The liberals will always tell you who they want as an opponent. The VP pick is no exception. As the speculation increases, Democratic pundits are coming out of the woodwork with their choices and in some cases non-choices.
The Obama campaign is attempting to scuff up those considered by political insiders to be most likely to join the GOP ticket. You’ll notice as you read or view them that in all cases they will downplay the strong candidates and inflate the credentials of the uninspiring ones.
Let’s look at who they’re concerned about. At the top of the current speculation is Rep. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. Current Democrat opinion points out that he is vulnerable to attack because of his budget proposals and push to reform Medicare. They see these as negatives that they can attack.
Let’s take a contrarian view of Ryan. At this stage of the campaign, aren’t the American people ready for a little honest talk about our spending practices as a country? Framed in the right manner, Ryan’s proposals will return the campaign to the real issues: the economy, jobs and the national debt. Team Obama is terrified that Ryan inclusion on the ticket will force them to talk about the administration’s record.
If Ryan is a favorite, then Marco Rubio is a co-favorite for the VP nod. Rubio, like Ryan, has a long record as a legislator. Elected to the Florida legislature at 26, he was the youngest Speaker of the Florida House. He crushed Charlie Crist, the sitting governor, for the Senate seat in 2010. He’s articulate, Hispanic and represents a key swing state.
The Democrat pundits are emphasizing his credit-card issues. He charged personal expenses on a party credit card, which he paid back. This is not an unusual occurrence in the political world. His friend, Rep. David Rivera is being investigated by Florida authorities. Rubio has simply remained loyal to a friend rather than throwing him under the bus as Obama has done.
Let’s be clear, any attacks on Rubio will open up a Pandora’s box of inquiries about Obama’s financial issues.The Republicans can go after him for his dealings with Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich, two convicted felons. Or the shady dealings of Valerie Jarrett. How about Michelle Obama’s no-show job with the University of Chicago Hospitals, first as executive director for community affairs and, beginning May 2005, as Vice President for Community and External Affairs? And these are just for starters.
Then, we have Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia who turned former Governor Tim Kaine’s $2 billion budget deficit into a $500 million surplus. His problems are a graduate school thesis that criticizes working women and a controversy in Virginia over legislation that forces women seeking an abortion to undergo an invasive ultrasound. These could play into the Democratic “war on women” narrative.
McDonnell has steered a center course in the Old Dominion and established himself as a practical problem solver rather than a doctrinaire conservative. The budget surplus was not done by sleight-of-hand budgetary tricks but by doing it the old-fashioned way: increasing employment and bringing new businesses to Virginia.
McDonnell is a 20+ year Army officer whose oldest daughter served as an Army officer in Iraq. He’s well-versed in foreign relations with his numerous overseas trips to entice businesses to locate in Virginia.
The Democrats would probably like to see Tim Pawlenty as the VP pick because he’s so bland. When you look up “Minnesota Nice” in the dictionary, his picture is there. A two-term governor, he really doesn’t bring anything to the ticket, other than the proverbial “do no harm” warning.
Then we have former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who is smart, articulate, African-American and a foreign policy expert. She’s something of a liability due to her years with George W. Bush. They’d like Romney to pick her because she’s moderately pro-choice and her selection would shred the party. Besides, she’s said on a number of occasions that she is not interested.
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio has a similar Bush connection and his selection like Rice’s would lead to ads emphasizing the Bush connection. Portman does represent another large swing state but other than that he brings nothing else to the ticket. In Portman’s defense he would do no harm to the ticket.
Only Mitt Romney and his inner staff knows the thinking of the candidate. Does he go for a big splash or a more subdued choice? We’ll know in the next several weeks.