Will The Importance of Ohio in the General Election Determine Who Romney Nominates for Vice President?: The Herd Looks at Rob Portman

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 Ohio Senator Rob Portman

Ohio Senator Robert Portman

Born Robert Jones Portman (1955-12-19) December 19, 1955 (age 56) Cincinnati, Ohio
Political Party Republican
Spouse(s) Jane Portman
Residence Terrace Park, Ohio
Alma Mater Dartmouth College (B.A.) University of Michigan (J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Religion United Methodist

Professional Experience:

  • Owner, Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio,
  • Attorney, Squire, Sanders, & Dempsey
  • Attorney, Patton, Boggs and Blow
  • Congressional Aide
  • White House Aide

Political Experience:

  • Associate Counsel to the President, 1989
  • Director, White House Legislative Affairs, 1989-1991
  • Won, Special Election, United States House of Representatives, May 4, 1993
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, 1993-2005
  • Senator, United States Senate, 2010-present

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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 proposals for a balanced budget, fighting against irresponsible earmarks, attempts to put in place new transparency for all federal spending, and when he was 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 a 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 Romney if he wants to balance the ticket with a solid conservative who has particular expertise with the budget matters that are playing 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. It is that consideration which has led many political insiders to conclude that Romney will in fact pick Portman to be his rinning mate.

While too much weight is probably being placed on that for anyone to defintively state Portman will be the vice presidential nominee, the Ohio factor is certainly compelling.

Historically, the choice of a running mate has done little to affect the results of a presidential election. The last time it did come very close to making the difference in the presidential election was 52 years ago, when then Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy selected Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson to be his vice presidential running mate. That decision helped to assure that the close election of 1960 (Kennedy defeated Nixon by 0.16% of the popular vote), would swing to Kennedy in the Electoral College where the final 303 to 219 electoral vote count was the closest since 1916. Kennedy and Johnson had no love for one another. In fact it was just the opposite. However, politics makes for strangebedfellows and so the Kennedy-Johnson alliance was born to insure winning the White House.

It is also worth remembering that the last time the state which a vice presidential running mate came from could have made a big difference was in the year 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Florida Supreme Court and order the Democrat led attempts to reinterpret voter intent in only those counties which Al Gore won, be stopped. In that election, had one of Florida’s favorite sons, Senator Connie Mack, accepted the offer from Dick Cheney to be George W. Bush’s vice presidential running mate, the results in Florida would not have been quite as close as they were, and the nation would have been spared the more than one month long anguish and uncertainty of who the next President was going to be.

Data indicates that the selection of a Vice President usually affects most elections by one percent or less, or by the most, two percent nationally. But the same data shows that the selection of a V.P. candidate can affect the vote in the home state of the chosen vice presidential candidate by as much as four percent. Given these facts and the very likely possibility for this election to be close, at least in the Electoral College, a swing of as much as four percent in a battleground state like Ohio or Florida, could make all the difference between winning and losing in the Electoral College. Which is why like Rob Portman in Ohio, Jeb Bush of Florida and Bob McDonnell of Virginia must also be considered as very real a potential running mate for Mitt Romney.

Given these facts and the fact that Republicans may not be able to win the White House without winning Ohio (no Republican has ever been elected President without it), Portman could be the only available favorite son from Ohio who could change that state’s popular vote so significantly that it could swing it and the entire election to Romney. Therefore, when it comes to Rob Portman being on the ticket, at some point the powers that be may decide that they can’t win the election without Portman helping to make sure they win Ohio. Personally I do not believe that Portman is as of yet popular enough in the Buckeye State to ensure a G.O.P. victory there but he also can’t hurt the chances of pulling out a G.O.P. victory there.

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, Bob McDonnell, Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree, John Thune, Portman becomes a leading contender.

Pros:

  • Portman might influence the results in Ohio by a margin that could deliver Ohio for Republicans and winning Ohio is practicial required in order for Republicans to win the White House
  • Could please conservatives who not yet sold on Romney
  • Portman corners the market for Republicans on the issues most critical in this election…. the economy
  • Is experienced in areas of trade, another important issue
  • He is not a lightning rod for liberal attacks and his addition to the ticket would not invite a litany of distractions during the campaign

Cons:

  • Portman’s ties to the G.W. Bush Administration will be exploited by the Obama team in a way that will take on a life of its own

Assessment:

While Portman is viewed as one of the most likely people for Romney to pick for Vice President because of his probable ability to put Ohio in the Republican electoral vote count, I do not beliueve that Bob Portman has yet established the type of bond with Ohioans that is necessary to overcome the type of treacherous rewrite of history that will be done by the Obama regarding his record. Ohio voters are not yet so familiar with, and loyal to Portman, that they embrace him as one of their own in a way that they did other Ohio politicians such as the legendary Robert Taft or even more recently, John Glenn. Those were leaders so loved by Ohioans that if they were put through the type of character assassination attempt that Portman will experience, it would backfire. But that is not the case with Rob Portman. At least not yet. And if Ohio is so pivotal, Team Obama will do all they can to assasinante the charachter of Rob Portman. And Portman’s short time as G. W. Bush’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be the basis for that character assasination.

Of course, Portman will easily and correctly be able to defend his record by making it quitre clear that most of his reccomendations whil Director of OMB were not followed up on by the Bush Administration, but in many regards, the Obama campaign will have the ability to create the false impression that Portman played a part in creating the current economic crisis.

Understanding that, it must also be said that the opposition will do the same with anyone who is nominated by Republicans. So from that perspective, Portman should not be denied the chance to defend his record, a record that is truly exceptional and could be incredibly helpful in allowing Mitt Romney to advance a powerful case for fiscal conservatism.

Ultimatley though, if fiscal conservatism and budgets are a selling point that Romney wants his running mate to well versed and experienced in, I see him more likely to select someone else. Possibly someone like Mitch Daniels who was also a Director of the Office of Management of Budget under G.W. Bush but has a stronger and nmore loyal following than Portman, and has his economic record as Governor of Indiana to point to when Obama tries to pin the Bush years on him.

Portman certainly is on the short list for Vice President and for good reason. But I do not believe that he will make the final cut.

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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 2107 – Authorizes Import of FDA-Approved Drugs from Canada
Amendment (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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Portman on The Issues

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

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Rob Portman Reported to Be Mitt Romney’s Pick for Vice President

 Bookmark and SharePJ Media reports that  a consensus among inside GOP political operatives exists which concludes that Mitt Romney will pick Rob Portman as his vice presidential running mate.  The report however  based on the hearsay of anonymous sources, including what is described as a prominent GOP Super PAC insider who wants to remains anonymous.

According to PJ Media upon asking this unnamed Super PAC leader about their thoughts on Portman as a potential vice presidential nominee, an email reply from them stated the following;

He could bring Ohio!!! And he is very experienced and he won’t spend $100,000 on clothes in two months!  The goal this cycle is “safe, not sorry. But win Ohio!”

Now I do not question the credibility of PJ Media, I do question the intent of this unnamed insider who feels the need to, out of nowhere, come out and take a foul, unjustified, and totally senseless shot at Sarah Palin for circumstances that were not of her own doing and which she rectified.

I also question whether or not this so-called consensus among G.O.P. operatives about Portman being Romney’s pick has anything to do with knowing what only a select few under Romney’s Senior Advisor Beth Myers, know and are discussing amongst themselves?

Myers served as chief of staff during Romney’s term as Massachusetts governor and managed his 2008 presidential campaign.  She is now overseeing  Romney’s vice presidential selection process and is undergoing a vetting process that involves only a select few Romney confidants who discuss aspects of the vetting process among only themselves.  And any discussions of the process among this small group of trusted advisors, is done only on a need to know basis.  Which is why there have not yet been any leaks which have led to the upping or lowering of the odds for of being picked among any of the known potential nominees.  The Romney team is probably one of the most talented and professional political or for that matter, non-political organizations there has ever been.  It is a consequence of Romney’s own managerial expertise and Midas Touch.  Say what you want about Mitt but he knows how to run  things and get a job done.  And so the only way that a leak about who has picked for Vice President would come about is if it was intentional.  And this “consensus” based declaration about Rob Portman was not sanctioned by Team Romney.

Furthermore, I doubt that the leader of a Super PAC, even a pro-Romney Super Pac, would be privy to such insider information.  In addition to it being questionably illegal or at the very least,  unethical for such communications between the Romney campaign and any Super PAC, it would not benefit Team Romney to exercise the type of loose lips that would give away a secret as big as this one.

So while I do not wish to call in to question the credibility of the claim that Rob Portman is going to be Romney’s running mate in November, I must do exactly that.

Portman could very well be the individual Romney picks but only a select few know how truly likely that is and they are not talking.

Speculation about who the Romney’s running mate will be is the last big question that remains in the race, aside from who will ultimately win.  And the suspense is just killing most political junkies, myself included.  However it must be understood that any public discussion about who Romney will pick is simply conjecture on the part of conducting the discussion.  In the case of the latest scuttlebutt concerning Rob Portman, it would seem to be based mainly on his ability to deliver Ohio for Romney in November.  But it has been my sense that Portman is not necessarily established well enough to be counted on for that purpose.  That sense of mine was only verified when a recent Quinnipiac Poll concluded the following;

The presidential race in Ohio remains too close to call as President Barack Obama gets 45 percent to 44 percent for Republican Mitt Romney, with a 45 – 45 percent dead heat if the GOP adds home-state Sen. Rob Portman as Romney’s running mate.

That poll was taken just two weeks ago but it is safe to say that those numbers have not changed much since then and it led Politico to report a story entitled “Poll: Rob Portman no GOP boost in Ohio”

As indicated in an abbreviated White House 2012 Vice Presidential Contender page prepared for for Bob Portman back in April, historically, the vice presidential nominee only affects the presidential election results in their home state by no more than four percent.  If that were to hold true here, according to the closeness of the race in Ohio so far, Portman could actually put Romney over the top.  But the polls do not yet bear that out and  even if they did, we are long way from Election Day and the Obama campaign will not give up Ohio easily.  As such,  in my opinion, the Obama campaign’s ruthlessness and billion dollar campaign war chest will simply inundate every media source with an endless array of stories focussed on destroying the record and reputation of Bob Portman.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe Portman is exceptionally qualified and although he is not my first choice to be the next in line for the presidency, I can easily support him.  His record of fiscal responsibility is far superior to most political leaders out there and he is extremely competent in other areas of concern too.  But Portman’s ties to the G.W. Bush Administration will be exploited by the Obama team in a way that will take on a life of its own and the lies about him will have a way of becoming true in the subconscious of an ad weary electorate.

Such was the case in 2008 with Sarah Palin.

In a documentary entitled Media Malpractice, one is taken on a step-by-step walk through of election history that documented what I call the palinization of Sarah Palin.  It was a process that showed how the left inundated our world with an endless array of salacious stories about Sarah Palin.  Every day some new liberal inspired charges or unseemly story was leaked and for days, each one captured the headlines.    As the documentary then shows at the very end, when asked what was true and what false during the campaign, voters got each answer wrong.

For instance, when asked which person running on either of the major presidential tickets pretended that their daughter’s son was their own, all those questioned answered Sarah Palin.

However, in that same documentary when asked which candidate on either of the major presidential tickets had to drop out of a previous race for President because they were caught plagiarizing the speeches of a British Labor Party leader, voters again answered Sarah Palin.

In both cases the answers to those question were wrong.  As most of us know, Sarah Palin did not pretend that her daughter’s child was her own and as for the candidate who dropped out of a previous race for President in disgrace because of plagiarism, the answer of course is not Sarah Palin.  It’s Joe Biden.

But politics is perception and the Obama campaign successfully created false impressions about the Republican ticket which casual voters believed to be true.

This can of course be done to any candidate, and with Team Obama it will be done.  It will be done to Mitt Romney and whomever he nominates for Vice President.  The problem is that given how pivotal Ohio may be “if” this election is as close as many think it will be, the Obama campaign will invest so much time and money into Ohio and into destroying Portman that in the end, even Ohioans will be embarrassed to support Portman on a presidential ticket.  I say this not because Portman will not be able to defend himself.  He will.  I state this simply because Portman is not yet the kind of established figure in Ohio who I believe can withstand the type of relentless assault upon him that the Obama strategists will engage in.

Bob Portman has not yet established the type of bond with Ohioans that is necessary to overcome the type of treacherous rewrite of history that will be done regarding his record.  Ohio voters are not yet so familiar with and loyal to Portman that they embrace him as one of their own in a way that they did other Ohio politicians such as the legendary Robert Taft or even more recently, John Glenn.  Those were leaders so loved by Ohioans that if they were put through the type of character assassination attempt that Portman will experience, it would backfire.  But that is not the case with Rob Portman.  At least not yet.

So I would not bet the farm on Rob Portman.

As for myself, I have used White House 2012 as the platform for a series called The Herd.  It explores a herd of 25 names which I believe are being or should be considered for Vice President by Mitt Romney.  Each day, in alphabetical order, one of those names is discussed.   We are currently up to the “M’s”.

In each of those profiles, I present a case for why each person is being or should be considered and address the pros and cons of their potential presence on the Republican presidential ticket.  In creating this series, I have established my own assumptions as well as my own preferences.  But deep down I know that in trying to predict who Mitt Romney will actually nominate, no matter how much I try to put myself in his position and try think to like, I know that I am not Mitt Romney and that even after studying Romney’s personal history and management style, no matter how in tune I may think I am with his thought process, I know that only Mitt Romney knows who he will choose and at the moment I do not even think Mitt Romney yet knows who that will be.

But stay tuned because once The Herd has posted the profile of each of those names that we believe are in contention, I will offer my best guest as to whom Romney might pick, as well as the name of the person I believe he should pick and who this conservative wants to see him pick.Bookmark and Share

Perry – Martinez 2012. That’s the Ticket!

Bookmark and Share    The general lack of enthusiasm that Republicans have regarding the current crop of presidential candidates, inspires one to hypothesize about who would be the best candidate for the G.O.P. to run. We are forced to ponder who the strongest candidate could be,  who has the ability to really inspire the G.O.P., and we are even compelled to think about what a strong ticket in 2012 would look like. For me a strong candidate would consist of any combination of names like Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Paul Ryan, Congressman Allen West, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, and from Ohio, Governor John Kasich and Senator Rob Portman. This is not to suggest that I do not believe that the G.O.P. is unable to hammer together a strong ticket in 2012 from among any of those who are currently running. We will. Come November of 2012, we will have gone through a campaign that gives us many reasons to feel good about those on the ticket and to want to vote for them. This will especially be the case when the choice its understood that the choice comes to them or the Obama-Biden ticket. As for my list of preferred choices, that is now mere fantasy.  It has become an unrealistic list of options. The people I listed are definitely not running, so in 2012, a ticket comprised of any two of those names on it is just no going to happen.

However, with a few names still considering entry into the 2012 Republican presidential contest, at this point in the process, the Republican field of presidential contenders that we will ultimately have to choose from is still evolving. As such, there is still room to discuss the merits of a truly strong hypothetical presidential ticket that could actually come to fruition and is worth trying to put together. It is a ticket that would be topped by a name that could excite the Republican base enough to make that person an immediate frontrunner and would even have a good chance to wrap up the nomination relatively early in the season. It is also a name that would probably provide TEA Party movement activists with plenty of reason to enthusiastically choose over President Obama in the general election.

Texas Governor Rick Perry

That person is Texas Governor Rick Perry.

I know, I know……….. The initial reaction to that consideration is a slew of superficial remarks and glib jokes referencing G.W. Bush and another Republican from Texas in the White House. But exaggerated references of that comparison would be just that………..exaggerated, superficial jokes. The reality is that unlike Mitt Romney, the man who currently has a very tenuous hold on frontrunner status, Rick Perry does not bring any of the doubts about his conviction to limited government that Romney brings to the table with RomneyCare. More so than other top-tier candidates like former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry brings with him an unapologetic record of conservatism. A record that has none of what Pawlenty described as faux pas and lapses in judgment on such things as a push for Cap-and-Trade measures.

In an assessment of a potential Perry presidential campaign that I prepared for Rick Perry’s WH12 page many months I ago, I wrote the following:

If Rick Perry were to run, he would become an automatic top-tier candidate. Along with a solid record of positive achievements, he has the All-American looks of the Marlboro Man and his personality is one that emanates confidence and optimism with charm and a down to earth, can-do, American spirit. This makes for a candidate who can maximize the impact of a well run campaign, and Perry has the ability to assemble a team that can run a top-notch campaign. He also has the fundraising mechanism and ability to finance a top-notch, well run campaign.

In my opinion, that assessment is as true today as it was last year when I originally wrote it. But it is the economy which makes that opinion even more relevant today than it was back then. That issue provides good reason for voters to focus on Perry.

The economy continues to be President Obama’s Achilles heal. As it keeps proving to move in the wrong direction, the Obama reelection effort is looking like a house of cards as the economy undermines everything from his approval ratings to his ideology. But for Rick Perry, a comparison between the way he runs the economy in Texas, to the way President Obama runs the nation’s economy, provides a strong contrast between the two men on many different levels. Not only do their different approaches show contrast between success and failure, they magnify the impact of many themes which will be essential to making the Republican case against President Obama. The most critical themes being the ability to bring our economy back, and the way the two men think. One thinks like an American while the other thinks like a European Socialist.  Guess which one thinks like an American and which one thinks like a European Socialist?

While Barack Obama believes in government control and largess, his approach to the economy is producing stagnation, inflation, extremely high unemployment, little consumer confidence, and an anti-business, no growth environment. On the other hand, Governor Perry’s approach to the economy has produced a state that leads the nation in exports, business growth, and job creation. And under Rick Perry’s stewardship, Texas has cut taxes and spending and balanced its budget with a surplus left over.

This difference between the two records is as sharp as night and day. It also belies the differences between the two men in a way that clearly demonstrates two different views of America, and two diverging directions for America. And when you consider the fact that most Americans believe the nation is currently headed in the wrong direction, it becomes undeniably obvious that Governor Perry holds the compass that we need to trust.

More than any of the other likely choices for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Perry’s record shows the sharpest contrast between a leader who believes in the American people and their free will, and a leader who believes in having the government control the people and their lot in life. It shows a clear difference between a leader who wants to unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit and a leader who wants the entrepreneurial spirit replaced by government subsidies. A great example of this can be seen in the video below. Imagine an ad similiar to this touting Perry’s record, compared to an ad trying to tout President Obama’s record on the same points.

Perry has just about everything Republicans want and need in a candidate, including a friendly personality that exudes strength, confidence, decisiveness and the ability to easily relate to and connect with voters.   In the end, when you factor in all of the above, any negative references to former President George W. Bush and Governor Rick Perry having both governed Texas, becomes an  insignificant sidebar to the real issues in a head to head match up against President Obama

If he decides to run, I do believe Governor Perry will win the nomination. And if he does win the nomination, as we look towards the general election, the question becomes who would be a wise choice to complete the Republican presidential ticket?

There is an extraordinarily long list of exceptionally good people who could balance a Perry ticket. There’s Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and any one of the names that I previously listed as candidates whom I wish were running for President. Then there are other interesting possibilities like Tim Pawlenty , Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal or maybe even Herman Cain. One very daring, outside-of-the-box, but still very real choice, could be the extremely fiscal conservative governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno. All of these candidates bring certain unique strengths to the ticket. But one possibility shines brighter on my radar screen than others.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez

It’s New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.

Governor Martinez, is the first woman Governor of New Mexico and the first Latina Governor in the United States. These qualities bring a very real degree of both ethnic and gender balance to the ticket. Not only can Martinez appeal to women, she has the ability to make significant inroads into the already large and fastest growing ethnic minority in the nation, Hispanics.

The Hispanic population is growing much faster than any other demographic. There are currently 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States, or around 16 percent of our nation’s 308.7 million population. Between 2000 and 2010 that was an increase of 35.3 million more Hispanics. This figure accounts for more than half of U.S. population growth during that same time period. Moreover, while overall population growth in the South, the region where Republicans run strongest, increased by 14 percent, the Hispanic population in the South increased by a whopping 57 percent.

These numbers mean that if Republicans want to remain competitive, they must appeal to the Hispanic community far better than they have up to now. And while it is important to understand that the Hispanic community is not nearly as monolithic in their politics as the African-American community proved to be in the 2008, it is still clear that the G.O.P. must insure that they work hard at trying to win over a significant numbers of Hispanic voters if they intend tocontinue being viable in many states. Martinez can help expedite that process.

But in addition to the superficial characteristics which play an inordinate, but very real role in politics, Martinez is a tough lady who is right on the issues has a clear vision  for her state and our nation,  is committed to traditional vaues, and as seen in the video below, has the ability to articulate her vision with clarity and confidence. More so than even Sarah Palin, Martinez has a Thatcher-like persona which so far lacks any of the negative impressions that the lamestream media and liberal intelligentsia has been able to wrongly burden Palin with. 

Once a Democrat, Martinez has been a Republican since 1995.   In addition to a law and order background as a Republican elected District Attorney, Martinez is a fiscal conservative and although she has only been in office since 2010, she has made significant changes in the way that her state governs. Since coming in to office, Martinez has established such things as a moratorium on all state vehicle purchases, prohibited all state agencies from hiring lobbyists, limited the claim of executive privilege to help promote a more transparent government, and has created a small business friendly task force. On the legislative end she has reinstated the death penalty and signed an executive order rescinding sanctuary status for illegal immigrants who commit crimes in New Mexico while protecting victims and witnesses of criminal acts.

It is on that issue, illegal immigration, which Martinez could prove to be the G.O.P.’s most powerful asset. While the economy is sure to dominate the 2012 election, illegal immigration will not be far from the top. On that issue a Perry-Martinez ticket would have more credibility on that issue than any other previous presidential Administration. And with Martinez articulating the Party’s position on illegal immigration, the left will have a hard time trying to paint the ticket as being anti-Hispanic. The fact that Perry and Martinez are both border state governors who have directly dealt  with the border security problem, will give themn an upper hand in convincing people that they truly understand the problem and how best to solve it. Together, a Perry-Martinez ticket would have a real opportunity to lead on the issue of illegal immigration and border security.

That will more than compensates for the argument that some may have against a Perry-Martinez ticket because they are both from neighboring Southern states. The fact that they are both border state governors and therefore have firsthand knowledge of, and experience with the issues surrounding illegal immigration, will appeal as much to a voter concerned about the isuue in New Hampshire or Illinois as it does to a voter in Arizona or Oregon. And besides, in this day and age, the regional balance strategy is greatly diluted by a society that is brought closer together by the internet. Furthermore; as we saw in 1992, the selection of a ticket made up of individuals from neighboring Southern states is not necessarily a bad thing. It worked for Clinton-Gore, twice. And in the case of New Mexico, it has become a Democrat leaning swing-state which  in a close election,  its 5 electoral votes could mean the difference between the 270 electoral votes it takes to win  the White House, and losing losing the White House.

Initially some may be prone to compare the selection of Susana Martinez by Perry, to the selection of Sarah Palin by McCain. They may try to do to Martinez, what they did to Palin. But those who do will be surprised to find people will see through such an attempt and it will backfire on them. If the left tries to depict another strong conservative woman as an ignoramus that does not belong in politics, they will prove themselves to be partisan and sexist hypcrites with biases as bad as those which claim to oppose. Such treatment of Martinez will go a long way in demonstrating that the left and their mainstream media only believe in strong women who are liberals, while at the same time suggesting that strong conservative women should be in the kitchen, not the Oval Office. The media already confirmed this liberal thinking when they covered the liberal wife of a President who was running for her Parties nomination and showered her with complimentary descriptions such as strong willed, determined, brilliant and experienced, but did their best to depict a conservative female Governor as some sort of caricature.

While there are many very promising options for someone like Rick Perry to pick from, I believe that few would be as potent as Susana Martinez. But first things first. Will Rick Perry run for President? I have given up on predicting who will or will not run. But the way I see it, there is no announced candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, whose record and personality should prevent Rick Perry from running. If the decisive factor for Perry is whether or not the current Republican field has a void that he can fill, than Perry’s decision should be a positive one. If that’s the decision he makes, it is only a short amount of time before we need to convince him that Susana Martinez is the right person for the job of Vice President. And that’s a decision that shouldn’t require a great deal of convincing.

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