Now Romney needs a running mate

by Brendan Monaghan

With the Republican presidential primary race now officially over (sorry, Paul fans), Governor and Nominee-in-Waiting Mitt Romney can now focus on taking the fight to President Obama. The task will not be an easy one, given the inherent advantages of incumbency and a billion-dollar war chest. He can also begin to consider who might make an effective running-mate for his ticket in Tampa. Romney was unwittingly compared by an aloof staffer to the Etch-a-Sketch toy that many of us remember from our childhoods. With that in mind, the nominee seems to face a game of “Guess Who?” where tiles of potential candidates are flipped over and eliminated based on various qualities- “does your person wear glasses?” not being one of them.

Does this person even want the job?

Click, click, click, click! Down go the likes of Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Paul Ryan, and Governors Chris Christie and Nikki Haley. Despite considerable cheerleading from the supporters of these Republicans- and the political advantages each would bring to a Romney ticket- none of these four seem all that keen on leaving where they are now. Senator Rubio, in his characteristic eloquence, spoke of a promise to keep with Florida voters, who sent him to Washington not two years ago. Ryan knows he’s needed where he is: authoring the House’s DOA budgets, waiting to get down to real business should Republicans take back the Senate, and ready at a moment’s notice to assume command should Speaker John Boehner be overthrown by his own caucus. Governor Christie is nobody’s number two (and not yet ready to be number one), and Haley, plugging her new book on the talk show circuit, gave a refusal that was positively Shermanesque.

Would Mitt Romney even think of making this person his Vice President and putting them a heartbeat away from the Presidency?

Click, click, click, click, click! Down go Rick Santorum and most of Romney’s primary rivals. Governor Romney singled out the Senator by name as someone he would not consider as a potential running-mate, citing Santorum’s protectionist and interventionist stances on economic issues. Furthermore, rivals are rarely put on the ticket next to their hatchet-burying nominee, and make little difference in the outcome when they are. John Edwards hardly helped John Kerry in North Carolina, going ofer in the south. Did George Bush really push Ronald Reagan over the line in 1980? Ask any conservative pining for his return and resurrection. Lyndon Johnson is perhaps the exception, as George Will pointed out, allowing John Kennedy to win/steal Texas. Put simply, it was not by accident (or a ton of money) that Mitt Romney was the last man standing.

Is this person ready to become President tomorrow?

Click, click, click! The 2010 elections provided Republicans with a bumper crop of freshman Governors, Senators, and Congressmen with tremendous upside potential. However, damn few of them are ready, right now, to become Commander-in-Chief should something dreadful happen to President Romney. Down go Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Rand Paul, and Congressman Allen West. Republicans have sometimes struggled with this truth, that a half-term (or less) in state or federal office in no way prepares someone for the toughest job in the world. Democrats made Senator Dan Quayle and Governor Sarah Palin major liabilities in the campaign and responded with running-mates Lloyd Bentsen and Joe Biden, respectively, who seemingly had been in Washington longer than the Republican upstarts had been alive. Mitt Romney needs every advantage he can get against Obama this fall. History has shown the Vice Presidential pick is a one-shot deal (see: George McGovern). He can’t afford to risk getting it wrong with a political novice who could very quickly prove to be in way over his or her head.

Is this person both Tea Party tested and swing-voter approved?

Click, click, click, click! Down go country club members Haley Barbour and Olympia Snowe, along with Tea Party cranks like Susan Angle and John Bolton. Mitt Romney needs a running-mate more conservative than himself to sweep up the remaining Irreconcilables and unite the Party faithful against Obama/Biden . . . but not someone too crazy to attract the moderates and independents necessary to win. The Tea Party provided much of the energy, enthusiasm, and spoils of the 2010 cycle. They also were not particularly supportive of Romney and his Establishment essence until Wisconsin; they were holding out for one of their own. Romney thus needs a running-mate with Tea Party instincts, with demonstrable Tea Party credentials and support. Witches and bat-wielding hacks aside, quite a few Tea Party candidates became officeholders in otherwise difficult-to-win areas, carrying demographics and groups Republicans need to win this year. The Tea Party is now a three-year old movement- finding a running-mate who acts more mature than this age will be key to his success.

Is the person at the bottom of the ticket indistinguishable from the person at the top?

Click, click! Down go Senator Rob Portman- whose specialization in economic and fiscal matters add nothing to the ticket- and former Governor Tim Pawlenty, too unknown and indistinguishable for the witness protection program. What every nominee looks for in a running-mate are complementary qualities, not those that reinforce or clash with the candidate himself. Romney’s qualities and shortcomings have been well documented and examined by now. The drab, gray suit needs a colorful tie to complete the outfit. For Mitt, this means avoiding picking a nominee who, despite making it this far, is too much like himself.

Are you a woman?

Click! You’re Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire!


Brendan is a graduate student at Portland State University, where he hosts the KPSU “Right Jab” radio program, and a regular contributor at Oregon Catalyst. Brendan is studying political science, and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2007, with a degree in political science.

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Posted by at 10:36 | Posted in 2012 Presidential Election | 61 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Ben Carpenter

    Cathy McMorris-Rodgers maybe???

    • JoelinPDX

      10 to one maybe. She simply isn’t on the RADAR.

  • Public Enemy #2

    The Republicans know that selecting a female VP isn’t just done as a gimmick, right?  I wonder if they learned their lesson from picking Palin in 2008.

    • Rupert in Springfield

       Considering that the days following the Palin pick was the only time McCain was ahead in the polls one has to wonder what you are on about.

      Let’s face it, no matter who Republicans pick, if she is a woman all we will hear is “shes so stupid”.

      We have already heard such comments on this blog regarding Haley.

      • Public Enemy #2

        “Considering that the days following the Palin pick was the only time McCain was ahead in the polls one has to wonder what you are on about.”
        Yes, McCain was ahead, but not until Sept. 6 — 8 days after Palin was announced as the VP ticket.  On Sept. 17, Obama passed McCain and coasted to victory.  Even if you look on RealClearPolitics at, you can see that only some polls showed McCain ahead.

        There are smart conservative women out there.  Palin’s not one of them.

        • Rupert in Springfield

           Yes, Obama did win. Good observation. McCains high point was the Palin pick. In other words, about the only good move McCain made was picking Palin. Obviously she wasn’t enough.

          • Public Enemy #2

            My point is that the “Palin peak” you speak of came a week after she was picked.  Do you really believe that the polls would have waited a week for McCain’s Palin pick to be represented in polls?

            It’s not that she wasn’t enough… she was a liability.  Any bump from Palin immediately eroded when she opened her mouth.  You can’t blame the so-called “lamestream media” for this one… she put her foot in her mouth so many times over the course of the ticket’s run.

      • valley person

         The VP pick is considered one of 3 moments in a campaign when the needle of public opinion can be jolted. Palin was certainly a positive jolt for McCain. But like many jolts it didn’t last and she soon became a liability.

        She remains, and hopefully will always remain, the worst VP pick in modern history. She was utterly unqualified and unprepared, and has done nothing since to improve either. Unless reality TV is a qualification. 

        Romney is nothing if not cautious and deliberate. I expect a competent, not flashy, very conservative, non white male pick. That narrows the field to a handful.   

        • Rupert in Springfield

          LOL. Are you aware Joe Biden is the current VP? The man is legendary for his inanity.


          As defined in Websters (2003 edition, revised, Penguin Press):

          Sexistsecond – The shortest time period measurable to man, the period between a Republican woman being noticed by a liberal, and when the liberal calls her stupid.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          LOL. Are you aware Joe Biden is the current VP? The man is legendary for his inanity.


          As defined in Websters (2003 edition, revised, Penguin Press):

          Sexistsecond – The shortest time period measurable to man, the period between a Republican woman being noticed by a liberal, and when the liberal calls her stupid.

          • JoelinPDX

            Don’t forget Biden’s racist inclinations. He said you had to have an (East) Inidan accent to work in a 7-11 store and he called Obozo “A clean, bright and articulate African-American guy.”

          • valley person

             Yes, that remark was so obviously racist that Obama picked Biden as his VP.

          • JoelinPDX

            I just love the way you liberals give a big pass to other liberals racist statements…even your Lord, God Obozo does it.

          • JoelinPDX

            Apparently Obozo thought it was a compliment…but then that figures. I mean, he is Obozo for a reason.

          • valley person

             Yeah, I’m aware. A long experienced Senator, expert on foreign relations and the judiciary, and so far a quite good and capable VP. A few notches ahead of Dan Quayle and Spiro Agnew to name 2 winners Republicans have put in the seat on any scale.

            Yes, he is gaff prone. So is Romney. Should I recite he campaign leave behinds for you? I like firing people? Corporations are people my friend? I like GM, my wife has several cadilacs. Wanna bet $10,000? Battlefield earth was a great science fiction book. 7 year marriages in France? Doesn’t care who his wife gives his money to (Planned Parenthood).

            My favorite is: I like guns. I’m a small varmint hunter.

            So if “gaff” is your measure of the man,  good luck. Romney wades in deep.

        • JoelinPDX

          VP, you’re obviously forgetting the Democlown’s picks that went on to lose the presidency big time. Hubert Humphrey lost to Richard Nixon for God’s sake and Fritz Mondale lost big twice…first as Carter’s VP and then in his own presidential race. Either easily outstrips Palin in the contest to be the worst VP candidate.

          • valley person

             Mondale and Humphrey were about as well qualified VPs as this nation has ever had. Losing an election doesn’t make one unqualified. It just makes one unelected.

          • JoelinPDX

            Oh yeah, Hubie Humphrey and Fritz the Shitz were well qualified to be Veep…not!!! 

            The people told them how qualified they were when they denied them the presidency. Basically what the people said was, “You couldn’t function as vice-president. You can forget about being elected president.”

            Neither of them would have done so poorly in the presidential election if they hadn’t been so rotten as veeps.

          • valley person

             Their performance as Veeps was hardly an issue. The Viet Nam war got in Humphries way. An economic rebound got in Mondales way. Their qualifications and prior accomplishments were never a problem for either of them. 

  • Guest

    Yes, because that’s just what the wary south and midwest evanglicals want on the ticket – a second questionable New Englander…

  • valley person

    Romney needs a VP to cover all his gaps.  o wit:

    A female, to reconnect with the women he and his party have dissed to date

    A hipster, to connect with those under 35 and round his square

    A person of color, for obvious reasons

    A Catholic, Protestant, or Jew to mainstream his religion

    A southerner, westerner and midwesterner

    A blue collar seeming person

    A foreign policy expert


    Someone who can laugh at his really bad campaign jokes.

    I would run an ad on Craig’s list.

    • JoelinPDX

      You’d be more at home with this insipid list on Media Matters or TPM.

    • Rupert in Springfield

       Damn – An epic display of your legendary bigotry.

      Absolutely unreal, especially on the religious bigotry and racism tip.

      I have said it before, but this one is such a corker I have to say it again, you truly are the embarrassing Archie Bunker type uncle at dinner.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like anyone can get mad at your bigotry, since I really don’t think it comes from a hateful place. It’s just so out of touch I don’t think you have a clue how bigoted you really are with some of this stuff.

      I mean seriously, a Catholic or Jew?

      Whats up with that? Like someone who was Catholic couldn’t possibly vote for a Mormon?

      You sound like James Watt with this one.

      The person of colour and blue collar comment are also vintage Dean bigotry.

      Damn guy, would you move into the 20th century at the very least?

      Not sure what sort of crowd thinks this kind of talk is acceptable, but whoever brung ya to the party would be saying “not with me man” if this line of BS came out.

      Wow – I mean I am just amazed at this one.

      • valley person

        “Damn – An epic display of your legendary bigotry.”

         No. Maybe an epic display of your lacking a funny bone. But then you are the one who thinks Krugman was dead serious about faking a space alien invasion.

        • JoelinPDX

          Yeah, racism and sexism are funny when they’re done by a liberal. As we all know, liberals can do no wrong.

  • Cbrattain

    I like Allen West in spite of being a newcomer.  He is a true conservative and is not intimidated by anyone.  Another good choice would be Marco Rubio.

    • Public Enemy #2

      Rubio said no.

    • JoelinPDX

      Alan West is a bit of a lose cannon. 81 commies in the House?

    • Guest

      Rubio may have said no – but politicians often reverse course on things like this and no one hold them to it.  Rubio offers the advantage that a Republican governor in FL could replace him – perhaps by promoting West.  It could be a two-fer.

  • JoelinPDX

    I like Nikki Haley despite the comments of some posters here on OC. For now her remarks that she won’t be a candidate can be taken cum grano salis. I do suppose it is possible that Romney has told her it won’t be her and she should make the not running comments. After all, look at what happened when McCain named a woman. The left-wing’s misogyny came out and worled overtime calling Palin stupid. 

    Of course, you can’t call the leftists misogynists. You can’t identify the leftists with anything that isn’t overtly positive. For instance, you can’t call them racists. such as Joe Biden who said you couldn’t go into a 7-11 if you didn’t have an(East) Indian accent and called Obozo a bright, clean and articulate black guy…or the New Black Panthers who showed up at a predominantly white polling place armed with clubs. These people are leftists and therefore not racists just like most leftists are not misogynists.

    • Public Enemy #2

      Palin IS stupid, though.  Her being a woman has nothing to do with it.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Her being a woman has nothing to do with it.

        So you say.

        Let’s face it, the fact that she is a woman has everything to do with it. If it didn’t we wouldn’t have the endless list of Republican women where the left’s first and foremost argument was “shes stupid”

        Let’s also face facts that however many stupid things Palin ever said, in the end you guys went with Biden as VP, who has more idiotic statements to his credit than just about anyone in politics.

        What’s the difference? Bidens a man and on your team, so no matter what he says, not stupid. Palins a woman, and not on your team, so no matter what she says, stupid.

        Reason – Largely partisanship but also with an element of sexism. You just can’t conceive of a woman not thinking as part of a monolithic group.

        • valley person

           Quayle was a bit of a dolt and he is not a woman. W was intellectually challenged and he was not a woman. Palin is similar, and she is a woman.

          Do some math Rupert. Its not about sex, its about brains. Find some leaders who have brains and you won’t have to worry so much about them being thought of as dim bulbs.

          What is it anyway, with people who are so insecure about their own intelligence that they are always complaining about being thought of as less than geniuses.

          Palin could have tried reading a book once in a while. But that was apparently too much trouble.

          • Guest

            And yet those dolts like Quayle and W won elections – as did Palin in Alaska.

        • Public Enemy #2

          > So you say.

          So I know.  You apparently never heard her speak.
          > the fact that she is a woman has everything to do with it. If it didn’t we wouldn’t have the endless list of Republican women where the left’s first and foremost argument was “shes stupid”

          What “endless list” do you speak of?  Do I need to go into my local Democratic Party office and ask for a copy?

          > in the end you guys went with Biden as VP, who has more idiotic statements to his credit than just about anyone in politics.Really?  More so than Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Joe the Plumber, Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, Herman Cain…

          > What’s the difference? Bidens a man and on your team, so no matter what he says, not stupid. Palins a woman, and not on your team, so no matter what she says, stupid.

          Biden says some stupid stuff, I’ll give you that.  Nowhere near Palin, though.  You only can give 2 or 3 instances of Biden’s idiocy.  I could write a book about Palin’s gaffes.

          > You just can’t conceive of a woman not thinking as part of a monolithic group.And you just can’t conceive that someone is calling Sarah Palin stupid is because she’s stupid, not because she’s a woman.  There are many intelligent conservative women, and Palin isn’t one of them.

  • Bob Clark

    Good point.  Romney is supposedly losing the woman vote quite significantly to “used car salesman” Obama.  We need’m good experienced woman for VP.  How bout that Condi gal, Hawii governor, or Arizona governor.

  • mnjimmy

    Much as I enjoy a good veepstakes discussion, I don’t think it’s going to be Senator Ayotte. New Hampshire’s governor is a Democrat, and would appoint a Democrat to the Senate if Ayotte is chosen.  Also, I don’t think Romney will pick a Senator or who has been in the Senate for less than two years, unless the person has a substantial resume.  I am betting on Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana or Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.

  • guest

    RSVP: répondez, s’il vous plaît – too, connote vote for “Romney Santorum Very Pleased.”

    Indeed, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their  country” by ceding and voting for same come November 12, 2012.

    Lo, keen  observers are sincerely Soros to say:  If not, BHO, pro Islam disciple in the Oval Office, will continue reining with a Jeremiah Wright bearing attending New World Order supplications – and, Louis Farrakahn [Naton of Islam] will smilingly approve along with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, et al.    Omen.

  • guest

    Condoleeza Rice, Janice Rogers Brown or Anne Wortham would make Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Hillary Rosen and Michelle Obama’s eyes bug out – not to mention BHO’s teleprompter battery to chunk more than just a few ‘cheep’ shots.  Why…he may even go so ‘Mastersfully’  far as to drop kick a flub two.         

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