Who Would Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich Choose as their Vice Presidential Candidate?
by Tom Donelson on December 1, 2011 at 3:07 PM
Right now in the polls it is Newt Gingrich versus Mitt Romney, but let us speculate on who would make a good Vice President. Of course it depends on who wins.
Who would help Romney as a Vice President candidate? Romney will need to pick a candidate with connections to the Tea Party being that social conservatives are suspicious of Romney. The list of candidates for Romney will begin with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell is a popular governor of a key swing state and has shown the ability to move the conservative agenda against occasionally hostile Virginia legislators. He is a conservative who attracts independents, plus there is a key Senate race in Virginia, so McDonnell's coattails may be enough to carry a Republican candidate against the popular former Democratic governor, Tim Kaine.
The second choice will be Marco Rubio. Rubio is a well-spoken conservative who is a Hispanic from another key state. The disadvantage of Rubio is that he has been on the national scene two years, which may not be long enough. But then, the difference is that Rubio will be running for Vice President and not President. Also, he was the Speaker of the Florida House, whereas Obama spent much of his career in the State Legislature simply voting present. Rubio can assure Republicans Florida, and again, his coattails may be just enough to ensure a Republican Senate victory. Nor does it hurt that he is a Hispanic who can possibly add a few extra Hispanic votes and maybe enough to swing victories in key battleground states such as Colorado and New Mexico.
The third choice could be Bobby Jindal. Jindal has shown to be a successful governor as he has balanced the Louisiana budget, unemployment is below the national average, and he has defended his state effectively against Obama's mishandling of the BP spill. Jindal has been a congressman, worked on health care on a state level, and is an effective governor. Not bad experience for a forty-year-old; heck, it would be a good career for someone who is sixty. Jindal's youth will not be a hindrance with his experience, but he does not add as much to the ticket as both McDonnell and Rubio with key states and key demographics. All three of these candidates are attractive to Tea Party members and social conservatives.
What if Gingrich wins? Gingrich is appealing to Tea Party and social conservatives, but for many conservatives, there is a belief that he has deviated from conservative principles in years past. So for Gingrich, does he reach for a Tea Party candidate such as McDonnell, Jindal, or Rubio? Or does he go for a candidate with business experience?
I would not be surprised if Presidential candidate Gingrich actually selects Mitt Romney as Vice President. Romney has shown that he has improved his presentation, and certainly, he has moved to the right for the past years, and during the debates, he has been steady. Romney has business experience, been a governor, and has shown the ability to defend his economic plan during the debates, plus he might be able to appeal to the moderates and independents. Of course, it could also work in reverse, a Romney-Gingrich ticket. The advantage of this ticket is that both men will be vetted by the fall of 2012 and toughened for the campaign by going through the primaries. Whatever skeletons there are are already known, and by June or July, voters will decide either to ignore the skeletons since they want Obama out or if the Skeletons will be enough to end either men campaign, in particular Gingrich. (In which case, Romney will be nominee.)
Republicans are ready to march through hell and back to be rid of Obama, but the issue will be to move the center to the right and bring moderates along. Which candidate will do that and which Vice President nominee adds to the ticket, not just by attracting voters but adding competence and the ability to defend our ideas to the electorate.