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?