathe some life into the Romney campaign. She might even have some appeal to independents who have more interest in personalities than policy. She could well be the surprise pick this week.

Former Alaska Half-Gov. Sarah Palin - Heh... There are some Republicans who adore her, but there are too many people out there who don't. She's never been under serious consideration for Romney, though some conservatives have had some fun speculating that she'll get chosen. Of course, many more Democrats have had some fun speculating that she'll get chosen, which is one of the many big reasons that she won't be chosen, not ever, not no way, not no how.

New York financier and celebrity huckster Donald Trump - No. Just... no.

Of course, it's always possible that the VP pick will be someone who's not currently on the radar. But that doesn't seem to be the way Romney works. I'd expect his running mate will be someone who's gotten some attention already, rather than a complete surprise. But you never know for sure.


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