Open Thread Friday: The Search for a Running Mate

Let’s face it: whatever drama is left in the Republican presidential race at this point consists mostly of determining exactly when and how Mitt Romney will sew up the nomination — pretty anticlimactic, as these things go. With that in mind, I put the next great question to you, the Ricochetoise: assuming he is the nominee, who should Romney choose as his running mate? A few choices that would satisfy me:

Marco Rubio – The almost painfully obvious choice. Energizes conservatives, but would attract moderates. Comes from the vote-rich electoral battleground of Florida. Creates inroads to Hispanic voters without pandering (anyone who sees Rubio on the stump will know that he was not chosen on the basis of identity politics). Best of all, it tees him up for a future presidential bid, regardless of whether Romney wins or loses.

Paul Ryan — Perhaps Ryan accomplishes more of substance in the House of Representatives than he does in the notoriously thankless second banana position. And perhaps the Romney campaign wouldn’t want to defend the litany of specific proposals for economic and entitlement reform that Ryan has authored in recent years. Still, it’s unlikely that any other choice could as seriously telegraph Romney’s intent to be a substantive reformer — or provide such a vigorous contrast with the free-spending ways of the Obama Administration.

Jon Kyl — A name that doesn’t come up much in veepstakes chatter, but the Arizona senator and Republican Whip (who’s retiring this fall after three terms in the upper chamber) is in reality what Joe Biden was in theory: an elder statesman with a policy wisdom born of experience. He’s also been a leader on foreign policy issues in recent years, which could buttress the inexperienced Romney should international affairs become more prominent in the run-up to November.

Allen West – The Tea Party congressman from South Florida may be the Sarah Palin of this cycle: high risk, high reward. West is a gifted speaker, a rock-ribbed conservative, and a distinguished Army veteran. He has also proven, at times, to be bold to the point of impetuousness, a trait that could be a red flag for the notoriously controlled Romney campaign.

Those are just a few names I’d be happy seeing. Which figures could satisfy you at the bottom of the ticket?

  1. Songwriter

    Great question. Rubio or Ryan would be amazing.  West is awesome, but probably more polarizing. Kyl is great but would likely perceived by many as another middle-aged white guy, unfortunately.

  2. Aaron Miller

    Agreed. Rubio would probably be best, largely because West is too brutally honest for many voters.

    But I will be surprised if Romney chooses anyone even remotely like a social conservative.

  3. James Gawron

    Troy,

    Marco is my number 1 pick for the top spot or VP.  If he doesn’t want to do it then I need to think.

    Kyl is not a good choice.  Too bland for todays politics.

    Ryan is a very good choice.  He’s young and that will help those who Romney is weak with.

    You’ve suggested something that I really hadn’t considered but should of.  Allen West is an incredibly solid citizen and a really nice guy.  If the American people had a chance to really get to know him they’d be very happy. And dull, WOW it would be anything but dull.  Sparks would fly between Allen and Obama for shure.  Gee, we might be forced to accuse the democrats of being racist.  How much more fun could we have?

    Regards,

    Jim

  4. billy

    How much does a vice-president really matter?

    When’s the last time an election was won or lost because of the VP choice?

    Moreover, when’s the last time a VP had a significant influence on a President’s policy direction?

    Maybe Cheney on the Iraq invasion, but other than that I don’t think Gore,Quayle, Bush, or Mondale really pushed their presidents in particular direction.

  5. Duane Oyen

    Painfully obvious choices are obvious for simple reasons- Rubio is clearly the home run choice.  Young, brilliant speaker, unequivocally conservative, critical swing state.  The only close second is Rob Portman in Ohio.

    I like Jon Kyl, but I don’t want to have a 64 year old + 68 year old ticket.  Besides, Marco has ProFootballTalk.com bookmarked on his smart phone and is married to a Dolphins cheerleader.

  6. Mel Foil

    If he could get Bobby Jindal, that would be perfect. I hope Romney’s not intimidated by someone smarter than himself, because that’s a problem for nearly anybody who stands next to Governor Jindal. In a debate with Biden, Jindal might have to drink about five shots first, just to make it somewhat fair.

  7. Valiuth

    I must admit I love Rubio. He seems to me to be everything a great Republican should be, and what I love most about him is that like Reagan he understands and can articulate why America is Great. Many people on the GOP side think America is great, but I feel too often it is for the wrong reasons or they just can’t seem to express the right reasons. 

    I also like Allen West but I don’t know how he will do being a wing man. One would think as a soldier he would be good at following orders and a battle plan, but I get the feeling like in politics he is his own General. 

    Paul Ryan seems good but really I think we need some one with his honesty and budgeting skills to actually be in congress and do the yomen’s work of making legislation. The VP is a lot of show mostly. If there is anything Romney should pick is some one who complements a trait he is lacking. Wonkish talent for figures I think Romney has in spades. The ability to connect to people and inspire them that is what he needs. 

  8. Troy Senik, Ed.
    C

    This feels suspiciously like you’ve been calibrating a pitch for the express purpose of winning the Senik primary.

    Duane Oyen: Besides, Marco has ProFootballTalk.com bookmarked on his smart phone and is married to a Dolphins cheerleader. · 5 minutes ago

  9. Aaron Miller
    billy: How much does a vice-president really matter?

    When’s the last time an election was won or lost because of the VP choice?

    I doubt it matters as much as pundits think it does.

    A VP candidate is primarily a media distraction, intentionally (Biden) or not (Palin). The key is to choose someone who will make use of media attention to advance sound politics and not make too many gaffes. It’s mostly a PR job.

    But I do think a VP candidate’s image does rub off on the Presidential candidate, consciously or not. If Romney chose Lt. Col. West, I doubt any of us would look at him the same way as if he chose Huntsman.

    It probably affects Left-leaning voters more than conservatives, lacking a sense of proportion.

    That said, imagine if LBJ had not taken over when JFK died.

  10. KC Mulville

    My prediction: he’ll pick a woman.

  11. David Williamson

    With the exception of my senator, Jon Kyl, who I thought was retiring, I’d be happy with any of these – I’d prefer ‘em all over our likely nominee for President, actually.

    Oh, and I still like Sarah Palin, just to annoy the elites.

  12. David Preston

    I like Rubio and his ability to answer questions directly and concisely without resorting to lame talking points.  And we may need a decent percentage of Latino votes in Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada to win those swing states.  Ryan has great policy ideas and is reasonably likable, but his highest and best use might be in a Cabinet position or remaining in Congress.  I also like Portman, who understands budget and entitlement spending issues better than most.  

    But I have a question:  there must have been some reason that Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race after the Iowa straw poll (!?) and threw his support behind Romney early on.  Does anyone think he a possibility?

  13. Yeah...ok.

    Which color lipstick to put on the pig.

    If John Edwards changed parties and was the VP candidate I would still vote early and often against Barry.

  14. wmartin
    etoiledunord: If he could get Bobby Jindal, that would be perfect. I hope Romney’s not intimidated by someone smarter than himself, because that’s a problem for nearly anybody who stands next to Governor Jindal. In a debate with Biden, Jindal might have to drink about five shots first, just to make it somewhat fair. · 25 minutes ago

    A Romney-Jindal ticket probably would be among the highest-IQ tickets in American history. I don’t really know who is higher, but both are probably north of 140.

  15. crizzyboo

     Ryan is guilty of dereliction of duty for not running for prez. That said, he’s my pick for veep, which would yet again give Republicans an upside down ticket: Kemp, Cheney, and Palin all had stronger conservative instincts than their running mates.

    But can two eggheads get elected? Could they even get along? Would Ryan’s strength get diluted by Romney’s wateriness? Would Romney be big enough to allow Ryan to shine?

  16. Noesis Noeseos

    There is nothing inherently impetuous about Col. West’s response to that Wasserman-Schultz person.  She is exactly as he described her, and he only responded to an outrage she had already trumpeted when she slandered him by his very name on the House floor.  He would make a fine VP, adding real military expertise and personal gravitas to a foggy Romney who, with respect to matters military (among others), is less competent than a raw recruit.

    Whether Mittens himself would think so is another matter.  He may calculate that a ticket whose VP is more grounded in Constitutional conservatism and more articulate in all things political may not be the best to magnify his ego. 

    The question then arises:  does Mittens embrace any genuine love of country at all, or is he just running in order to polish his mirror?

  17. Ken Burns

    I am probably one of the few that would want someone like Kyl.  He would not be the nominee in 2016 or 2020.  Picking one of the rising stars would move him, or her, to the front of the pack with an almost insurmountable lead.  I would rather WE get to choose the next nominee rather than Romney.

  18. Ethan, College Conservative

    My #1 pick is Rand Paul.

  19. Aaron Miller

    I can imagine Romney picking someone like Pawlenty or Mitch Daniels (if he would accept). Whomever Romney chooses, it will be someone low-key because Romney wants to be uncontroversial.

  20. Gus Marvinson
    David Williamson: With the exception of my senator, Jon Kyl, who I thought was retiring, I’d be happy with any of these – I’d prefer ‘em all over our likely nominee for President, actually.

    Oh, and I still like Sarah Palin, just to annoy the elites. · 2 hours ago

    Edited 2 hours ago

    And I like Palin because I think she’s actually better than the final four–by a fairly wide margin.

    *Sigh*

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