I've been hesitant to declare my VP choice on RedState for a while because I wanted to watch the campaign unfold and give it time to see where Romney's VP choice may help plug a hole in a swing state or fulfill a weakness in his campaign. I wasn't really worried about the dirt and tactics from Team O given his extremely amateur campaign to date after witnessing all of his fits and starts fizzle stupendously.
Given all of the excuses above, my VP pick hasn't changed for about a year now, even before Mitt got the official nomination. As a Texan, I was a short-lived Perry supporter, his fault and not mine, but I was an early adopter of Romney before Perry even got in the race.
Unfortunately, Romney still has a stigma that he's a stodgy, rich, out-of-touch candidate that can't relate to the middle-class which is so in need of an lift, both economically and emotionally. Part of that is Obama's fault for painting him that way, the MSM repeating it incessantly and the casual voter then actually believing this is the main issue for voting against him. Yet there are far too many Republicans that haven't necessarily warmed up to him enough to help him win this election but will still vote for him. Lack of voter enthusiasm is perhaps the best description.
Well my pick is a game changer and yes somewhat risky. After much study and deliberation, to me this pick is worth the risk because I think the end result of winning this election far out weigh the risks now and in the future for our Party.
My pick is a Republican governor that served one term in the U.S House of Representatives, who slashed thousands of public sector jobs that caused protests in the streets, reduced the state deficit from $3.3B to $600M in three years, outsourced many public works projects to the private sector sector, became a governor in a very blue state after years of Democrat rule, and did it because it was the right thing to do; not for popularity or political expediency. He also helped stuff envelopes for the Reagan campaign in 1980 and is a staunch reformist economic conservative that believes smaller government and lower taxes are the way to stimulate the economy since the private sector is much more efficient than government.
Gov. Scott Walker is not my pick although his has done all of the above maybe less the envelopes I'm guessing and is worthy of much admiration for his fiscal courage. My big stakes pick is Gov. Luis Fortuno of Puerto Rico. He's very similar to Gov. Walker fiscally but on steroids. Before I make my case for him, YES he can be the VP or President, as he is a citizen of the U.S.A.
Gov. Fortuno won the Puerto Rico governor 2008 election which had not been won by a Republican in 40 years. Here is a little biographical information on him from Southern Governors Conference http://www.southerngovernors.org/Governors/PRLuisFortu%C3%B1o.aspx, of which has many articles on what his positions and actions of late:
Fortuño was born October 31, 1960. He graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and later received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1985. During this period, Fortuño was a volunteer intern at the Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C. During Pedro Rosselló's tenure as governor of Puerto Rico, Fortuño served as Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and as the first Secretary of Economic Development.
In his bid for resident commissioner, Fortuño actively campaigned alongside Pedro Rosselló, who was also seeking re-election. In the 2004 election, Fortuño was victorious. However, his running-mate Rosselló lost his bid for the governor's seat by 4,000 votes. This meant that Fortuño would be the Resident Commissioner under Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá of the Popular Democratic Party. This was the first time in Puerto Rican history that the governor of Puerto Rico and the resident commissioner are not from the same political party.
To clarify, what we call a U.S. House Rep, PR calls it a Resident Commissioner, which serves a four year term, not a two-year term. However, it is considered by all to be a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. I'll add that he is married, has triplets, is Catholic and was born in San Juan.
When he came into office on Jan. 2, 2009, just 18 days before Obama, he said the PR government had to take out a loan just to make his first payroll since they literally had no money. He flew to New York to meet with credit rating agencies to plead for time to avoid junk bond status. He then cut all expenses likening it to a family budget that can't afford it's expenses:
- cut his salary by 10% and other top government officials by 5%
- cut 20,000 public sector jobs permanently and more temporarily saving $900M plus
- cut government spending, in absolute dollars, by 20%
- cut the corporate tax rate from 41% to 30% with more cuts coming in each of the next two years
- he cut personal income tax rates by 25% with more cuts coming in each of the next five years
- he gave homeowners a five-year property tax holiday, and scrapped capital gains and death taxes.
- existing home sales increased by 35 % in 2011 and new home sales increased by 92%
- he eliminated public sector pensions with 401k type funds
The list goes on and on but I'll mention my favorite change he made: he eliminated the process to start a business from a requirement of obtaining 28 permits and 20 or more different agencies to just one agency for a permit you can get one online. Brilliant!
Gov. Fortuno is a very brave conservative and his record backs up his rhetoric. My favorite trait is he is willing to do the right thing, regardless if it's unpopular or he loses the next election. He said you have to make the changes fast, "just do it like a band-aid", meaning rip it off quickly! Even after protests and having an egg thrown at him at a speech event, he's maintained a steadfast agenda that has begun to turn PR around in 3 years. I think he learned from Reagan to stick to your fiscal agenda knowing it takes time, regardless of what the pundits say.
Here is Gov. Fortuno in his own words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DubaKpgIpuc
This is a game changer and a risky pick so here are some of the cons:
1. Some will compare him to Gov. Palin as an unknown newcomer with little experience. I disagree because from what I can tell, he has a lot more experience in governing a territory that had, and still has real problems. Alaska has a lot of wealth per capita and although I love Gov. Palin, his abilities have been tested and stretched far beyond hers with bigger results. Plus, not many voters are engaged so there is time for the introduction. (See the clueless on"Jaywalking" on Leno and NBC viewers that don't know what F&F is due to no MSM coverage)
2. The unemployment rate is still high in PR. True but Romney will have no problem showing that the unemployment rate has gone up under Obama and it has gone down under Gov. Fortuno. He's also reduced PR's budget deficit to $600 million from $3.3billion and the deficit to GDP to just 7%from 44% in 2009.
3. The pick would be pandering to get Hispanic votes. And I say, so what! Exactly what did Obama do by announcing his immigration policy change? This would deflate O's sail perhaps more than anything Romney could do to win this race. Don't forget Axelrod recently "warned" against picking Rubio which showed they are scared of a Hispanic VP pick. My guess is more Hispanics would flock to Fortuno as a Puerto Rican who has substantially more executive experience than Sen. Rubio as a Cuban with just a couple of years in the Senate and that are known to vote Republican historically. Also, the latest polls show Independents strongly favor Obama's edict by about 70% for some strange reason and we need those votes. Fortuno can stick to the economy by showing the exact reasons conservative economic principles work for all Americans. He can debunk Obama's policies and campaign strategies of pitting special interest groups against each other as hurting the economy and all Americans. He has the proof to show and tell his story.
Luis Fortuno has been on the record stating the Hispanics are naturally conservative in their social values with strong ties to family, faith, work ethic and a desire for individual freedom with less government interference. Also that Republicans need to court the Hispanic vote since there are such strong similarities but need to make a better case for inviting them into the tent. He can communicate the very reasons Hispanics should vote Republican in a very convincing and non-condescending way because he is a true conservative at heart, perhaps more so than Gov. Romney.
We've seen Romney campaign with caution and take safe positions. I can't blame him and tend to agree that he doesn't need to be the most exciting candidate running. I happen to like his Ward Cleaver demeanor and it is who he is, so pretending to be a rock star would be as plastic as a manikin. Obama is the out-of-touch Hollywood rock-star-wanna-be. Plus we need to restore dignity to the office, once again after a corrupt Democrat has been the resident president.
But Romney has a chance to solidify not only the conservative base with this VP choice, but to excite and convince many Hispanics into realizing they have more in common with the Republican ticket than the Democrats. If you listen to Gov. Fortuno, he can make this case as he is the real deal and believable by his actions not just his words. Lastly, if Hispanics like what they see in a Romney-Fortuno ticket and vote for it this year, it may have positive lasting effects for the GOP for years to come just when the Hispanic vote is predicted to rise in the future.
Does Romney have the fortitude to choose a bold running mate that is more to the right of him or can he win by playing it safe with another respectable but boring guy most likely? I would take the risk if I were Romney since he can win or lose either way he goes but the rewards in the future could be a game changer for decades to come. I hope he asks for my opinion.
Here are some great articles for your reading pleasure: