Lots of speculation has occurred as to who it will be. There is a Rubio contingency, there is a Portman contingency and there are now new stories that there is a Tim Pawlenty contingency. When choosing a Vice-President, presidential candidates should apply the following rules in balancing the ticket:
- The running mate should cover certain policy experience the candidate may lack (Cheney and Foreign Policy)
- The running mate should unite the party, especially in the case of a heated primary season(George Bush, John Edwards)
- The running mate should come from a key state (Lyndon Johnson)
- The running mate should attract a key voting bloc (Sarah Palin, Geraldine Ferraro, Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman)
- Older/younger, younger/older (Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen)
In lieu of Pawlenty, I hope Mitt Romney considers and eventually chooses one of the following:
- Marco Rubio: Right now he is near the top of the list for me. Marco Rubio's age (he's a Gen-Xer) and background could help attract younger voters, as well as Latinos, considering the fact he is Cuban-American. Furthermore, he is one of the Republicans most like Reagan, in terms of his embrace of Conservatism and imagery of sunny optimism given within his speeches. He can also attack where needed. Rubio coming from Florida also helps as it will further ensure Florida will be Red in November.
- Bobby Jindal: Many overlook the Louisiana Governor as coming from a non-key state, but he is a Consistent Conservative, strong leader and a brilliant man! He has created jobs in Louisiana, held the Federal Government's feet to the fire in the wake of the BP spill/oil rig explosion, and is working to reform the education system within the state. Jindal is young, but he is in his second term as Governor, has served in the House of Representatives and is sure to have an increased amount of influence within the Republican Party. His minority status can also attract new voters to the party. If Rubio is not the pick, I believe Bobby Jindal should be.
- Susanna Martinez: While I'm not confident Romney will choose her, considering she has attempted to take her name out of contention and she is in her first term as Governor, she brings a lot to the ticket. Martinez is an articulate, consistent Conservative, she is Latina and has also done a good job in setting up education reforms and overseeing additional legislation that will help ease crime. Hailing from New Mexico, she puts that state in play and also, like Marco Rubio, has the potential to bring Latino voters to the Republican Party.
- Nikki Haley: She may be in her first term as South Carolina Governor and the Palmetto State is clearly a Romney state this November, but Haley has shown no-fear in pushing for reforms to benefit the South Carolina taxpayer. She is also heavily supported by the TEA Party, considered a Consistent Conservative and her Asian background, like Jindal's, has the potential of bringing new voters to the party. As she was one of the first TEA Party supported Republicans to come out for Romney, he appreciates the loyalty and can count on the fact that she will do her job as #2.
- Rob Portman: The reason that Portman may be picked comes down to winning Ohio; a key state in the election. Portman hails from the Cincinnati area, which is the region of Ohio that makes or breaks statewide elections for Republicans. He's had a distinguished career in the House and is doing a fine job in the Senate. Portman's endorsement of Conservatism also helps to cancel out the criticisms that "he's boring." Romney may choose him for the reasons of hailing from Ohio, support from Conservatives and the fact that he will fit well in the supporting role.
- Allen West: While I don't see him as a likely pick by Romney as a result of a recent controversy (which in reality, is manufactured) and the state of Florida attempting to push him out by redrawing his district, I think Allen West would help him. West is an American hero as per his military service, plain spoken gentleman, excellent speaker and strong Conservative. He also hails from Florida and is an African-American. Additionally, he will be a strong attack-dog for the ticket, in the fashion of Joe Biden, Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney.
This public vetting is a bad strategy and instead, he must remember to apply the element of surprise in making the pick. That moment, which I predicted, when Sarah Palin was announced, putting aside my personal preference for her, was magical. The effect of the Obama Greek Column speech in Denver was cancelled out.
Second they should not announce too early, as it will take attention away fromRomney and what he is articulating. The best time is in the lead-up to the Republican National Convention to get voters and the party faithful ready for the week in Tampa, as well as to increase fundraising in the time before.
And most importantly, the campaign should make sure the running mate plays to his/her strengths. McCain's people made a mistake by not letting "Sarah be Sarah" and did not use her effectively-she should have been talking to the Conservative outlets first and should have been listened to in terms of strategy. For Romney's people to do this to whoever they choose would be a shame and throwing away a prime opportunity unseat this president and save the country.
The running mate/Vice Presidential selection is a very, very important pick and I, along with other Republicans, hope that Mitt Romney makes the correct decision that will benefit him, as well as the United States of America, come November.