The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

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Romney – Rubio 2012: A Look at The Vice Presidential Prospects of Marco Rubio

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Born Marco Antonio Rubio (1971-05-28) May 28, 1971 (age 41) Miami, Florida
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jeanette Dousdebes
Children 4
Alma mater University of Florida (B.A.) University of Miami (J.D.)
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

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 but lacks the air of extremism that others like him carry, 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 electoral combinations 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 to nominate as his vice presidential running mate.

Pros:

  • Rubio can attract Independent voters
  • Appeals to younger voters
  • Can help the G.O.P. win over Hispanic voters
  • Can deliver Florida to Romney and Florida could make the difference between winning and losing the presidential election
  • Rubio is an articulate, passionate campaigner
  • Is a fresh face in politics
  • Helps Romney with T.E.A. movement activists who are not particularly thrilled with Romney

Cons:

  • Being relatively new to national politics, Rubio is not quite as tested and vetted as other possible prospects for Vice President

Assessment:

All things considered, Rubio is probably the best choice Romney can make. However, Rubio has been firm in his declaring that he does not want to be Vice President. But the pressure that could come down on Rubio to take the nomination might be to much to bear.  So early declarations may not be quite as definite as they seem and if it is determined that Florida is in fact the key to winning the White House, we could easily see a Romney-Rubio ticket.

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Recent Key Votes

S 2343 – Prohibits Increase in Interest Rates for Student Loans (Reid Bill) Legislation (Nay), May 24, 2012

S Amdt 2153 – Prohibits Increase in Interest Rates for Student Loans (Lamar Bill) Amendment (Yea), May 24, 2012

More Key Votes

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Bill Sponsorship & Co-Sponsorship

Some of Rubio’s most recently sponsored bills include…

View All » (including bills from previous years)

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Rubio on the Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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