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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White House 2012’s Series “The Herd”: Could Rand Paul Be the Ticket for Mitt Romney?

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 believethat  will be at least 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 Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Born Randal Howard Paul (1963-01-07) January 7, 1963 (age 49) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kelley Ashby Paul (m. 1990)
Relations Ron Paul Carol Wells Paul (parents)
Children William, Robert, and Duncan
Residence Bowling Green, Kentucky
Alma mater Baylor University (1981–1984)Duke University (M.D., 1988)
Occupation Ophthalmologist (Physician), Politician
Religion Presbyterian(baptized Episcopalian)

Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, rode a wave of anti-establishment, T.E.A. movement sentiments in Kentucky that allowed him to defeat his establishment backed Republican opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson by more than 20% in the state’s primary. Grayson was even backed by the state’s senior Senator, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Paul went on to win the senate against in a a hard-fought battle against Kentucky Attorney General, Democrat Jack Conway (D) by with a mix of his father’s Libertarian and continued energetic support from the T.E.A. Movement.

Rand’s swearing in to the Senate and his father’s swearing in to the House of Representatives marked the first time in congressional history that a child served in the Senate while the parent simultaneously served in the House of Representatives but Rand soon set out to become his own man and make his own mark on politics. After being assigned to serve on the Energy and Natural Resources, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business committees, Rand established the Senate Tea Party Caucus and his very Paul’s first legislative proposal was to cut $500 billion from federal spending in one year. It included proposals This proposal include an 83% cut in funding of the Department of Education a 43% cut the Department of Homeland Security. Other measures in his spending bill included making the Department of Energy ia part of the Department of Defense and totally eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In total, his bill would dismantle seven more independent agencies, put an end to financial international aid spending, cut the food stamp program by 30 percent and reduce defense spending by 6.5 percent.

Since then, Paul was one of only two Republicans to vote against extending three key but controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, the provisions allowing for roving wiretaps, the search of business records and for conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”.

Later in the year Paul was one of only nine senators to vote against a bill designed temporarily prevent a government shutdown that cut $4 billion from the budget. His reasons for his opposition to the bill was based on his belief that it did not cut enough from the budget and a week later, Rand Paul voted against the Democratic and Republican compromise budget proposals to keep funding the federal government and On April 14, Paul was one of 19 senators to vote against a budget that cut $38.5 billion from the budget and fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.

During the debt ceiling crisis, Paul stated that he would only support raising the debt ceiling if a balanced budget amendment was enacted and became a supporter of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which was tabled by the Democrats. On August 3, Paul voted against the inevitable bill that came before Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

Some of Paul’s other initiatives in the Senate include calling for a no confidence confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, blocking legislation that would have supposedly strengthened safety rules for oil and gas pipelines because he felt the bill was not strong enough. he also blocked a bill that would provide $36 million in benefits for elderly and disabled refugees, because he was concerned that it could be used to aid domestic terrorists. This was in response to two alleged terrorists, who came to the United States through a refugee program and were receiving welfare benefits, were arrested in 2011 in Paul’s hometown of Bowling Green. Paul lifted his hold on the bill after Democratic leaders promised to hold a congressional hearing into how individuals are selected for refugee status and request an investigation on how the two suspects were admitted in the country through a refugee program.

Rand Paul is most certainly a promising figure, but at this point in time, much of his reputation is that of his father’s. For the anti-establishment, libertarian types, Rand Paul offers the hope that unlike his father, who has been in Congress for more than two decades and achieved absolutely legislative accomplishments to limit government in its size and scope, or to reduce spending, prehaps Rand Paul’s being one of only a hundred members of the U.S. Senate, will enable to actually put some of his promised and ideas in to action. That has yet to be seen and much like former Senator Barack Obama, with less than two years in office, it might just be prudent to give time the opportunity to tell us who Rand Paul really is and what he is actually capable of.

But Rand Paul’s popularity, especially among the T.E.A. movement types who Romney is not very popular with, could help Romney does make Rand Paul a real possibility for Romney to pick as Vice President. If Romney wants to win the presidency, he will need to get out the Republican in record numbers and Rand Paul could help do that. Another intriguing consideration is that the addition of Rand Paul to the ticket might just get many of Ron Paul’s lunatic fringe followers to actually vote for a Romney-Rand Paul ticket. Many Ron Paul who will not be voting for the Republican candidate, regardless of who it is or could have been, will think twice about throwing their vote away on the doomed to failure Libertarian ticket now being headed by former G.O.P. presidential candidate and New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson.

But picking Rand Paul to get Ron paul voters to vote for him, would be a mistake for Mitt Romney.

While Rand Paul will help among fiscal conservatives and can add to the ticket a degree of the anti-establishment popularity that Romney lacks, Rand is still too untested for the national stage. Furthermore, despite what some believe, Ron Paul’s following is not quite as large as they would believe, which is perhaps why Ron Paul has failed to win the presidency as the Libertarian nominee in 1988, and has now twice failed to win the Republican presidential nomination.

Furthermore; Rand Paul has provided a lot of material of which the left will use to distract voters with He has given them plenty of material to exploit and dominate news cycles with in attempts to paint Rand Paul as an out of touch, extremist. Such a situation would end up creating a din of sensationalized headlines so loud and so often, that it would drown out such things as Romney’s proposals to tackle create jobs, grow the economy, cut spending, and tackle the enormous, Obama dominated spending deficit. Rand Paul’s record may be short, but it is rich with both scripted and unscripted, controversial remarks that would provide the left with an abundance of material to exploit and distract voters with. That combined with the fact that there are many more accomplished and experienced potential vice presidential nominees who can also appeal to the anti-establishment and T.E.A., movement voting blocs, and what you have is no real need for Romney to take a chance on Rand Paul.

Pros:

  • Rand Paul can attract support from among some Libertarians and from some of his father’s militant followers who would otherwise avoid voting Republican
  • Rand Paul’s presence on the ticket would add an anti-establishment flavor to the ticket that Romney sorely lacks
  • Rand’s nomination for V.P. would help assure conservatives that Romney is more open to reform and more committed to extreme actions to solve our spending and budget problems than he has demonstrated so far

Cons:

  • Rand Paul’s coming from Kentucky does not help to put a state in play for Romney. Kentucky has no chance of going for Obama in 2012 and even though Rand represents a Southern state, he has not yet established the type of popularity that would allow him to be a substantial regional influence for the Romney Ticket
  • Rand has been quite prolific when it comes to saying controversial things. Between those remarks and and his record, the left would be able to use Rand as a tool to distract voters with on a daily basis.
  • Rand Paul lacks legislative and foreign affairs experience
  • There are more accomplished and qualified potential candidate two can help the ticket far more than Rand Paul
  • Although not as isolationist as his father, some of Rand Paul’s positions significantly clash with basic conservative national defense positions

Assessment:

Thinking about picking Rand Paul for Vice President is more of a novelty than a serious consideration. This is especially the case when you realize that with no legislative accomplishments of his own yet, there are several far more deserving candidates who are just as strong on the same issues that make Rand Paul initially seem like a good choice for Romney.

Rand Paul presence on the ticket would also become more of a distraction than a benefit. A slew of controversial comments will be combined with his limited voting record and used by the left and the Obama campaign to try and make a Romney-Paul ticket look out of touch and extreme. And in doing so, each new news cycle would be dominated by a Paul oriented, liberal attack line rather than any focus of the Romney campaign to bring attention to the real issues and Obama’s record.

For example Paul recently voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Now he did not do so because he supports violence against women. Of course he doesn’t. But he voted against it because the bill contained langauge and measures that he believed were not appropriate and in some cases passage of the bill included passage of measures that were not germane to the issue. But take that vote and combine with something like the much discussed incident that came up in Paul’s senate race. The Aqua Buddha incident in which an anonymous woman claimed that back in college, Rand Paul and a friend tied her up, tried to force her to smoke pot, and then took her to a creek, where they blindfolded her and forced her to bow down and worship something they called the “Aqua Buddha.” That incident came out in the campaign and was discovered to have no truth to it, but since when did the truth have anything to do with news headlines and the impressions of others that liberals create? So just as an example, put those two stories together for a liberal media outlet and what you have is a false claim being combined with a false impression of Paul’s reasons for voting against the Violence Against Women Act, and a story that a Romney-Paul be spend three days explaining away and being taken off message.

For that and all the other reasons outlined above, Rand Paul is probably not even being considered as a viable option for Vice President by the Romney campaign. But that hasn’t stopped certain political circles and media outlets from declaring that Rand Paul is at least a possible dark horse nominee. So White House 2012 included Rand Paul in this series merely to address existing speculation. In the final analysis, Rand Paul has about as much of chance to be nominated for Vice President by Mitt Romney as does Hillary Clinton or Al Gore.

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Recent Key Votes

HR 2072 – Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012

Legislation (Nay), May 15, 2012

S 1925 – Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act

Legislation (Nay) April 26, 2012

More Key Votes

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Rand Paul On the Issues

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