Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fredo's Veepstakes selection

My veep selection is below the fold.  I was going to post it is a comment but it was too long and Blogger wouldn't allow it.  So click to see my choice below the fold.  Just make sure you read the post "Veepstakes '12", and make your choice first before reviewing mine...

Veep: Bob McDonnell
Date: 8/29/12

Reasoning: McDonnell's campaign and administration have been focused on job growth.  Forward looking, optimistic, and reaching out to the pragmatic center.  All of these things echo Mitt's own orientation.

McDonnell's in a crucial swing state.  Mitt can't win without recapturing VA from BO.

McDonnell's favorables are very good.  He's got executive experience, and his stature and resume both have the "ready to lead if called upon" flavor that is the most important part of choosing a veep, IMO.   I think the "independent" voters hate it when they think they're being gamed--e.g., a nominee picking a veep to pander to ethnicities or genders, if that selection is not clearly ready to lead.  While McDonnell is clearly a swing state guy, he passes the leadership test.

Ultimately, despite Rubio's appeal as a bi-lingual, multi-cultural, important home state, ideologically conservative, tea party friendly candidate, I don't think he'll be selected.  Romney wants to run against Obama on competency.  He believes himself to be a superior executive to Barack, and will want to emphasize that in his veep selection.  Choosing a first term Senator like Rubio could be seen as validating the American electorate's decision to fall in love with an untested, charismatic, intelligent, but ultimately unready leader.  And he wants to draw a contrast with the electorate's decision in '08, not endorse it.

Other than Rubio, I don't think Mitt will even sniff another non-executive for his short list.  So forget Ryan, Portman, and Thune.  He might throw out Portman's name a few times b/c his organization is crucial for GOTV in Ohio, but it will all be motiviation for the ground troops, not that he's "really" being considered.

Martinez is too green, and picking her could backfire if it's viewed as an affirmative action pick (don't get me wrong, if it was '16 and not '12, she'd probably be the favorite.  But it's not).

Christie is too abrasive and mercurial.  The first rule of picking a veep: do no harm.  And you just don't know when you're going to have put out a fire because Christie called Helen Thomas a "decomposing gasbag," Rachel Maddow a "festering sore," Barney Frank a "big gaybag" or some such thing.  Christie will be running in '16, and he'll be very effective stumping for himself.  But I'm not sure anyone wants to be handcuffed to Christie as his #2.

Pawlenty failed to generate ANY traction with the electorate, and Mitt saw it first hand.  T-Paw's out.

Which leads me to the other two candidates that I think could be real possibilities.

My #3 selection: Mitch Daniels.  The guy is a very proven executive.  A long CV in dealing with spending issues and fixing budgets.  A conservative protestant (which will help shore up the base).  But also a conservative protestant who publicly said [and I'm just making up words here that jibe with my bad memory's recollection of what he said about a year ago], "all my cultural beliefs aside, the biggest governance problem right now is the federal government trampling fundamental economic freedoms.  Let's have a truce on cultural issues and fix the economic, regulatory, and debt problems destroying the country."   Way to appease the base (wink-nod I'm with you in spirit; I'll get out of the trojan horse later) and to centrists ("a truce on cultural wars?  finally, someone who gets it) with one statement--well done Mitch.  Finally, I think Mitt likes the idea of picking an older veep (Mitch is in his 60s) who's less likely to be thinking about his run for the Presidency, and more likely to be focused on the initiatives that Mitt delegates to him.

Ultimately, I think Mitch doesn't get the nod for a few reasons: there are some scandalous oppo research stories to be run based on the marriage difficulties that Mitch and his ex-wife (who's now his again-wife) went through.  I'd a bet a stack of high society that's why Mitch didn't run himself this cycle.  Also, Mitch's nickname is "the blade" because, politically, he's all about spending cuts.  McDonnell, politically, is about being "Jobs Bob".   Their agendas are substantively similar on spending and other economic issues, but the jobs mantra is the one Mitt has chosen for his own campaign, with debt reduction being secondary.  Lastly, Mitch (like Portman) was a budget guy in the Bush Administration, and I think Mitt will want to avoid re-litigating Bush 43's performance on spending control.

My runner up:  Jindal.

He would help sew up Southern Republicans and conservative Dems that are wary of voting for a Mormon (they're a cult, you know).  I know it might sound odd: an Indian-American Catholic being the olive branch to the born-again Bible belt.  But Southerners are only one thing more than religiously evangelical, and that's slavishly parochial (another reason I think Mitt eventually picks McDonnell).  Jindal helps in the South, and Mitt doesn't want to have to worry about any late-cycle rear-guard actions.

Jindal also gives the ticket more appeal in some "purple" areas of the country that view cutural diversity as a sign of intellectual acumen.  Though most such states are probably not "gettable" for the Romney campaign, some might be.   Central and Southern Florida, NoVa, Denver, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Philly and suburbs, southern NH, parts of WI and MN, are all parts of important swing states where the multicultural diversity could help the Romney ticket.

Jindal brings sky high approval ratings as governor that were validated by his reelection.  He's a thought leader in the party on Health Care, obviously a key issue this cycle and one where Mitt could use some help.  He's young.  His persona speaks to a bright future for the GOP and the country, and Mitt wants to stay optimistic.

Jindal's got a very active mind, and can come across as almost too kinetic, but that's welcome rebranding for a party that many see as full of Haley Barbours.  [no offense, Haley, you still the man]

While Jindal stumped for Perry before the first votes of the primary season, there were reports that the fairly large crowds they drew were more excited for the surrogate than the candidate.

Mitt knows this, too.

Ultimately, McDonnell's just a little safer.  His state's much more in play.  He comes across as more culturally "normal," and I think Mitt is still going to be too worried about his Mormonism to pick an Indian-American.  So a good-old Irish Catholic who can appeal to Southern conservatives on parochial grounds, centrists on pragmatic economic grounds, and Virginians on Virginian grounds will be the pick.

My $0.02.


ManBeast said...

That's funny. I read this post after I put in my selection. My explanation was much shorter, but that's just because I'm too lazy to write it all down as you did.

I think he will announce it much sooner than you though. His campaign will want time to get all the initial dirt digging out of the way well ahead of November.

Fredo said...

Nice new Avi.

Fredo said...

BTW, if Christie gets real worked up, he might call you a "622BAG". He's coming for you, Caribou.


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