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

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

Bookmark and Share

The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno

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 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  Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno.

Born: October 31, 1960, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Spouse(s): Luca Vela

Children : Mara Luisa, Luis Roberto, Guillermo

Residence : San Juan, Puerto Rico

Alma mater: Colegio Marista, Georgetown University, Univeristy of Virginia School of Law

Profession: Lawyer

Religion: Roman Catholic `

Political Career :

  • 1993 – Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company
  • 1993 – President, Hotel Development Corporation
  • 1994 – Became Puerto Rico’s first Secretary Puerto Rico Economic Development and Commerce
  • 2004 -Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives which in Puerto Rico has the title, Resident Commissioner and is a four year term
  • 2008 – Elected Governor of Puerto Rico

(Click here for Fortuno’s WH2012 presidential contender page)

Photobucket

Luis Fortuno’s name is not just one of those names , it is undeniably one of the most likely names to come up in the veepstakes, even if just briefly.

Largely unknown to most Americans, Governor Luis Fortuno has been on White House 2012′s radar for over two years now. Many have mocked such talk, ( you should see the comments on his WH2012 page) , but White House 2012 may very well have the last laugh. Take that from a friend of White House 2012, Adam Brickley. Adam recently told WH12 that although it may sound “off the wall”, consideration of Luis Fortuno for VP is very possible. Who is Adam Brickley? Adam is the man who created the Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President effort in 2008. He began the effort before we knew John McCain was going to be the nominee, well before most Americans heard of Sarah Palin, and long before John McCain even considered her for the job. So Adam has a good sense for these things.

As Governor of Puerto Rico, the first remarkable thing about Luis Fortuno was that he got elected. He is the first Republican to be elected Governor of Puerto Rico since 1969 and only the second one since 1949. The second remarkable thing about Fortuno is the way in which he has handled Puerto Rico’s budget. Between Fortuno’s ability to appeal to those beyond the Republican base, his fiscal conservatism, and his Hispanic ethnicity, he could make for an interesting choice for a Republican Party that must appeal to the rapidly growing Hispanic vote in the United States.

And when it comes to the primary issues facing our nation, limited government, less spending, and controlled federal budgets, Adam Brickley describes Fortuno to White House 2012 by saying “It’s like he’s the love child of Chris Christie and Marco Rubio.”

Fortuno trult is a Reagan Republican whose conservative thinking and record will have plenty of traction among Americans of all persuasions. Fortuno states that Reagan was “clear in what he envisioned, a party that is open to ideas, the free flow of ideas and goods and services”, and he has added that he believes “we have to go back to those principles.

As Governor, Luis Fortuno has been practicing those core Republican principles to tackle a record $3.2 billion deficit. He has cut expenses across the board, cut the size of Puerto Rico’s government and reduced its number of employees, while also instituting salary reductions of 30 percent for himself, department heads and political appointments. All this while implementing policies that include cutting taxes and creating new private-sector jobs in the place of government handouts.  Does this not sound like the opposite of what our nation’s President is doing?  And does this not sound like a model roadmap for our federal government?

At the moment, a G.O.P. ticket with Puerto Rico’s Governor Fortuno on it may seem far fetched, but it’s called history folks, and stranger things have made history and have eventually come to be seen as quite natural.

In conclusion, as for those of you who claim a native citizen of Puerto Rico can’t be eligible to be Vice President or President of the United States, it must be understood that all persons born in Puerto Rico between April 11, 1899, and January 12, 1941, are automatically conferred citizenship as of the date that such law was signed by the President on June 27, 1952. Furthemore, all persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, are considered natural-born citizens of the United States.

Pros:

  • Fortuno could help appeal to Hispanic voters better than just about any other Republican in the Party and he could cut in to the Obama-Biden tickets lead among Hispanics in ways so significant that it could cost them several key battleground states
  • The selection of Fortuno as Vice President would have historic value and soften the perception that the G.O.P. is anti-immigration
  • Although Puerto Rico’s economy is by no means quite strong, the mess Fortuno inherited and the measures he took to correct decades of wrongs, helps to starkly contrast the tax and spend policies of the Obama Administration with the Republican philosophy that government is not the solution, it’s the problem, in a way that can define the race in a clearly positive way for Republicans

Cons:

  • It might be viewed as an overly blatant attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters
  • Many voters may be quite uncomfortable with the prospects of what they might perceive as a foreigner being Vice President and a heartbeat away from the presidency
  • Puerto Rico’s high unemployment and struggling economy will provide Democrats with an easy attack line that utilizes the anger of anti-Fortuno factions in Puerto Rico in a very effective way, despite all of Fortuno’s hard and successful work to turn things around there
  • Fortuno’s foreign policy and national security credentials may be questioned endlessly and viewed with skepticism by may voters
  • While Fortuno’s Spanish will help him appeal to Hispanic voters, his heavy accent does not make him the most fluid campaigners that English speaking voters will have ever seen

Assessment:

Selecting Luis Fortuno for Vice President would be one of the boldest moves that mitt Romney could possibly make. It would be a gamble that could yield enormous returns or cost Romney everything and Romney is not a gambling man (despite his desire to bet Rick Perry $10,000 during a debate). So I do not believe that Mitt will go with Fortuno. But it is such a historic and game changing move that seeing Romney pick Fortuno is not out of the question. Is it likely? No. But some of the most unlikely decisions throughout history have produced some of the most beneficial results.

Photobucket

Recent Key Votes

HR 7321 – Automotive Industry Financing

Legislation (NA)

Dec. 10, 2008 – Requires the President to designate one or more officials (“Car Czars”) to be overseen by the Comptroller General in order to assess auto manufacturers’ recovery …

HR 6867 – Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation

Legislation (NA)

Oct. 3, 2008 – – Allows an individual who has no rights to federal or state regular unemployment compensation, or who has exhausted his or her rights to federal …

HR 1424 – Financial Asset Purchase Authority and Tax Law Amendments

Legislation (NA)

Oct. 3, 2008 – -Establishes the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to allow the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase troubled assets from any financial institution (Div. A, Sec. …

More Key Votes

Photobucket

Luis Fortuno 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

Photobucket

Bookmark and Share

%d bloggers like this: