Written on Sunday, April 15, 2012 by Onan Coca
Everyone’s recollections are always a bit different from one another, and at times it can cause a bit of a problem when trying to have discussions about the past. For instance a friend of mine and I were discussing the 2008 election when he mentioned that Sarah Palin’s selection as John McCain’s running mate was the death knell of his campaign. This struck me for a couple of reasons; first, my memory of the 2008 campaign was that of a months long train wreck. I heard the “death knell” of the McCain campaign long before the selection of Sarah Palin as the possible VP. Secondly, I seem to remember the height of the McCain campaign being the announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Sarah Palin may be a polarizing figure in America today but the downfall of the McCain campaign she was not.
Thinking about the 2008 campaign and the recent withdrawal of Senator Santorum from the primary race had me wondering “who will a candidate Romney pick for his running mate”? He has said that any of the other Republican candidates would have gotten his support for President, and that they would all be on any potential “short list” of VP candidates. There are of course the other “big name” frontrunners as well; men like Chris Christie of New Jersey, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Marco Rubio of Florida. There are a few lesser known possibilities already being floated as well; Luis Fortuno of Puerto Rico, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Susana Martinez of New Mexico. Pundits always claim to know the “best” options for the candidates – some say “play it safe”, others say “be bold”, but what political calculations really come into play for a candidate in selecting their running mate?
If Governor Romney plays it safe who will his selection be? It would need to be someone with experience and who can placate a disquieted conservative base, who worries that Romney’s conservatism may not be sincere. The running mate would need to be well vetted to avoid anything close to the national hoopla that surrounded Governor Palin’s selection. The safe selection would also not overshadow Romney on the national stage. I think that these qualifications eliminate candidates like Christie, Rubio, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Haley, and Governor Jan Brewer. If Romney is playing it “safe” I think it very likely that he selects someone much more reminiscent of VP Dick Cheney than Sarah Palin. If he goes the “safe” route, I bet Romney picks Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Personally, I think Governor Jindal would be an excellent choice as a running mate and that the national media would have a hard time finding fault with his selection.
If Governor Romney plans on being “bold” with his running mate choice, what could we expect? The candidate would need to be someone who would energize the electorate. The bold pick would probably be chosen in an attempt by the Romney campaign to pick up steam with a portion of the electorate that would otherwise be out of reach for Romney on his own. The candidate should be seasoned without having the stink of a Washington insider. The choice of a bold running mate may mean that Romney risks being overshadowed by his Vice President. The bold move is dangerous, but a candidate might decide that the risks outweigh the rewards, as McCain must have when he selected a relatively unknown Sarah Palin in 2008. I think the “bold” option would eliminate possibilities like; Jindal, Paul Ryan, Governor’s Mitch Daniels, Bob McDonnell, and Tim Pawlenty. If Romney is being “bold” look for him to stay away from quiet, unassuming white men from the Midwest. If he goes “bold” my pick for VP would be Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico. Why? She would be the first female Vice President, she would appeal to the Latino population, and she is the Governor of an important swing state that voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in 2008.
Quite honestly, I think all of the names mentioned thus far would be fine picks to be the next Vice President. In the past on this site I have made known who my Presidential preference was, and I think that Romney would do well to select Ron Paul as his running mate – though this could hurt him with his base and that is the last thing Romney wants now. So my question to you dear reader is, who do you want candidate for President Mitt Romney to select as his running mate? Are you a “bold” selection kind of voter? Or would you prefer for Governor Romney to make the safest pick possible fearing a repeat of the 2008 election campaign? There are many opinions about who would make the best running mate and why – but at the end of the day the truth is Romney has a lot of good people to choose from, so let’s hope he chooses wisely.