Each of these young, politically fresh-faced candidates would easily boost the excitement factor of a Romney headliner by a factor of no less than ten. And all of them (with the exception of Christie, whom some would argue is a squish on a few of the important issues) can eloquently and passionately articulate the principles of conservatism.
But precisely none of these candidates would be an ideal running-mate for Mitt Romney. Or at least so says Romney surrogate John Sununu in his Boston Globe column today entitled "An exciting VP? Don't go for it, Mitt".
The vice presidential pick can bring on board a good campaigner, a substantive voice, or some skills and experience where the nominee falls short. This very modest upside potential can be quickly and effortlessly offset by a choice that becomes a distraction. Distractions are the result of the unexpected, and the unexpected occurs when candidates have been poorly vetted. (You know who I mean.)
So let us embrace the obvious: The winning choice is the dull choice — a running mate the public already knows, warts and all. Mondale, Bush, Gore, Cheney, Biden. These were not picks that lit the world on fire. They were serious, experienced names, vetted by the harsh media glare of a previous run for president or service in the president’s cabinet. They weren’t from key states, and weren’t part of some grand plan to balance ideology. But they all won.
My initial reaction was suspicion that Sununu, not exactly a sizzling player these days, must be angling for the position himself. But the former New Hampshire Senator told NRO that Romney would be ill-advised to tap as his VP nominee someone from the northeast lest he "be accused of being so parochial that you can't even look outside of your own backyard." That at least suggests that he's not interested in the position for himself.
Sununu's bottom line seems to be that if Romney wants to avoid providing fodder for yet another made-for-TV movie, he should take care not to select a running mate in the mold of you-know-who. The problem with this obvious advice is that exciting and unvetted aren't always synonymous.