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The VeepStakes: First, do no harm (who's your choice?)

Uploaded: Jul 18, 2012
The presumptive GOP Presidential nominee, Mr. Romney, is in the process of vetting potential presumptive running mates, using the title mantra as the campaign's guide star. In so doing, he hopes to avoid the mistakes of the two most recent unsuccessful candidacies: a high-maintenance distraction (McCain) or a choice whose own presidential ambitions would outweigh the current campaign in terms of hew-ability to the nominee's line (Kerry – the rich array of other flaws that made John Edwards a poor choice was not yet as evident in 2004).

The campaign has requested voluminous background data, an intrusive 80-Q questionnaire, including a 'fess up on any personally embarrassing private behaviors; officials are poring over miles of footage on how they sound in various public contexts, including under pressure. Tax returns are undoubtedly included, although the Romneys have not revealed the fascinating detail of how many years would be adequate to their purpose. Also no word whether any record of unconventional pet proclivities is included in the analysis. The announcement is expected later this month or in early August, after an overseas trip (to visit Mitt's money? His jobs? Her horse? Inquiring minds are curious!).

Anyway, the list is narrowing, and here's your chance to weigh-in on your favorite(s), below, in no particular order, or write 'em in:

Condoleeza Rice: the former Secretary of State brings international expertise to an otherwise very domestic ticket. A well-established hawk, she's personally clean, and status factors may be a small help, but when I've heard her speak she comes off as school-marmish and prickly, and she's pro-choice.

Susana Martinez: first term Governor of New Mexico would help substantially with growing Hispanic bloc (if it is, indeed, a bloc), but is largely unknown, not international and perhaps saddled with the baggage of that other recent first-term governor.

Another GOP woman not named Michele Bachmann? Carly and Meg and Nevada's Sharron Angle have proven unelectability – any ideas?

Scott Walker: first term Governor of Wisconsin would be popular with the base as the guy who took down the public employee unions, and survived their recall wrath. Youth and inexperience may cut either way, and he is a polarizing figure – he might energize some Big Labor interests the GOP would prefer to have stay home.

John Thune: telegenic SD Senator is a proven Dem-slayer (the once influential Tom Daschle) and was spoken-of as a potential contender for the top spot. A Washington insider, he might make it hard to run against the Beltway status quo, and he's not additive (safely red state, devoid of population, just another guy from central casting).

Jon Huntsman: former Utah governor is a guy I could have voted-for, which is probably enough to doom his policy appeal to the more carnivorous elements of the base.

Rick Santorum: the fiercely evangelical Christian soldier is available, but clashed strongly with the nominee, is a polarizing figure when exposed to unfriendly media about the primary process, his zeal leads him to forget the mission and his own ambitions are unbridled (see above mantra). He would drive the Great Middle to Obama.

Newt Gingrich: former Speaker appears to have only ever had one supporter. It helps, these days, for that one person to be Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate. He would also be impossible to script, or control.

Ron Paul, Donald Trump: a thousand times 'no' for the reasons above and 998 others.

Chris Christie: NJ Governor is combative, conservative, fast on his feet and shares a weight problem with the majority of the electorate (me, too). His would be an entertaining choice, and NJ might be important to the outcome if he could deliver the electoral votes. My ample gut tells me that he's so much his own man that he won't want to learn second fiddle, nor be willing to decay in-place if the GOP wins.

Paul Ryan: the WI Congressman and budget warrior – the tea-addled base would do back-flips, but I think his identity as the leading House Republican (sorry, Weepy) doesn't help with the Great Middle; he may decide he's more influential where he is. And am I the only one who fears that he sleeps in a coffin?

Brian Sandoval: the current first-term Governor of NV from Reno is a former federal judge, and popular in-state. Delivering Nevada could be important. Although he is largely unknown, he has Hispanic roots, is Catholic by religion and has the whitest smile this side of Colgate country.

Rob Portman: the Ohio Congressman has been a dark horse, but his name keeps getting mentioned and Ohio is crucial to the campaign. Is anybody familiar with him?

Marco Rubio: the Florida Senator is from another critical swing state, is an Hispanic, a card-carrying conservative and held his own with Jon Stewart elucidating his views (no mean feat). He has been auditioned on several occasions and might see this as an opportunity. His grandfather was an illegal immigrant, which some might think would weaken the credibility of his staunch immigration stands. He might also out-shine the top dog. My guess? He's the one, but I write that without much confidence.

So: what do You think, especially you-all who might vote for the GOP ticket?
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Jul 19, 2012 at 7:41 am

Gaaah -- upon further review: Mr. Rubio's grandfather's immigration situation was initially legal (non-refugee), then illegal when he went back to Cuba and later tried to return -- he was denied refugee status at that time, and was formally deported, although he did not leave. Then he regained/retained legal immigrant/permanent resident status five years later. Web Link

So, 1 -- I apologize for the misstatement. Drat.

And 2 -- this immigration stuff was/is a very difficult maze for many people to navigate.

And 3 -- I also forgot to include former Governor Tim Pawlenty as a strong possibility.

Posted by Hoosier, a resident of Danville,
on Jul 19, 2012 at 11:22 am

What about Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels? He stood up to the public employee unions and drastically cut the fat and waste in the state, and he previously served in the Reagan and Bush Administration.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Jul 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

They couldn't do worse than Sarah Palin. So, pretty much any selection is a move up.

But, perhaps I underestimate the Republicans' ability to shoot themselves in the foot again.

Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of Danville,
on Jul 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

@Hoos: I think Daniels gave the Republican response to the State of the Union, which was my only experience with him -- pretty drab performance. At least he wouldn't outshine his boss!

I've also heard Bobby Jindal's name bandied-about. He sort of reminded me of Mr. Rogers, but I don't know what he's accomplished as Gov.

Posted by underdog, a resident of another community,
on Jul 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Didn't see VA's Gov. Bob McDonnell mentioned, but he has been vetted. He loves guns, is big on drilling, is against same sex marriage, he's in a swing state and might bridge the gap to other southern states. He's drawn the ire of women with the "vaginal probe". He's irked minorities and has done his best to redistrict a tilt to the GOP in VA. Like Romney, he has no foreign policy experience and supports repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act. He's pro-life, enacted extreme budget cuts for social programs and education, and has tried budget incentives to keep jobs in VA (without much success). He also has that sleepy toothy smile that we all love to see on large swamp lizards and might not mind doing time in the recessive VP hidey hole. He is Roman Catholic, but he seems to push most of the right GOP VEEP right profile buttons to the right.

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