The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt 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 takes a look at Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

Born (1954-12-09) December 9, 1954 (age 57) Warrensburg, Missouri, U.S.
Political Party Republican
Spouse(s) Joseph Fallin (1984-1998)[2] Wade Christensen[2]
Residence Governor’s Mansion
Alma mater Oklahoma Baptist University University of Central Oklahoma Oklahoma State University, Stillwater

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Fallin was elected Governor of Oklahoma in 2010 after spending two terms in Congress.  Prior to that she served 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 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 be considered.  In other words, would she be a competent President if the need arises and can she bring something to the presidential ticket that can go a long way in  helping to win the presidential election?

The answer is probably not.

Still though,  for the purpose of exploring viable options for Mitt Romney’s selection of a Vice President, it must be understood that 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 not yet really shined as an accomplished political leader on the executive level. 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 to the 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 Fallin.

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 one’s 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, even if it is for no other reason than to hope that Fallin can  ensure that the Republican base in the South, comes out to vote for Romney and prevents any upsets by President Obama among the Southern electoral vote count which a Republican presidential victory relies upon quite heavily.  As Duane Shepherd, a Conservative Republican from Oklahoma City put it in an interview from Examiner.com;

“If Romney gets the nomination and wins and she was the vice-president, maybe she could help rein in his liberal tendencies. He is much to liberal for most Republicans and she would help balance the ticket.”

Pros:

  • Can help improve Romney’s standing among women voters
  • Helps Romney among evangelicals and shores up his opposition to abortion rights

Cons:

  • Has not established herself as a powerful force nationally or regionally
  • Has not yet been vetted to any great extent
  • Has some dirty laundry that will be aired in any national campaign and could become too much of a distraction
  • In office as Governor for only two years but has served multiple terms as Lt. Governor

Assessment:

While there is nothing that should preclude Fallin from the ticket, there is also not much to push her ahead of others who have accomplished more and are also on a long list  of very prominent leaders.  She does not have any single claim to fame or immediately outstanding expertise in any area of concern in this election and she does not yet have a vast regional following in the South yet. However, any negatives regarding Fallin are overshadowed by the positives in her record and as such she may help to energize some of the uninspired voters within the Southern base of the G.O.P.. and she could be a decent compromise candidate. However, she remains an longshot.

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Recent Key Votes

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Mary Fallin on The Issues

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The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessement of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt 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 takes a look at  Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Born: April 7, 1949 (1949-04-07) (age 61), Monongahela, Pennsylvania

Spouse(s): Cheri Lynn Herman Daniels

Children : Meagan, Melissa, Meredith and Margaret

Residence : Governor’s Residence, Indianapolis, Indiana

Alma mater: Princeton University, Georgetown University Law Center

Profession: Businessman (pharmaceuticals)

Political Career :

  • Worked on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of William D. Ruckelshaus.
  • Interned in the office of then-Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar.
  • Worked on Lugar’s re-election campaign, joined then Mayor Lugar’s staff and soon became his Chief of Staff.
  • When Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate, Daniels joined him in Washington as an administrative assistant and eventually as one of his top aides.
  • Daniels went on to become executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee,
  • He was also the campaign manager of three successful Senate campaigns for Richard Lugar.
  • In 1985 Daniels became a part of the Reagan Administration when he became chief political advisor and liaison to President Ronald Reagan.
  • In January 2001, Daniels accepted President George W. Bush’s invitation to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) where He served from January 2001 through June 2003 and in that role after proving to be a real cutter of budgets, he earned the nickname “the Blade”
  • Daniels also served as a member of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
  • In 2004 and 2008, Daniels was elected Governor of Indiana.

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

By all rights, Mitch Daniels should 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.

Pros:

  • A highly successful, popular two term Governor
  • The favorite son of a state Republicans need to win the 270 electoral votes required to take control of the White House
  • His expertise on the economy and budgets will help dwarf any claim of expertise that the Obama Administration will boast
  • Has great appeal in the all important Midwest region
  • Executive experience
  • Considered a budget hawk
  • Has proven to appeal to African-American voters, even winning a majority of them in his state during the same 2008 election that saw Indiana voters elect Barack Obama President

Cons:

  • Daniels’ marriage, divorce, and remarriage to his wife may be come an issue and the Daniels’ are discouraged to seek higher office because of the lack of privacy that would come with such an office
  • Evangelicals were turned off by remarks Daniels made suggesting that social issues needed to go on to the back burner until we resolved our economic problems
  • Daniels is not a firebrand that typically fires up the forces
  • His position as Budget Director for G.W. Bush will provide the opposition with powerful rhetoric linking the economic downturn to Bush, Daniels and ultimately Romney.

Assessment:

Mitch Daniels is one of my prefered candidates for the job. The only thing that would make him the perfect composite for all that the G.O.P. could want their vice presidential nominee to be would if Mitch Daniels was actually Mitchie Danielsita, a Latina Governor of Florida or Ohio.  But shallow demographics aside, not only is Mitch Daniels one of the most responsible choices a presidential nominee can make, he would be a strong and effective voice on economic matters, and has a way of being able to bridge the political divide without caving on conservative principles. He is a solid, stable figure who is methodical, efficient and innovative.  Despite small pockets of criticism to the contrary, his credentials are impeccable and he is an extremely intelligent and likeable fellow. Mitt Romney may be inclined to pick Daniels for many reasons including his gravitas on the economy, his expertise in matters of budgets and his handling of Indiana’s budget, his strong and consistent anti-abortion record and his political demeanor. But criticism about Daniels comment suggesting that social issues must take a backseat to economic matters, may cause Romney to seek a running mate that could help bolster his own standings among social conservatives who still view Romney with great skepticism. Another hitch in this nearly perfect picture is Mitch Daniels relationship to the Bush Administration.  Having held that position, the left will paint him as the architect of the existing federal budget deficit and economic problem we’re in.  However Daniels served only 29 months as Budget Director and in that time most of the cuts Daniels proposed were not passed by Congress.  Such was the case in 2001.  when he helped craft the Bush tax cuts. At that time , the $2.13 trillion budget that Daniels submitted to Congress included deep cuts in many agencies in order to accommodate for those tax cuts.  But against Daniels’ own judgement, very few of the spending cuts were actually approved by Congress.     But try to explain that to the nation when President Obama is pumping a billion dollars into an effort that tries to deny those facts and to make Mitch Daniels the fall guy.

It’s a close call but if Mitt is not afraid of how the left will try to distort Daniels’ record during his time at OMB, Romney’s proclivity for playing it safe may just make Mitch Daniels his near perfect running mate.  I for one will be ecstatic if Mitt picks Mitch.

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Recent Key Votes

SB 1 – Authorizes the Use of Force Against Law Enforcement Officers in Certain Situations

Legislation (Sign)

March 20, 2012

HB 1269

Legislation (Sign)

March 19, 2012

HB 1149 – Prohibits Smoking in Public Places

Legislation (Sign)

March 19, 2012

More Key Votes

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Mitch Daniels on the Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social 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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The Herd: A Look at The Republican Veepstakes. Today’s Potential Nominee — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt 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 takes a look at House majority leader, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Born: September 6, 1962 (age 47), Newark, New Jersey

Spouse(s): Mary Pat Christie

Children : Andrew, Sarah, Patrick, and Bridget.

Residence : Mendham Township, New Jersey

Alma mater: University of Delaware, Seton Hall Law School

Religion: Roman Catholic

Profession: Attorney

(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 his time and also because he wants to see through with his committment to the people of New Jersey who elected him three 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 seemingly stands up to the establishment, then the pressure to run will be put on Christie. In the end I still don’t see him being nominated for Vice President by Romney nor do I see Christie accepting the nomination if Romney did pick him. 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.

Christie’s popularity among conservatives nationally is high.  His say it like it is, shoot from the hit approach to the tough issues is something that many people find refreshing in politics and those who see it that way like Chris Christie a lot.  But those who do not see it that way find Christie to be a blowhard and a bully.  Those on the right think the New Jersey Governor is a no-nonsense leader who is more concerned with getting government spending under control, lowering taxes, and as someone who would rather say “no” because because it’s proper public policy than say “yes” because its politically expedient.

On the other hand, those on the left see Christie as an insensitive, and abrasive thug who likes to call people names and is unconcerned with with the needs of working class Americans.

I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusion because if you’re on the left you will believe the latter and if you’re on the right you will believe the former and nothing I say will change your opinion.  But that might be just one of the reasons why Christie will not be on the presidential ticket.  He is a polarizing figure who you either love or hate and as such, it is hard to say which way independent voters will fall on Christie as a voting bloc, and that independent voting bloc is critical to winning the election in November.  If Christie proves to poll well with independent voters, and that somehow his number two spot on the ticket has the ability to win enough of them over to influence their voting Republican in key battleground states like Ohio and Florida, then Christie could be  a must for Romney.  But that is not very likely in 2012.

Pros:

  • His hard hitting, say it like it is, approach is viewed as politically courageous and refreshing.
  • He is far from what anyone can call a career politician
  • He has positive national name ID
  • Christie might be able to appeal to independent voters who like his blunt style
  • He would energize much of the conservative base and even some of the T.E.A. activists
  • He could make Joe Biden look like a comedic sidekick
  • Christie’s presence on the ticket could force the Obama-Biden campaign to invest more time and money in New Jersey, a state they anticipate winning easily

Cons:

  • He has only been in office for almost three years
  • Even if he is on the ticket, Christie may not even be able to carry New Jersey for Romney
  • Christie has not been fully vetted yet and under intense scrutiny his clean record may be tarnished by some minor political indiscretions
  • Conservatives leery of Romney will not appreciate what some may consider to be two Northeast Moderates on the ticket
  • Independents might tend to see Christie as too abrasive

My Assessment:

Christie is certainly a viable option. However his two most appealing qualities, his bluntness and his newness on the political stage, may just be the very same things that cause Mitt Romney to look elsewhere. That in addition to both men being known as Governors from the liberal Northeast, could make several other candidates from outside of the Northeast much more attractive to the Romney campaign. But Christie’s ability to inspire and energize the base might just be what Mitt Romney needs to help avoid any McCain-like voter apathy. In the end, I think Romney will pass on Christie and go for a running mate who is safer, lacks Christie’s confrontational political personality and who has a much stronger and more proven ability to win over independent voters.

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Recent Key Votes

S 1 – Authorizes Same-Sex Marriage

Legislation (Conditional Veto)

Feb. 21, 2012

S 317 – Relating to Contractors

Legislation (Pocket Veto)

Jan. 17, 2012

More Key Votes

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Chris Christie On The Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social 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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