Mitt Romney’s public appearances with Congressman Paul Ryan were not just for endorsement purposes (Ryan supporting his presidential bid and helping him win the Wisconsin Primary) but I believe also an audition because at this point one must consider Ryan the frontrunner to be Romney’s first choice for vice president once he clinches the nomination.
All roads lead to Paul Ryan. He is a walking embodiment of his plan “The Ryan Plan” which is likely to be a major campaign talking point for the Republicans in this election. He appears to be scandal free, is young and sounds intelligent when he speaks. He has a very conservative voting record on all issues but is not really vocal on anything other than fiscal policies. He is not strident or polarizing. There is also the state of Wisconsin to consider – It is a state that Republicans are eternally hopeful to win during a presidential election but haven’t been able to do since 1984.
I’m not a Republican by any means but if I was Romney I would pick Ryan.
What about other potential VP’s? Here is how I handicap the list….
Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana – Would be my second choice if I was Romney. Fits all three legs of the Republican stool – Fiscal, Social, Defense. However, the crazy birther wing of the Republican Party believes that those who were born in the USA but had one or more parents who were not citizens at the time of their birth are ineligible for the presidency. This is how they interpret the “natural born citizen” clause of the constitution. Jindal's parents originally from India were graduate students at the time he was born and were on student visas. Romney does not want any trouble with conservatives so this hurts Jindal’s chances.
Marco Rubio, Senator of Florida – an emerging scandal about his finances and the birther problem (Rubio’s parents are Cuban immigrants) will keep him off the ticket which is too bad as he fits many of the targets the Republicans need to hit in this race-From Florida, Hispanic, young, etc.
Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina – Lingering talk of infidelity from her gubernatorial campaign plus a burgeoning tax evasion scandal makes her not so good a pick. Romney with a female VP would be a good idea but she could be Palin part 2.
Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey – Romney with a much bigger mouth and an extra 200 pounds. He has become a youtube folk hero although he is basically just a cowardly bully who engineers media events so he can yell at public servants (mostly teachers) Also notice he mostly yells at women and old people. However despite his bluster he is quite moderate like Romney was when he was governor of Massachusetts on some issues such as gun control and immigration. Two Northeastern moderates on the Republican ticket? I think at that point there would be an interparty war.
Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia – Virginia is now a swing state and Donnell is popular there but the recent abortion ultrasound controversy hurt him. It painted him a.) As an extreme right winger and a theocrat and b.) A weakling who reversed course once the bill became known and then unpopular.
Rob Portman, Senator of Ohio – I would love to run against him if I was President Obama’s reelection team. He was George Bush’s budget director for God’s sake! I would talk about that morning, noon, and night. It would be the first and last thing out of my mouth when campaigning.
Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana – I’ve written about Daniels before http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-mitch-daniels-would-never-have-been.html I think the same weaknesses about his weird marriage, drug arrest, time with George Bush apply now plus the recent bill he signed that gives people the right to shoot police officers who enter their home would be an issue.
Susanna Martinez, Governor of New Mexico – a very outside the box choice but could connect with Hispanics. However, her maternal grandparents were illegal immigrants(Republicans would hate this) and she’s an unknown quantity otherwise so not this time.
Jim DeMint, Senator of South Carolina – The favorite of conservatives. Would cement Republican support of Romney but turn off a lot of others who view the head of the tea party caucus as way, way, way too far to the right.
There are still deep doubts about Mitt Romney by a lot of people who identify themselves as “conservatives”. The trick is to find a VP pick that allays those concerns but also doesn’t turn off the rest of America who are trending away from the Republicans due to recent miscalculations on issues pertaining to abortion , race etc.. Paul Ryan is the only one who can do both I think.