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?

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  1. Profile photo of Songwriter Member

    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.

    • #1
    • March 23, 2012 at 10:44 am
  2. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    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.

    • #2
    • March 23, 2012 at 10:47 am
  3. Profile photo of James Gawron Coolidge

    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

    • #3
    • March 23, 2012 at 10:56 am
  4. Profile photo of billy Member

    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.

    • #4
    • March 23, 2012 at 10:59 am
  5. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    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.

    • #5
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:00 am
  6. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive

    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.

    • #6
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:01 am
  7. Profile photo of Valiuth Member

    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. 

    • #7
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:02 am
  8. Profile photo of Troy Senik Editor
    Troy Senik Post author

    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
    • #8
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:07 am
  9. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member
    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.

    • #9
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am
  10. Profile photo of KC Mulville Member

    My prediction: he’ll pick a woman.

    • #10
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:14 am
  11. Profile photo of David Williamson Member

    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.

    • #11
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:17 am
  12. Profile photo of David Preston Inactive

    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?

    • #12
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:17 am
  13. Profile photo of Yeah...ok. Member

    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.

    • #13
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am
  14. Profile photo of wmartin Inactive
    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.

    • #14
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:28 am
  15. Profile photo of crizzyboo Member

     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?

    • #15
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:29 am
  16. Profile photo of Noesis Noeseos Inactive

    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?

    • #16
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:31 am
  17. Profile photo of Ken Burns Inactive

    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.

    • #17
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:42 am
  18. Profile photo of Ethan, College Conservative Inactive

    My #1 pick is Rand Paul.

    • #18
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:48 am
  19. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    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.

    • #19
    • March 23, 2012 at 11:50 am
  20. Profile photo of Gus Marvinson Inactive
    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*

    • #20
    • March 24, 2012 at 1:04 am
  21. Profile photo of Give Me Liberty Inactive

    Traditionally, the VP choice is used to bolster the candidates weaknesses. McCain needed a conservative, a women could appeal to Clinton supporters miffed by the way their favorite was treated by the Obama campaign, and she fit the maverick narrative. 

    Romney is considered too moderate, too white, too Northeastern, too rich… I think for a lot of reasons Marco Rubio is the best choice on that list but the obvious choice is not the one the candidate usually makes. 

    Biden, Palin, Edwards, Cheney, Gore, Kemp, Quayle–I think you might have to go back to Reagan/Bush for a predictable choice. (?)

    Ooooops! I forgot Lieberman.

    • #21
    • March 24, 2012 at 1:20 am
  22. Profile photo of Schrodinger's Cat Inactive

    My guess would be one of the following:

    Rand Paul – part of a deal with Ron Paul to get his support for the nomination and the general election.

    Tim Pawlenty – an up yours to the conservatives pick. Helps in the midwest flyover country. Also, more ideologically in sync with Romney.

    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – ( my longshot ala Palin candidate) Cuban American female, a twofer, would help withthe Latino vote and the female vote. Might help with conservative voters also.

    • #22
    • March 24, 2012 at 1:36 am
  23. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member
    Troy Senik, Ed.: This feels suspiciously like you’ve been calibrating a pitch for the express purpose of winning the Senik primary. · 2 hours ago
    Duane Oyen: Besides, Marco has ProFootballTalk.com bookmarked on his smart phone and is married to a Dolphins cheerleader. · 5 minutes ago
    Edited 2 hours ago

    Ask Steve Hayes- he can provide details.

    • #23
    • March 24, 2012 at 1:37 am
  24. Profile photo of tabula rasa Member

    Love Rubio. I go with Portman as number two.

    Kyl would be perfect in the job, but not as a candidate.

    • #24
    • March 24, 2012 at 1:51 am
  25. Profile photo of Songwriter Member
    Duane Oyen: Besides, Marco has ProFootballTalk.com bookmarked on his smart phone and is married to a Dolphins cheerleader. · 4 hours ago

    That seals it for me.

    • #25
    • March 24, 2012 at 2:41 am
  26. Profile photo of Scott Stillwater Inactive

    Do we have to worry about Rick Scott selling Rubio’s vacated Senate seat after we win in November?

    • #26
    • March 24, 2012 at 2:43 am
  27. Profile photo of Chris Johnson Member

    When the worthless Republicans deal us another John McCain, we should not then hope that our very best young, national players get robbed from their national roles. Leave Ryan where he is most needed. Leave Rubio where FL desperately needs him (and has only had him for 14 months!).

    Sure, Portman would be a good choice. Jindal also. But why rob people from critical D.C. roles, just to run them through the meatgrinder that faced Palin?

    Of course, I would love to see West selected, but we’re talking Romney, here.

    • #27
    • March 24, 2012 at 2:59 am
  28. Profile photo of Commodore BTC Member

    I fear it will be Bob McDonnell, a safe, uninspiring, establishment choice.

    • #28
    • March 24, 2012 at 3:13 am
  29. Profile photo of Cutlass Inactive

    I say hands off Ryan. A cynical case could be made that any effort to bring Ryan into the administration would be a “team of rivals” type play to remove a potential thorn in Romney’s side.

    I still don’t trust Romney and we would absolutely need solid conservative leadership in Congress to keep a Romney administration honest.

    Also, as mentioned, Ryan is a wonk and not suited to the more theatrical attack dog role. As a junior senator Rubio’s primary role is as a vote, which can be replaced, and an ideological voice, which would be strengthened as VP.

    • #29
    • March 24, 2012 at 3:35 am
  30. Profile photo of TucsonSean Inactive

    top 3: Rubio, Rubio, and then Rubio. In that order.

    Kyl, no. I love him, but Romney does not need an “elder statement”, he already is sober and mature. Rubio is exciting, and has not been in federal office long enough to be a DC insider, but has been in government long enough at state level that he is good at the game.

    Paul Ryan is good but looks too young. Rubio looks young too, but not as young as Ryan.

    • #30
    • March 24, 2012 at 3:43 am
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