The Book!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Romney's VP Pick


Now that Romney is about to name his choice for running mate, everyone is speculating about who it will be. So that's getting a bit boring. But more generally, who in the past has stood out as a good pick?

Is he still available?
In recent memory, Joe Lieberman stands out as a great one, one that really seemed to boost the ticket, even though it was not enough to win Al Gore the presidency. So great that McCain reputedly wanted to pick him again four years ago. Clinton's pick of Al Gore seemed similarly to give him a real boost. Reagan's pick of George Bush senior was seen as good at the time—though Reagan tried for something yet more spectacular, a ticket with Gerald Ford. Reaching back a bit, many believe that Lyndon Johnson made the difference in winning JFK the presidency. I think Mondale helped Carter, and Muskie helped Humphrey, significantly. Dukakis's pick of Lloyd Bentsen turned out to help when Bentsen did spectacularly well in the VP debate against Quayle.

Any idea who this is?

Which brings us to bad picks: Quayle seemed to diminish the Bush Sr. ticket. Yes, they still won—the first time, not the second. Geraldine Ferraro seems to me to have hurt Mondale, again diminishing his stature. Many say Sarah Palin hurt the McCain effort, but I really dispute that—the polls never showed it, but the reverse, and Palin's power is demonstrated by the fact that she has remained a major figure in political discourse since. Compare Ferraro or Quayle. Tom Eagleton hurt George McGovern, but that was a matter of unforeseen circumstances.

How about this guy? Any idea?
Here's the moral I take from this: a strong VP pick is a strong VP pick. That is, if a candidate picks a VP candidate who seems as qualified as he is or even more so, as much a leader as he or even more so, it looks good and helps the ticket. If not, not.

We are talking about someone who looks like a possible co-president; not a sidekick or a successor being groomed.

So who is available who would do this for Romney? Maybe David Petraeus. Bobby Jindal has the chops, but might look a little too young and adenoidal. Condoleeza Rice; but she seems to be out of the running now. Marco Rubio looks too young; so does Paul Ryan. Pawlenty and Portman look too much like sidekicks, too much like Romney.

Maybe Chris Christie. Or, actually, Newt Gingrich.

He's ba-a-a-a-ck!



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