2012 Tuesday: The long GOP veepstakes begins

The Republican primary resumes today, but it doesn’t matter. When Rick Santorum dropped out of the race a couple of weeks ago, any remaining suspense dissipated. The only question tonight will be Mitt Romney’s margins of victory. (Yes, I realize Newt Gingrich is playing up his chances of winning in Delaware. I also realize that, well, it’s Delaware.)

The conversation quickly moved on to the question of Romney’s running mate, which is a little bit silly. Four months remain before the Republican National Convention, and in my view it would be foolish to name a running mate this far out. If Romney continues to run neck-and-neck with President Obama in the polls or even opens up a sizable lead, he will want to play it safer with his choice than if, say, he falls behind significantly (think Sarah Palin in 2008). It’s too early.

I think the next couple of months will feature more scenes like the one we saw yesterday, with Romney campaigning alongside potential running mates. Yesterday was Marco Rubio, the freshman U.S. senator from Florida, and the pair’s appearance together rekindled the veep speculation that Rubio has sought to tamp down. Look for more of the same given that a couple of Romney’s possible choices hail from the swing states in which he’ll be campaigning a lot: U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Gov. Bob McDonnell (Virginia).

That said, here are a couple of points to keep in mind:

1. Geography — but not in the way you expect. There’s little evidence in recent history that the running mate adds to a ticket’s ability to win his/her home state. Since Ronald Reagan’s landslide 1984 victory, which reset the map, the Republicans have won the vice presidential candidate’s home state six times out of seven and the Democrats four out of seven. Now, 10 out of 14 might sound pretty good, but consider that seven of those victories (five for the GOP, two for Democrats) came in “safe states” — which I define as states that party had won in each of the previous two presidential elections.

So, it wasn’t surprising that the Republicans won Alaska in 2008 (Palin), because they had a track record of winning that state in presidential elections. Ditto for Wyoming in 2004 and 2000 (Dick Cheney), and Indiana in 1992 and 1988 (Dan Quayle) — and, for the Democrats, Delaware in 2008 (Joe Biden) and Connecticut in 2000 (Joe Lieberman).

In the “not safe” states, however, the track record since 1984 is pretty mixed. The GOP has split its efforts, winning Texas in 1984 (George H.W. Bush) after losing it in 1976, but failing in New York in 1996 (Jack Kemp) after losing it the previous two cycles. The Democrats have fared a little worse: Tennessee in 1996 and 1992 (Al Gore) was a hit. But North Carolina in 2004 (John Edwards), Texas in 1988 (Lloyd Bentsen) and New York in 1984 (Geraldine Ferraro) were misses.

So, I’m not convinced Romney will sew up Florida should he pick Rubio, Ohio if he chooses Portman, or Virginia if he selects McDonnell — much less New Jersey if Chris Christie were his running mate. And it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he won, say, Louisiana with Bobby Jindal on the ticket.

2. Experience. By GOP-nominee standards, Romney is wet behind the ears. He will be the first Republican nominee since Gerald Ford not to have won at least two statewide or national elections, and the first since Dwight Eisenhower not to have won at least two elections of any kind. (The two least experienced Democrats to win the presidency were Obama and Jimmy Carter, each of whom had won just one statewide election before entering the White House.)

Ike, of course, had never won any elections before winning the presidency — and, like Ike, Romney is running largely on his experience outside government. If I were Romney, I’d want a running mate with more experience both in government and winning elections. Jindal and McDonnell, each of whom has won statewide office twice and served in other public positions (both elected and appointed) beyond that, would fit the bill. Rubio, Portman and Christie, however, would not.

Now for a side note about Rubio: It might sound like I’m trying to play him down as a candidate. I’m not. However, I don’t think it’s an absolute necessity, for him or the GOP, to put him on the ticket this year. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s assume Romney wins this election and is re-elected in 2016. And then let’s assume his vice president wins in 2020 and 2024. By the time 2028 rolls around, Rubio would have had time either to serve two full terms in the U.S. Senate and be in the middle of his second term as governor of Florida, or to finish this term and serve two full terms as governor; either way, he’d be much more prepared to be president than he is today, or would be in the next four to eight years. And he’d still be just 57 years old in 2028. Now, he would have to worry about voter fatigue with Republicans if they were to hold the presidency for 16 straight years — but then, given that no party has held the presidency that long since FDR and Truman from 1933 to 1953, he probably doesn’t have to worry about that happening.

Bottom line: Rubio has a very bright future, and no need to be impatient for it to arrive.

What do y’all think? Should Romney wait? Who would make a good running mate for him?

– By Kyle Wingfield

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156 comments Add your comment

Junior Samples

April 24th, 2012
12:00 pm

(Yes, I realize Newt Gingrich is playing up his chances of winning in Delaware. I also realize that, well, it’s Delaware.)

Should read, “I also realize that, well, its Newt”.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

April 24th, 2012
12:09 pm

To the first question, Romney should wait, but not too long. A month before the convention would be just the right amount of time.

To the second question, he still needs someone to excite the base, and that remains Rubio. Young, energetic, Tea Party credentials and articulate as all get out. He’d be the perfect yang to Romney’s yin.

Neither Portman nor McDonnell provide enough of that. Jindal would be poison.

carlosgvv

April 24th, 2012
12:13 pm

I still say Chris Christie would be the best. One commentator said he wouldn’t pick him because of being overshadowed.

Jefferson

April 24th, 2012
12:13 pm

If Romney does pick someone with a herd of polo ponies, he has no hair on his behind.

Dusty

April 24th, 2012
12:14 pm

Well, Kyle,

If you want two “smoothies”, push Jindal.

If you want a “semi prez” push Christie

If you want a wake up call, push Zell Miller

If you want to repeat history, push Palin

If you want a “classic”, push Housman

If you want “pure conservation”, push Scott.

If you want a “sensible woman”, push Condaleeza Rice

If you want “wonder woman”, push Arizona’s governor!

Save Rubio for Romney’s second term.

jconservative

April 24th, 2012
12:30 pm

Will it be necessary for Romney to “whip up ” the base with his VP pick? That answer may determine who he picks. If yes, Jeb Bush? If no, then anybody.

I agree with Kyle on Rubio. Rubio needs to observe for a decade or so.

clyde

April 24th, 2012
12:30 pm

The Vice President has to be from a swing state south of Boston and west of the Atlantic Ocean. Tha’ts the only qualification needed.

Grasshopper

April 24th, 2012
12:33 pm

I think he needs to pick someone with some spark and sizzle. He should ditch the boring old white guys and go with Rubio. I think that would excie quite a few voter categories.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

April 24th, 2012
12:35 pm

I will say that Dusty brings up an alternative that I’ve been mulling over for about a month now.

Condie Rice.

She’s got the experience, and she’d walk all over Biden in any debate.

DannyX

April 24th, 2012
12:38 pm

“If you want a “semi prez” push Christie”
You ain’t kidding that guy is as fat as a semi truck

“If you want a wake up call push Zell Miller”
You better wake that old man up first.

“If you want two “smoothies”, push Jindal.”
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

“If you want to repeat history, push Palin”
That would also be the insane pick

“If you want a “sensible woman”, push Condaleeza Rice”
Sorry, Republicans don’t do sensible

“If you want “wonder woman”, push Arizona’s governor!”
See Sarah Palin above

“If you want a “classic”, push Housman”
Who??

“If you want “pure conservation”, push Scott”
Wouldn’t be wise for an unpopular presidential candidate to pick an unpopular governor.

Other than that good job Dusty!

DannyX

April 24th, 2012
12:41 pm

Rubio has 2 problems.

1. He is not eligible to be president
2. His Dream Act proposal

JDW

April 24th, 2012
12:43 pm

@Kyle…”If Romney continues to run neck-and-neck”

WOW that is a looooooooong neck. From the real world all the recent polls…

Gallup Tracking Obama +3
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl Obama +6
Quinnipiac Obama +4
CNN/Opinion Research Obama +9
PPP (D) Obama +3
Reuters/Ipsos Obama +4

Rasmussen Tracking Romney +4

Is it just me or does one of those…stand out a bit?

md

April 24th, 2012
12:43 pm

“If I were Romney, I’d want a running mate with more experience both in government and winning elections.”

“Gov’t” doesn’t exactly have high approval ratings right now, maybe it’s time to have an “outsider” ticket to wash the slate clean and start over……..experience in DC is over rated. They tend to be at the root of the problem vs the cure.

JohnnyReb

April 24th, 2012
12:44 pm

I dont’ see Romney lagging in polls to the point of needing to announce his VP choice before the convention. If the Moonbat pundits and polls show Romney behind, don’t believe it. Announcing the VP choice at the convention would be the best.

Who? It can’t be another North Easter. And, the election is too important to try the woman VP thing (sorry girls, there are lots of us chauvenist pigs still around) An experienced Southern Governor would be best.

carlosgvv

April 24th, 2012
12:46 pm

Grasshopper

Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants. Hispanics are considered Caucasians. In other words, he is white.

Ayn Rant

April 24th, 2012
12:48 pm

Just goes to how little value is gained from political experience. Eisenhower was only decent President in recent memory who ran on the Republican ticket.

The later Republican Presidents, all deft politicians with loads of state and national political victories, were the worst Presidents in memory. Remember Nixon, the crook? How about Ford, who couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time? And don’t forget Reagan, the voodoo economist who initiated big-time, peacetime deficit spending , and passed the burden and shame on to the unfortunate Bush #1.

And who can ever forget Bush #2, who killed economic progress the first year in office, started a counter-strategic war with Iraq, initiated a never-ending campaign to build an Afghan state, and finally let his Big Business, High Finance sponsors crash the American economy.

Let’s hope Romney will put aside the preposterous Republican dogma he has adopted, unconvincingly, and use his head, not his butt, in choosing a running mate.

md

April 24th, 2012
12:48 pm

“2. His Dream Act proposal”

Not from what I can tell he doesn’t:

http://www.pollingreport.com/immigration.htm

Seems those in favor if illegals are in the minority……..

Sherlock

April 24th, 2012
12:53 pm

I hear Sonny Puredoo is available.

DannyX

April 24th, 2012
12:54 pm

“Seems those in favor if illegals are in the minority”

Exactly. Which is why Rubio’s Dream Act proposal will not go over well with Republicans.

Dusty

April 24th, 2012
12:56 pm

Danny X @12:38

Thank you. You caught my error. It is CLASSIC = HUNTSMAN not Housman. Sorry ’bout that.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

April 24th, 2012
12:56 pm

The later Republican Presidents, all deft politicians with loads of state and national political victories, were the worst Presidents in memory.
———

Not a one got themselves impeached, ran trillion-dollar deficits, or allowed the mullahs to hold our people hostage for more than a year.

that's goofy

April 24th, 2012
1:04 pm

Hope he picks Rubio. Then we will watch the GOP contort themselves about automatic US citizenship by birth. Both his parents are Cuban. How do we know Rubio is a Patriot? I bet he wants to open our borders.

Yes, I am being facetious but you know this is coming.

DannyX

April 24th, 2012
1:04 pm

“…or allowed the mullahs to hold our people hostage for more than a year.”

Bush held hands with the Saudi king and gave him a big mouth to mouth kiss!

“ran trillion-dollar deficits”
Barry, what’s the plan for Romney when he takes office? How is he going to pay for the Bush tax cuts, trillion dollar wars, socialist Medicaid Part D, and his big government Dept of Homeland Security?

His plan so far is to hand out even more tax cuts! Re-elect Bush, vote for Romney!

tiredofIT

April 24th, 2012
1:05 pm

At the rate Romney flip-flops, I doubt he will be able to make a decision.

that's goofy

April 24th, 2012
1:07 pm

Parents became naturalized US citizens in 1975. 4 years after he was born. They came here in 1950’s… what took so long?

While I’m here: how come Cubans have a no return policy when they reach shore but Haitians don’t?

Steve

April 24th, 2012
1:07 pm

Could care less what plutocratic prude Mr. Holy Underwear picks.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

April 24th, 2012
1:11 pm

DannyX is wrong on so many things, he can’t even get it right that Rubio is actually an American citizen, born in Miami, Florida.

DannyX, up your game a bit, son. You’re embarrassing yourself in front of hundreds, if not thousands of people.

md

April 24th, 2012
1:11 pm

“Exactly. Which is why Rubio’s Dream Act proposal will not go over well with Republicans.”

Not too sure about that one. Rubio’s plan does not include a path to citizenship, which may have some merit. I don’t see “smoking them out” as a real option, so something in between just may work.

Bruno

April 24th, 2012
1:11 pm

If you want a “semi prez” push Christie

If you want a “sensible woman”, push Condaleeza Rice

Good post, Dusty. I’ll vote for either a “semi prez” or a “sensible woman”.

@@

April 24th, 2012
1:12 pm

I wouldn’t USE a person’s ethnicity or gender to garner votes…that’s what Democrats and John McCain do(es).

Rubio is about as close to Reagan as they come. He’s bright, articulate and motivated. He takes the time to convey his principles and how they would benefit America. He has promise.

Given the obvious choices, I’ll go with McDonnell although Paul Ryan would be my first choice. He (Ryan) is willing to make the difficult decisions that’ll put us on the Path to Prosperity.

md

April 24th, 2012
1:13 pm

“While I’m here: how come Cubans have a no return policy when they reach shore but Haitians don’t?”

Haiti isn’t run by communists……..

Mr. Dithers

April 24th, 2012
1:18 pm

md

April 24th, 2012
12:43 pm
“If I were Romney, I’d want a running mate with more experience both in government and winning elections.”

“Gov’t” doesn’t exactly have high approval ratings right now, maybe it’s time to have an “outsider” ticket to wash the slate clean and start over……..experience in DC is over rated. They tend to be at the root of the problem vs the cure.

But, but, but…Obama didn’t have enough experience. Now it’s a good thing?

Steve

April 24th, 2012
1:18 pm

Yawn – don’t really care which prudish plutocrat the flip flopping holy underwear candidate chooses.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

April 24th, 2012
1:18 pm

“While I’m here: how come Cubans have a no return policy when they reach shore but Haitians don’t?”

Our previous Cold War mentality caused us to give special consideration to those people fleeing Communist dictatorships as opposed to banana republic dictatorships.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

April 24th, 2012
1:22 pm

Steve, do you have an opinion that is not religiously bigoted in nature?

If not, please head over to Bookman’s. You’ll fit right in there.

Kyle Wingfield

April 24th, 2012
1:24 pm

Yep, JDW, the Obama +9 one does stick out a great deal. Other than that, you have the two men running within 3-4 percentage points of each other for the most part. Which, more than six months out, sounds like “neck and neck” to me.

Thomas Heyward Jr.

April 24th, 2012
1:30 pm

Ha Ha.
.
The state-sponsored Media may push the official corporate designated loser Romney but……………
REAL Americans pick freedom, wealth, property rights, and Personal Liberty.
.
Ron Paul 2012.
Because eventually……….TPTB will run out of countries to invade and citizens to cage.

md

April 24th, 2012
1:33 pm

“But, but, but…Obama didn’t have enough experience. Now it’s a good thing?”

No, Obama had no experience at all except as a bill writer in the Senate.

Governors…..which are not DC insiders…..at least have the experience of running a gov’t……

Steve

April 24th, 2012
1:36 pm

Maybe Romney will pick the incompetent hypocrite Sarah Palin again and all the right wingnuts will rejoice.

JDW

April 24th, 2012
1:37 pm

@Kyle….sounds like someone consistantly behind to me

Kyle Wingfield

April 24th, 2012
1:42 pm

JDW: If you are actually interested in learning how to read polls, I suggest you start with this primer.

DannyX

April 24th, 2012
1:42 pm

“Other than that, you have the two men running within 3-4 percentage points of each other for the most part.”

Remember that Gallup tracking poll Republicans fell in love with last week?

Obama 49%
Romney 42%

Obama +7

Looks like the Romney wrapping up the nomination bump is long gone.

Kyle Wingfield

April 24th, 2012
1:46 pm

DannyX: Same advice I gave JDW @ 1:42 applies to you. Or anyone who wants to tout Rasmussen’s Romney +4 result.

A national, head-to-head poll six months before the election is about as close to worthless as it gets.

@@

April 24th, 2012
1:52 pm

I always liked John Bolton’s comparison of Obama to Æthelred the Unready.

Pretty spot on all things considered.

td

April 24th, 2012
1:54 pm

Kyle Wingfield

April 24th, 2012
1:46 pm

You can forget about Danny X because he is way to partisan to look at any realistic information.

Dusty

April 24th, 2012
1:55 pm

Bruno @ 1:11

Thank you. Come by more often. Good to hear from you.

DannyX

April 24th, 2012
1:56 pm

“A national, head-to-head poll six months before the election is about as close to worthless as it gets.”

There is some worth to them this far out. For all the talk around here that Obama is the worst president ever, or as one poster here loves to say “disaster-in-chief,” Romney trails in the polls. If Obama truly is as bad as you say Kyle, you would think the Republican nominee would have a big lead right now.

I think the polls show now that Romney is not very well liked. He has tons of work to do to overcome that perception.

Funny, last week Republicans were shouting out poll results, this week they want everyone to ignore them.

@@

April 24th, 2012
1:57 pm

Looks like the Romney wrapping up the nomination bump is long gone.

Personally, I’d settle for a GOP controlled House and Senate. Obama can keep the presidency to save face.

Obama the Hamstrung

schnirt

Steve

April 24th, 2012
1:57 pm

Gas prices are down again. I guess you wingnuts can now praise Obama for that since you blamed him for them going up last month?

DannyX

April 24th, 2012
2:04 pm

“You can forget about Danny X because he is way to partisan to look at any realistic information.”

And here comes td, right on cue! 2 weeks ago he was saying it’s too early to be poll watching. Suddenly a couple polls broke in Romney’s favor and td couldn’t get enough poll talk. Now he is complaining about partisan rhetoric in a political blog. td! Complaining about partisanship, wow.