The Herd: A Look at the Possible Republican Vice Presidential Nominnees: New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez

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 of 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 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 New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez

Born (1959-07-14) July 14, 1959 (age 52) El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party (Before 1995) Republican Party (1995–present)
Spouse(s) Chuck Franco
Children Carlo
Residence Governor’s Mansion
Alma mater University of Texas, El Paso University of Oklahoma
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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 a 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 and in many ways, the nation 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.

One area where Martinez may be seen as wandering off the conservative Republican ranch. While the Party line generally focusses von cutting services, the opposition often attempts to use that as a way to paint the G.O.P. as out to decimate programs aimed at helping the sick and poor. But such charges can not be used against Martinez. She goes out of her way to make it know that she believes in providing services to adults and children who can’t take care of themselves. That belief even prompted Governor Martinez to wrest an additional $6 million in Medicaid money out of the New Mexico legislature during her first year in office, despite inheriting a a $450 million deficit. This may earn Martinez some sharp criticism from fiscal conservatives on the right, but in the general election, it could a long way in compensating for the harsh image that the Obama and the pro-Obama media will create for Republicans when it comes to the most vulnerable in our society.

In many ways, Martinez is shrewd or to put it in a more accurate and less ominous way, she is politically savvy. She knows that her political future is bright and so she has been very carefull in her political decision making. She has avoided any of the political landmines that often eventually blowup in the faces of other politicians. In many ways, you can say Martinez is pacing herself. She offers bold conservatives solutions that are designed to address the problems of her state but she as avoided getting heavily invested in anything that would anger one segment of the electorate or the other. This may not be seen as a profile in courage but from a political standpoint, New Mexico governors are limited to two terms and if Martinez does a job that is good enough to get reelected, her second term could be the one in which she uses to shoot for more bold, sweeping reforms.

In the meantime, Martinez has one of the highest approval ratings of all the governors in the nation and she is in a perfect position to bring that type of popularity to the Republican presidential ticket.

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.

Which might be one reason why Martinez claims to be dead-set against running as Romney’s Vice President. Another reason could be her dislike of the Republican establishments approach to immigration and appealing to Hispanic voters. In regards to Romney’s call for policies that promote illegal immigrants to self deport, Martinez sate’s “‘Self-deport?’ What the heck does that mean?” She also adds that Martinez “I have no doubt Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign. But now there’s an opportunity for Gov. Romney to have a sincere conversation about what we can do and why.”

Martinez has many of her own ideas on how to do that. One of them includes reminding Latinos that President Obama promised to pass comprehensive immigration reform by the end of his first term year in office and to make them aware that as it turns out, he “didn’t even have the courage to try.” Another suggestion is for Republicans to come up with their own, very real, multi level approach to immigration. An approach that includes a guest-worker program for people who want “to go freely back and forth across the border to work”; increased border security; a visa (coupled with a “penalty” or a “tagback”) that allows rest of the illegal population to remain in the U.S. while they follow standard naturalization procedures. deportation for criminals; and a DREAM Act-style pathway to citizenship, through the military or college, for children brought here illegally by their parents.

But with such strong opinions and an obviously bright future of leadership, it is very possible that Martinez could be convinced that by joining the Republican presidential ticket, she might be able to accomplish these things. With Republicans needing close to at least 40% of the vote if they wish to win the White House, there is no good reason for Mitt Romney to adopt the ideas of Martinez and unleash her on the nation to campaign for the their implementation.

Given the reality of it all, Martinez is by far the best choice for Mitt Romney. Like Marco Rubio, she appeals to Hispanics, but as a Latina she also appeals to women, and not just Hispanic women. Martinez also comes from a state that if Republicans win, could make it impossible for President Obama to hammer together the 270 electoral college votes that he needs to win reelection. Martinez is also a top notch campaigner whose natural people skills goes a long way in compensating for Romney’s robotic personality. In that area, what Romney lacks, Martinez more than makes up for.

Although Martinez’s record is not blemish free, her placement on the G.O.P. ticket as Romney’s running mate could make all the difference in a close election. While the selection of some potential vice presidential running mates like Marco Rubio of Florida and Rob Portman of Ohio may be essential to winning one or the other of those two states that are critically needed for Republicans to win in November, Martinez could change the electoral equation of all the states by cutting in to the Democrat’s traditionally reliable strength among women and Hispanic voters.

Pros:

  • Is solid enough on most conservative issues to satisfy and energize the Republican base that Romney is on shaky ground with
  • She comes from a state that Democrats can’t afford to lose
  • She has regional appeal in the Southwest
  • As a Latina, Martinez who speaks fluent Spanish, can appeal to both Hispanics and women in ways that no other potential running mate can
  • Martinez’s position on Medicare and other government entitlement programs can help counter the left’s harsh rhetoric that tries to paint the G.O.P. as heartless
  • Martinez is a very strong Thatcher-like figure who connects with people and is an excellent speaker and campaigner
  • Her personal story is a quintessentially American one that can help voters relate to her and appreciate her
  • Will be able to address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform quite convincingly

Cons:

  • Open to criticism from fiscal conservatives on issues like Medicaid
  • Will have been governor for two years and will initially have to contend with comparisons to Sarah Palin
  • Will have to contend with rumors about her grandparents having been illegal immigrants
  • Will face sharp criticism for the handling of a mentally ill man who was held without a trial for two years at a county prison while she was D.A andfor being briefly fired in 1992 when her boss accused her of bringing in a case her husband had investigated.
  • The left will try claim that Martinez participated in patronage by awarding casino contracts and energy appointments to campaign donor

General Assessment:

While there are several other favorites of my own such as Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, Allen West, Marco Rubio, John Thune, and Jeb Bush, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is another contender I am cheering for.

Martinez is a strong, convincing conservative voice with a compelling story and powerfully confident record on conservative issues and as a state executive. Her Thatcher-like strength goes a long way in providing a sometimes sexist male electorate with confidence in her and her ability to relate to women and Hispanics is unparalleled by any other figure on the national stage today. Those latter two points can have a major effect on the election, especially among those Hispanics and women who are independent voters.

From my perspective Martinez is a perfect choice not just for Mitt Romney but for anybody. She is right on the issues and is better suited than any other potential Romney running mate to articulate the Party’s position positions on those issues than most others, and when it comes to women voters and Hispanic voters, she is better than any other national figure especially when it comes to adding diversity to the ticket.  The only way Martinez could add a more perfect angle of diversity to the ticket would be if she was a lesbian.  Could you imagine the frustraqtion of the left having to contend with a conservtive Latina lesbian?  And contrary to what you might think, they do exist.

But I am not the presidential nominee. Mitt Romney is and I do not think he is likely to select Martinez as his running mate for several reasons. Martinez is probably not the non-controversial choice that is safe enough for his comfort level and he will probably want to avoid the distraction that the media will cause with inevitable comparisons of his campaign to John’s Mc Cain’s losing 2008 campaign and the selection of Sarah Palin, another woman and freshman Governor selected to be Vice President.

Another possible reason for not selcting Martinez is her prior criticism of Romney and her demonstrated disatisfaction with some of Romney’s polcies..  That is addition  to her indicating that she will not consider accepting the position if it was offered.  I hope I am wrong about Romney’s thinking though, and I would hope that Martinez would reconsider her earlier protestations because I truly believe she is one of the best 5 men or women for the job.

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Recent Key Votes

SB 9 – Changes Corporate Income Tax Rates and Filing Requirements

Legislation (Veto) March 6, 2012

HB 72 – Relating to Judicial Retirement

Legislation (Veto)March 6, 2012

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Martinez 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 Vice Presidential Candidates. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

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 South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa (1972-01-20) January 20, 1972 (age 40) Bamberg, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Michael Haley
Children 2
Alma mater Clemson University (B.S.)

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. Recent polling indicates South Carolinians were evenly divided on if they approved of the way in which Haley was doing her job.

Another bump in the road deals with the unanimous agreement by members of the South Carolina House of Representatives’ House Ethics Committee to take a closer look at an ethics complaint against Gov. Nikki Haley. The complaint alleges Haley used her position as a House member to lobby and then vote on bills to benefit employers. 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.

Pros:

  • Helps Romney with the T.E.A. activists that he needs on his side.
  • Helps Romney energize the Southern base.
  • Aides Romney with the women’s vote that he needs help with.
  • Haley’s fiscal conservatism helps underscore Romney’s command of economic issues and the federal budget deficit.
  • The potential to make history as the first woman vice President carries a degree of excitement around it that the Romney campaign could use a touch of.
  • Nikki Haley is a strong and energetic speaker.

Cons:

  • Haley is not seasoned.
  • Lacks any foreign affairs credentials.
  • Is not as popular in South Carolina as she was in her first year in office.

Overall Assessment:

While Haley is a politically attractive and definitely qualified candidate for Vice President, she fails to bring to the table as much gravitas to the ticket that several other male or female prospects do. And while her brief tenure in office has proven her to be a rising star, now is probably not the time when her star should rise to the second highest office in the nation. But the Romney campaign must still consider Nikki Haley for the job.

She is strong on many of the issues that Romney needs to stronger on, including the issues of abortion, and limited government. He also needs to be sure that voters with T.E.A. Party sentiments do not sit on their hands on Election day and Nikki Haley can go a long way in winning them over at the voting booth.

Of all the potential female running mates that exist for Romney, Haley is probably one of the best. She is a safer choice than several others and Romney likes playing it as safe as possible. So Nikki Haley will probably make it to the short list of candidates but in the end, she is not likely to make the final cut.

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Recent Key Votes

SB 1227

Legislation (Sign)

March 29, 2012

More Key Votes

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Nikki Haley On The Issues

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