The Mittstakes are heating up
As brooklynbadboy pointed out
a couple of weeks ago, Mitt Romney's first major test after wrapping up the nomination will be selecting a running mate ... and given the GOP's weak talent pool, it's not likely to go well.
According to Politico's Maggie Haberman, the new flavor of the day is Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Apparently, being even more boring than Mitt Romney is seen as an asset. But will Mitt Romney really want to tap George W. Bush's former budget director given Bush's abysmal record on fiscal policy? Perhaps, but if so, only because there's nobody better.
Consider the other potential choices identified by Haberman:
- Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty: His political instincts are so bad, he quit before voting began. On the other hand, Romney owes him big time, because of Pawlenty had stayed in, he could have won.
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: Christie wouldn't bring anything geographically or experience-wise to the ticket. His personality would overshadow Romney, and the fact that he's already talking 2016 can't be winning him friends in Boston.
- Florida Senator Marco Rubio: Rubio is probably the smoothest Republican politician in the nation, but he's still 8 weeks shy of turning 41, and as a career politician with no major achievements, he'd undercut Romney's message about the importance of private sector work.
- House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan: The Wall Street Journal has a an article devoted to talk of him being on the ticket, but is Mitt Romney really ready to form the Committee to End Medicare? I doubt it.
- Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey: On the surface, Toomey might seem attractive, but Toomey's past as a derivatives trader on Wall Street would deepen Romney's Bain problems.
- South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley: Like, Rubio, Haley is young and charismatic. But while Republicans might think she would help them win over women voters, the reality is that Haley trailed among women voters to her male Democratic opponent in 2010.
- New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez: She says she wouldn't accept if tapped, but I'm sure she could be convinced. Her strengths are partly demographic, but she's also one of the most popular governors in the country. On the other hand, that sounds an awful lot like Sarah Palin—and like Palin, she's unknown nationally. The Palin shadow would be hard to avoid unless Martinez is an extraordinary politician.
- Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell: Unless you think the phrases "trans-vaginal ultrasound" and "covenant marriage" are winners, McDonnell is a loser.
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee: He'd be a great pick if Mitt Romney needed to shore up his standing in southern and heavily-evangelical states, but if that's where Mitt Romney finds himself, he's a sure loser anyway. If Huckabee really wanted to be on a national ticket, he'd have probably run.
As lame as a Portman pick would be, with a list like that, you can see why people think he's most likely.