August 7 2012
Politico | The Arena
Gov. Romney would benefit from an electric VP contender, who can help add some spice to what is, at times, a lackluster presidential candidate. Still it’s unlikely that the vice presidential nominee will have the same significance as Sarah Palin did for John McCain four years ago. Perhaps most important for Romney is that he choose a vice presidential contender who can help boost his limited government, free market bona fides – someone who will reinforce the idea that Romney truly supports conservative principles.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida may be just that candidate. While he is more a part of the GOP establishment than he often lets on, Rubio is viewed as a darling of the Tea Party movement and a symbol of limited government to many voters. And at a time when there’s more than 30 percent unemployment in the Latino community, Rubio could have a marginal impact with Hispanic voters.
Still, if Romney’s looking for a true fiscal conservative, it’s hard to ignore Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The reality is we have a national debt that has swelled to nearly $16 trillion, and Ryan could have a positive influence in keeping the conversation (and the policy) focused on serious spending cuts, as well as smart, market-based entitlement reforms.
Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell and former Congressman and Director of the OMB Rob Portman are also both believed to be on the short list. McDonnell probably wouldn’t do any damage, but he certainly wouldn’t ignite the ticket either. And while I have a soft spot in my heart for Cincinnati (having knocked on many doors for Rep. Bob McEwen in Terrace Park, OH where Portman is from), voters are apt to view him as part of the DC-establishment.
Of course, Romney still might consider the value of adding a woman to the ticket. Someone like Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers -- Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues -- could help push back on the hideous War on Women rhetoric and stand firm against the kind of cradle-to-grave government policies the Obama White House has advanced in the name of “protecting” women.
Ultimately, this is still the bottom of the ticket, and the best thing for Gov. Romney would be to put forth clear, actionable policies to help restart our economic engine and encourage job growth.