So, is the VP race down to Portman and Pawlenty? Update: Fewer women considered due to media’s Palin scrutiny?

posted at 4:02 pm on June 19, 2012 by Allahpundit

WaPo follows up on this morning’s bombshell about the non-vetting of Rubio by confirming that (a) indeed, he’s not being vetted at the moment and (b) the two safest picks in the field are.

Other vice presidential candidates, including Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, are undergoing a more intensive review, according to two Republicans close to the campaign…

“By the time you apply the gravitas test, which is really 95 percent of what Governor Romney’s looking at — people when introduced to America nobody would think twice about their ability to be president if necessary — that wipes out 90 percent of the field,” said one outside adviser close to the Romney operation who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the selection process.

The adviser said other Republicans once presumed to be contenders, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, fall under this same category. More-experienced candidates said to be under consideration include Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, as well as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

If Rubio’s too young and too unseasoned, does that mean Christie is too? He’s nine years older than Rubio and holds an executive position but has spent less time in political office than even Rubio has if you include the latter’s tenure in the state legislature. Mitch Daniels is presumably also out since he’s reportedly set to be named the next president of Purdue. So, it seems, is Bob McDonnell, who wasn’t being vetted either as of three weeks ago. What about Paul Ryan? He was coy when asked about this in May and he’s part of Romney’s bus tour featuring a cavalcade of would-be VPs, but he’s also just a year older than Rubio and has no executive experience. What’s the logic at this point for picking him and embracing an all-out “Mediscare” campaign from Democrats when he could go with the far safer/blander Portman or Pawlenty instead? It would excite the base, but Romney’s not worried about the base anymore. If he was, he wouldn’t be dodging questions over whether he’ll rescind Obama’s new DREAM order if elected. In fact, I think the people who see skittishness over immigration in Romney’s decision to pass on Rubio are right: If he picks him or Ryan as VP, then to some extent the election will be about something other than the economy. That’s precisely what Romney’s trying to avoid; it’s Obama who wants a “choice” election, not the GOP.

That leaves Portman, Pawlenty, and maybe Jindal, who does have executive experience, would add diversity to the ticket, and would certainly fire up the base. But Jindal endorsed Perry in the primaries and he’s the same age as Rubio. He’d be an inspired choice but not as safe as Portman or Pawlenty, and if there’s one thing we know about Mitt, he prefers safe to inspired. So that leaves two: The Bush alum from the key swing state or the guy who was vetted four years ago from the unwinnable blue state. I thought Portman was a prohibitive favorite and I still think there’s probably a 75 percent chance that he gets it, but as more polls come out showing how many voters still blame Bush for the economy, Team Mitt must be wondering whether Portman’s record as Bush’s budget chief will become a major liability on their key issue. If it’s true that Romney’s VP credo is “first do no harm,” then Pawlenty really should have the edge. The most damaging soundbite he’s had in the last few years is the one about “ObamneyCare” and I doubt you’ll see Team O want to focus on that.

Exit question: Why would any Republican want to leak the fact that Rubio’s not even being seriously considered for VP, especially at a moment when Obama’s just made a splash with Latino voters via his new DREAM policy? It’s one thing not to choose the guy, it’s another thing to signal that he’s not even worthy of consideration. And no, this isn’t about Romney trying to completely distance himself from Rubio because of the politics of DREAM: Remember, after O made his announcement on Friday, Romney specifically mentioned Rubio in his response. He’s a bona fide conservative rock star with a national future. Why not pay him the minimum respect of vetting him? Or are Ana Navarro and Ben Domenech right in thinking that this is really about the Charlie Crist alums in Romney’s campaign wanting a little payback for what Rubio did to their guy in 2010?


Update: Depressing.

In particular, few women except for New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte – a freshman lawmaker from New England with only scant federal experience – are thought to be under consideration by Romney.

“I think unfortunately, Palin poisoned the well on that,” said one informal Romney adviser, fretting that any woman selected as VP would draw inevitable comparisons to the former Alaska governor. “I would guess if I were inside the Romney mind that they’re worried that any woman chosen will be subjected to a higher level of scrutiny.”

Update: Note that that last quote comes from an “informal advisor” to the campaign, not any of the inner circle, so who knows how much of it is pure speculation versus informed speculation derived from chatting with key players. In fairness to Mitt, there aren’t many woman officeholders who fit his criteria this time around. Ayotte and Martinez are both promising but both new to their current offices. They’d be stronger picks in 2016 than they are now.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

Those aren’t reasons to vote FOR Romney though, just reasons not to vote FOR Obama. I can stay home and not vote for either. Why should a conservative vote FOR Romney, given his record? Where has he ever pushed a conservative policy beyond empty rhetoric?

Buckshot Bill on June 19, 2012 at 6:26 PM

I understand the argument that supporting Romney moves the GOP further left, because it’s true. Is it better to have Obama win and the whole system crash and burn – to be rebuilt on conservative principles, or to defeat Obama and slow the inevitable descent into hell that a Romney presidency absolutely promises with the hope of replacing him with a Conservative later? First, I’m not sure the country can be rebuilt, post-2-term Obama without armed insurrection. I don’t want that for my children if it can be avoided. Eight years of Obama may leave us with nothing left to rebuild. Second, there is a chance, however slight, that Romney can be dragged to the right (no chance in hell with Turdboy) by a strong, conservative Congress (big IF).
I have to decide which awful I’m prepared to live with. I will respect your no-vote and ask you to respect my reluctant vote for Mittens. But knowing what you know, don’t you think a purposeful vote for Obama would be unconscionable?

SKYFOX on June 20, 2012 at 6:29 AM

“I think unfortunately, Palin poisoned the well on that,” said one informal Romney adviser vile, gutless puss…

FIFY

Extrafishy on June 20, 2012 at 6:33 AM

Bingo. B-b-b-b-but they’re going to hold Romney’s feet to the fire…by promising not to vote for him in 2016 and they’re REALLY going to mean it then! LOL Riiiiiiight. At least until we get more of the “you’re helping the commies and tearing apart the GOP just for the sake of ‘purity’!!!!”

ddrintn on June 19, 2012 at 6:44 PM

People like you are just so tedious. You out there starting your Pure Conservative Party? Fighting for any particular person to lead? Sometimes the choices are a crap sandwich and a dirt sandwich. You make the best of it and move on.

I shouldn’t even have to make this argument. I’d love to see the GOP torn up. It certainly won’t be done if Obama’s in office and your arguments make no sense.

kim roy on June 19, 2012 at 8:40 PM

I’m “tedious” because you know I’m right. I have yet to see any of you explain to me what leverage you’re going to have with which to “hold Romney’s feet to the fire” or “force him to the right”. Are you actually going to threaten not to vote for him? In the unlikely event that Romney wins in November, conservatives in the GOP are going to be on the same level as dog vomit. The accepted reasoning will be that Romney won AGAINST the GOP base, and the GOPe will be absolutely ascendant…until 2014 when Congress flips in a massive way, and then comes 2016 when the Dems sweep back into office, leaving the GOP and conservatives discredited for another generation.

ddrintn on June 20, 2012 at 7:51 AM

Portman & Pawlenty?

Hit the snooze alarm.

insidiator on June 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

I understand the argument that supporting Romney moves the GOP further left, because it’s true. Is it better to have Obama win and the whole system crash and burn – to be rebuilt on conservative principles, or to defeat Obama and slow the inevitable descent into hell that a Romney presidency absolutely promises with the hope of replacing him with a Conservative later?

SKYFOX on June 20, 2012 at 6:29 AM

Which conservative will never come. If Romney wins, the whole “conservatives are unelectable” mindset will be in place for YEARS.

ddrintn on June 20, 2012 at 8:08 AM

America is worth saving! NOMITTNOBAMA 2012!

by the way, PALIN RULES!

Pragmatic on June 20, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Which conservative will never come. If Romney wins, the whole “conservatives are unelectable” mindset will be in place for YEARS.

ddrintn on June 20, 2012 at 8:08 AM

At least until the system collapses thanks to the runaway spending committed by both the far-left Democrats and the Republican establishment types.

Aitch748 on June 20, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Democratic Party owns women and black Americans, and will never allow them to be off of the Plantation … NEVER!

Karmi on June 20, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Portman and Pawlenty? What? If these are really the top two possibles, then clearly, Romney is not interested in building enthusiasm and excitement (or selling bumper stickers).

I’m sorry, but, I still think that John McCain was brilliant for choosing Palin (and she would have been an amazing VP) and she is the only reason that there was any enthusiasm at all for McCain. I (and everyone in my neighborhood) was willing to quietly vote for McCain as the ‘lesser of two evils’ candidate, but when Sarah Palin joined the ticket, UP went the yard signs and bumper stickers – Palin added passion and fireworks to the 2008 election and SHE was who every conservative that I know voted for in 2008, not John McCain. Seriously, does no one remember the weak turn-out at McCain events compared to the overflow crowds who came out to see Sarah Palin on the campaign trail – I was there – I saw it happen in real time!

Clearly, Romney ’12 is a better candidate than McCain ’08, but once again, conservatives are stuck with the lesser of two evils – absolutely nothing to get excited about, and the addition of a nothing VP like Portman and Pawlenty will simply make things worse. Does Romney just want to quietly win, or does he want conservatives, women, independents, Tea Party folks, blue-collar workers – etc., etc., etc., to get excited about his candidacy and hit the streets energized and excited?

Pork-Chop on June 20, 2012 at 9:14 AM

I guess I don’t understand how if we concede to fight by their rules, we can fight back effectively.

cptacek on June 19, 2012 at 10:50 PM

The effectiveness of their rules rely on our sticking to our own rulebook.

Red Cloud on June 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Tne obvious answer to why should you vote for Romney when he is not as conservative as you would like. This election is no different than the vast majority of those past. He is definitely the lesser of two evils as modst elections ascertain. He has a business backround that Obama is completely clueless about. He has a vision of American exceptionalism that Obama is totally clueless about. When you have ant-American socialist who refuses to support the laws of the land to compare him to, if you have to really think about it, don’t vote, because your way of life is not that important to you.

volsense on June 20, 2012 at 10:28 AM

It’s 2012, and Palin is still messing things up.

Moesart on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Hard to imagine the GOP finding potential nominees any less inspiring or interesting.

katiejane on June 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Clearly, Romney ’12 is a better candidate than McCain ’08, but once again, conservatives are stuck with the lesser of two evils –

Pork-Chop on June 20, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Conservatives and all Americans are damned lucky to have a brilliant leader like Romney step up to fight for the job! He is sane, pragmatic and effective. T-Paw was not a very good campaigner in the primaries, but he is a great asset nonetheless for his sanity and ability to effectively govern even a blue state as well. While not my top choice, T-Paw would be a shrewd choice for the electoral advantages he brings in the upper Mid-West states. What’s more, he would be a very credible POTUS if he were ever needed to step up to the job.

MJBrutus on June 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Conservatives and all Americans are damned lucky to have a brilliant leader like Romney step up to fight for the job!

MJBrutus on June 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

LOL…

ddrintn on June 20, 2012 at 12:32 PM

It’s 2012, and Palin is still messing things up.

Moesart on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

I know. Remember those stupid people who said she was irrelevant. Boy, I bet they feel xtra stupid now. “15 minutes” and all. Oh man, I’d hate to be be one of those commentators. I’d feel like such an idiot now.

BoxHead1 on June 20, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Conservatives and all Americans are damned lucky to have a brilliant leader like Romney step up to fight for the job! He is sane, pragmatic and effective. T-Paw was not a very good campaigner in the primaries, but he is a great asset nonetheless for his sanity and ability to effectively govern even a blue state as well. While not my top choice, T-Paw would be a shrewd choice for the electoral advantages he brings in the upper Mid-West states. What’s more, he would be a very credible POTUS if he were ever needed to step up to the job.

MJBrutus on June 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Chris Matthews called. He thinks you’re getting a bit carried away.

tom on June 20, 2012 at 4:33 PM

It’s 2012, and Palin is still messing things up.

Moesart on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Democrats keep screaming, “BOOOOOSH!!”

RINOs keep screaming “PALIN!!”

Anyone else ever notice that?

tom on June 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Chris Matthews called. He thinks you’re getting a bit carried away.

tom on June 20, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Hold off on the intervention until when I start talking about the crease of his pants.

MJBrutus on June 20, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Chris Matthews called. He thinks you’re getting a bit carried away.

tom on June 20, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Hold off on the intervention until when I start talking about the crease of his pants.

MJBrutus on June 20, 2012 at 5:50 PM

It’s only a matter of time.

ddrintn on June 20, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6