Rule number one in selecting a Vice-President, the Vice-President will not win you an election; that is the job for the guy on the top of the ticket. The Vice-President doesn’t have to be charismatic; just solid. Charismatic helps and may even get a few extra votes but in the end, the guy on the top of the ticket determines his fate. The following candidates are listed as the leading candidates for team Romney: Rubio which I dealt with in a previous column, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Tim Pawlenty, and Rob Portman.
Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal are part of the GOPs future, young guns with both experiences and knowledge of the key issues. Jindal has been a solid governor, with extensive experiences dealing with a variety of issues including health care and energy. As the governor of an energy producing state, he has the experience with Americas’ Future; the development of American energy resources. His knowledge of health care will benefit the Romney campaign, especially in the wake of the Obamacare decision. The biggest item that the media will look into his conversion into Catholicism, and as one Washington Post reporter claimed that Jindal’s rise has been “quicker than Obama’s” but this is sure nonsense. Jindal was the head of Louisiana Medicaid, a congressman and a governor for five years; hardly the career of a novice. Jindal has promoted education reform, taken on Obama during the BP disaster and dealt with a corrupt political institution. Some will remember his lack luster response to Obama three years ago, but if one bad speech can destroy a career, Bill Clinton would never have been President. (His 1988 speech at the Democratic convention was one of the worst, but it didn’t stop him from being elected four years later.) Louisiana unemployment is below the national average, so Jindal can show success in the Obama era.
Paul Ryan, like Jindal, is under the age of 45 but yet a leading light on the right. Ryan is the expert on the budget and been a leader on entitlement reform including Medicare. Ryan’s ideas are in the forefront when it comes to budget reforms and he has shown the ability to get his ideas to be accepted by those on the other side including Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who put his name on joint Medicare reform. The biggest complaint is the Democrats will wage war on Ryan throwing little old ladies over the cliff but one only has to look at Obama’s own proposal which includes death panels, severe cuts in Medicare with the funds switch to Obamacare and his reduction of the social security and Medicare tax rates, which has reduced the funding for the both programs. You can argue whether the tax reduction of these taxes was good but you can’t argue that Obama’s tax reduction doesn’t cripple the viability of both programs in the future. Besides, no matter who Romney selects, that person will be demonized and the Democrats will always state Republicans will destroy Medicare, no matter what. (The Democrats proposal are doing a pretty good job of destroying the entitlement programs for future generation anyway.)
Tim Pawlenty and Rob Portman are the candidates with no charisma but with competence. Pawlenty is the son of blue collar parents, a successful two term governor and just completed an unsuccessful run at the Presidency that didn’t make it to the Iowa caucus. In many ways, this blue collar governor is much like Ryan and Jindal in that he can be geek on policies. He knows his stuff and certainly has often times over the past several months done a better job of explaining Romney’s policies better than Romney.
Portman, in many ways, can be the joker in the deck of cards. He speaks fluent Spanish, an outdoors man with experiences as a trade representative, a congressman, OMB and United States Senator. This is what you call a man with a resume, the son of an entrepreneur and a man who understands Main Street. While some view him as the safe, boring choice; he might not prove to be so boring. It will be nice to have one candidate who can explain Romney’s economics in Spanish to a key demographic.
There is one last thing you can say about these Vice-President candidates; they are better qualified than the present President and Vice-President. But then Obama and Biden seem to be setting the bar low. A couple of years ago, one of my liberal friends went into a rant on what an idiot Sarah Palin was. I reminded her that she had already voted for the left version of Palin. Today, I should apologize to Palin for comparing the less knowledgeable Obama to her.
(A note on Rubio, I made the case for Senator Rubio but I have received notes from Republican Hispanics that Rubio’s Cuban ancestry would not make him appealing to majority of Hispanic who are Mexican descents. Could this open the door to Susan Martinez or Brian Sandoval?)