Just in case Sarah Palin’s initial endorsement of Allen West as a “rogue” pick for vice president wasn’t enough to establish him as the Tea Party VP pick, other Tea Party voices have added their praise of West to hers. Most recently, Herman Cain said he thinks the fiery Florida congressman would make an “excellent” running mate for the eventual GOP nominee.

“He is well-spoken, he is direct, he is from Florida and folks in Florida love him — with Florida being one of those key states in the Fall. But most importantly, Col. Allen West is a dedicated patriot who has served in the military, and who is willing to serve his country again. I think he would be an excellent choice,” Cain told conservative talk radio host Steve Gill.

Speculation about a spot on the ticket for the congressman grew last week when former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said she believed the eventual Republican nominee should make a “rogue” pick in her own mold.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a prominent Romney surrogate who herself has been IDed as a possible addition to the ticket, said Wednesday that West could be a “good” choice, although later seemed to backtrack from those comments.

West himself has said he’d accept the nomination if it was “the right fit.”

It’s a testament to Sarah Palin’s still-significant ability to drive conversation that conservatives continue to mention West, whose short time in the House has yielded refreshingly straightforward soundbites, but no particularly game-changing legislation. Like so many of the all-stars who were elected to the House and Senate in 2010, West is well-poised to be an official leader (he’s clearly already an unofficial leader) in the conservative movement in the future — but nothing says he has to jump from an unfinished first term in the House to the 2012 vice presidential nomination to do that.

The more Tea Party conservatives push West, though, the more Tea Partiers will begin to doubt the conservative credentials of the other VP potentials. While I don’t want to see Romney play it “safe” (he’s safe enough, thank you very much), I hope the GOP electorate will maintain an open mind to all the possibilities. I haven’t been shy about my great admiration for Paul Ryan and how excited I’d be to see Romney select him as VP, but I don’t doubt the conservatism of any of the folks whose names have been tossed around as possible running mates for the eventual nominee. We have a number of very outstanding possibilities — and, best of all, Obama’s running mate will be Biden. If voters did vote for the VP candidate, I’m confident we’d be golden in November.