Author: Rory B. Bellows
There has been a lot of talk recently about who the presumptive nominees in both parties will choose as their running mates. A story on Politico reported that former Governor Mitt Romney may be the favorite for the number two spot on the Republican ticket.
I think this makes sense, especially if Barack Obama taps Hillary Clinton as his running mate. Romney would draw sharp contrasts with both Democrats and shore up weaknesses in the McCain candidacy.
First there is his background as a succesful executive in both the public and private sector. None of the current candidates has ever run so much as a lemonade stand so already you have clear differences with the Democrats, eliminating a McCain weakness while highlighting the experience argument. Not only has McCain been around the block, but he has a guy by his side who has actually run something. Obama cannot say that.
Next there is Romney’s wildly successful business career and command of economic issues. He was the darling of economic conservatives in the primary season and in a year where the economy will be the number one issue, Romney brings the strongest economic bona fides of anyone on either ticket. Romney’s standing with economic conservatives will allay fears that McCain is not one of them. His rhetoric duing the primaries and in the early stages of the general election has been all over the place and sometimes made economic conservatives uncomfortable. Romney would wash away fears of McCain’s misguided and wildly incorrect attacks on oil speculators, the pharmaceutical industry and people on Wall Street he claims shoul be in jail because the of the subprime “crisis.”
Romney helps McCain with fundraising. So far this has been another weak point in the McCain Campaign. Romney has a natural fundraising base with members of the Church of Latter Day Saints and former business contacts. Members of the LDS are the richest religion per capita in the country. The claims that Romney could raise 50-60 million dollars in two moths are not out of the question.
Governor Romney could help expand the electoral map. As we saw in January, the Romney name is golden in the state of Michigan. Romney also proved to be a tireless campaigner and effective debater. The combination of his name, energy and standing on economic issues could be enough to put Michigan into the red column. Romney also proved to have a base in the west, and the large number of Mormons in that region of the country would keep states like Nevada red and offset the probable loss of Iowa.
Finally, Governor Romney would play to McCain’s message as a reformer who has the ability to reach across party lines to get things done. Should Obama choose Hillary Clinton, you could contrast that wiht a McCain/Romney ticket. McCain infuriated conservatives by working with Russ Feingold, Joe Lieberman and Ted Kennedy on issues such as campaign finance reform, immigration and global warming. Mitt Romney’s signature achievement is working with about as Democratic a legislature you can find and coming up with healthcare reform. The Republicans would have two men who have been able to work with opposing parties to achieve reforms while the Democrats would have the most liberal Senator in the Senate and one of the most polarizing figure in American politics.
Governor Romney would be a wise choice for Senator McCain.