VP summation: If Romney wants to win, the pick is Marco Rubio
I have been jostling this around for at least a while now. There are some really good picks Romney has to choose from. With the race there for Romney to take, I’m pretty certain the Romney inner circle is leaving no stone unturned to make the best choice possible. Here is whom I believe is on the short list or should be:
- Rob Portman — This is the choice among the GOP establishment and with good reason. He has a large fundraising and GOTV ground game in arguably one of the most crucial swing states aside from Florida and Virginia. He is a phenomenal debater, actually holding practice sessions for George W. Bush in his debate prep by playing John Kerry. Lee Fisher was mauled in the debate forum in the recent Ohio Senate contest. Portman is very, very seasoned. He has held a variety of federal positions and knows Washington very well. He would be a safe pick. It wouldn’t really fire up the base but the argument could be that the base is already fired up just to get Obama out of office.
- Bobby Jindal — A two-term governor in Louisiana. Highly popular in conservative circles, a Rhoades scholar, very well spoken and very knowledgeable on health care issues which will be a prominent issue aside from the economy this campaign. He has obviously the executive experience to be picked as VP. This would be a pick that would excite the GOP base even further. His outspoken attacks on Obama regarding oil exploration would serve him well if Robert Costa’s source who commented that Condi Rice wasn’t being considered, stated that Romney is looking for an attack dog.
- Paul Ryan — 7 term congressman out of Wisconsin and one of the brightest stars who came to prominence in the health care conference. The way he dismantled and pointed out the shady accounting of the health care law, causing Obama to stare daggers at him, made him an instant favorite among conservatives to run for president. I am a huge Ryan fan. I think he would bring a lot to the table for Romney and could be the difference in turning Wisconsin red in November in the vote for President. To imagine him in a debate with Joe Biden makes me laugh. However, seeing Joe Biden, or imagining him debating any of these potential VP picks could cause anyone to laugh.
- John Thune — He has not been talked about a lot but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the short list. He could help put Iowa in the red column. The South Dakota senator who took out Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, he is very well liked on both sides of the aisle. Like Portman, he wouldn’t take away the spotlight from Romney.
- Marco Rubio — A former Speaker of the House in Florida, his meteoric rise is well noted. Very well spoken, Hispanic, and for the most part solidly conservative (the only issue where he could be slightly in question is immigration), he would ensure that Florida would be a lock for Romney in November. He is highly popular in conservative circles and would bring a lot to the table for Romney as well. Since his takedown of John Kerry in the Senate and very good in his interview handling, he wouldn’t have a problem on the national stage.
- Tim Pawlenty — Two term governor of deep blue Minnesota, very well polished, very smooth in a good way. Some past things I do have issue with which he has since corrected. He has worked hard on the Romney campaign trail. In the key Midwest states, he could be of help to Romney there.
I think Chris Christie and Kelly Ayotte are either on the outside looking in or are no longer in the VP picture. Both would be fine picks.
The conclusion I have come to is that Paul Ryan is best where he is currently at. There is no one I would rather have more dictating the fiscal direction of legislative policy that is originated in the House. Portman, Pawlenty, and Thune would all be safe picks but don’t strike me as getting the conservative base into such an inferno of volunteers to knock on the doors to get out the vote. The volunteer ground game is going to be huge this election. Romney will need that so he can spend his campaign chest for the most part on the airwaves. That leaves Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio. These two I believe could create this inferno volunteer ground game for Romney.
Here is the tie-breaker in my mind why Marco Rubio is the best pick for VP:
Obama currently enjoys a 2-1 advantage in polling among Hispanics. Rubio would be impossible to attack because if the Obama campaign tries to attack, it would likely turn a number, however small or large, of Hispanics against Obama.
Picking Marco Rubio would hamstring the Obama campaign and the mainstream media to “Palinize” Rubio. In other words, making the election about Romney’s pick for Vice President. In an unusual roundabout way, it wouldn’t take away the spotlight on Romney or distract away from his message to the voters. By taking away any attacks of this nature because doing so would imperil a must-have voting segment that Obama is going to need every bit of to just stay in the game this November, Marco Rubio is the best choice for VP. I don’t think it is any coincidence the “concern about Rubio’s record or eligibility” or other concern bluffs we have heard from David Axelrod and other prominent media outlets in the recent past. A solid, popular, well spoken conservative running candidate from a key swing state who cannot be attacked without the opponent putting himself in danger? Works for me. To make the Obama campaign walk on egg shells and be hedged in a permanent defensive posture would be perfect for Romney. Rubio is the VP pick that the Obama campaign and media fear most, and Mitt Romney would be well served if he picks Marco Rubio to be his running mate.