Osburn: Romney seeks VPWritten by Ben Osburn | | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve ever seen HBO’s “Game Change” or read the book, you know that choosing a vice presidential candidate can make or break a presidential campaign. The movie, with questionable accuracy, depicts the trials and tribulations of Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign. Although Palin may have “fired up” the Republican Party’s conservative base, the campaign failed to stop the Democratic tide in 2008.
Perhaps that is why Sen. John McCain recently said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that when picking a VP, presumptive nominee Mitt Romney should pick a person he “knows and trusts” and who is “well-qualified” to take his place.
It must first be noted that Romney will most likely not make a pick for at least two months, possibly longer. Research by the University of Virginia Center for Politics shows that presidential candidates historically have chosen their running mates several days before their party’s conventions. In 2008, McCain made the Palin announcement on Aug. 29, three days before the convention. Trending along the same lines was President Barack Obama, who chose Joe Biden two days before the Democratic Convention. If history repeats itself, it is safe to bet that Romney will make his announcement sometime after Aug. 20, but before Aug. 27, when this year’s GOP convention starts.
The question on everyone’s mind is whom he will pick. Many questions surround the issue. Will Romney try to balance the ticket by choosing someone from outside the Northeast, perhaps from a swing state? Will he go with someone who is part of the Washington “establishment,” or someone who represents a change? Will he try to choose someone with a more conservative reputation? Each potential prospect addresses these issues in one way or another. Although the list is long, perhaps the three most salient candidates are Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio’s own Sen. Rob Portman.
Representing the southeast Wisconsin area, Ryan has served in the House since 1999. He has become one of the leading activists for the Tea Party movement and has risen within the ranks of the party to become the House Budget Committee chairman. Ryan also has become an influential figure on the economy, frequently criticizing the Obama administration’s lack of commitment to the issue. Ryan’s budget plan, which would reduce taxes at all income levels, cut discretionary spending to 3.75 percent of the gross domestic product by 2050 and reform Medicare into a voucher based program, was hailed by fiscal conservatives of the party. Wisconsin is a swing state and Ryan is a social conservative, two reasons Romney might want to select him. However, Ryan’s polarizing stance on health care and budget issues may not sit well with independents.
Rubio’s name has been thrown into the ring as well. Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants and is also a leading Tea Party activist. Rubio, a former attorney, has spent most of his life in politics, quashing beliefs many critics have about him not being experienced enough to hold the vice presidential position. Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives for ten years, before being elected to the Senate in 2010. In the Senate he has been a leading voice behind tax reform and recently was in the news for sponsoring a Republican version of the DREAM Act, which would grant temporary residency to illegal aliens in college or in the service. Picking Rubio may appeal to Latino voters and the more conservative members of the GOP.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. Portman is the possibly the most qualified person for the job. Also a former attorney, Portman served in the House for 12 years representing Ohio’s 2nd District, which consists mostly of suburban Cincinnati. Portman also held two cabinet-level positions under the George W. Bush administration. From 2005-06 he served as the U.S, Trade Representative. From 2006-07, he served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, which assists the president in budgetary preparation and supervision.
While not the greatest campaigner and a Washington insider, Portman’s credentials will be difficult for Romney to pass up.
Ben Osburn is a graduate student in political science at the University of Toledo. Email him at email@example.com.