It’s a done deal! It’s a slam dunk! You can just about start printing the bumper stickers for the 2012 Republican presidential ticket. For as a result of this week’s GOP debate and a Virginia legislative election, the Romney/McDonnell ticket has been solidified.
Mitt Romney, the inevitable Republican presidential nominee has become even more so as a result of Rick Perry’s debate implosion. (Otherwise known as the “56 second brain freeze” that rocked the world.)
Romney looks and sounds presidential and is by default going to be the last man standing after Cain-mania settles down. This is not exactly pleasing to the conservative base, but there is “hope and change” coming for conservatives on the 2012 ticket and his name is Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia.
Governor McDonnell took a well deserved victory lap this past week after helping the Republican Party of Virginia win control of both the Virginia General Assembly and Virginia Senate. This huge legislative victory, won with tea party support, catapults McDonnell right into Romney’s number two slot.
But for McDonnell, these favorable Virginia election results are only the cherry on top of the sundae. There are five other important reasons why McDonnell will be Romney’s running mate, served up for coronation at the 2012 Republican nominating convention in Tampa.
1. Governor Bob McDonnell is a conservative who conservatives trust.
McDonnell can make a Romney-topped ticket more palatable to the tea party/conservative base. The base currently does not trust Romney but with McDonnell as his VP, McDonnell can help “sell” Romney and soften the blow for conservatives nationally, while not scaring away moderate voters.
2. Virginia is a must-win-back state for the GOP.
Obama won Virginia in 2008 by 7 percentage points, but with Governor McDonnell’s high approval rating of 62%, Romney can count on him to return Virginia into the red column where it had been for forty years since 1968.
Obama will throw everything he has at Virginia but McDonnell will triumph. Already, Tuesday’s Virginia election results are considered a bad omen for Obama nationally.
3. Obama/Kaine vs. McDonnell/Allen
The race for the open U.S. Senate seat created by Democrat Jim Webb stepping down, will be one of the most watched, vicious and expensive Senate races in 2012. But not only will it be a political fight to the finish but very personal as well.
The dynamic revolves around Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine who, as Governor in 2008 was one of Senator Obama’s earliest supporters and was widely credited with helping Obama turn Virginia from red to blue.
Now, Virginia governors can only serve one 4 year term, and Kaine’s term was ending in January of 2010. So after Obama was elected president, Obama thanked Kaine for his early support by appointing him to be Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in early 2009 while Kaine was still Governor of Virginia.
Then, in the Virginia Gubernatorial election in November of 2009, Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell won a resounding 59% of the vote, a 17.5% point margin of victory against Democrat Creigh Deeds to whom both Obama and Kaine (as DNC head and incumbent VA Governor) threw much campaign funding and personal support. McDonnell’s victory was a total embarrassment to Obama and Kaine.
Moving ahead to the 2012 election cycle, Kaine has left the DNC to run for the US Senate in Virginia against former US Senator and former Virginia Governor George Allen who was defeated in 2006 by Jim Webb.
On Friday, November 11th a few days after his state legislative victories, Governor McDonnell endorsed George Allen who has primary tea party opposition. There are high hopes that George Allen will win that highly contested Virginia Senate seat especially if the VP candidate is Governor Bob McDonnell.
President Obama of course, will be supporting Kaine one thousand percent for two reasons. First, Obama is counting on Kaine to keep the Virginia Senate seat in the Democrat column. Second, Obama is expecting Kaine to have coat-tails going up the ballot, helping him to win Virginia again.
This all sets up an Obama/Kaine vs. McDonnell/Allen WWF style “death match.” For not only is Virginia and its 13 electoral votes a grand prize in the race for the White House but Republican control of the US Senate also hangs in the balance.
The Virginia Senate race is the third practical political reason why a Romney/ McDonnell ticket will be appearing on your ballot in 2012.
4. McDonnell is Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. (RGA)
The Bob McDonnell for VP stars aligned even more perfectly when Texas Governor Rick Perry resigned as Chairman of the RGA to run for president, and Governor McDonnell was then tapped as Chairman.
McDonnell chairing the RGA is highly significant for individual state and national media exposure and fundraising. There is no better post for McDonnell to hold to help Romney more than RGA Chairman and this is even before Romney chooses McDonnell as his running mate.
5. Romney thinks very highly of McDonnell
That is an understatement in that Romney has called Governor McDonnell one of the 'great leaders of the Republican Party." Romney has also said, “I say nice things about Governor McDonnell every time I have a chance.”
McDonnell on the other hand, has said that he would like to see a former governor in the White House. (Wink, wink, I don’t think he is talking about Perry.) Additionally, McDonnell has not been shy when asked about being considered for the number two position.
Furthermore, McDonnell would personally and politically complement Romney and not overshadow him in some ways like Palin did to McCain in 2008.
Romney/McDonnell could be a marriage made in political heaven -- a win-win for the “establishment wing” of the Republican Party with the “conservative wing” placing a respectable second.
The next step would be for McDonnell to officially announce his support for a presidential candidate, something McDonnell said he would do after the Virginia legislative election this past Tuesday. Gee, I wonder who McDonnell win endorse?
And when McDonnell does utter the name “Mitt Romney,” it’s time to start up the presses for the yard signs and bumper stickers. For on that day, the 2012 GOP presidential ticket will be non-officially inked but officially ready to do battle.