Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the best VP candidate of them all?

It looks like Mitt Romney has finally secured the top spot in the minds of Republican/Republican leaning voters according to some of the latest polls: Gallup (42%, Santorum 27%);  Rasmussen, (Romney 39%, Santorum 27%) and even the HotAir Homestretch (61%, Santorum 20%).  So now the question becomes who does Romney select as his VP.

Many voters look at the position of Vice President in the traditional sense as being “one heartbeat away from the President.”  The considerations that go into the Presidential nominee’s selection tells us whether he is a leader first and a politician second, or vice versa.  Early in the campaign, when Newt Gingrich was asked what the main consideration would be in his selection for a VP running mate, he replied, “that he be ready to be President.”

Romney has had less than stellar success with the Republican conservative base, especially those in the Southern states, and who also consider themselves strongly conservative or evangelical.  Politically, for any candidate to win the White House, he must have his base turn out for him  in strong numbers on voting day.  Therefore, does Romney choose a southern conservative who appeals to this base, but is still acceptable to moderates and independents; does he look at the electoral college map and choose someone from a state or region crucial to winning the election; or does he choose a candidate who may appeal to the burgeoning Latino vote, and yet be able to woo conservatives.

Following are my Veep sweepstakes entrants viable and non-viable categories.  Keep in mind no candidate is perfect, and comments as to their viability are strictly this author’s and she’s had enough of “charisma.”

Viable (in no particular order):

  • Marco Rubio, Senator from Florida. Romney’s position on immigration puts him at odds with many in the Latino population especially those who are registered voters in important battleground states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada (all three key to Obama’s western strategy) and Florida, where the Latino population has significantly increased in the last decade.  Therefore, Marco Rubio, conservative, pragmatic and a good orator might help bridge that gap to the Latino voters.  But does Rubio really want the nomination?  Or is he merely prepping himself to be face-off with Christie in 2016.
  • Rick Perry, Governor of Texas.  Christian conservative, 11 yrs as Governor, can appeal to the Latino vote.  We know Romney and Perry don’t appear to like each other, and he did come out in support of Newt, but this is politics and remember JFK didn’t like LBJ, either.
  • Mike Huckabee, former two-term Governor of Arkansas.  Also christian conservative, ran in the 2008 Republican primary, host of the Fox “Mike Huckabee Show” that reaches millions. Might be considered too evangelical for some, a problem he had when running in 2008.  But he is likable.
  • Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana.  Re-elected to his second term with 66% of the vote, served in the House of Representatives, noted for his handling of the BP gulf spill and run-in with our current President.
  • John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, former nine-term Congressman.  He’s had his moments as governor trying to rein-in union control, but not nearly as bad as fellow Governor, Scott Walker.  I think Kasich is a sleeper.  While in Congress, he served as Chairman of the House Budget committee, and played a key role in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.  He’s from Ohio, a crucial must-win state for both parties, plus he has common man roots.
  • Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia.  Served in the military.  Former prosecutor.  Married for 35 years.  Became governor with 59% of the vote, highest in Virginia history.  Under his term, unemployment decreased from 7.2% when he took office to 5.8%, third lowest for states west of the Mississippi.  One of the best gubernatorial records.

Non-viable (in no particular order):

  • Haley Barbour, former Governor of Mississippi.  Too “southern,” and too much part of the Washington “K street” crowd as a lobbyist.  And, his 2012 pardon controversy would come back to haunt him.
  • Susanna Martinez, Governor of New Mexico.  Another Sarah Palin, in terms of, not enough experience.
  • Allen West, US Representative from Florida’s 22nd District.  Despite his 22-yr Army career, and his grass roots support, he’s another candidate whose time has not yet come.  He’s better off remaining in the Congress for now.
  • Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky.  Some may worry he’s too much like his father.
  • Paul Ryan, US Representative from Wisconsin’s 1st District.  Chairman, House Budget Committee. Can better serve Romney and/or the Republicans in the House.  The Dems would resurrect the “granny over the cliff” ad.  Watch for him in 2016 or 2020.
  • Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey.  Can you see him as a “second?” He’ll be on the campaign trail for Romney where he can do more good, and set himself up for 2016 or 2020, with a solid record from New Jersey.  He’s also from the East coast, like Romney.
  • Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana.  He didn’t run for President because his wife would face embarrassing family issues; I can’t see him running now, either.
  • Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota.  Nice guy, but he blew it in the debates.  Besides, Minnesota doesn’t buy Romney anything electoral-wise.
  • Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina.  Ditto Martinez.  Not enough experience.  After her endorsement of Romney, some of her conservative tea-party base soured on her.
  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives.  While I would love to see Newt in the viable category, his refusal to leave the race, and his spoken objective to try and deny Romney the delegates for nomination seals the deal.  But in the spirit of politics, like Rick Perry, Newt could glean a Cabinet position out of this yet.
  • Rick Santorum, former Senator of Pennsylvania.  Same deal as with Gingrich above, only no hope of any Cabinet position.  He scares too many people in the center, not to mention the Left.
  • Sarah Palin, former Republican candidate for Vice President, former Governor of Alaska.  She got a bum deal from the Katie Couric interview and numerous Tina Fey skits.  She’s much smarter than people give her credit for, but she’s more interested in kingmaker than being king.  Her 2011 game of “is she, isn’t she” running cost her some good will with a lot of supporters.

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