Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vice Presidential Power Rankings

Mitt Romney has been quiet about his choice for his running mate. So far, he has shrugged off questions about whether Marco Rubio would be his vice presidential choice. All he has stated publicly is that he has chosen who will head up this particular decision-making process. He chose his former chief of staff and a Boston newspaper that this was typical of Romney as he does not have a large circle of trust. This could be telling for his vice-presidential nominee. George W. Bush in 2000 put Dick Cheney in a similar position and Dick Cheney eventually nominated himself for the role of vice-president. In 2008, John McCain went off the grid and eventually picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate. I do not foresee Romney doing anything that is not methodical in his choice for his running mate. If anything, it seems more and more likely that Romney is going to be choosing someone who is slightly boring for the role. We might be able to predict who his vice-president would be. So, I’m starting a power rankings system for who the vice-president will be. I’ll list those who I think are the top 10 contenders for that role, as well as their general strengths and weaknesses, or why I think Romney might choose him or her.

1. Marco Rubio- the presumptive favorite for the vice-president candidacy. Romney has already been contacted by multiple reporters to see if Romney will ask Rubio to be his running mate. Romney, as noted previously, has shrugged off these questions and has only given compliments about the Florida senator.
Why Romney/Rubio: Rubio can try to bring some Hispanic voters to the Republican side, which is a demographic that usually votes Democrat. George W. Bush when he was pushing for the religious right was able to get quite a few Hispanic voters to vote Republican. Rubio is also a younger senator (only 40) and may bring some appeal to the younger voters. Even I have to admit that this is a specious argument. He is also fairly charismatic.
Why not Romney/Rubio: As noted before, Rubio is a young Senator. He has only served 2 years in the Senate. What Romney needs to find is someone who has strengths in foreign policy or be able to insulate himself with a bright cabinet in that he can find someone to prove that he will be able to handle foreign policy issues. Rubio does not answer that particular question. Rubio does not necessarily appeal to moderate voters nor does he close out the gap in women voters, which Romney has already started to try to appeal to.
Rubio is the current frontrunner and it will take quite a bit to knock him off of this spot.

2. Jeb Bush- former governor of Florida and relative to two former presidents has been talked about as a potential presidential candidate for awhile now. Bush brings to the table, the family name, so even more recognition for Romney if he chooses to pursue it. Also, it would provide us with one of the greatest first name presidential tickets of all time. Really, Mitt and Jeb! Don’t rob us of this Romney campaign! Bush could provide insight into the education reforms that he promoted as governor of Florida, and I believe still continues to promote.
Why not Mitt/Jeb: I feel like we’re going over the same thing here. Jeb does not have the foreign policy experience that is likely going to factor into Romney’s decision making process. The problem with choosing another governor or former governor is that neither of them would have served in a national office before taking over the two most important positions in the federal government. Additionally, Jeb Bush has not been that enthusiastic about giving his endorsement to Mitt Romney. He stated that we should rally around the likely candidate so it gives us the best chance to win. It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.

3. Paul Ryan- Since his election, Paul Ryan has become a voice of the Republican party. He has already been thoroughly and wrongfully attacked by the Democratic party with regards to claims that he wants to destroy Medicare. See I can be mean to Democrats, too.
Why Romney/Ryan: Paul Ryan has been a voice for the Republican party, so he has some name recognition and is not an unknown. Additionally, he has proposed different budgets. He also provides a different voice for health care than what Romney might want to work out. Paul Ryan also has some foreign policy experience that will be invaluable to the Romney campaign.

4. Jim DeMint- Jim DeMint is a representative from South Carolina. He was one of those who were elected with the 2010 Tea Party surge. He is further to the right of Romney and could energize the base.
Why Romney/DeMint: DeMint could potentially energize the base of the Republican Party, as he is essentially a Tea Party candidate. He also had a nice conversation with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show which might endear him to some moderates who watch that show. He is also on the Committee on Foreign Relations and could provide some foreign policy experience to the Romney campaign. I have to say some since he does not have much experience.
Why not Romney/DeMint: Experience is the key thing here. DeMint has not been serving in Congress for all that long. That may be a key factor in the election. DeMint does not bring Romney any other votes to the table except maybe energizing the base of the Republican party and getting those who are Tea Party candidates to vote for them, as well. It seems unlikely that the Tea Party would choose to split their votes in the Republican party and allow Obama to waltz to his re-election.

5. Nikki Haley- Nikki Haley is the current governor of South Carolina. There was news of a potential scandal involving her but it went away rather quickly. Governor Haley was quick to try and bring an end to any scandal that might be brought about and theNew York Times mentioned that she could be a potential choice for the vice-president nomination. That was the first I had heard of her.  The biggest strength with her is that she might help close the gap in women’s voting. I should digress, real quickly, the reason that people are concerned about the voting patterns of women and who is winning is because usually women vote more than men. Women are much better at getting to the polls and actually voting, especially compared to men.
Why not Romney/Haley: Haley has not been the governor of South Carolina for very long. She would face the same questions of experience that Rubio would face. Additionally, she does not provide any key insight on any foreign policy issues, that I’m aware of and may face additional, possibly unfair, scrutiny for being a female vice-president candidate.  She has reportedly denied interest in the nomination and her popularity in South Carolina has tanked recently.

6. Rob Portman- current Senator from Ohio.  He was also a House representative and has held two separate cabinet level positions.
Why Romney/Portman: Portman has been an early supporter of Romney and reportedly helped Romney beat Santorum in Ohio.  Ohio is an important battleground state for the Republican party and will need as much help as they possibly can.  Additionally, Portman has been praised for his bipartisan work in both budget and trade affairs.  Portman was reportedly on John McCain's short list for being vice-president, as well.  Portman has some foreign policy experience, as well.
Why not Romney/Portman: Portman supported the auto bailout which Romney did not support.  Additionally, Portman was on cabinet level positions during the George W. Bush administration and it seems likely that Republicans might try to distance themselves away from being associated with George W. Bush. 
7.Michele Bachmann- The Minnesota crazy congresswoman might be back! Are you as excited as I am? Hide your HPV vaccines girls and (potentially) boys!
Why Romney/Bachmann: Romney and Santorum went to Bachmann both to get endorsements. There were unverified claims that Romney was offering positions for Bachmann in exchange for her endorsement. Of course, me being an irresponsible blogger, I have not taken the time to contact either candidate but I could potentially see that the offer could have been made. The question is what does Bachmann really bring to the table? Bachmann could potentially close some of the gap on women voters. Bachmann is further to the right than Romney so she also might energize the part of the base that was excited in the 2010 mid-term elections (the Tea-Party). Additionally, she has been on the House Select Committee on Intelligence which provides with her the knowledge of foreign policy issues that might entice Mitt Romney into selecting her. If I truly believed that the only things Romney was looking for were those then I would have ranked Bachmann higher in these rankings.
Why not Romney/Bachmann: Bachmann had a tendency to go slightly off the track when she talked especially when it came to her idea that the HPV vaccine could cause mental retardation. There are other examples but that’s the one that sticks out in my head. The constant pressure and scrutiny of her campaign probably would not hold up well with Romney’s image and what I imagine to be a very straightforward campaign that might focus on different gaffes that President Obama has done. Additionally, Bachmann was not too sure of Romney and if she had an endorsement it was certainly not a ringing endorsement, at all. Bachmann may actually alienate voters and potentially women voters, as well. While her image as a mother might attract some women to vote for her, this image may work against her, as well. I have no backing for this claim just that I think it is entirely possible that of the original lineup of Republican nominees, I also thought that Bachmann was the most alienating of the candidates.

8. Chris Christie- New Jersey governor, who decided against a presidential run.  He has hinted that he would take the vice-presidential nomination if he was offered.
Why Romney/Christie: Fairly early supporter of Mitt Romney. First Republican to be governor of New Jersey in 12 years.  Critic of Barack Obama and bureaucracy in general after New Jersey lost out on some federal grants.
Why not Romney/Christie: Might be too moderate, as he did nominate the first openly gay man to New Jersey's Supreme Court.  He is also from the Northeast and it seems unlikely that the Republicans will have two candidates both from the Northeast running for the two most important spots in federal government.  Christie has not been elected to a federal office.  He also might lack foreign policy experience.

9. Kelly Ayotte- current Senator from New Hampshire. 
Why Romney/Ayotte: Romney endorsed Ayotte early on in her Senate campaign.  She also might help bridge the gap in the important votes of women. 
Why not Romney/Ayotte: Experience.  She has only been a Senator since 2010.  Additionally, she is also from the Northeast and it seems like the Republican establishment will want a little more geographic diversity.

10 (t.). Jon Huntsman- the former governor of Utah was looked at as a more moderate choice among the original candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Huntsman supports gay marriage and is against the wars in the Middle East. If I was to vote for a Republican, I would look long and hard at Huntsman.
Why Romney/Huntsman: Jon Huntsman would provide Romney with an additional in with moderate voters who are undecided. This could help him win a few extra votes. Huntsman is also a former ambassador to China and could provide Romney with critical foreign policy experience that Romney lacks.
Why not Romney/Huntsman: A Romney/Huntsman ticket would not energize the Republican base enough. They would see this as a deliberate shift in Republican politics and this could further split the Republican party. We could potentially see, if this occurs, an actual Tea Party candidate run for the presidency.

10(t). Bob McDonnell- current governor of Virginia.
Why Romney/McDonnell- McDonnell has a high approval rating in the battleground state of Virginia.  He also has a strong military background, which Romney lacks.
Why not Romney/McDonnell- He lost some support for women with his support for transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions.  The biggest question with McDonnell is his support from women.  The second biggest question is how much foreign policy experience he can bring to the table just being a governor.  He has also not been elected to federal office.

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