A Large and Diverse Field of Potential Republican Vice Presidential Nominees Wait In The Wings

Bookmark and Share  With the nomination of Mitt Romney all but official, the next most anticipated stage of the election is well underway.  Speculation about who Mitt Romney will select as his Vice President is slowly but surely picking up momentum  So much so that the mainstream media has already largely settled upon whom they believe is a likely choice—– Ohio Senator Rob Portman.  The media’s general consensus about Portman is arrived at mainly because Portman is from an important swing state that no Republican was ever elected President without winning. (In 2008 John McCain lost Ohio with 46.80% of the vote to Barack Obama’s 51.38%). 

Then there are a number of political pundits and analysts who swear that Condoleezza Rice will be Romney choice and at least one poll contends that in the eyes of voters, she is the chosen one.

The selection of  Rice, an extraordinarily accomplished African-American woman, is on the surface a home run.  But  although Condi would probably be the most qualified of any of the candidates on either of the two main Party tickets, her ties to the Bush Administration and Iran and Iraq might concern some when it comes to the prolific propaganda that liberals would promulgate with such a selection.  Still, I am confident that the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State could hold up well to the libel of liberals and I would find her to be an inspiring choice.

As for myself, I am not so sure Portman or Rice will get the nod.  I believe that while the very admirable and accomplished freshman senator from Ohio is worthy, I am not so sure Mitt Romney believes that Portman is as proven and tested enough, is the best person to compensate for his own shortcomings, or that Portman can definitely deliver Ohio to the G.O.P. in  November.  In the case of Condoleezza Rice, I am far from as certain that she will be chosen by Romney than others are.  One of the main reasons for this is her lack of anti-abortion credentials.  The abortion issue is one that Romney can not afford to not be fully committed to.  Anything that would create doubt about Romney’s true position on abortion could force too many pro-life voters to stay at home on November 4th.  Whether or not it enough would stay at home to cost Mitt the election is something he would have to strongly consider.

Of course the obvious choice for Vice President is Marco Rubio, the young, talented, Tea Party supported, conservative Hispanic from another critically important swing state —— Florida.  Like Portman, Rubio is a freshman and he too is not quite as tested as others.  However he not only has more potential for delivering Florida to Romney in November than Portman does with Ohio, Rubio also has a bit more national appeal and can make inroads within the Hispanic community that many belive Republicans will need to get 40% of the vote from to win the election.

While I most certainly approve of a Rubio vice presidency (mainly because I approve of a Rubio presidency even more so than a Romney presidency), I have a feeling that Marco is serious about not wanting the job.  All indications are to me that Rubio does not intend to be a flash in the pan.  He does not seek to be the next Barack Obama….. young, arrogant, ignorant, and more concerned with having power than what he will do with it.  Marco Rubio knows that if he does his job and focusses on that instead of his next election, he has a bright future of constructive conservative leadership to offer our nation and maybe even someday becoming President,  when he knows it’s right.   That is not to say that Rubio wont be Romney’s running mate.  The pressure placed upon him to take on the responsibility could  be overwhelming.  At some point, the powers that be might just be able to convince Rubio that he owes it to the country and given that he has nothing to lose because he will still be in Senate for at least four more years if Romney loses, Rubio could possibly be convinced that not answering “the call to duty”, would be disturbingly selfish of him and something he could come to regret.

The truth is, I have no idea who Mitt Romney will choose and who will accept.  Anyone who tells you they do know is lying.

However; I do know what the political landscape looks like and I have some insight as to how Romney thinks.

Mitt is is very methodical and he has a long history of making right decisions by taking every factor into consideration and effectively prioritizing them. Additionally, he does not surround himself by yes men and appreciates differing opinions, so long as those who offer those opinions are armed by solid facts that they can back up.  This habit provides Mitt with a healthy, choice of appropriate options that more often than  not, he makes the right decision from. Romney has also been known to acknowledge his own weaknesses and to compensate for them.   This is something that he did with great success at Bain, the firm which he built.

This understanding leads me to conclude that some names are more likely vice presidential choices for Romney than others.  But given my admitted limited personal knowledge of the inner workings of Mitt Romney and his 2012 campaign strategy and team, with all things considered, there is one name that I keep coming back to.

John Thune.

John Thune is a relatively safe choice, something which Romney is instinctually inclined to favor.  But more than that, he is safe for all the right reasons.  Senator John Thune is a solid conservative voice and in addition to being more than qualified to step in to the shoes of the President if the need arises, Thune can go a long way in compensating for Romney in several areas of perceived weakness.

Thune is respected by conservatives, he does not offend TEA Party activists, is a favorite of social conservatives and the Evangelical Christian  base whose confidence Romney must gain.  As the Senator from South Dakota, John Thune also has significant sway in several important Mid-West, states including Iowa and through it all, Thune also appeals to the always critical independent vote.

Does this mean that Senator Thune will be the nominee?  Not at all.  It is however my own hunch.  The very fortunate problem though is that there is an abundance of very attractive, highly competent, and deserving potential running mates for Romney.

Two of my of my favorites are former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Thompson can go a long way in helping to get the critical Southern Republican base out to vote for a Romney ticket, he appeals to evangelicals, has better conservative bona fides than most other public figures, and is quite articulate in a very appropriate, homespun, down to earth manner, that allows him to appeal to independents and can make both Obama and Biden look like dumb little dunces sitting in the corner.   Thompson also brings a hint of the anti-establishment image that the Romney image could use some help with.  Thompson could be a game changer, but  the question here is more would Thompson accept the nomination than would Romney pick Thompson?

Mitch Daniels has a different style than Thompson but shares some of the endearing homespun finesse that Thompson has.  And while the selection of Thompson by Romney would be more bold than safe, the selection of Mitch Daniels would be more safe than bold but still quite powerful.

As a highly successful and popular Governor of Indiana, along side of Romney, Daniels would help to project a level of competence and experience that will be dramatically contrast with the level of incompetence displayed by the Obama-Biden ticket, especially in regards to the still stagnant and suffering economy.

Another very appealing name is of course Virginia’s Governor, Bob McDonnell., even though I am pretty sure that Romney will win Virginia handily, even without McDonnell on the ticket.

The variables are infinitesimal though, so much so that I am persuaded to give realistic consideration to many other likely names.  So White House 2012 has compiled a list of  “some” of the most reasonably logical choices that are likely to surface as the selection process continues to unfold.   The names on this list have earned their place here for numerous reasons but the one thing they all share in common is a record that has shown them to be exceptional leaders who in addition to bringing their own unique set of positive characteristics to the potential G.O.P. ticket, have demonstrated an undeniable ability to serve our nation well if called upon in the capacity of President.

Names that are not included on this list but must still be considered are former rivals of Mitt Romney like, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Tim Pawlenty.  And then there is also a very outside chance of a wildcard pick who was a rival of Mitt Romney in 2008……… Mike Huckabee.

Of course events could change the political and force other names to rise to the surface, but in the meantime, this list it is a reflection of the extensive pool of exceptional leaders that the G.O.P. has to choose from and each one of these names would prove to be far superior to the current Vice President.

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Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Rep. Blackburn is n0t an obvious choice.  She is from a state Republicans will not need a lot of help winning  and she is far from a household name that will automatically inspire millions to flock to the G.O.P..  But she could prove to be an effective choice.

First she is a she and a woman on the ticket has value.  Even though hypocritical liberal  activists despise strong conservative women, those who tend be more apolitical, especially Independents, do respect strong women and Marsha Blackburn is indeed a strong woman.

Blackburn is a fiscal and social conservative who has not participated in the earmark process since 2007 and she is a  leading opponent of Obamacare which she describes as “a government run, government ensured, government financed, government delivered healthcare system”.  She has been described by many as a woman with all the attributes of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann but without any of  their negatives or polarizing baggage.  And like Palin and Bachmann, Blackburn is a darling of the TEA movement.

If there is one candidate that Blackburn would be a perfect running mate for, it is Mitt Romney.  He more than any of the presidential contenders needs to firm up his support from the South.  Blackburn helps him do that.  Romney must also firm up his support from the TEA Party,  Here, Marsha Blackburn helps him too.   And insofar as her lack of name ID goes, it could prove to be a plus.  While she has been around for a while, she will be a fresh face to most voters.  That freshness affords her a perfect opportunity to make a positive impression on voters.  Yet at the same time she has experience and clout.  During her time in Congress she has held several leadership positions including that of  Deputy Whip.

While Blackburn is a good fit for a Romney ticket, the question is will she be picked?  Who anticipated the selection of Sarah Palin (besides me) in 2008?  And did anyone really expect the nomination of New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro in 1984?  Rep. Blackburn, who by the way prefers to be called Congressman rather than Congresswoman, may not be that unlikely a choice but she is not exactly the “safe” choice that I would expect from Mitt.

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Former FL. Governor Jeb Bush

(Click here for Jeb’s White House 2012 page)

I know, I know, not another Bush.  But you know what?  Get over it.  Take a look at the record, not the name.  If we are so prejudiced that we can’t get over a name, then we have much bigger problems than we realize.  Besides, we elected a man whose middle name is Hussein, for Christ’s sake.  So you can live with the name Bush again.  And if you are capable of getting past the name, you will see that Jeb is probably the most truly conservative of all the Bushes to come before him and of all the politicians out there today who claim to be conservative.

Beyond having an exceptional record during his two terms as Governor Florida, Jeb is experienced, innovative, steady handed and politically savvy.  And he would be sure to deliver Florida to the Republican side of the electoral ledger.  That in and of itself is enough to get him a spot on someone’s ticket.

However, not only do I believe that Jeb has no deep desire to be Vice President or President, at least not in 2012, I also believe he is more likely to become the next Secretary of Education.

Jeb’s work on behalf of education is unprecedented.  He has delivered innovation and exceptionalism to educating our children and the next generation of Americans to enter the American workforce.  And if the next President does not intend to abolish the Department of Education, Jeb Bush will do the job justice.   Jeb probably won’t run for President or accept the vice presidency until he has fulfilled his role as Educator-in-Chief.

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Majority Leader Eric Cantor

(Click here for Cantor’s White House 2012 Page)

Eric Cantor represents Virginia’s 7th Congressional and is currently the number two man in Congress.  He is a considered a hardline conservative and has lately been rumored to be preparing to oust  the number one person in Congress, Speaker of the House John Boehner.  Many conservatives who are ideologically aligned with Cantor have to come believe that Boehner is too willing to compromise with President Obama on key matters effecting the federal budget and spending and have more faith in Cantor’s willingness to hold the line against the President.

While such rumors may or may not be true, the basis for the rumor matters much when considering a potential Vice President for the Republican ticket.  In this case the basis is that Cantor is a real and reliable conservative.  That in and of itself is enough to make him a strong possibility for the VP slot.  Then there is the effect of insider politics that a possible challenge to Boehner could bring to the forefront.

Behind the scenes, deals are often cut for some of the most shallow of reasons.  In this case, a deal proposing that Cantor be tapped for V.P. could be forced on to the Republican presidential nominee, for no other reason than to get him out of the picture and avoid his challenging Boehner for Speaker come next January.

Insider politics aside, Cantor is a certainly qualified for the job of Vice President.  As a former small businessman, Cantor came to Congress and emerged as a leading voice on the economy and job creation, two very critical issues in the 2012 presidential election.  Furthermore; in Congress, Cantor has become known for his work to lower taxes, eliminate excessive regulation, strengthen small businesses, and encourage entrepreneurship.  All of which will play an important role in any Republican campaign for President.

Cantor could be a perfect running mate, but not necessarily a perfect one for Romney.  In addition to coming from a state the G.O.P. can not afford to lose in 2012, he is also Jewish and in 2012, President Obama is going to need to keep the traditional Jewish base of the Democrat Party together and behind him if he wants to be sure to win several states that he needs to reach the 270 electoral votes required for reelection.  Having Cantor appeal to Jewish voters for Republicans, makes it all the more harder for President Obama, to keep his lock on that Jewish vote. However; at the same time, with Mitt Romney as the nominee, as a Mormon, Romney may be forced to balance his ticket with a running mate that represents the evangelical Christians whom he is having trouble with.  Sadly, religious bigotry is a factor and unfortunately, for many, a ticket with a Mormon and a Jew on it may not be very popular.  In 2008 we proved that we have been able to break the color barrier, but we have yet to prove that we can break some religious religious barriers in America.  So while Cantor may have been a good choice for someone like Santorum or Gingrich, but for Mitt Romney, as unfair and distasteful as it may be, selecting Cantor might make it harder for some to embrace a ticket which is led by both a Mormon and a Jew.

Would Cantor be a good choice?  He would make an excellent President, but not the most likely  running mate to help get a President elected. Cantor has little appeal to Independents on a national level and his leadership role in the House Republican caucus will be ripe for criticism and distortions.  Based upon the ugly realities of electoral politics, with Romney as the nominee the presidential nominee, Cantor is not likely to be the person who gets the nod.

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NJ Governor Chris Christie

(Click here for Christie’s White House 2012 page)

Governor Christie decided not to run for President in part because he felt that this was not the time for him to do so and also because he wants to see through with his committment to the people of New Jersey who elected him two years ago.  Logic would dictate that those same reasons would apply to accepting a spot on the presidential ticket as Vice President.   But stranger things have happened and if Christie seems to be the magic elixir for an apprehensive electorate that wants a strong fiscal conservative who stands up to the establishment, then the pressure to run will be put on Christie.    In the end I still don’t see him accepting the nomination. Besides, it should also be noted that even if he were on the ticket, Christie is unlikely to have the ability to deliver New Jersey’s electoral votes to Romney.

But for reasons that are obvious, he will be at least said to be on the short list.

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Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

(Click here for Mitch Daniels’ White House 2012 page)

By all rights, Mitch Daniels have been the frontrunner, not just for Vice President, but for President.  He has sailed Indiana through the tough seas of a terrible national economy and created a state that is one of the three best to do business in and for job creation.   He came in to office with an $800 million deficit and by the time he was running for reelection in 2008, that deficit was turned in to a $1.3 billion surplus.

That is one reason why he won his 2008 reelection by an 18% margin. Not a bad margin of victory, especially when you consider the fact that at the same time, while a majority of Indiana voters pulled the lever for Barack Obama for President, Mitch Daniels received more than 20% of the African-American vote for Governor. That is an unusually high percentage of the black vote for any Republican, anywhere. But on top of that, the makeup of Mitch Daniels reelection victory was comprised of 51 percent of the youth vote, 67 percent of the elderly, 57 percent of independent voters and even 24 percent of the Democrats in the state. All of which means that Mitch Daniels has crossover appeal.

And like John Thune, Daniels has that Middle American appeal that can allow him to connect with Midwest voters, including and especially those in his own state of Iowa and neighboring Illinois and even the more important delegate rich state of Ohio.

While this Harley Davidson riding governor is understated and even meek, when he starts talking you know you are dealing with a man who like Newt Gingrich, is the smartest person in the room.  But unlike Newt, Mitch Daniels’ homespun, midwestern, charm puts you at ease and makes you realize that while he is smart, he is not an elitists.  He’s the type of guy who never forgets that he puts his pants on one leg at a time.  While some like John Thune may be considered consistent conservatives, Mitch Daniels is consistent but comes across as more of a commonsense conservative.   He has an uncanny dry wit, that will slowly rise and surprise you with a  slew of knee-slappers.  Mitch is both a policy wonk and people person.  And what is probably most important of all is that his area of expertise is in the budget…….the budget that has now reached a crisis level, something which Mitch has repeatedly warned us about.

After coming close to running for President but deciding against it largely due to concerns about the pressure on his family, it is unclear if Mitch Daniels would suddenly believe that the pressure will be any less if he runs for Vice President.  But you never know.  Combine that with the fact that he would be a balancing force on any ticket, and has the experience and ability to lead our nation in the right direction and what you have is absolutely no reason why Mitch Daniels should not be on anyone’s short list.

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Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

Fallin was elected Governor of Oklahoma in 2010 after spending two terms in Congress and prior to that three terms as the state’s Lieutenant Governor.  She is seen as strong willed, conservative and in her first year in office she streamlined and modernized state government, reformed education, and reduced health care costs in the State. In that first year, she also sought out to make up a $400 million budget deficit through a combination of a 5% across-the-board agency budget cuts,and  increased tax enforcement.

Fallin is not an immediate addition to any list of potential vice presidential candidates but any process that is designed to take a comprehensive look at the best possible prospects, would have to conclude that Mary Fallin has to considered.

While Oklahoma is not a swing state that has a chance of going for President Obama in 2012, Fallin’s appeal on a wider scale can not be denied.  However, much like several other potential running mates, Fallin has yet to really prove herself as an executive political leader.  If given the chance though, she can confidently articulate the issues and lay out her vision in a way that can help prove she is to up job.  The only real immediate drawback to her candidacy is the fodder that an old incident might become in a national election.

In December 1998, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol bodyguard for then Lt. Gov. Fallin, resigned after admitting to unprofessional conduct. One week before that disclosure, Fallin filled for divorce amid allegations by her estranged husband that she had had an affair with a bodyguard. During this time, the trooper who admitted to “unprofessional conduct” resigned but never claimed that his conduct involved any sexual activity with Falin.

The relevance of that really only lies in how much traction as a distraction it could become in the election and if Republicans can afford to or want to contend with it possibly becoming an issue.  Then again, few thought that Newt could make it as far as he did in the presidential contest and he has been accused of multiple affairs.  So if ones personal relationships are not the focus of national politics in 2012, Fallin has a fair chance of winding up on the long list of potential running mates.

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Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno

(click here for Fortuno’s WH2012 page)

Luis Fortuno’s name is not just one of those names , it is undeniably one of the most likely names to come up in the veepstakes, even if just briefly.

Largely unknown to most Americans, Governor Luis Fortuno has been on White House 2012′s radar for over two years now. Many have mocked such talk, ( you should see the comments on his WH2012 page) , but White House 2012 may very well have the last laugh. Take that from a friend of White House 2012, Adam Brickley. Adam recently told WH12 that although it may sound “off the wall”, consideration of Luis Fortuno for VP is very possible. Who is Adam Brickley? Adam is the man who created the Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President effort in 2008. He began the effort before we knew John McCain was going to be the nominee, well before most Americans heard of Sarah Palin, and long before John McCain even considered her for the job. So Adam has a good sense for these things.

As Governor of Puerto Rico, the first remarkable thing about Luis Fortuno was that he got elected. He is the first Republican to be elected Governor of Puerto Rico since 1969 and only the second one since 1949. The second remarkable thing about Fortuno is the way in which he has handled Puerto Rico’s budget. Between Fortuno’s ability to appeal to those beyond the Republican base, his fiscal conservatism, and his Hispanic ethnicity, he could make for an interesting choice for a Republican Party that must appeal to the rapidly growing Hispanic vote in the United States.

And when it comes to the primary issues facing our nation, limited government, less spending, and controlled federal budgets, Adam Brickley describesFortuno to White House 2012 by saying “It’s like he’s the love child of Chris Christie and Marco Rubio.”

Lastly, as for those of you who claim a native citizen of Puerto Rico can’t be eligible to be Vice President or President of the United States, it must be understood that all persons born in Puerto Rico between April 11, 1899, and January 12, 1941, are automatically conferred citizenship as of the date that such law was signed by the President on June 27, 1952. Furthemore, all persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, are considered natural-born citizens of the United States.

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South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley came to office as Governor of South Carolina as a TEA movement favorite known for her record of fiscal conservatism, a record she accumulated as a state representative.

That record is one which has yet to be tested as an executive officeholder but she remains a promising conservative who is leading a state which has an approximate 10% unemployment rate and is by many, considered to be under direct attack of the federal government.  As such Haley and her state has challenged everything from South Carolina’s plight for voters to provide identification before voting, to their enforcement of anti-illegal immigration laws, and even the state’s right to work laws.

This puts Nikki Haley on the frontline of many of the hot button, conservative issues and that in turn makes her a prominent name to be considered for Vice President.  However, Haley has really yet to cement her reputation as a fiscal conservative and with less than two years in office, it can be said that there are better choices to go with.  Especially when you consider the fact that South Carolina is not likely to vote for President Obama.   And at the moment, Governor Haley is not the most popular politician in her state.  But she still remains a potential candidate for the long list of vice presidential options.  It is also worth noting that Nikki Haley was a prominent early supporter of Mitt Romney who even though he lost the state’s primary to Newt Gingrich, is certainly appreciative for her help.

Between her personal story as the daughter of Indian immigrants and her being the first woman Governor of South Carolina, she would bring to the G.O.P. ticket an interesting demographic which Republicans must considered.

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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

(Click here for Jindal’s White House 2012 page)

Bobby Jindal is considered one of the most energetic, effective, popular, and conservative Governors in America.  He has led Louisiana through natural and manmade disasters, balanced budgets, cut taxes, reduced spending, improved education, and developed and applied innovative new solutions to old problems.  The people of Louisiana found him so superior to other leaders, that when it came time to nominate their two candidates for Governor in their unique runoff election system, they gave Jindal such a wide margin of victory that it became unnecessary to hold a general election.  In other words, Louisiana voters did not doubt for one moment that they wanted Bobby Jindal to continue on as their Governor.

And the reputation he established in his state preceded him throughout the South and much of the rest of the nation.

For all these reasons, Governor Jindal, like Marco Rubio, is a surefire name for any Republican presidential candidate’s vice presidential shortlist.  But also like Marco Rubio, Jindal is not likely to want to accept a vice presidential nomination.

As is the case with Nikki Haley, Jindal’s Indian-American background has a unique appeal to the Indian-American minority community in the United States but while that community has numbers large enough to be of influence in states like New York and New Jersey, it is still not as large a minority community as the Hispanic voting bloc that can influence the results in many other states and which can be tapped in to with the likes of Rubio, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, or Luis Fortuno.  However; based purely on talent, ability, and competence, Jindal is unmatched and therefore can not be left off of any legitimate list of very possible candidates for Vice President.

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New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez

Martinez is a strong, Thatcher-like, conservative, woman who in 2010 handily won her election and became the first female governor of New Mexico, and  the first female Hispanic governor in the United States.  Beyond both the appeal of the balance she would bring to the G.O.P. as both an Hispanic and a woman, Martinez is simply a strong conservative leader with solid conservative positions and a powerful conservative agenda that translates into the type of solutions that New Mexico requires.

Martinez has pursued an aggressive approach to the problem of illegal immigration in her state, and as a four term district attorney, Martinez she has a powerful law and order agenda.  She has sought to repeal state laws that provide illegal immigrants access to driver’s licenses and to deny children of illegal immigrants access to higher education through the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship  Ironically Martinez has admitted that her paternal grandparents were illegal immigrants.  While that may become a laughing point for the left, it does however give Martinez a unique ability to lead on the issue.

Governor Martinez has also been a leading “good government” advocate who has pushed for transparency in government every step of the way.  This probably stems from her years as a prosecutor in which she focused on cases involving public corruption.  And when it comes to fiscal conservatism, Martinez is a trim, female version of Chris Christie. While far more attractive than Christie, she shares his approach to budgetary matters and has proposed to reduce New Mexico’s debt  without increasing taxes, and by proposing state spending reductions and agency budget cuts.  Martinez has also called for pension reforms, that have reduced the state’s pension contribution and required their beneficiaries to pay an additional 2% into their pension funds.   In other areas Martinez has promised to revamp the state’s education plan by investing in private education

Martinez is pro-life and is opposed to elective abortion. She supports parental notification laws for minors under 13-years-old who seek an abortion. She is also opposed to same-sex marriage. Martinez supports a balanced budget and lower government spending. She also favors putting taxpayer money into a rainy day fund, and refunding taxpayers to attempt to stimulate growth.

If tapped for Vice President, the left will surely try to palinize Martinez.  Like Palin by the time of the 2012 election she will have served only half a term as Governor and many will draw comparisons between Palin and Martinez.  But such comparisons would be a mistake.  The two are very different people, with similar conservative solutions but with distinctly different personalities and approaches.  Martinez could be a strong running mate for any presidential nominee.  But her willingness to accept the VP slot if asked is in great doubt.  Voters of New Mexico were not very happy with their last Governor when he briefly ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.  Governor Bill Richardson was term limited and could not seek reelection but New Mexicans were still not happy with the time he spent running for office instead of running the state.

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Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

During a February 21st, 2011 television interview, when asked“What if the party’s nominee.. came to you and said for the betterment of your party and your country, I need you to serve as my running mate. Wouldn’t that be a difficult thing for you to turn down?” McDonnell replied simply, “Probably.”

Bob McDonnell is a solid choice. He carries little baggage, is on the right side of all the issues that the G.O.P. base wants covered and is a strong speaker who would add a level of confidence in competence to the ticket. The greatest criticism might be that he has only been Governor for what at the time will be slightly over 2 in a half years. But Barack Obama was a Senator for less than that amount of time and it was good enough to elect him President. So for a Vice President , that is not a big deal.

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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul

Rand Paul is a typical political compromise option.  So far his greatest claim to fame is that he is the son of Congressman, and messianic cult of personality, Libertarian hero, Congressman Ron Paul.  That should not take anything away from the vast potential that is Rand Paul.  So far he has been an extremely solid, principled, and consistent conservative voice and there is nothing to indicate that he will continue to be anything other than a solid conservative voice.  The problem is, Republicans hope that this apple fell far enough from the tree to come out of the shadow of his fathers reckless isolationist, foreign  beliefs.

If Rand Paul, can demonstrate that he is not as on the margins as his famous father is, the Republican presidential nominee could find themselves in a position where the need for Ron Paul’s supporters to get behind them will make the difference between winning and losing, will force them to tap Rand Paul as their running mate because he has the potential to establish a decent compromise ticket that could seal the deal.

However, I do not believe that Ron Paul supporters will matter quite as much as many fear.  A vast majority of Ron Paul voters proudly extol the battle cry “Ron Paul or Bust!”   These are people who are were not and are not going to vote for a Republican presidential candidate unless that nominee was Ron Paul.  Therefore I see no value in selecting Rand Paul simply because he is the son of Ron Paul.

Additionally, Rand Paul can only help to deliver Kentucky to Republicans and that state is already in the G.O.P.’s pocket.  But the greatest reason for there being no need to pick Rand Paul, is the fact that there are many other freshmen and senior U.S. Senators who are even more qualified than Rand and have strong, established, proven records that can appeal to a much broader portion of the electorate than he can.  Still, given the fear factor created by the cult-like following of Rand’s father, weak-kneed Republicans could easily turn to Rand Paul out of what they believe to be a need to unite Republicans and unrealistic, dissatisfied, radical, libertarians together in the hopes of hammering together a winning coalition in November.  I do not believe it would achieve that, but I am also not the person at the top of the ticket who will be making that decision.  Therefore, I must conclude that  it is possible that Romney may consider Rand Paul for Vice President.

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Ohio Senator Rob Portman

Casual observers of politics may not be very familiar with the name Bob Portman, but in the world of economics Portman is highly regarded as a leading budget hawk, a reputation he established during his 6 terms as a Congressman and as a former Director of  Management and Budget.  His leadership has been marked by  by proposals for a balanced budget, fighting against irresponsible earmarks, attempts to put in place new transparency for all federal spending, and when Director of Management and Budget, for reducing the size of the federal deficit by more than half of its size at the time.

Prior to becoming the cabinet level Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Senator Portman held another cabinet level post as U.S. Trade Representative.  There, Portman implemented and enforced trade policies that successfully reduced barriers to U.S. exports and increased enforcement of trade laws which helped to level the playing field for American farmers, workers and service providers. That is an accomplishment that could have significant appeal to many pivotal, farming oriented states.

Another point that could have vast electoral appeal is that under Portman’s leadership, American exports increased and the U.S. brought its first successful legal case against China.

Through it all, while Portman closely adhered to conservative orthodoxy, he still managed to establish another reputation for himself as successful bipartisan leader and through his bipartisan efforts effectively maneuvered legislative initiatives through Congress which increased retirement savings, reformed the IRS and added over fifty new taxpayer rights, curbed unfunded mandates, reduced taxes, and expanded drug prevention and land conservation efforts.

Now entering his second year as United States Senator representing the important swing state of Ohio, Portman’s reputation and proven record could make him a prime target for any Romney if he wants to balance the ticket with a solid conservative who has particular expertise with the budget matters that play such a critical role in this election, and who is not seen as an overly partisan politician, while at the same time can make the difference between winning and losing Ohio in the general election…….a factor which could very well mean winning or losing the presidency of the United States.

All things considered, Senator Portman is probably one of the safest, least controversial, and most  logical choices for any Republican presidential nominee to select as their running mate and therefore, like Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree, John Thune,  Portman becomes a leading contender.

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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

In mid December a Washington Times opinion piece stated that Dr. Rice was ”quietly positioning herself to be the top choice of the eventual Republican presidential nominee, ready to deliver bona fide foreign-policy credentials lacking among the candidates.” They added “The 56-year-old has recently raised her profile, releasing her memoir in November and embarking on a monthlong book tour”.   Whether it is true or not that Rice has been “quietly positioning herself”  for a vice presidential nomination is questionable.  This very humble, renaissance woman with above average intelligence, an unmatched resume, and wide range of interests has previously claimed that she would much rather serve  a stint as the Commissioner of the National Football League than another stint in politics.

But minds do change and Condi could actually be floating the idea by sending some behind the scenes signals that she would be willing to be the running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  She would certainly be an excellent choice.  Even though her presence on the ticket may initially draw some negative perceptions of the Bush Administration, Condi’s record is one that is strong enough to diminish such perceptions. Furthermore,  in addition to her ability to bring strong foreign affairs credentials to the ticket and bolster voter  confidence in the Republican  ticket with it, she adds a combination of troubling fear factors to the Obama relection campaign.  In addition to being African-American, she is a woman and while these are politically shallow reasons for electing our nation’s leaders, they are also very real and very undeniable political inroads in to the critical female and black voting block.  All things considered, Condoleezza Rice is an automatic addition to any Republican presidential nominee’s short list.

Except Mitt Romney.

Romney can not afford to seem to equivocate on the issue of abortion.  He will have hard enough time convincing conservatives that now that he has changed his position from pro-choice, to right-to-life, he is committed to to the sanctity of life .  Rice is pro-choice.  It is something which can only be overlooked by many conservatives if the candidate who picks her, has a solid, 100% reocod of committment  to ending abortion.

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Florida Senator Marco Rubio

(Click here for Marco Rubio’s WH2012 page)

When it comes to Marco Rubio the question isn’t will he be on anyones shortlist for VP.  The question is who in their right mind would not pick Marco Rubio to be their Vice Presidential nominee?  The forty year old Floridian is probably one of the three most conservative legislators in both Houses of Congresses, he comes from a critical swing state, and is the most popular elected figure in the state.

Given that President Obama is unlikely to be able to get re-elected without Florida, getting Rubio on the G.O.P. ticket would greatly limit the number of mathematical formulas that will be available for the President to reach the 270 electoral votes needed.  But if that wasn’t good enough reason to have Marco as your running mate, his Hispanic background is a major plus too.  Born to Cuban immigrants, Rubio has the ability to connect to the increasingly important and growing Hispanic voting bloc in America.  Winning the Hispanic vote or at least a decent portion of it, will mean the difference between winning the presidency and losing the presidency for Republicans.  Rubio’s appeal would help in several states with large Hispanic populations, including the important swing state of New Mexico.

Beyond that, Rubio is bright, levelheaded, articulate, passionate, personable, and polished.   Some of that polish came from his years as the youngest person to have ever served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.  And when it comes to putting that political polish to work in a campaign, you must realize that we are talking about a man who was only 39 years old when he decided to seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Florida  and to do so by running against the state’s popular incumbent Republican Governor who also wanted the nomination.  Governor Charlie Crist had been considered the next Senator even as Rubio began his underdog campaign.  But in time the underdog turned the tables around so quick, that Governor Crist dropped out of the Republican primary, because he knew Rubio was about to beat him the primary.  In the end Rubio was handily elected and along the way, he became a hero to the TEA movement and shot of life in to the G.O.P.’s conservative base.

The only problem is, Marco Rubio has made it clear that he will not run for Vice President in 2012.  But that can’t exactly be written in stone.  If duty calls, it is hard to say no.  However, Rubio may just stick to his guns. He knows that he will someday be President, so long as he plays his cards right.  I believe that Rubio wants to be sure that he paces himself.  He does not intend to be a quick flash in the pan, and as such I really believe that he does not want to play second fiddle to anyone as their Vice Presidential running mate.  He is waiting for the day when he picks the person that he wants on his presidential ticket.

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Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan

(Click here for Paul Ryan’s White House 2012 page)

After his 2011 delivery of the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address and his presentation of the 2011 Republican budget proposal, “A Path to Prosperity”, no matter who the Republican presidential nominee is and no matter whether he likes it or not, Paul Ryan will be on a short list of names to be considered for Vice President on the 2012 presidential ticket.

Ryan has already expressed no interest in the number two spot for Republicans in 2012 but f the call comes, the pressure is put on, and the political climate continues to echo the need for economic leadership, the times will dictate that Paul Ryan accept such an offer. For no man who truly loves their country can refuse to serve it when they are convinced that duty calls. And right now America calls out for the type of leadership and fiscal understanding that Paul Ryan brings to the table and possibly to the presidential ticket.

Paul Ryan is young, confident, humble and uses soft spoken words to convey hard hitting facts as he avoids demonizing the opposition. This along with his record of competence and passion for a budget that deals with the problems of today while addressing the needs of tomorrow, will make Paul Ryan the type of running mate who does not outshine the top of the ticket but provides superior support from the bottom of the ticket by being a seemingly non-partisan, down-to-earth, friendly, likeable family man, who can relate to voters and still make them feel confident about his ability to step into the presidency if the need arose. All that is in addition to his coming from an important swing state and his mastery of issues that will still be a top priority in November of 2012,——— the federal budget and national economy.

The greatest obstacle to Ryan’s being asked to run  for Vice President comes from the mileage that Democrats may be able to gain from painting Ryan as a heartless conservative whose budget plan attempts to destroy Americans by cutting everything from Social security benefits to the elderly to slashing assistance for the impoverished.  To succumb to the potential of liberal propaganda would be a mistake though.  If the left seeks to paint Ryan in such a way, the G.O.P could actually carve out a path to victory that addresses the divisive class warfare charade that liberals are trying to wage and combining it with the cold hard facts of mathematics, the mathematics of our ballooning deficit and weak economy.

But perhaps the greatest hurdle to Paul Ryan being selected as Vice President is the specter of losing his leadership in Congress as the House Budget Committee Chairman.  it is one of the ten most powerful important, powerful, and influential positions in America and a president Romney would have to ask himself, does he want to lose the responsible and competent leadership that Paul Ryan brings to that position?

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Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval

Sandoval is another name White House 2012 couldn’t deny early placement on the Vice Presidential Contender list. This man is a former State Assemblyman, federal judge, State Attorney General, Chairman of the state Gaming Commission and now the Governor of the rapidly growing state of Nevada.

Not only did he handily defeat an incumbent Republican Governor in a primary, he went on to trounce into the ground his Democrat opponent for Governor, Rory Reid, the son of Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Whispers about his potential place on the GOP presidential ticket made its way through the political echo chamber early on. And for good reason.  Being of Hispanic descent, In addition to his probable appeal to the Hispanic-American community, Sandoval is from an important swing state, is a charismatic, energetic, conservative with working class appeal and is a top notch campaigner.

While Sandoval is not a frontrunner for a spot on anyone’s short list for VP, he is a contender and Nevada could prove to be a crucial swing state in November 0f 2012.  Thus making Sandoval a good name to consider.

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Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson disappointed many in 2008  with a late entry in to the Republican presidential race and only a half-hearted attempt to win the nomination.  Some have suggested that he only ran as a favor to John McCain in an effort to split the conservative and Southern vote enough to allow McCain squeak by both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.  Thompson denies such charges, but regardless of the real reasons for his brief bid for President in 2008, it is important to remember that the only reason conservatives were disappointed is because they liked Fred Thompson, what he stood for, and the way he presented and fought for the conservative cause.   Today, if given the chance, they still would like it.

That’s why although Thompson is not likely to be on the ticket in 2012, he must still be considered a possibility.  For a candidate like Romney, Fred Thompson could help shore up many of Mitt’s weaknesses, especially in the South where enthusiasm for him leaves a lot to be desired.  If given the chance, Thompson would be a strong running mate for just about any nominee at the top of the ticket and he is one of those unique figures who could be a very unifying force within the G.O.P. if they are still fractured prior to, and during the Republican National Convention.

I had strong reservations about including Fred Thompson on this list.  I know that his is not a name that would automatically come to mind for the job in 2012 and he has taken his candidacy on the ticket off the table.  However; if his name is interjected into the debate about a good vice presidential nominee in 2012, I am confident that it would go over well.  So between that and my personal appreciation for Fred Thompson, I think his is a  name to consider and to watch out for.

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 South Dakota Senator John  Thune

(Click here for Thune’s White House 2012 page)

Thune is attractive, young, conservative with heartland values that would be a big help to a candidate like Mitt Romney.  Yes I know we have had seemingly similar people who fit that same description, but John Thune is no Dan Quayle.  The only drawback in picking Thune is the fact that South Dakota is going to go Republican in the presidential election no matter what and even with the advantage of Thune being the state’s favorite son, South Dakota only brings 3 electoral votes to the table.  But if the basis for chosing a vice presidential running mate is that of someone who he is capable of being President at a moment’s notice, than there is no reason for a Republican not pick Thune.  He is a solid conservative, not perfect, but solid, and is well spoken, levelheaded, quite friendly and knowledgable on the issues.   Add to that the regional appeal that Thune has and you have someone who is an almost perfect vice presidential nominee.

Thune was considered a possible presidential candidate and even gave the idea of running for president some serious consideration of his own.  But Senator Thune decided against running in late spring of 2011.   However, Vice President is a different story, and if asked to run, I really don’t see Senator Thune refusing the nomination.

Thune is a productive legislative leader, youthful, bright, inoffensive, consistently conservative, and a good man in his own right.  Thune is certainly on Romney’s shortlist and if the nomination of the Vice President becomes contentious, John Thune would be the perfect compromise candidate.  And for all the right reasons.

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Florida Congressman Allen West

Is Allen West a most likely choice for Vice President in 2012?

When it comes to conventional wisdom, maybe not.  But in case you haven’t realized it, unconventional is in right now.  Add to that the factors such as qualifications, talent, ability, and political considerations such as geography, ethnicity, and the influence of the TEA movement and what you find is that Lieutenant Colonel Allen West is indeed a perfect choice.

Congressman Allen West is only entering his second year in Congress and does not have a lengthy legislative record to rest on.  But the fact that he is not a career politician is appealing to many and as a popular TEA movement figure, that lack of a political record is a plus.  Unlike Rand Paul though, West has a military record that to a degree, compensates for that record among those who want some type of public service history to refer to.

Beyond that Allen West is a powerful speaker in the mold of the once popular Republican presidential frontrunner Herman Cain, and in many ways he is more knowledgeable on the issues than Cain was.  Other obvious and important factors from a purely political  standpoint include West’s possible appeal to the African-American community and his ability to call the important swing state of Florida his home.  All of this makes Congressman, Lt. Col. Allen West a very plausible vice presidential contender.

This is especially true for Mitt Romney.

West has strong ties to and support from the evangelical community of which Romney needs help with and he is also considered a solid, consistent conservative, who is a strong, lifelong opponent of abortion and has the ability to inspire people with his conservative vision for America.  All of this compensates for many of Romney’s perceived political weaknesses among the G.O.P. base.

So while this first term Congressman may not seem like an obvious choice for Vice President, I dare suggest that if he had run for President, he would have given Romney a good run for his money.

Although selecting West as a running mate might be seen as Hail Mary pass by some, you have to consider how many games have been one by similarly well played Hail Mary passes.

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