Mike Kueber's Blog

April 11, 2012

Handicapping the Republican VP contest

Filed under: People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 12:26 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Now that Mitt Romney has prevailed in the competition for the Republican presidential nomination, many pundits have shifted their attention to the vice-presidential nomination.  One of those pundits is Washington Post liberal columnist Eugene Robinson.   

Among Robinson’s comments, I was most struck by his suggestion that Florida Senator Marco Rubio “offers the biggest potential reward – for the biggest risk.”  That sounds scarily like the description of Sarah Palin in the movie/book Game Change.  If I were Marco Rubio, I would not like being compared to Sarah Palin.

Robinson’s column also contained evaluations of Paul Ryan (less charisma than Romney), Chris Christie (spectacular game-changer), Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (dull technocrat), Virginia governor Bob McDonnell (anti-woman), Ohio senator Rob Portman (safe/boring, but from key swing state), Indiana governor Mitch Daniels (safe/boring), South Dakota senator John Thune (safe, boring), former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (safe/boring), and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (a gift of writing material to columnists everywhere).

Washington Post conservative columnist George Will took a different tack in describing who Mitt Romney should select as his running mate.  Instead of listing pros and cons of the leading contenders, Will described the qualities that America needs in its Vice President:

  • For the next decade, American politics will turn on this truth: Slowing the growth of the entitlement state is absolutely necessary and intensely unpopular. In this situation, which is ripe for a demagogue such as the Huey Long from Chicago’s Hyde Park, Romney’s choice of running mate should promise something Washington now lacks — adult supervision.

With that quality in mind, Will believes two politicians stand – Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal.  Unfortunately both are charisma-challenged, and that is the second theme of his column – i.e., historically vice-presidential candidates are not important to presidential race and therefore Romney should select a running mate who will help him govern, not necessarily help him win the election.  That makes sense, and President Obama’s selection of Joe Biden vs. McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin helps support that point.

Who do the oddsmakers think will be Romney’s running mate?

  • Marco Rubio – 25%
  • Chris Christie – 10%
  • Rob Portman – 11.1%
  • Bob McDonnell – 8.1%
  • Paul Ryan – 7.2%
  • Mitch Daniels – 3.7%
  • Susana Martinez – 3.6%
  • John Thune – 3.0%
  • Rick Santorum – 2.9%
  • Bobby Jindal – 2.6%
  • Rand Paul – 2.4%
  • Nikki Haley – 1.7%

Rubio used to be above 30%, so his stocked has dropped some.  Who the hell is Susana Martinez?  She is the governor of New Mexico, the first female Hispanic governor ever.  A career prosecutor, she was elected governor in 2010 and thus seems spectacularly unqualified to be Vice President.

I’m pulling for Mitch Daniels, but would be OK with Chris Christie or John Thune.



  1. I would prefer either Allen West or Condoleezza Rice be Romney’s VP pick. Both are conservative, highly intelligent, articulate, have impressive backgrounds, and ahem…black.

    Putting either one on the ticket, especially Rice because she is woman, would really shake things up and could just make the collective Democrat Party’s heads explode.

    Comment by Semolina Pilchard — April 11, 2012 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

    • Aside from being black, what exactly did you find impressive in their backgrounds. West’s is particularly weak; probably weaker than Palin’s (didn’t think I would ever say that). In the military for 20 years, he rose only to Lt.Col. and resigned under a cloud, and now he has been in Congress long enough to know where all the bathrooms and TV cameras are. By contrast, Condi has held some responsible (albeit non-elected positions), but most were due to her sucking up to her patrons. Or else she interviews well and gives good briefings.

      Comment by Mike Kueber — April 12, 2012 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

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