While Paul Ryan’s plausibility as Mitt Romney’s running mate increases, two Mama Grizzlies push an equally attractive alternative — the irrepressible Allen West. Shortly after Sarah Palin issued generic advice to the eventual GOP nominee to “go rogue” in his selection of a vice presidential candidate, she backed that advice up with a specific mention of the Florida congressman. On Fox News Tuesday, Palin talked up West’s military experience and deep understanding of the U.S. Constitution and foreign policy.
Last night, South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley echoed Palin:
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, a top surrogate for GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, suggested Wednesday night that controversial Tea Party freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) could be a “good” choice as the party’s vice presidential nominee.
“You’ve got great ones. You have heard Governor Palin talked about West, and he’s good,” Haley told Fox News. “Of course, Marco Rubio is great and Chris Christie. We know he can be the fighter, and I think there are so many really great ones out there. I think Romney is going to have a hard time picking.”
The vice presidential talent pool really is deep. West, Rubio, Ryan. Republican governors like Virginia’s Bob McDonnell, Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, etc., etc.
Haley has counted herself out, and it’s hard to think Chris Christie or anybody who could have chased the presidential nomination himself would want to take part in a national campaign now anyway — but you never know.
West appeals to me less as a vice presidential candidate than Paul Ryan does, though. His fiery brand of rhetoric works where he is now, but it might not be as effective on the campaign trail, where it would be spliced into sound bites and tossed into attack ads. Conservatives are looking for an impassioned counterpart to Mitt Romney, but passion isn’t reducible to a willingness to speak frankly. Ryan’s deep commitment to bold ideas has been a powerful force in Congress and it would be a powerful force on the campaign trail, too.