Very soon former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will announce his selection for a running mate. All GOP insiders have been playing the guessing game for the past few months. Here is the Cavey version of who and why.
The first rule of VEEP selection should be that it is an individual who will "do no harm to the campaign." The hard cold truth is that a VEEP choice can only harm a ticket, with the single exception of carrying a home state due to name recognition or local popularity.
Really, no one votes a ticket solely for the Number Two position. The second slot does leave the door open to more scrutiny by the salivating press corps. There is only further exposure for any campaign by adding someone to the ticket – more speeches, more appearances – doubling the opportunity for a mistake or blunder. “Do no harm” should be the mantra.
Jobs and economy are the driving force in this election. Every college student who voted for Barack Obama and now doesn't have a job is looking for an answer, and a reason to move away from Mom and Dad. Everyone who has lost a job, struggled to make ends meet, or who has a job but hasn’t had a raise in the past four years is looking for relief...maybe they are not Governor Romney fans, but they know a change is needed.
Our nation is ready for a businessman – calm, steady and experienced. The VEEP choice must match “do no harm,” be kind of dull – plain white toast – no butter, no jam.
So, this rules out all of the "agent of change" type candidates. No females! No Hispanic! No one without a decent resume! America will vote for a pair of dull white guys if they see them as steady and consistent. They will feel stable with two men who look like successful businessman taking over in a time of economic crisis.
The choice cannot be a female. (By the way, I am a Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee fan.) No matter who the female, or how wonderful her qualifications, the press will make constant comparison to former VEEP candidate Sarah Palin. Once that starts, it will be daily repair and explanation by the Romney campaign as to why their candidate is not former Alaska Governor Palin and the fact that this is 2012 and not 2008. When you are explaining, you are losing in the political world.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is a man whose time will come – but not in 2012. He will someday be on a ticket or top a ticket; but now is not the time. He is a first term senator with limited experience. It is racist to believe he will magically bring with him the Hispanic vote... ’cause it isn't so. He will appeal to the younger voter, but his time is in our future.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is out. No way two guys from the Northeast are on a ticket... plus Governor Christie is only in his first term.
Low on the total experience charts and no "national" experience, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is out. Young, first term governor, again low on the experience list – and, once again, it’s racist to believe his ethnicity will bring a demographic to the table.
None of the finalist in the Republican presidential primary race will be chosen – Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Rick Perry or Michelle Bachmann. None would further unify a party that is already unified against Barack Obama. (Contrary to what the Congressman Paul people believe.) All will only leave open to the press all the sound bites and prior poisonous darts spoken during the heat of the primary. Again, the campaign would spend too much time back tracking and explaining.
So, that leaves us with the "dull white-guy" choices. Sen. Rob Portman (OH), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and maybe the senator from South Dakota – John Thune. (But South Dakota has only a few electoral votes, so he is likely off the list.) The choices become Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin – all Rust-Belt states, all manufacturing states.
The electoral map nod goes to Senator Portman with 18 electoral votes. He also served in the House and was U.S. Trade Representative and the Director of the Office of Budget and Management. (Two dull jobs which look great on a resume.) Ohio is a must-win state for the Romney campaign... Portman has the name recognition and proven ability to win statewide in Ohio. (Remember our VEEP exception.)
The Cavey prediction is that Senator Portman will be the Romney choice for vice president. He will be good for the campaign – dull, with limited baggage; will help carry Ohio; and bring an air of experience in the area of foreign trade. It is also important to remember John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, will appoint Mr. Portman’s successor in the U.S. Senate if Mr. Romney is elected with Mr. Portman on his ticket.
A Romney/Portman ticket will be a soothing effect on America and bring stability to a hurting economy – but I'm not expecting too many wild parties in the White House – and that's okay.