Thursday, August 9, 2012

Balance That Ticket!

My PP post today is about Veepstakes. I make the case that the one thing that nominees should not worry about when picking a running mate is the message that it sends; after a day or two, that message disappears and you're left with the person, whoever he or she is, but mostly the attention is back on the presidential nominee, and that person is perfectly capable of pushing any message he or she wants. Regardless of the VP.

I think this also speaks against balancing the ticket as an electoral strategy. In the old days, when vice presidential selection might have been part of a deal involving both halves of the ticket, balancing was a nomination strategy, not a general election strategy (although it could have been the latter, too). But nowadays, of course, there's no need to lock up the nomination through Veepstakes, although certainly keeping the party happy is part of what nominees must consider.

At any rate: what would Mitt Romney need to do to balance the ticket, anyway? Not location; Romney goes the president one better, with at least three home states (Michigan, Massachusetts, and while it's a stretch, Utah) to the president's two (Hawaii, Illinois, insert Kenya joke here). Religion, probably; a ticket-balancing Romney would presumably go with a Protestant. Ideology? Yeah, the only moderate taken in the last forty years was George H.W. Bush thirty years ago; that's not really going to change, although given the state of the current GOP most people who are not disqualified because of a long sheet of totally wacko statements run the risk of being considered moderates.

Beyond that, Mitt Romney is an unusual combination of being old and inexperienced (with only four years in government, Romney is even more inexperienced than Barack Obama was in 2008, despite being far older). That's not an easy one to balance! 

In particular, with his only experience at the state level Romney has the typical governor's lack of foreign policy and national security experience. His business background basically is more of the same: the economy, not foreign policy. Usually, governors go for someone who can balance that: Ronald Reagan picked UN Ambassador George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton picked a senator who boasted expertise on military matters, George W. Bush picked a former Secretary of Defense. The only rumored candidate who really fits that is Rob Portman, who spent a year as US Trade Representative and has a a year and a half as a senator, although that's not exactly impressive. 

Again: I don't think balancing as a general election strategy makes much sense, anyway. But if he's trying to do that, he should basically be looking for a post-boomer Protestant with lots of experience, particularly in foreign affairs and national security. Good luck finding that.


  1. Guess we are going to have to go with Pawlenty to balance the ticket then! He was raised a Catholic but later became born again once he got married. He's a bit thin in the foreign affairs and national security departments, but he was involved as governor with the GOP Minnesota Secretary of State sending out warnings that poll locations would be beset with "homicide bombers" (hey remember that term?) on election day in 2004! That counts? Right?

  2. Balance is very important, and Mitt knows it. Evidence? Every single name on the shortlist is a human being. The perfect complement.

    But I'm hoping that Mitt goes outside the box by hiring a Ronald Reagan impersonator and claiming that it's Ronald Reagan. "But Reagan is dead!" says the liberal media. "Don't you wish, Com-symps! The liberal media claimed he was dead so they could put socialist GHW Bush in the White House and his son could betray conservatism by governing as a conservative. He's as alive as you and me." (A song comes to mind)

    The fact-check sites investigate, but can't find conclusive proof that Reagan is dead. Yes, Romney has referred to "the late Ronald Reagan," but you can't believe anything he says. California refuses to release the long-form death certificate, and Peggy Noonan refuses to have the body exhumed. The fact that the alleged impersonator has on at least two occasions said in front of credible witnesses, "I'm getting sick of this; just give me my check and I'm out of here," is suggestive, but reports from the '80's confirm that Ronald Reagan said the same thing at the end of nearly every cabinet meeting.

    We rate the claim that Ronald Reagan is dead as half-true, and the claim that he is alive as half-false.

  3. Not location; Romney goes the president one better, with at least three home states (Michigan, Massachusetts, and while it's a stretch, Utah)

    But note which region is not represented here.

    Romney has been tacking hard right all year and, still, has yet to convince conservatives that he's anything other than a wishy-washy moderate. He'll continue to do that by choosing a fire-breathing right-winger from the South as his VP.

  4. Condi Rice would actually fit that. Actually she's older than I might have thought. And pro-choice. But that'd be quite a VP debate.


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