So apparently Romney has narrowed his VP shortlist down to four:
four contenders have risen through the ranks: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
If this list is accurate, and that’s a big if, then I think Romney has an interesting choice, and I think he’s going to make the less interesting one.
Okay, there are two safe choices here, Romney-lite Tim Pawlenty, and relative unknown Rob Portman. Both are good, not particularly out there conservatives who will appeal to the median of the base. And I think Romney will pick Portman, because he’s less known, because he didn’t compete against Romney in the primary, and because it might help him, even modestly, in the swing state of Ohio. In fact, I’d bet $20 on Portman against any of the other contenders on this list.
But that doesn’t mean he’s the right choice. If I were Romney, and there are mornings I thank God I am not, I’d choose Jindal. Sure, politically he’s not very different from Pawlenty or Portman, shoring up Louisiana isn’t as important as getting Ohio, and he sounds just like Kenneth the Page, but man oh man would it be great if the Republicans nominated someone brown.
I mean, isn’t he the American Dream? Piyush “Bobby” Jindal’s parents moved to America six months before he was born so that he could take advantage of all of the opportunities open to natural born citizens, and now he’s a major player in American politics. A brown vice-president would show the modern Republican party has no race problem, that they are open to all.
Is there anyone who actually expects that to happen?
No, Romney will nominate someone white. It’s the same reason Marco Rubio isn’t being considered, even though that would help Romney carry Florida and the Latino vote in general.
The other interesting option is to nominate Paul Ryan. Loved by the Tea Party, an up and comer in the Republican party in general, there are few people in the Republican party anymore who could galvanize the base as much as he could.
The reason Ryan is so popular is because he wrote the “The Path to Prosperity,” or the Ryan Budget, one of the most honest and bracing descriptions of the Republicans plans for spending, which is to gut Medicare and Medicaid while greatly reducing (non-military) discretionary spending. The plan is pretty harsh, and almost every Republican house member voted for it, basically because they knew it would never survive the Senate, let alone a veto from Obama.
Nominating Ryan is to say gutting Medicare is precisely what Romney wants to do. Is it? Senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney endorses the plan, but Fehrnstrom also said Romney thinks the Individual Mandate is not a tax a day before Romney said it was, so what does he know? Nominating Ryan would leave no doubt.
And, from what we’ve seen of Romney, do you think this is a guy who wants to remove doubt? His whole campaign is based around not saying what he’s going to do as President. I’ll fix the economy with my tax plan with no numbers. I’ll replace Obamacare with something that looks just like it, but without an Individual Mandate, somehow. I’ll bring back jobs… I guess. Why in the world would he blow his perfect record of ineffability (that man cannot be effed) by taking a stand on anything as important as the budget?
No, Romney is going to pick someone nice and safe and boring, and someone who he doesn’t see as a threat. He’s going to pick Portman. Here’s a Jackson that says so.