Friday, August 03, 2012

Probably Should Get The Veep Distraction Out of the Way

There's a couple of things I want to write about Romney's floundering Presidential campaign, the one of least value ought to go first and be done with it.  Romney's quest for a Vice Presidential co-campaigner.

My earlier viewpoint about the unnecessary Veep selection process - the need of a Vice President really isn't there anymore - still stands: we have a succession process in place if anything should happen, and the Vice President in theory/practice - save for the anomaly that was the Dick Cheney regime - is pretty much a useless cog in the Executive Branch's system.  The only value of a Vice President - tie-breaker vote in the Senate - could be altered with a simple Constitutional amendment re-working the makeup of the Senate (different blog post to go in greater detail later).

But for now we're stuck with it, and so the media speculation about whom Romney should pick for "balancing the ticket" is getting into a fever pitch with the Tampa convention mere weeks away.

So who's on the short list for Romney's ticket?  And how much trouble is each possible choice?

For starters, there are a few people - Jeb Bush and Condi Rice are the most mentioned - who have very direct ties to the George W. Bush administration: Jeb as Dubya's brother, and Condi as one of Dubya's biggest personal allies.  Here's the problem: George W. Bush is still a very unpopular ex-President, and a solid majority of voters still blame Bush the Lesser for the weak economy.  If Romney picks anyone from Bush the Lesser's administration or anyone from the Bush clan, he is directly linking himself to that previous ruined regime.  Not a good idea, ergo don't expect it to happen.

Marco Rubio, Senator from Florida, gets name-dropped on a regular basis for a lot of reasons: the hope he can flip Florida from "Leans Obama" to "Leans Romney"; as a prominent Hispanic Republican, he could keep enough conservative Hispanic voters from fleeing an otherwise hostile party towards "illegals" (which keeps coming across as anti-Hispanic ranting); he's popular with the Far Right base, which doesn't like Romney (still); and he's young for a party whose leadership is visibly aging and needs someone like him to be a standard bearer by 2016.  But even Rubio has problems: he's not as popular in Florida as the GOP would hope - polling on the possibility shows no change in voter trends, so he's not going to swing this state to Mitt - and Rubio's lack of national political experience makes it harder for the Republicans to argue about Obama being "inexperienced" and "not properly vetted yet".

There's been arguments made that Romney wants to do the exact opposite of what McCain did back in 2008 when Sarah Palin was selected as Veep.  Which means two things: not taking a woman, but taking a staid white guy who is not a major boat-rocker.  Which pretty much covers a lot of Republican elected officials at the moment but pretty much narrowed down to the likes of Tim Pawlenty, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Jon Kyl, Senator John Thune, Gov. Bob McConnell, and (insert bland Congressperson from key swing state here).  Big problems with any of these choices: they won't boost the ticket with any enthusiasm, and they represent either small electoral states or states already heavily favoring Republicans (save for Portman from the key state of Ohio, which is why he's got a better chance than most).

Alternatively, there's the argument that Romney HAS to take a woman candidate to blunt the trend of women voting for Obama and the Democrats (as well as change the image of the Republicans as a bunch of stuffy old white men eager to make contraception/birth control illegal, pushing female income inequality, destroying cheaper access to health care, and other well-documented sexist actions).  That brings to the list the likes of Michele Bachmann (crazy evangelical currently spewing anti-Arab sentiment) or Jan Brewer (crazy anti-immigrant from Arizona that's giving whacked-out wingnut places like Florida and Texas a run for Teh Craziest State In America title).

Which brings up the other list of potentials: the wingnut celebrities of the GOP.  While Romney has the Republican nomination locked up, his unfavorables even within the GOP itself are too high.  That has to do with the fact that most of the Teabagger Far Right wingnuts still do not trust Romney (being a habitual flip-flopping liar is a big reason why).  The odds that Romney will have to add to his ticket someone pleasing to the Far Right - which goes against common sense as Romney NEEDS moderate/independent voters in November - are pretty high.  Which is why Bachmann, Brewer, budget-killer Paul Ryan, Rick "Do Not Google" Santorum, Herman "Mike Tyson Did a Damn Good Impersonation" Cain, Nikki "Does the GOP Really Want to Run a Candidate From an Openly Pro-Confederate State" Haley, and Chris "Anger Management" Christie are on the list.  Hell, even Donald "Bankruptcy Court" Trump and Newt "Divorce" Gingrich are possibilities at this point.

To be honest, this might be a good time for the Republican Party to start arguing the need to trade out the Vice President spot for changing the Senate make-up to have the tie-breaker vote handled by a separately elected National Senator.  Ah, SPOILERS for that constitutional amendment idea (TBD), retroactively...

Seriously, I expect Portman to be the sensible common-sense pick.  However, VP selections RARELY go the way people predict (did anyone have Dan Quayle on their radars back in 1988?  Geraldine Ferraro in 1984?  Or Spiro Agnew in 1968?) so don't be surprised if a completely-out-of-the-blue name gets selected (if it's a wingnut celebrity, start laughing and vote Democrat).

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