Full Video of the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate in Danville, KY

Bookmark and Share  For those who may not have seen the debate for themselves, White House 2012 proudly posts a complete video of the event.  For an assessment of the one and only 2012 vice presidential debate, click here.  For a complete transcript of the debate click here.

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Condoleezza Rice Offers No Reaction to Paul Ryan’s Nomination

  Bookmark and Share  As speculation about who Mitt Romney was going to select as his running mate ran rampant, one name that consistently popped up was former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  In a decision making process that must consider everything from the electoral benefits of race, religion, ethnicity, and gender, to experience, demeanor, and expertise on the major issues of the day, Condoleezza Rice was a compelling and attractive candidate for Mitt Romney.  She offered a perfect sense of balance to the Romney ticket. While Romney is white, Rice is an African-American.  While Romney is a man, Rice is a woman.  While Romney lacks any pronounced expertise in foreign affairs, Condoleezza Rice is a foreign affairs expert.

Combined with Rice’s well mannered, diplomatic demeanor and unparalleled expertise on world affairs, Rice would have made an excellent choice for both the shallow electoral benefits that could have been realized because of her race and gender and because of her being probably more prepared to step in to the presidency of the United States at moment’s notice, than any other name that was considered.  Many independent polls even indicated that among voters, Rice was their most popular choice Romney could make.

The obvious value of Rice’s potential placement on the G.O.P. presidential ticket forced her name on to almost all vice presidential short lists.  If she was ever on Romney’s short list though is another question.  Being what she calls “moderately pro-choice” probably denied Romney the chance to give Rice serious consideration for the number two slot on the ticket.  Had he picked her, Romney would have surely offended many factions of the conservative base which was already uninspired by his candidacy and doubtful about his committment to the right-to-life cause.

As for Condoleezza Rice herself, all the speculation forced her to repeatedly state that she had no desire to reenter politics, or at least electoral politics.  But many, including myself had some doubt as to how sincere Rice was in those claims.  In the weeks leading up to Romney’s announcement, although they were unrelated to the Romney campaign, Condoleezza Rice made several high profile appearances and even wrote a superb editorial for the Financial Times that seemed like a foreign affairs manifesto for a future presidential Administration to adhere to.   In the months leading up to Romney’s decision on a running mate, some had openly suggested that Rice was “quietly campaigning”to be tapped for Vice President on the Republican presidential ticket.

In April of 2008, ABC News reported that Republican strategist Dan Senor made the same claim.

ABC reported;

“Condi Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this,” Senor said this morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

According to Senor, Rice has been cozying up to the Republican elite.

“There’s this ritual in Washington: The Americans for Tax Reform, which is headed by Grover Norquist, he holds a weekly meeting of conservative leaders — about 100, 150 people, sort of inside, chattering, class types,” Senor said. “They all typically get briefings from political conservative leaders. Ten days ago, they had an interesting visit — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — the first time a secretary of state has visited the Wednesday meeting.”

Of course all of that is just speculation and unless we choose to believe Condoleezza Rice’s own claim of having not desire to get back into politics. we will never know for sure how accurate or inaccurate the conjecture and assumptions of political talking heads were.  But in the two days since Paul Ryan became the VP pick, Condoleezza Rice’s alway’s active online social media activity has been filled with messages about her thoughts on a few different topics but one topic has not been addressed at all ——- her thoughts on the selection of Paul Ryan for Vice President.

Since Romney made the announcement on Saturday morning , Rice posted two comments on her Facebook page and she tweeted the same two comments on her Twitter feed.   The first comment  offered kinds words to the organizers of the Olympics and Team USA;

                    Congrats to London & the people of Great Britain on a GREAT #Olympics!  Congrats & thanks to Team #USA for an inspiring two weeks!

Her most recent comment, more than 48 hours after the Ryan announcement, was a quote indicating her support for the NFL along with a photo which displayed her “passion” for the Cleveland Browns.

Like all the talk about Rice being a potential Romney running mate, the meaning of her lack of a reaction to Paul Ryan’s addition to the G.O.P. ticket is also speculation, but so far her silence is deafening.

In a few weeks, Condi who has been given a coveted primetime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in a couple of weeks, will certainly be praising Romney, and Ryan too, but so far there is no indication of how genuine he glowing words will will be.  Especially since her initial reaction has been not to react at all.

Did Condi really want the job or is it true that she really can’t care less about her future role in public service?

Regardless of Rice’s feeling’s though, it is clear that most conservatives are quite happy with the choice of Paul Ryan and with good reason.

While Condoleezza Rice would have certainly brought an incredible amount of dignity, class, superior intelligence, and invaluable experience to the ticket, she would have also a brought up the opportunity for the left to distract Americans voters even more than they are currently are by rehashing Rice’s ties to former President George W. Bush.  Such a strategy could have been easily addressed by both Rice and Romney but it still would have been an unnecessary distraction.  But by picking Paul Ryan instead of Condi Rice, Mitt Romney  forces this election to be about the economy and the federal budget that Paul Ryan is an expert in.   And those are the issues which just so happen to be the Achille’s heels that weaken  both of  feet that the President is trying to stand on.

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Associated Press Confirms Romney Will Pick Paul Ryan for Vice President

Bookmark and Share   The Associated Press has confirmed White House 2012’s previous post which reported that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will nominate Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan for Vice President;

According to Associated Press;

“NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate.       

A Republican with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Romney has chosen Ryan. The Republican spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to disclose the decision.       

Romney was expected to introduce Ryan during a rally Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va.”       

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Who Do You Want Mitt Romney to Pick for Vice President?

Bookmark and Share As the race for President seems to have entered a perpetual state of boredom that is filled with a bumper sticker mentality of shallow stump speeches that offer little insight and a whole lot of repetitive pot shots and one liners, concerned voters find themselves left with but one last intriguing question —- who will Mitt Romney pick for Vice President?

Rob Portman

Aside from the actual election results, the question of who Romney will pick for Vice President is perhaps the only moment of suspense remaining in the campaign.  And as such, who he picks could actually make more of a difference than it has in most of the presidential elections in our recent past.  In fact, according to a CBS News/New York Times  poll released last Wednesday, 74 percent of registered voters said that a candidate’s running mate  matters “a lot” or “somewhat” to their vote,(26 percent  said that it matters a lot, while 48 percent said that it matters somewhat). At  the same time, 25 percent said that it doesn’t matter at all.  However; that sentiment is often expressed at this point in every presidential election, but by the time Election Day rolls around, it is a sentiment that is usually proven wrong.  Yet in the case of Mitt Romney and this extraordinarily polarized electorate, who he picks could make the difference between winning and losing.With swing states like Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin at stake, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan  could add the percentage or two to the election result in their respective states that is responsible for putting Republicans over the top in the Electoral College.But with figures like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or New Mexico’s Susana Martinez also on the list of possible contenders, the combination of their being women and being representative of different minority groups, has the potential to erode an important part of President Obama’s base vote just enough to make a small difference in a multitude of states that Romney is currently considered less competitive in.

Marco Rubio

What Romney is thinking is anyone’s guess though and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. The only thing we know for certain right now is that some names are less likely to be selected than others.  Take Mitch Daniels for example.  He’s a highly successful and popular two term, conservative Governor of Indiana who I originally hoped would be our presidential nominee.  With his command of matters of the budget and fiscal conservatism in general, he would be a perfect running mate for Romney in a campaign that will be based on fiscal responsibility.  Daniels also has crossover appeal and would be a perfect balance for Mitt.  Unfortunately though, Mitch  has agreed to become the President of Perdue University at the end of his term in January.  So he’s out.  Unless of course that decision was thrown out to throw us off the track?

Paul Ryan

The there’s Chris Christie, or at least there was.  He has supposedly been given the honor of delivering the highly coveted keynote address at the Republican National Convention.  That essentially means he won’t be delivering an acceptance speech at the convention.  Unless of course the rumors about his being the keynoter were intentionally thrown out for public consumption to throw us off the track?Another very striking contender was Virginia’s popular conservative Governor, Bob McDonnell.  With his national star rising from Virginia, another key battleground state in this election, his presence on the ticket could deliver a state that is practically a must win for Republicans.  But McDonnell has been named chairman of the Republican platform committee, a job that brings with it the type of contentious floor fights and baggage that automatically scratches him off of any V.P. short list.So those are is at least one name you can take out of contention and two which you can stop taking bets on.  Maybe.

McMorris Rodgers

But that still leaves us with a mix of both likely and unlikely contenders who can potentially be nominated to join Romney on the G.O.P. ticket.  They range from names such Senator Kelly Ayote of New Hampshire, to Washington State Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and from Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, to Tennessee’s former U.S. Senator, Fred Thompson and a host of names in between such as Florida’s Allen West and Jeb Bush, or South Dakota’s John Thune and Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty.  In one scenario, even a Blue Dog Democrat, North Carolina’s Heath Shuler has been floated as a game changing decision for Romney. Polls about who most Republicans want Romney to pick vary based on the audiences that frequent those platforms offering such polls.  For instance, the conservative site Town Hall is probably seeing it’s far right readers choose dark horse contender Allen West, while other more libertarian geared sites might find that Rand Paul is the choice that it’s audience most wants to see selected by Romney.But when it comes to less partisan entities that happen to do professional polling and are therefore far more accurate at polling than those who conduct online opinion surveys , there is one name that keeps emerging as the favorite among voters —– Condoleezza Rice.

John Thune

A Rasmussen Reports poll that was conducted between July 15-16, found  that 65% of likely U.S. voters share at least a somewhat favorable view of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while just 24% view her unfavorably. Those results included 29% who have a Very Favorable opinion of Condi Rice and 6% who had a Very Unfavorable opinion of her. Twelve 12% were undecided in the poll.  (To see survey question wording, click here).  Other professional polling surveys have had similar results and for good reason.Condoleezza Rice is regarded as a very respectable, likeable, admirable leader.  She is also viewed by most voters as someone who is guided more by personal conviction and ideology than Party and partisan politics.  Such a persona could do nothing but help the G.O.P.  and hurt Democrats.  This is especially the case when you consider the fact that as both an African-American and a woman, Condi Rice does have the potential to make significant inroads into a base vote that President Obama needs to keep in his column and that Mitt Romney desperately needs to peel off and bring his way.  Furthermore; Condoleezza Rice can help Romney with the all important independent vote that will essentially determine who wins in November.Whether Romney agrees with that assessment or not is anyone’s guess but I will state this.  If he doesn’t agree with that opinion, he’s a dope.

Condoleezza Rice

While I like many of the potential candidates for Vice President, I believe that Condoleezza Rice is the one person  who can bring everything that Romney needs to the ticket.  And I mean everything.  Not only does she cover the electoral aesthetics of being a women and being African-American, her presence on the ticket adds a degree of historic value that can benefit Republicans much the same way it benefitted Democrats in 2012.  Add Rice’s ability to articulate conservatism and the traditional American values of independence, freedom, personal responsibility better than practically anyone else other than Allen West and what you have is a running mate who is an electoral goldmine.But it’s not just the electoral politics that makes Rice such a good choice for Romney.  It is her ability to be a great President that makes her not just a good choice, but also a potentially good President.  And afterall, is that not what a Vice President is suppose to be? Few politicians have the experience and knowhow that Condoleezza Rice has and few Vice Presidents would be more immediately prepared to assume the office of President at a moments notice as she.Still, there are three things that stand in the way of a Romney-Rice ticket.

One is the fact that Rice herself has not seen fit to show any interest in the job.  Yet despite the lack of interest, her recent penning of an inspiring editorial in the Financial Times raises some question as to exactly how disinterested the former Secretary of State is in getting her country back on track.  Problem number two is Rice’s stance on abortion.  Rice does not support banning abortion.  She does however strongly support placing many restrictions on how its practice.  While that position may be tolerated by some on the right, it will not be acceptable by others, especially those who are already doubtful about Mitt Romney’s own committment to the right-to-life cause.

Lastly is the political fear factor that Romney and his consultants may have regarding Condoleezza Rice’s ties to the Bush Administration.  They may fear that teaming Rice with Romney will provide Team Obama with an unintended campaign theme that links Romney to the not so popular former President.   While such political fears are worthy of considering, political reality should lead Romney to realize that Condoleezza Rice brings far more positives to the ticket than negatives.  And Team Romney should also realize that if the Obama campaign wants to revisit Condoleezza Rice’s record, they will be entering in to a very dangerous zone.  Rice will be able to defend her record and the Bush record better than anyone else and she will also be able to remind the American electorate that it is President Obama who essentially carried out her policies in Iraq and Afghanistan even though he and his Vice President ran against those policies in 2008.

All things considered, I believe Condoleezza Rice would be the best choice for Romney and while I would certainly be gleeful over the selection of someone like Marco Rubio or even the man whom I believe Romney will ultimately choose, South Dakota Senator John Thune, I can’t help but believe that only Condoleezza Rice can provide the momentum, gravitas, and appeal that Romney will really need if he wants to win the independents, and undecideds who will decide who the next President is.

What do you think?  Cast your vote for Vice President here.

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A Romney Pick for Vice President That Would Change the Dynamics of the Entire Election

  Bookmark and Share  There are many good choices that Mitt Romney can make in picking a partner to lead our nation with.  But there is one strategic line of thinking that could lead Romney to a pick that would be so game changing that it will turn the 2012 presidential election in to an entirely different race than it it now is.

It is an option that does not seek to win by playing on the politics of ethnicity or gender. It does not seek to play on geographical politics or the assurance of winning any one particular state. It seeks to cross the divisions of sex, color, religion, class, geography and even the lines of political Party. It is a strategy that ignores the desire to pander to women on the basis of sex or Hispanics on the basis of ethnicity. It is a strategy that, if it focuses on anyone, it focuses on the small percentage of  independent voters in the handful of battleground states that will determine who will be elected President in November.

It is strategy that would shock the political world, put Republicans in control of the headlines and in charge of the political agenda that dominates the remaining weeks of the presidential campaign, and it is an option that seeks to do all that President Obama promised but failed to deliver………unite us instead of divide us.

It is a strategy that begins with Mitt Romney allowing all the speculation over who he will nominate to continue consuming the news cycles until the second day of the Republican National Convention. By allowing the buzz over who Romney will pick  to remain a hot topic, and even manipulating the media by allowing some certain names to leak out every few days, Team Romney is assuring that Team Obama will have to share any of their own campaign’s distractions and distortions about Romney with each media outlet’s desire to make sure that they are in the forefront of covering the biggest news of the election to date…….. who Mitt Romney’s running mate will be. Holding off on announcing who the nominee will be also insures a greater national focus on the Republican National Convention, an event that is so scripted that it is spells suspense “P-L-A-N-N-E-D”.

Allow there to be some suspense. Give the news all the help it needs to generate ratings for their stations by forcing them to use the suspense over Romney’s vice presidential pick by covering the convention from gavel to gavel.

Then on the evening of Monday, August 28th, the first night of the Republican National Convention, Team Romney announces that on Tuesday, afternoon, Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee, will be holding a rally outside of the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, the site of the Democratic National Convention which will be held the following week.

This will immediately lead to an unfettered frenzy of speculation over Romney’s announcement of his vice presidential nominee and while this fevered pitch over who the nominee will be, provides the backdrop for the events and speeches at the first night of the Republicans national nominating convention, allow each speaker who comes before the national primetime audience to stress two things—- national unity and the united resolve to address the worst economy since the Great Depression, and to do so as one people, the American people, a people who have always valued a life of independence over a life of dependence.

With the stage now set, on Tuesday afternoon of August 28th, amid thousands of Republican activists who have been  rapidly mobilized  by the RNC and by local and state Republican organizations throughout the Carolina’s and neighboring states, an array of distinguished speakers begins to address the large audience in attendance and the even larger national audiences witnessing the event on every channel and internet stream available to them. Let each speaker fire up the audience with remarks about everything from the need for a President who unites us rather than divide us, to the need for an end to an Administration that is hell-bent on waging class warfare and a war on capitalism.

The long list of speakers at this rally would have two purposes.  In addition to preparing the crowd for Romney and to help set the tone for his announcement, it will help to throw the media off the scent. Have people like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Congressman Allen West there. Have Tim Pawleny, Condoleezza Rice, Marco Rubio , South Dakota Senator John Thune, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and Ohio Senator Rob Portman all there. Have New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayote and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal there. Even have Sarah Palin there to address the people and make it impossible for the media to determine who the nominee is based upon which one of them is jopining Romney at this announcement.  Let each of these fine people promote the Republican cause and most of all, make it impossible for the media to scoop Mitt Romney’s ability to capitalize on the shock value of his announcement.

Then comes the moment of truth. Marco Rubio steps up to the mic and after hammering home the theme of a nation tackling our problems together as one people, he introduces “the next President of the United States…. Mitt Romney.”

To the roar of the crowd, with a sea of signs and American Flags waving, Romney steps out on to the stage, hand in hand with his wife Ann, and the rest of his family behind him.

Romney thanks everyone for coming together on such short notice. He hits upon the theme of his campaign, one of which is that we the people are in this together and that the only way out of the depths of our dreary economy will not be found by splintering ourselves by sex, orientation, faith, color, or class and how we certainly can’t find economic recovery by dividing ourselves along Party lines. And in his own words Mitt Romney says the following;

“Today, America will take a step towards ending the traditional partisan political paradigm that has divided us. Today I propose that we bridge the political divide by demonstrating a willingness to solve our American problems with American solutions. Not partisan solutions that are based on foreign political ideologies.  But it is important to understand something. It is important to understand the difference between Party and ideology. Ideology is a closely organized system of beliefs, values, and ideas forming the basis of a social, economic, or political philosophy or program.  Political parties on the other hand, are typically motivated more by the desire to seek to influence government policy by consolidating power for themselves.   And in that search for power, we often see the issues and even ideology, take a back seat to each parties desire to dominate the process. 

But what if we the people, took the partisan power trip out of the equation?  What if our nation focussed on chosing an ideology instead of just one Party?  Today I come before you in an attempt to lead us based on ideology not Party. My ideology, the conservative ideology, seeks to retain traditional institutions and supports the most minimal influence and control of society through government.

This ideology is a basic philosophy that comes to us from the founding principles of our great nation. And these founding principles transcend Party lines. They lie at the heart of my vision for America, a vision quite different than that of our current President.

While our current President seeks to increase the size and scope of government, I seek to lead an America of less government, less taxation, less spending, and more freedom.  And that goal is not limited to me. It is the goal of millions of Americans. Including Democrats.

Democrats, like Republicans, have all suffered from the failures of the current Administration. Democrats, like Republicans, have suffered from the longest period of sustained high unemployment in history. Thanks to the liberal tax and spend ideology, like Republicans, Democrats have been forced to endure the weight of our national debt becoming so burdensome that it is now a national security issue. Democrats and Republicans are having to face the fact that for the first time in history, we are about to leave our children with a nation that is worse than off than it was for the generation before them.

That is why millions of Democrats are just as unhappy with the way our nation is going, as Republicans are.  That is why we are in this together. It is why I know the only way out of this is to work with all Americans. Instead of making the wealthy the enemy of the poor, we need to strengthen the system that built this country so that it can continue creating wealth and opportunity for all.  It is why instead of limiting our potential by focussing on consolidating partisan political power, I choose to work with Democrats and Republicans alike.

For too long we have seen both Republican Presidents and Democrat Presidents fail to reduce our debt.  For too long we have seen a government divided by Party, fail to unite the people behind the solutions that we need.  Today, I seek to unite us all by uniting the parties behind a vision for America, a vision that is shared by Democrats and Republicans alike.

I choose to break us out of  the boundaries of partisan politics that restrict us and limit us by focussing not on Party, but on the endless opportunities that the conservative ideology which founded this nation can provide for all Americans.  And I choose to lead by example. That is why today I am proud to keep my promise to you. I promised to pick a running mate who is conservative. And today I proudly deliver on that promise by nominating a conservative…… a conservative Democrat……….. North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler“.

Now back to reality.

Shuler,  a former first-round selection in the 1994 NFL Draft, who was taken by the Washington Redskins and  later played for the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders, is a competent campaigner and powerful speaker and while picking him to be Vice President is probably not in the cards for Mitt Romney, it is a choice that is well worth exploring.

The selection of a conservative Democrat as Romney’s running mate would be a game changing choice that upends every potential angle to the 2012 presidential that has been discussed to date. While much of the focus has been on Romney nominating a running mate who can fire up Republicans or increase his support among some key voting blocs such as women or Hispanics, by picking a conservative Democrat as his running mate, Romney will be focussing on the one group of voters that encompasses not only women, or Hispanics, but people of both sexes, all ethnicities, all religions, all states, and all colors……. independents. These voters are more important than any other single voting bloc. They are the only voters who reamin unpolarized and who will ultimately determine the winner of every battleground state that Obama and Romney will endlessly court. They are the voters who will determine who is elected President in November.

By picking a conservative Democrat, Romney will take control of the political agenda, capture the imaginations of voters, especially independent voters, and change the dynamics of the entire election.

The move would help breakthrough the polarization that has locked Republicans out of contention in many states that are now consideredd to be solidly in President Obama’s column.

It will also put President Obama on the defense.

In 2008 President Obama promised to be a uniter.  Yet in the years since then, we have seen him do nothing but divide us.  He has claimed Republicans are waging a war against women.  He has told the poor that we must target the rich.  He has essentially belittled entrepeneurs and claimed that government control is more valuable to the American people than American entrepreneurship.  And if this them versus us strategy of divide and conquer isn’t enough to demonstrate that he is anything but a uniter, since taking office, President Obama’s legislative agenda has been nothing but a display of totalitariansim and partisan politics. In addition to his unilateral appointment of an endless array of unelected and unnaccountable czars designed to circumvent Congress and the voters, President Obama has led by dicatating executive order s and the by getting legislation passed through entirely partisan deal making that were conducted behind closed doors.

By nominating a Democrat, a conservative Democrat, Romney will be able to exploit that record to the fullest.

Independent voters who consistently claim that the answer to our problems is having Democrats and Republicans work together will begin to at least find hope in Romney’s attempt to finally make that solution possible.

Picking Heath Shuler will not suddenly make liberals vote for Mitt Romney.  Indeed most Democrats won’t cross lines to cast their ballot for a Romney-Shuler ticket.  But given the extraordinary political polarization that we are experiencing at this juncture in our political history, nothing will make that happen.  However; by picking a Democrat as his running mate, Romney will help  to reverse the troubling polarizing that we are experiencing in this election cycle.  And by picking Shuler, Romney  will appeal to at least some Democrats, including those in his native state of North Carolina, a state Democrats are hoping to win but are quickly losing that hope in.  He will also be able to appeal to Democrats elsewhere and he can do so with far more success than President Obama and Vice President Biden would have if they were to campaign among Republicans.

Heath Shuler can campaign for the Republican ticket in blue states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and attract more Democrats to the Republican ticket than Obama and Biden would be able to among Republicans in redder states such as Indiana, Virginia,.  And in swing states like Ohio, and Florida, the appeal of Heath Shuler among Democrat voters could make the difference between winning and losing the election.

But how would Republicans take to the idea of Mitt Romney, a candidate whose conservative credentials they already call in to question, picking a Democrat, even a so-called Blue Dog, conservative Democrat?

Not very well and therein lies the downside to this strategy.

Many conservatives will initially feel betrayed.  They will claim that Romney can’t be trusted and that he is selling conservatives out.  However, by the time Heath Shuler accepts the nomination, thanks to the magic of politics, the power of symbolism, and the increased prospect of victory, many of those minds will be changed.

Shuler who is not running for reelection to his seat in Congress, has voted against Obama’s additional $825 billion economic recovery package.  He voted “No” on  on the 2008 $15 billion dollar bailout for GM and Chrysler and has supported Truth in Spending legislation that would force the government to show real costs vs. planned costs.  On the issue of abortion, Shuler is a staunchly opposes the practice and opposes any and all federal funding of the practice.   Such fine points may not prove that Shuler is as conservative as a Jim DeMint or a Rick Santorum.  But a look at the record shows that Shuler is certainly not a traditional Democrat and he is certainly not a liberal.  Shuler’s histroy also demonstrates that he has even been willing to stand up to his own Party and defy its liberal inclinations.  In 2010, after Democrats were brutally rejected and found themselves in the minority in the House of Representatives, Heath Shuler stood up for conservatism within the Democrat Party, and took it upon himself to challenge the liberal leadership of Nancy Pelosi by opposing her for House Minority Leader.  That in and of itself is a powerful image to use among conservatives.

Still, the truth is that promoting Shuler as a conservative based on the entirety of his record, especially in the area of taxes and the environment, will be a tough sell.  But not  an impossible one.

The question is, would the conservative base be willing to concede the need for political compromise on their presidential ticket in order to achieve a conservative victory?

Picking Shuler would be a big gamble for Romney.  It would force Romney to risk the support of the Republican base which remains leery of him and which he can’t afford to lose.  But polls currently show that Romney is consolidating that base behind him.  That consolidation of support may have more to do with a growing disapproval of President Obama among conservatives than out of a love for Romney  among conservatives.  However,  if  President Obama continues to demonstrate that his vision for America is antithetical to our nation’s founding principles, and Romney can hammer that point home along with the fact that President Obama’s policies have failed us, Romney will have wiggle room and picking Shuler will provide Romney with a perfect opportunity to move this election away from the proformer Democrat versus Republican paradigm and turn it into a referendum on two different ideologies and visions for America.   It would be a bold move that leave  a partisan President Obama defending his divisive tactics, party politics, failed record and tax and spend vision, against that of a bipartisan ticket united behind a vision of less spending, less government, and more independence.

Will Heath Shuler be nominated for Vice President by Mitt Romney?  Most likely not.  But it is an option worth exploring.

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Unconfirmed Reports Say that Chris Chrisite Will Be the Keynote Speaker at the Republican National Convention

Let the Speculation Begin.

  Bookmark and Share  New Jersey Republican activists can hardly contain their excitement over the fact that their Governor has been selected to give the all important keynote address at the Republican National Convention.  New Jerseyans are bursting with pride over the thought that our Governor will be given the national spotlight and be called upon to articulate the Republican case and cause before the nation and the world.  But the reports have not yet been confirmed by either Governor Christie, Governor Romney or the Republican National Committee.  According to the Washington Post;

“Republicans say that, contrary to media reports, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Neither the Romney campaign nor the Republican National Committee would confirm those reports.

“You”ll have to stay tuned,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon.

Sources with the campaign say Romney is not prepared to announce any speakers yet. The New Jersey State GOP Committee said they knew nothing about it. 

“I’ve gotten no invitation to do anything like that,” Christie told NBC.”

These unconfirmed reports amount to nothing more than speculation but if true, the decision to make Christie the keynote speaker opens the door for additional speculation.  So here goes.

If it is true that Christie is the RNC’s 2012 keynote speaker, it will signal the G.O.P.’s obvious desire to highlight the message of a figure who has established a reputation for being blunt about what needs to be done to get our nation on a track to economic responsibility and prosperity.   It would also signal the G.O.P.’s desire to appeal to fiscally conservative independent voters, a segment of the voting bloc which could be critical to who wins the presidency in November.

Picking Christie to be the keynote speaker could also be a signal of several other things to come such as who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate. There has been a wide range of Republicans who would have liked to see freshman Florida Congressman Allen West deliver the keynote address.  West has proven himself to be a powerfully articulate speaker who inspires the conservative base while also firing up the TEA Party which Romney needs to bolster his standing among.  Christie tends to enjoy similar popularity within those same groups but West brings additional positives that Christie doesn’t.  Unlike Christie who comes from a state that Republicans feel is so hard to win that they have written it off in most of their campaign plans, Rep. West comes from a critical swing state that is well within the reach of Republicans to win.  Additionally, West is African-American, and those two factors would have made West a prime pick for giving the keynote address.  But giving that honor to Christie instead of West could be a sign that Mitt Romney has picked a running mate of color and so the need to highlight ethnic diversity during a high profile, primetime, keynote address may not be as necessary as it once was.  If true, that person of color who Romney may be ready to pick could very well be  former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who many have suggested that Romney is quite enamored with and whom  in national polls,leads all other potential vice presidential choices Romney may have.

But to read too much in to any decision would be wrong.

While Chris Christie is liked for the breath of fresh air that his brutal honesty and bluntness brings to the table, his abrasive nature does not fit well with the more diplomatic, less confrontational approach to politics that Mitt Romney is comfortable with.  The same goes for West who may seem like a good choice for Vice President for Romney but like Christie, neither man can be described as having the “same personality type” as Mitt, a factor that Anne Romney once described as a key consideration in her husbands decison on who he will nominate for Vice President.   Yet there is no denying that Christie’s approach has been popular and as such, there may be no other suitably prominent role for Christie to play in the Romney campaign other than allowing him to be a surrogate speaker and what more suitable platform can there be for such a surrogate than keynote speaker?

This of course does not leave West out in the cold.  Many other primetime slots are still available.  They include the highly coveted opportunity to be tapped as the lucky individual who gets to make the speech that nominates the presidential candidate, a role that West would fit quite well.

All of this is speculation though.  The only thing that is not speculation however is the fact that if it is true that  Christie is the keynote speaker, you can rest assured that he is definitely out of the running to be Romney’s Vice President.

On that front, until now, speculation about who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate has of late been superseded only by the speculation over when he will publicly announce who that person will be.    Today’s Wall Street Journal writes;

“It appears unlikely now that Mr. Romney will name his selection before departing next week for a trip abroad.”

At the same time, The New York Daily News writes;

“Sources close to the Romney campaign told the Daily News the working plan has  been to announce the pick after the Olympic Games, which begin next week and  conclude Aug. 12 — two weeks before the Republican convention in Tampa.”

Yet amid that media speculation comes a Tuesday tweet from National Review political reporter and CNBC contributor Robert Costa in which he writes:

“A Republican strategist close to the Romney campaign tells me veep announcement may come Friday”

Meanwhile, in an interview taped for ABC earlier today, Ann Romney claims that  her husband is “not quite there yet” on a final decision regarding who he will nominate for Vice President.

Not long after that interview, while attending a town-hall event in Bowling Green, Ohio, Mitt Romney answered a a question from the audience regarding who he will pick by confirming that  he has “not chosen the person” who will be his Vice President.

What this all means is anyone’s guess but to confuse matters even more, as noted in a previous White House 2012 post, Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has decided to retool his website, TimPawlenty.com.

Currently TimPawlenty.com has been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”  Normally such an event would not mean very much but at a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal.   In this particular case though, having been a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw’s decision to finally retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit it, appears at the same time that Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Coincidence?  Speculation?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

You’re guess is as good mine.

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Is Tim Pawlenty Preparing His Website For The Vice Presidential Nomination?

 Bookmark and Share  Most people have little if any reason to visit TimPawlenty.com, but if you are one of the very limited stream of visitors to the official website of the former Minnesota Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, than you have been surprised to find that the long standing platitudes for conservatism, apple pie, coffee, and all things American , have been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”

Whether Pawlenty is just conducting some useful site maintenance on his otherwise useless website, or handing control of the site and its future content to the campaign of Mitt Romney in preparation of Pawlenty’s accepting Romney’s vice presidential nomination is unknown.  Calls from White House 2012 regarding the status of the site that were made to several aides and former staffers of Pawlenty’s presidential campaign and his Nation First PAC have received a range of inconclusive responses that claimed the “Coming Soon Page” is up as the site undergoes some retooling.  However; attempts to determine exactly what it is being retooled for remains undetermined.

At a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, aside from who will the election, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal but in this case, one can’t help but question the timing.  Almost a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw finally decides to retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit, appears at the same time that we all know Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Now this could very well be coincidental but my political experience has taught me that in politics coincidences are events which politicians actually put on their schedules.  In politics, coincidence is a convenient excuse which allows the most unlikely set of circumstances to come together and seem like the most natural  string of events.  That stated, even though I have recently indicated that I am of the opinion that Mitt Romney will pick South Dakota Senator John Thune as his running mate, I can’t help but wonder if the coincidental timing of Tim Pawlenty’s “Coming Soon” page and Mitt Romney’s “soon to come” decision on a running mate is a more definitive indication of who that running mate will be than is my personal sense of who it will be?

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Senator John Thune Tops “The Herd” of White House 2012’s Potential Vice Presidential Picks for Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today, in it’s final installation of the series, White House 2012 offers a look at Senator John Thune of South Dakota.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Born: January 7,1961(age 49), Murdo, South Dakota

Spouse(s): Kimberly Thune

Children : Brittany and Larissa

Residence : Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Alma mater: Biola University

Religion: Evangelical Christian

` Political Career :

  • Served as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Abdnor.
  • Was an appointee of President Ronald Reagan to the Small Business Administration.
  • Was appointed Railroad Director of South Dakota by Governor George S. Mickelson and served from 1991 to 1993.
  • From 1993 and 1996, he worked as a member of the South Dakota Municipal League.
  • In 1996, Thune was elected to South Dakota’s at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He won reelection in 1998 and in 2000 was reelected with over 70% of the vote. Thune supported term limits and promised to serve no more than three terms in the House.
  • Keeping his pledge, Thune instead ran for the United States Senate, challenging Senator Tim Johnson in 2002. Democrat ran scandal which saw Party officials pay for on Indian reservations placed the results of the election in doubt. But Thune decided not to mount a legal challenge by filing any objections and accepting a questionable and close loss by 524 votes (0.15%).
  • Between 2002 and 2004 Thune worked as a lobbyist for the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad.
  • In 2004, he again ran for the Senate, this time challenging incumbent Tom Daschle, at the time the United States Senate Minority Leader and leader of the Senate Democrats. It is rare for for the Party’s legislative leaders to lose an election but after overcoming Daschle’s early 7 point lead, Thune defeated Daschle by 4,508 votes.

John Thune sits on the following committees:

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Thune is an attractive, young, conservative with heartland values that would be a big help to a candidate like Mitt Romney.  Yes, I know we have had seemingly similar people who fit that same description, but John Thune is no Dan Quayle.  The only drawback in picking Thune is the fact that South Dakota is going to go Republican in the presidential election no matter what and even if the G.O.P. did not have a lock on South Dakota, the benefit that comes with the advantage of Thune being that state’s favorite son is a miniscule 3 electoral votes.

But if the basis for chosing a vice presidential running mate is that of someone who he is capable of being President at a moment’s notice, than there is no reason for a Republican not pick Thune.  He is a solid conservative, not perfect, but solid, and he is well spoken, levelheaded, quite friendly, knowledgable on the issues and his legislative record is one which is rich in common sense solutions that most conservatives and common sense Americans would find quite appealing.   Add to that the regional appeal that Thune has and what you have is someone who is an almost perfect vice presidential nominee.

Part of the importance of Thune’s Midwest appeal is the neighboring swing state of Iowa, a state President Obama won in 2008.

In 2012, John Thune is much more popular among Iowa voters than is the President.  It is a fact that the Romney campaign used quite well after Thune became an early supporter of Mitt Romney and began campaigning with Romney in Iowa during the state’s presidential caucus.  Thune’s regional appeal could help make two typically solid blue states, Minnesota and even Wisconsin, far more competitive than they might be without Thune on the ticket.

Aside from the possible effects that John Thune could have on the electoral college, the two term conservative Senator meets all the basic criteria that Mitt Romney seeks.  Most important is Romney’s level of comfort in his running mate.  Like Romney, John Thune is firm, methodical, deliberative, not abbrassaive, and non-controversial.    This makes Thune a a safe choice for Romney among the conservative base that still doubts the depth of Romney’s committment to the conservative ideology.  Yet at the same time, John Thune lacks the ire of the left that would make him the type of lightning rod for their hatred that others such as Chris Christie or Michelle Bachmann would be.  That lack of hatred which is often exhibited fby the left means that the addition of Thune to the G.O.P. ticket will not provide the left with the degree of motivation that would be required to use Thune as a distraction from the issues.

Thune is a productive legislative leader, and a bright youthful, inoffensive, consistently conservative consideration for Vice President and is certainly on Romney’s shortlistt.  In recent days, Senator Thune has admitted that he has met with Beth Meyers, the woman heading up Romney’s search for a running mate, but he has not confirmed whether or not the Romney campaign is still vetting him.

However; I maintain that because of Thune’s overall record, his personal attributes, the unlikely acceptance of other individuals who may be up for the job, and the circumstances confronting Romney in the existing political environment, I believe John Thune is probably the person most likely to be picked by Romney.  While he may not excite the ticket with a sense of history and diversity because of his color, gender or lack of a Hispanic background, all o which would help bolster the G.O.P.’s much needed support from various blocs of voting groups, he is a competent and reliable selection who can offer a degree of balance that Romney needs in order to keep together his conservative base, motivate fiscal conservatives, and still be able to compete for the pivotal independent votes that will be needed to win the presidency.

Thune was considered a possible presidential candidate and even gave the idea of running for president some serious thought of his own until he decided against it in late spring of 2011.   But running for Vice President is a different story, and if asked to run, I really don’t see Senator Thune refusing the nomination.  Being Romney’s running mate will be a no risk proposition for Thune that will produce high yields for his political future.  Having been reelected to the Senate in 2010, Thune will not have to give up his senate to run for Vice President and if a Romney-Thune ticket did happen to lose in 2012, Thune will continue to serve in  the Senate and he will do so as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.  That scenario dovetails quite well with Thune’s support for term limits.

When he served in the House of Representatives, Thune limited himself to three two year terms.  Now as a Senator, it is safe to say that he will limit himself to two six year terms.  As such, a run for President would be the perfect next step.  So for Thune, there is no reason to say “no” if asked to be Mitt Romney’s running mate

Thune is a productive legislative leader, who is youthful, bright, inoffensive, consistently conservative, and a good man in his own right.  Thune is certainly on Romney’s shortlist and if the nomination of the Vice President becomes contentious, John Thune would be the perfect compromise candidate.  And for all the right reasons.

Pros:

  • Thune is positioned well to attract independent voters
  • Can appeal to younger voters
  • Helps Romney in the Midwest, specifically Iowa, Minnesota, and possibly even Wisconsin
  • Thune has the capacity to be the articulate and credible attack dog that the G.O.P. will need on the ticket
  • Thune was a strong opponent of certain economic recovery and stimulus spending bills in 2008 and early 2009 and subsequently voted against many of those measures
  • Thune has played a leading role in formulating energy policy and was instrumental in passing a comprehensive energy bills in 2005 and 2007

Cons:

  • Although Thune now states he is disappointed in the way the money from the first  Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008 was spent, Thune did vote for it
  • Thune may be vulnerable to attacks based upon distortions of his work as a lobbyist for for the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad
  • Thune does not help to guarantee Republicans that they will any of the electoral rich states like Ohio or Florida  that may be pivotal in the Electoral College.
  • Thune’s support for earmarks that went to South Dakota will be exploited by the left

Assessment:

Thune is one of the more relatively exciting safe choices that Romney can make.  He is a relatively young, fresh political face, with a fairly solid conservative record and he can help Romney appeal to independent voters and voters in several upper Midwest state that Romney could use help in.  Since 2011, I have felt that John Thune is Mitt Romney’s most likely choice for Vice President.  Thune is a perfect fit for Romney in the sense that Thune is a comfortable match for Romney.   With names like Rubio and Daniels supposedly out of the running because of their claims to not want the job, unless Romney is prepared to make a bold choice and pick a running mate that could be viewed as a game changer, I believe that Thune is more likely to picked by Romney than other so-called safe choices such as Ohio’s Rob Portman or Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty.

While Pawlenty is a solid and safe choice, he has never been very popular and if his own campaign for the Republican presidential nomination proved anything, it is that voters couldn’t care less about him.  As for Rob Portman, his addition to the ticket does not necessarily guarantee that he will deliver Ohio to the the Republican ticket but it does help tie Romney to the Obama Administration because of Portman’s past position as the Director of the Office of management and Budget under Bush.  That combined with the longer history of accomplishment that Thune has over Portman in the Senate makes John Thune a vice presidential pick for Romney that has more potential and less baggage than Portman will.

Will Romney pick Thune?  I have no idea if that can be answered in the affirmative or the negative but I have a personal sense of things that tells me Romney is leaning towards making John Thune his running mate.

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Bill Sponsorship & Co-Sponsorship

Some of Thune’s most recently sponsored bills include…

View All » (including bills from previous years)

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Recent Key Votes

More Key Votes

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Thune On The Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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Click here for John Thune’s Facebook Page

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FRC Says No Rice Please

In their Monday email, the Family Research Council rained on the Condoleeza Rice parade.  Describing her as a “non-starter”, Tony Perkins said that she is not pro-life, pro-marriage or a strong defender of religious liberty.  Perkins also noted that the Family Research Council would only accept a candidate who was strongly pro-life, not just someone who “checks the ‘pro-life box'”.

Will FRC stop promoting Mitt Romney if he chooses Condoleeza Rice as his VP?  No.  They supported Bush even though Cheney supported gay marriage.  But now is the time to use their leverage as a group representing a large segment of fundamental Christianity and steer Romney towards a more socially conservative choice.

Condi is a great and extremely qualified candidate.  But Romney should carefully consider the promises he has made regarding his VP selection process.  If he is looking to shake the Etch-a-sketch image one of his staffers foolishly gave him, than now is a perfect time to take a principled stand.  On the other hand, Romney may do the calculations and figure he will pick up more independents with Condi than he would lose from his base.

Is a Romney-Ryan Ticket in the Works? White House 2012’s “The Herd”, Takes a Look

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Born: January 29, 1970 (age 41), Janesville, Wisconsin

Spouse(s): Janna Ryan

Children : Sam, Liza & Charlie

Residence : Janesville, Wisconsin

Alma mater: Miami University, (Ohio) (BA),

Profession: Blue Collar worker, Marketing Consultant

Religion: Catholic

Political Career :

  • Intern for the foreign affairs advisor assigned to Wisconsin Sen. Bob Kasten.
  • staff economist attached to the office of U.S. Senator Bob Kasten
  • 1992 – Ryan became a speechwriter and a volunteer economic analyst with Empower America, an advocacy group formed by Jack Kemp, former education secretary Bill Bennett, the late diplomat Jeane Kirkpatrick and former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber.
  • 1998 – Elected to Congress from his Wisconsin hometown

After his 2011 delivery of the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address and his presentation of the 2011 Republican budget proposal, “A Path to Prosperity”, no matter who the Republican presidential nominee was going to be and no matter whether he likes it or not, Paul Ryan was going to be on the short list of names to be considered for Vice President on the 2012 presidential ticket.

Ryan has already expressed no interest in the number two spot for Republicans in 2012 but if the call comes, the pressure is put on, and the political climate continues to echo the need for economic leadership, the times will dictate that Paul Ryan accept such an offer. For no man who truly loves their country can refuse to serve it when they are convinced that duty calls. And right now America calls out for the type of leadership and fiscal understanding that Paul Ryan brings to the table and possibly to the presidential ticket.

Paul Ryan is young, confident, humble and uses soft spoken words to convey hard hitting facts as he avoids demonizing the opposition. This along with his record of competence and passion for a budget that deals with the problems of today while addressing the needs of tomorrow, will make Paul Ryan the type of running mate who does not outshine the top of the ticket but provides incomparable support from the bottom of the ticket by being a seemingly non-partisan, down-to-earth, friendly, likeable family man, who can relate to voters and still make them feel confident about his ability to step into the presidency if the need arose. All that is in addition to his coming from an important swing state and his mastery of issues that will still be a top priority in November of 2012,——— the federal budget and national economy.

And Paul Ryan’s stock as a potential running mate has risen even further after the recent attempts to recall several Wisconsin Republicans, including the state’s Governor, Scott Walker. The left-wing, union inspired recall effort, failed miserably and stunned the nation with a vote that actually affirmed the type of economic austerity which Paul Ryan represents. That recall election has led many to believe that Wisconsin could come in to play for Republicans in the presidential election and if that is the case, adding Paul Ryan to the ticket could swing the state in the G.O.P.’s favor by as many as four percentage points.

The greatest obstacle to Ryan’s being asked to run for Vice President comes from the mileage that Democrats may be able to gain from painting Ryan as a heartless conservative whose budget plan attempts to destroy Americans by cutting everything from Social security benefits to the elderly to slashing assistance for the impoverished. To succumb to the potential of liberal propaganda would be a mistake though. If the left seeks to paint Ryan in such a way, the G.O.P could actually carve out a path to victory that addresses the divisive class warfare charade that liberals are trying to wage and combining it with the cold hard facts of mathematics, the mathematics of our ballooning deficit and weak economy.

But perhaps the greatest hurdle to Paul Ryan being selected as Vice President is the specter of losing his leadership in Congress as the House Budget Committee Chairman. It is one of the ten most powerful, and influential positions in America and a president Romney would have to ask himself, does he want to lose the responsible and competent leadership that Paul Ryan brings to that position? If it will get him elected President, Romney will probably be willing to have Ryan make that sacrifice.

Pros:

  • Ryan can attract Independent voters
  • Appeals to younger voters
  • Can help the G.O.P. win the case against tax and spend liberal policies
  • Might be able to swing Wisconsin to Republicans if the race tightens up
  • Ryan is an articulate, passionate campaigner
  • Is a relatively fresh face in national politics
  • Helps Romney with T.E.A. movement activists who are not particularly thrilled with Romney

Cons:

  • The left has already attacked Ryan as a heartless extremists and has even created parodies of him pushing a grandmother off a cliff
  • Lack of executive experience
  • Lacks extensive foreign affair expertise

Assessment:

Paul Ryan would be a relatively bold choice for Mitt Romney. Ryan does not initially bring the type of “safe” factor that would normally make Romney comfortable. However, Paul Ryan would bring to the ticket the type of solid convictions and leaderships required by republicans to corner the market on one of the number one issues of the day, our economic security. Paul’s Ryan’s credentials on the federal budget, the national debt, and entitlement reform are unparalleled and while his record will never convince liberals to suddenly realize that their attempts to tax and spend the nation in to prosperity is a dismal failure, he can help win over the critical independent voters who tend be more economically than socially conservative. And that is where this election may be won or lost.

That alone makes a Ryan a smart choice for Romney. But in addition to that is Ryan’s age, demeanor, working class background and Mid-West appeal. All of which compensate extraordinarily for that which Mitt Romney lacks. Which is why, I would have to say, that Paul Ryan is probably one of the 5 people Romney is most likely to pick.

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Recent Key Votes

More Key Votes

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Bill Sponsorship & Co-Sponsorship

Some of Ryan’s most recently sponsored bills include…

View All » (including bills from previous years)

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Ryan on the Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Health Care
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Civil Rights Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Jobs Welfare & Poverty Corporations
Energy & Oil Environment Technology Principles & Values

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The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

Romney – Rubio 2012: A Look at The Vice Presidential Prospects of Marco Rubio

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Born Marco Antonio Rubio (1971-05-28) May 28, 1971 (age 41) Miami, Florida
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jeanette Dousdebes
Children 4
Alma mater University of Florida (B.A.) University of Miami (J.D.)
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

When it comes to Marco Rubio the question isn’t will he be on anyones shortlist for VP. The question is who in their right mind would not pick Marco Rubio to be their Vice Presidential nominee? The forty year old Floridian is probably one of the three most conservative legislators in both Houses of Congresses but lacks the air of extremism that others like him carry, he comes from a critical swing state, and is the most popular elected figure in the state.

Given that President Obama is unlikely to be able to get re-elected without Florida, getting Rubio on the G.O.P. ticket would greatly limit the number of electoral combinations that will be available for the President to reach the 270 electoral votes needed. But if that wasn’t good enough reason to have Marco as your running mate, his Hispanic background is a major plus too. Born to Cuban immigrants, Rubio has the ability to connect to the increasingly important and growing Hispanic voting bloc in America. Winning the Hispanic vote or at least a decent portion of it, will mean the difference between winning the presidency and losing the presidency for Republicans. Rubio’s appeal would help in several states with large Hispanic populations, including the important swing state of New Mexico.

Beyond that, Rubio is bright, levelheaded, articulate, passionate, personable, and polished. Some of that polish came from his years as the youngest person to have ever served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. And when it comes to putting that political polish to work in a campaign, you must realize that we are talking about a man who was only 39 years old when he decided to seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Florida and to do so by running against the state’s popular incumbent Republican Governor who also wanted the nomination. Governor Charlie Crist had been considered the next Senator even as Rubio began his underdog campaign. But in time the underdog turned the tables around so quick, that Governor Crist dropped out of the Republican primary, because he knew Rubio was about to beat him the primary. In the end Rubio was handily elected and along the way, he became a hero to the TEA movement and shot of life in to the G.O.P.’s conservative base.

The only problem is, Marco Rubio has made it clear that he will not run for Vice President in 2012. But that can’t exactly be written in stone. If duty calls, it is hard to say no. However, Rubio may just stick to his guns. He knows that he will someday be President, so long as he plays his cards right. I believe that Rubio wants to be sure that he paces himself. He does not intend to be a quick flash in the pan, and as such I really believe that he does not want to play second fiddle to anyone as their vice presidential running mate. He is waiting for the day when he picks the person that he wants to nominate as his vice presidential running mate.

Pros:

  • Rubio can attract Independent voters
  • Appeals to younger voters
  • Can help the G.O.P. win over Hispanic voters
  • Can deliver Florida to Romney and Florida could make the difference between winning and losing the presidential election
  • Rubio is an articulate, passionate campaigner
  • Is a fresh face in politics
  • Helps Romney with T.E.A. movement activists who are not particularly thrilled with Romney

Cons:

  • Being relatively new to national politics, Rubio is not quite as tested and vetted as other possible prospects for Vice President

Assessment:

All things considered, Rubio is probably the best choice Romney can make. However, Rubio has been firm in his declaring that he does not want to be Vice President. But the pressure that could come down on Rubio to take the nomination might be to much to bear.  So early declarations may not be quite as definite as they seem and if it is determined that Florida is in fact the key to winning the White House, we could easily see a Romney-Rubio ticket.

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Recent Key Votes

S 2343 – Prohibits Increase in Interest Rates for Student Loans (Reid Bill) Legislation (Nay), May 24, 2012

S Amdt 2153 – Prohibits Increase in Interest Rates for Student Loans (Lamar Bill) Amendment (Yea), May 24, 2012

More Key Votes

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Bill Sponsorship & Co-Sponsorship

Some of Rubio’s most recently sponsored bills include…

View All » (including bills from previous years)

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Rubio on the Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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Romney-Rice 2012: White House 2012’s “The Herd” Looks at the Possible Selection of Condoleezza Rice for Vice President

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

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Born (1954-11-14) November 14, 1954 (age 57) Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Denver University of Notre Dame
Signature

Professional Experience

  • Provost, Stanford University, 1993-1999
  • Professor, Stanford University

Political Experience

  • United States Secretary of State, 2005-2009 Appointed,
  • United States Secretary of State, January 26, 2005
  • National Security Advisor, 2001-2005
  • Senior Director/Director, Soviet and East European Affairs, National Security Council, 1989-1991
  • Special Assistant, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1986

Click here for a detailed biography of Condoleeza Rice

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In mid December a Washington Times opinion piece stated that Dr. Rice was ”quietly positioning herself to be the top choice of the eventual Republican presidential nominee, ready to deliver bona fide foreign-policy credentials lacking among the candidates.” They added “The 56-year-old has recently raised her profile, releasing her memoir in November and embarking on a monthlong book tour”. Whether it is true or not that Rice has been “quietly positioning herself” for a vice presidential nomination is questionable. This very humble, renaissance woman with above average intelligence, an unmatched resume, and wide range of interests has previously claimed that she would much rather serve a stint as the Commissioner of the National Football League than another stint in politics.

But minds do change and Condi could actually be floating the idea by sending some behind the scenes signals that she would be willing to be the running mate on the Republican presidential ticket. She would certainly be an excellent choice. Even though her presence on the ticket may initially draw some negative perceptions of the Bush Administration, Condi’s record is one that is strong enough to diminish such perceptions. Furthermore, in addition to her ability to bring strong foreign affairs credentials to the ticket and bolster voter confidence in the Republican ticket with it, she adds a combination of troubling fear factors to the Obama relection campaign. In addition to being African-American, she is a woman and while these are politically shallow reasons for electing our nation’s leaders, they are also very real and very undeniable political inroads in to the critical female and black voting block. All things considered, Condoleezza Rice is an automatic addition to any Republican presidential nominee’s short list.

Except Mitt Romney’s.

Although she is remarkably diplomatic and inoffensive while at the same time possessing steel-like resolve and confidence, and while her incredibly articulate ways would be able to win more voters over than turn them off, Mitt Romney can not afford to seem to equivocate on the issue of abortion. After switching his position from pro-choice to right to life, he has a hard enough time convincing conservatives that he is sincerely committed to to the sanctity of life. And the problem is that Rice is pro-choice. It is something which conservatives can only be overlooked by many conservatives if the candidate who picks her, had a solid, 100% reocod of committment to ending abortion and even then the selection of a pro-choice running mate would raise much more than just eyebrows.

That said, while I am a conservative who believes that choice exists before the fact, not after the fact, and therefore stand in opposition to abortion, I myself would still be supportive of Condoleezza Rice for Vice President and by natural extrapolation, for President. I do not belive that Rice’s pro-choice position would compel her to move towars a repeal of existing restrictions, not would she propose expansion of the use of abortion as a common practice. Indeed, she is on record as being a strong proponent of restrictions on the use of abortion and wanting to promote a culture that respects life. And when it comes to the many other issues facing our nation, I am willing to trust the judgement of this otherwise conservative leader.

And in many ways, Condoleeza Rice transcends politics. She is more of a policy person than a political one. As such, I trust in her willingness to make political decisions that are driven by the best polices for our nation as opposed to policy decisions driven by the purpose of persoanl political pursuits. If pressed, I would equate Rice to another former Republican President —— President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Eisenhower was more leader than politician. He was more public policy than partisan politics and he was more concerned with the plight our nation’s economy and security than the cause of partisan pandering. Such is the case with Condi Rice.

Such thinking may not please fellow Republican activists such as myslef but I am confident that making the best choices for our nation, also makes for the best positioning of our Party and Condoleezza Rice would make the right decisions for both.

But my sentimens do not change the reality of politics and unless Mitt Romney is willing to risk the support of the evangelical base that is already leerie of his conservtive convictions and committment to the right to life, Condoleezza Rice is not likely to make his final cut for Vice President. Between that and a Romney based fear that Barack Obama’s campaign will be able to use Rice’s leadership concerning the war in Iraq as a way to link the G.O.P. ticket to former President Bush and thereby create a distraction from the realissues in this election, will most likely doom Rice’s chances of being on the ticket.

Pros:

  • Condi Rice is one of those rare well known public fugures who if placed on the ticket, would probably be the one persona that the G.O.P. could nominate without offending a large portion of the left.
  • Her breadth of experience in foreign affairs would make the Obama Adminstration’s foreign and national security teams seem like high schools kids taking a summer course in history. Rice would be an an incredible force for Romney on such issues and could enable them to articulate the many weaknesses in that Obama policies have created for our nation throughout the world.
  • Has history of bipartisanship that can appeal to independent voters
  • McMorris Rodgers has a record that is quite appropriate for this election regarding her positions on fiscal policies, Obamacare, and government reform
  • Is experienced in areas of trade, another important issue
  • Her relatively low profile makes her less a lightning rod for liberal attacks and her addition to the ticket would not invite a litany of distractions during the campaign

Cons:

  • Has a pro-choice stance which could undermine Romney among the Republican base
  • Her ties to the Bush Adminstration will be exploited by the Obama campaign in an attempt to distract voters away from the Obama record

Assessment:

Despite my high regard for the former Secretary of State and regardless of my positive impression of the prospects of a Vice President Rice, my sentimens do not change the reality of politics and unless Mitt Romney is willing to risk the support of the evangelical base that is already leerie of his conservtive convictions and committment to the right to life, Condoleezza Rice is not likely to make his final cut for Vice President. Between that and a Romney based fear that Barack Obama’s campaign will be able to use Rice’s leadership concerning the war in Iraq as a way to link the G.O.P. ticket to former President Bush and thereby create a distraction from the realissues in this election, will most likely doom Rice’s chances of being on the ticket.

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Rice on the Issues

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White House 2012’s Series “The Herd”: Will Cathy McMorris Rodgers Be Romney’s Surprise Pick for Vice President?

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at Washington state Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Born: Cathy McMorris (1969-05-22) May 22, 1969 (age 43) Salem, Oregon

Political Party: Republican

Spouse(s): Brian Rodgers

Children: Cole McMorris Rodgers (April 2007) Grace (December 2010)

Residence: Spokane, Washington

Alma Mater: Pensacola Chrsitian College, AB 1990, University of Washington, MBA 2002

Occupation: Orchadist

Religion: Christian

Professional Experience

  • Former Employee, Peachcrest Fruit Basket
  • Former Legislative Assistant

Political Experience

  • United States House of Representatives, 2004-present
  • Representative, Washington State House of Representatives, 1994-2004
  • Republican Whip Team
  • United States House of Representatives Former Minority Leader

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Cathy McMorris Rodgers is largely unknown outside of her district in eastern Washington state, but among conservative activists, she is a familiar name and appreciated for her conservative leadership.

With a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 93.80 percent, McMorris Rodgers has a record that could only shore up Mitt Romney among conservatives who remain insecure about his committment to the conservative cause and at the same time, Cathy McMorris Rodgers lacks the type of knee jerk reaction from the left that would automatically lead them to make her the poster child for their hatred.

Now in her 4th term in Congress, McMorris Rodgers is seen as one of Eastern Washington’s chief advocates in the House of Representatives and within the G.O.P. she is considered a rising star. Since first being elected to the House in 2004, she has earned the trust of both her constituents and her Capitol Hill colleagues. So much so that her fellow Congress members have twice elected her Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference where she is the only woman and the youngest Member of the elected House Republican Leadership. That position also makes her the highest-ranking Republican woman on Capitol Hill.

Such power has afforded McMorris Rodgers the opportunity to accumulate some substantial clout in Washington D.C., and she has used that clout to become one of her Party’s most influential leaders on issues like international bailouts, earmark reform, and the fight against Obamacare, three issues that will happen to play a pivotal role in the 2012 elections, including and most especially the presidential election.

So it is for those reasons alone, that Cathy McMorris Rodgers becomes an obvious addition to Mitt Romney’s short list of possible vice presidential running mates. But to make her even more attractive as a potential vice presidential nominee are a mix of her gender, compelling personal life story, and her history of reaching across the aisle to lead bipartisan efforts that introduced such things as beneficial health information technology legislation.

McMorris Rodgers’ non-political experience is another important consideration .

She grew up on a family farm, worked at a small business, and later became a wife and mom. To one degree or another, each of these aspects of her life can resonate quite well among several critical segments of the electorate, including those of the Midwest farming communities, women, and those who can appreciate having political leaders that are familiar with the plight of small businesses in America, something that compliments and compensates for Mitt Romney’s experience with the more corporate side of business in America.

All things considered, Cathy McMorris Rodgers is an ideal running mate for Mitt Romney.

She is well spoken, strong in character, firm in conviction, confident in her beliefs, and unmistakably compassionate. And while she lacks the lightning rod characteristics of a Sarah Palin which could allow the Obama campaign to make her a useful distraction from the issues , being a woman, her presence on the ticket would add a valuable degree of historic intrigue that it would lack if a Rob Portman or Tim Palwenty were to be selected by Romney to be his Vice President. Yet at the same time Cathy McMorris Rodgers would not overshadow Romney and still bring to the ticket the type of legislative experience and stature that people expect from a Vice President. Of course the left will draw parallels between Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Sarah Palin. But they will do so at great risk.

Like Palin, one of McMorris Rodgers’ two children was born with Down syndrome. Like Palin, McMorris Rodgers is a mom, a wife, a conservative and a person of deep religious faith. And if the left wants to use any of these similarities in an attempt to palinize McMorris Rodgers, they better be willing to deal with a backlash from mothers and wives all across the nation because this time their attacks will be seen as nothing but personal and inappropriate.

Pros:

  • Can help bridge the existing gap in popularity that exists between Romney and Obama among women and would make the liberal charge of a Republican war against women far more unbelievable than it already is
  • With a a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 93.80 percent, McMorris Rodgers will be a choice that satisfies the conservative base that Romney needs to have show up to the polls in record numbers on November 6th
  • Has history of bipartisanship that can appeal to independent voters
  • McMorris Rodgers has a record that is quite appropriate for this election regarding her positions on fiscal policies, Obamacare, and government reform
  • Is experienced in areas of trade, another important issue
  • Her relatively low profile makes her less a lightning rod for liberal attacks and her addition to the ticket would not invite a litany of distractions during the campaign

Cons:

  • Has not yet been intensely scrutinized by a merciless media and national liberal lynch mob
  • Is relatively unknown outside of Washington state
  • Does not bring to the ticket any vast popularity that can dramatically change the electoral college vote within a needed state or region

Assessment:

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is not what you can call the perfect running mate for Mitt Romney. The perfect running mate for him is someone who won’t overshadow him, can win over a majority of women, and/or Hispanics and independents, lacks any of the baggage that liberals can use to create a distraction from the real issues with but has positive national name ID and could insure that Republicans win Ohio and or Florida.

The problem is that no one is perfect. If there was such a person, they would have been nominated for president by Republicans instead of Mitt Romney. But when it comes to Cathy McMorris Rodgers insofar as picking a running mate for Romney, she comes pretty close to perfect.

McMorris Rodgers is perfectly positioned on the issues important in this election, can help Romney among women, will appeal to independent voters, and in this largely out with the old, in with the new, anti-establishment electorate, McMorris Rodgers is a fresh face that helps generate a sense of fresh start in Washington, D.C.

And although she may not be the favorite son or daughter of a state that deliver a state like Ohio or Florida to the Republican’s electoral vote count, her appeal to a wide segment women and independent voters in those could be all Romney needs to win those states and others as well.

All of this makes McMorris Rodgers a bold but safe choice for Mitt Romney and “safe” is one of the things Mitt Romney likes the most. Which is why if Romney does surprise us by picking a running mate whose name has not already been widely discussed, it will be with the name Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

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Recent Key Votes

HR 3541 – Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012 Legislation (Yea) May 31, 2012

H Amdt 1160 – Project Labor Agreements Amendment (Nay), May 31, 2012

HR 4310 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 Legislation (Yea) May 18, 2012

More Key Votes

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Bill Sponsorship & Cosponsorship

Some of McMorris Rodgers’s most recently sponsored bills include…

View All » (including bills from previous years)

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McMorris Rodgers on the Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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Will The Importance of Ohio in the General Election Determine Who Romney Nominates for Vice President?: The Herd Looks at Rob Portman

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at Ohio Senator Rob Portman

Ohio Senator Robert Portman

Born Robert Jones Portman (1955-12-19) December 19, 1955 (age 56) Cincinnati, Ohio
Political Party Republican
Spouse(s) Jane Portman
Residence Terrace Park, Ohio
Alma Mater Dartmouth College (B.A.) University of Michigan (J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Religion United Methodist

Professional Experience:

  • Owner, Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio,
  • Attorney, Squire, Sanders, & Dempsey
  • Attorney, Patton, Boggs and Blow
  • Congressional Aide
  • White House Aide

Political Experience:

  • Associate Counsel to the President, 1989
  • Director, White House Legislative Affairs, 1989-1991
  • Won, Special Election, United States House of Representatives, May 4, 1993
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, 1993-2005
  • Senator, United States Senate, 2010-present

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Casual observers of politics may not be very familiar with the name Bob Portman, but in the world of economics Portman is highly regarded as a leading budget hawk, a reputation he established during his 6 terms as a Congressman and as a former Director of Management and Budget. His leadership has been marked by proposals for a balanced budget, fighting against irresponsible earmarks, attempts to put in place new transparency for all federal spending, and when he was Director of Management and Budget, for reducing the size of the federal deficit by more than half of its size at the time.

Prior to becoming the cabinet level Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Senator Portman held another cabinet level post as U.S. Trade Representative. There, Portman implemented and enforced trade policies that successfully reduced barriers to U.S. exports and increased enforcement of trade laws which helped to level the playing field for American farmers, workers and service providers. That is an accomplishment that could have significant appeal to many pivotal, farming oriented states.

Another point that could have vast electoral appeal is that under Portman’s leadership, American exports increased and the U.S. brought its first successful legal case against China.

Through it all, while Portman closely adhered to conservative orthodoxy, he still managed to establish another reputation for himself as a successful bipartisan leader and through his bipartisan efforts effectively maneuvered legislative initiatives through Congress which increased retirement savings, reformed the IRS and added over fifty new taxpayer rights, curbed unfunded mandates, reduced taxes, and expanded drug prevention and land conservation efforts.

Now entering his second year as United States Senator representing the important swing state of Ohio, Portman’s reputation and proven record could make him a prime target for Romney if he wants to balance the ticket with a solid conservative who has particular expertise with the budget matters that are playing such a critical role in this election, and who is not seen as an overly partisan politician, while at the same time can make the difference between winning and losing Ohio in the general election…….a factor which could very well mean winning or losing the presidency of the United States. It is that consideration which has led many political insiders to conclude that Romney will in fact pick Portman to be his rinning mate.

While too much weight is probably being placed on that for anyone to defintively state Portman will be the vice presidential nominee, the Ohio factor is certainly compelling.

Historically, the choice of a running mate has done little to affect the results of a presidential election. The last time it did come very close to making the difference in the presidential election was 52 years ago, when then Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy selected Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson to be his vice presidential running mate. That decision helped to assure that the close election of 1960 (Kennedy defeated Nixon by 0.16% of the popular vote), would swing to Kennedy in the Electoral College where the final 303 to 219 electoral vote count was the closest since 1916. Kennedy and Johnson had no love for one another. In fact it was just the opposite. However, politics makes for strangebedfellows and so the Kennedy-Johnson alliance was born to insure winning the White House.

It is also worth remembering that the last time the state which a vice presidential running mate came from could have made a big difference was in the year 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Florida Supreme Court and order the Democrat led attempts to reinterpret voter intent in only those counties which Al Gore won, be stopped. In that election, had one of Florida’s favorite sons, Senator Connie Mack, accepted the offer from Dick Cheney to be George W. Bush’s vice presidential running mate, the results in Florida would not have been quite as close as they were, and the nation would have been spared the more than one month long anguish and uncertainty of who the next President was going to be.

Data indicates that the selection of a Vice President usually affects most elections by one percent or less, or by the most, two percent nationally. But the same data shows that the selection of a V.P. candidate can affect the vote in the home state of the chosen vice presidential candidate by as much as four percent. Given these facts and the very likely possibility for this election to be close, at least in the Electoral College, a swing of as much as four percent in a battleground state like Ohio or Florida, could make all the difference between winning and losing in the Electoral College. Which is why like Rob Portman in Ohio, Jeb Bush of Florida and Bob McDonnell of Virginia must also be considered as very real a potential running mate for Mitt Romney.

Given these facts and the fact that Republicans may not be able to win the White House without winning Ohio (no Republican has ever been elected President without it), Portman could be the only available favorite son from Ohio who could change that state’s popular vote so significantly that it could swing it and the entire election to Romney. Therefore, when it comes to Rob Portman being on the ticket, at some point the powers that be may decide that they can’t win the election without Portman helping to make sure they win Ohio. Personally I do not believe that Portman is as of yet popular enough in the Buckeye State to ensure a G.O.P. victory there but he also can’t hurt the chances of pulling out a G.O.P. victory there.

All things considered, Senator Portman is probably one of the safest, least controversial, and most logical choices for any Republican presidential nominee to select as their running mate and therefore, like Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell, Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree, John Thune, Portman becomes a leading contender.

Pros:

  • Portman might influence the results in Ohio by a margin that could deliver Ohio for Republicans and winning Ohio is practicial required in order for Republicans to win the White House
  • Could please conservatives who not yet sold on Romney
  • Portman corners the market for Republicans on the issues most critical in this election…. the economy
  • Is experienced in areas of trade, another important issue
  • He is not a lightning rod for liberal attacks and his addition to the ticket would not invite a litany of distractions during the campaign

Cons:

  • Portman’s ties to the G.W. Bush Administration will be exploited by the Obama team in a way that will take on a life of its own

Assessment:

While Portman is viewed as one of the most likely people for Romney to pick for Vice President because of his probable ability to put Ohio in the Republican electoral vote count, I do not beliueve that Bob Portman has yet established the type of bond with Ohioans that is necessary to overcome the type of treacherous rewrite of history that will be done by the Obama regarding his record. Ohio voters are not yet so familiar with, and loyal to Portman, that they embrace him as one of their own in a way that they did other Ohio politicians such as the legendary Robert Taft or even more recently, John Glenn. Those were leaders so loved by Ohioans that if they were put through the type of character assassination attempt that Portman will experience, it would backfire. But that is not the case with Rob Portman. At least not yet. And if Ohio is so pivotal, Team Obama will do all they can to assasinante the charachter of Rob Portman. And Portman’s short time as G. W. Bush’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be the basis for that character assasination.

Of course, Portman will easily and correctly be able to defend his record by making it quitre clear that most of his reccomendations whil Director of OMB were not followed up on by the Bush Administration, but in many regards, the Obama campaign will have the ability to create the false impression that Portman played a part in creating the current economic crisis.

Understanding that, it must also be said that the opposition will do the same with anyone who is nominated by Republicans. So from that perspective, Portman should not be denied the chance to defend his record, a record that is truly exceptional and could be incredibly helpful in allowing Mitt Romney to advance a powerful case for fiscal conservatism.

Ultimatley though, if fiscal conservatism and budgets are a selling point that Romney wants his running mate to well versed and experienced in, I see him more likely to select someone else. Possibly someone like Mitch Daniels who was also a Director of the Office of Management of Budget under G.W. Bush but has a stronger and nmore loyal following than Portman, and has his economic record as Governor of Indiana to point to when Obama tries to pin the Bush years on him.

Portman certainly is on the short list for Vice President and for good reason. But I do not believe that he will make the final cut.

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Recent Key Votes

S 2343 – Prohibits Increase in Interest Rates for Student Loans (Reid Bill)
Legislation (Nay), May 24, 2012

S Amdt 2107 – Authorizes Import of FDA-Approved Drugs from Canada
Amendment (Nay) May 24, 2012

S Amdt 2153 – Prohibits Increase in Interest Rates for Student Loans (Lamar Bill)
Amendment (Yea), May 24, 2012

More Key Votes

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Portman on The Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social Issues
Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Health Care
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Civil Rights Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Jobs Welfare & Poverty Corporations
Energy & Oil Environment Technology Principles & Values

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The Herd: A Look at the Possibile Picking of Tim Pawlenty as Romney Vice Presidential Running Mate

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Born: November 27, 1960,St. Paul, Minnesota

Spouse(s): Mary Pawlenty

Children :Anna, Mara

Residence :Eagan, Minnesota

Alma mater: University of Minnesota (B.A.), University of Minnesota Law School (J.D.)

Profession:Lawyer

Religion:Baptist

Political Career :

  • Appointed to the the Eagan city’s Planning Commission by then Mayor Vic Ellison
  • Elected to a term on the City Council
  • Campaign advisor for Jon Grunseth’s 1990 losing bid for Minnesota governor
  • 1992; Pawlenty was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and was re-elected to that seat five times
  • 1988; Pawlenty was elected House Majority Leader when the Republicans became the majority party in the State Legislature
  • 2002; Pawlenty campaigned and won on a pledge not to raise taxes to balance the state’s budget deficit, requiring visa expiration dates on driver’s licenses, a 24-hour waiting period on abortions, implementing a conceal-carry gun law, and changing the state’s education requirements. Pawlenty defeated 2 challengers in the GOP primary and eventually his opponents in the general election.
  • 2006; Pawlenty was reelected Governor of a margin of little more than 1%. This victory was despite DFL gains in both the state House and State Senate and a big gains for Democrats nationally.

(Click here to see Pawlenty’s White 2012 Presidential Page)

Pros:

  • Pawlenty could possibly make Minnesota more competetive for Romney than it currently is and without Minnesota in Obama’s column, it could be hard for Democrats to make up for that loss in the electoral college from another state
  • Pawlenty is a competent speaker
  • Pawlenty is a safe choice who has been somewhat vetted
  • His candidacy would not lead to any distractions from the issues or overshadow Mitt Romney

Cons:

  • Pawlenty does not fire up the base which Romney needs to energize

Overall Assessment:

There is no reason why Tim Pawlenty can’t be on the ticket. However; Pawlenty became one of the first people to declare their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination and he became the first to withdraw from the race for the Republican presidential nomination. And the same reasons which led to his withdrawal from the race may be the same reasons he is not nominated for the vice presidential nomination. Another reason he may not be on the ticket is because he has stated that he is taking himself off the list of candidates for Romney to consider for Vice President, and that he doesn’t even want to consider the position. Still, that doesn’t mean he is not being considered for the job or that he will reconsider his earlier stated thoughts.

Pawlenty campaigned long and hard. His campaign team was top notch and his campaign was initially financed fairly well and he did just about everything right. He had a good message, well done ads, and a good strategy. The only problem seemed to be the messenger. Tim Pawlenty seemed to be the kid in the classroom who always had his hand up while howling “ooh, ooh” but failed to interest anyone in what he had to say. So one day after the Ames Straw poll in Iowa, he dropped out of the race.

Despite those circumstances, Pawlenty is a top quality conservative leader with a great record on social and economic issues and he is an extraordinarily competent executive. Such qualities make Pawlenty a top contender for the vice presidential nomination, at least on paper. He is certainly not the type of running mate that any presidential nominee has to fear being overshadowed by. All this means that Mitt Romney could easily tap Pawlenty for Vice President. He comes from a state that the G.O.P. could use help with and which if they could win, would leave the Obama-Biden ticket in deep trouble. He also appeals to many Midwest voters and lacks much of the luggage that other potential running mates have.

But Romney may want and need a running mate who excites at least one demographic group far more than T-Paw does. Given that fact, even though Pawlenty is a safe choice and Romney likes playing it safe, there are several other potential running mates who are equally as safe as Pawlenty but bring a touch more excitement to the ticket than he does.

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White House 2012’s Series “The Herd”: Could Rand Paul Be the Ticket for Mitt Romney?

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believethat  will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Born Randal Howard Paul (1963-01-07) January 7, 1963 (age 49) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kelley Ashby Paul (m. 1990)
Relations Ron Paul Carol Wells Paul (parents)
Children William, Robert, and Duncan
Residence Bowling Green, Kentucky
Alma mater Baylor University (1981–1984)Duke University (M.D., 1988)
Occupation Ophthalmologist (Physician), Politician
Religion Presbyterian(baptized Episcopalian)

Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, rode a wave of anti-establishment, T.E.A. movement sentiments in Kentucky that allowed him to defeat his establishment backed Republican opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson by more than 20% in the state’s primary. Grayson was even backed by the state’s senior Senator, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Paul went on to win the senate against in a a hard-fought battle against Kentucky Attorney General, Democrat Jack Conway (D) by with a mix of his father’s Libertarian and continued energetic support from the T.E.A. Movement.

Rand’s swearing in to the Senate and his father’s swearing in to the House of Representatives marked the first time in congressional history that a child served in the Senate while the parent simultaneously served in the House of Representatives but Rand soon set out to become his own man and make his own mark on politics. After being assigned to serve on the Energy and Natural Resources, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business committees, Rand established the Senate Tea Party Caucus and his very Paul’s first legislative proposal was to cut $500 billion from federal spending in one year. It included proposals This proposal include an 83% cut in funding of the Department of Education a 43% cut the Department of Homeland Security. Other measures in his spending bill included making the Department of Energy ia part of the Department of Defense and totally eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In total, his bill would dismantle seven more independent agencies, put an end to financial international aid spending, cut the food stamp program by 30 percent and reduce defense spending by 6.5 percent.

Since then, Paul was one of only two Republicans to vote against extending three key but controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, the provisions allowing for roving wiretaps, the search of business records and for conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”.

Later in the year Paul was one of only nine senators to vote against a bill designed temporarily prevent a government shutdown that cut $4 billion from the budget. His reasons for his opposition to the bill was based on his belief that it did not cut enough from the budget and a week later, Rand Paul voted against the Democratic and Republican compromise budget proposals to keep funding the federal government and On April 14, Paul was one of 19 senators to vote against a budget that cut $38.5 billion from the budget and fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.

During the debt ceiling crisis, Paul stated that he would only support raising the debt ceiling if a balanced budget amendment was enacted and became a supporter of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which was tabled by the Democrats. On August 3, Paul voted against the inevitable bill that came before Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

Some of Paul’s other initiatives in the Senate include calling for a no confidence confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, blocking legislation that would have supposedly strengthened safety rules for oil and gas pipelines because he felt the bill was not strong enough. he also blocked a bill that would provide $36 million in benefits for elderly and disabled refugees, because he was concerned that it could be used to aid domestic terrorists. This was in response to two alleged terrorists, who came to the United States through a refugee program and were receiving welfare benefits, were arrested in 2011 in Paul’s hometown of Bowling Green. Paul lifted his hold on the bill after Democratic leaders promised to hold a congressional hearing into how individuals are selected for refugee status and request an investigation on how the two suspects were admitted in the country through a refugee program.

Rand Paul is most certainly a promising figure, but at this point in time, much of his reputation is that of his father’s. For the anti-establishment, libertarian types, Rand Paul offers the hope that unlike his father, who has been in Congress for more than two decades and achieved absolutely legislative accomplishments to limit government in its size and scope, or to reduce spending, prehaps Rand Paul’s being one of only a hundred members of the U.S. Senate, will enable to actually put some of his promised and ideas in to action. That has yet to be seen and much like former Senator Barack Obama, with less than two years in office, it might just be prudent to give time the opportunity to tell us who Rand Paul really is and what he is actually capable of.

But Rand Paul’s popularity, especially among the T.E.A. movement types who Romney is not very popular with, could help Romney does make Rand Paul a real possibility for Romney to pick as Vice President. If Romney wants to win the presidency, he will need to get out the Republican in record numbers and Rand Paul could help do that. Another intriguing consideration is that the addition of Rand Paul to the ticket might just get many of Ron Paul’s lunatic fringe followers to actually vote for a Romney-Rand Paul ticket. Many Ron Paul who will not be voting for the Republican candidate, regardless of who it is or could have been, will think twice about throwing their vote away on the doomed to failure Libertarian ticket now being headed by former G.O.P. presidential candidate and New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson.

But picking Rand Paul to get Ron paul voters to vote for him, would be a mistake for Mitt Romney.

While Rand Paul will help among fiscal conservatives and can add to the ticket a degree of the anti-establishment popularity that Romney lacks, Rand is still too untested for the national stage. Furthermore, despite what some believe, Ron Paul’s following is not quite as large as they would believe, which is perhaps why Ron Paul has failed to win the presidency as the Libertarian nominee in 1988, and has now twice failed to win the Republican presidential nomination.

Furthermore; Rand Paul has provided a lot of material of which the left will use to distract voters with He has given them plenty of material to exploit and dominate news cycles with in attempts to paint Rand Paul as an out of touch, extremist. Such a situation would end up creating a din of sensationalized headlines so loud and so often, that it would drown out such things as Romney’s proposals to tackle create jobs, grow the economy, cut spending, and tackle the enormous, Obama dominated spending deficit. Rand Paul’s record may be short, but it is rich with both scripted and unscripted, controversial remarks that would provide the left with an abundance of material to exploit and distract voters with. That combined with the fact that there are many more accomplished and experienced potential vice presidential nominees who can also appeal to the anti-establishment and T.E.A., movement voting blocs, and what you have is no real need for Romney to take a chance on Rand Paul.

Pros:

  • Rand Paul can attract support from among some Libertarians and from some of his father’s militant followers who would otherwise avoid voting Republican
  • Rand Paul’s presence on the ticket would add an anti-establishment flavor to the ticket that Romney sorely lacks
  • Rand’s nomination for V.P. would help assure conservatives that Romney is more open to reform and more committed to extreme actions to solve our spending and budget problems than he has demonstrated so far

Cons:

  • Rand Paul’s coming from Kentucky does not help to put a state in play for Romney. Kentucky has no chance of going for Obama in 2012 and even though Rand represents a Southern state, he has not yet established the type of popularity that would allow him to be a substantial regional influence for the Romney Ticket
  • Rand has been quite prolific when it comes to saying controversial things. Between those remarks and and his record, the left would be able to use Rand as a tool to distract voters with on a daily basis.
  • Rand Paul lacks legislative and foreign affairs experience
  • There are more accomplished and qualified potential candidate two can help the ticket far more than Rand Paul
  • Although not as isolationist as his father, some of Rand Paul’s positions significantly clash with basic conservative national defense positions

Assessment:

Thinking about picking Rand Paul for Vice President is more of a novelty than a serious consideration. This is especially the case when you realize that with no legislative accomplishments of his own yet, there are several far more deserving candidates who are just as strong on the same issues that make Rand Paul initially seem like a good choice for Romney.

Rand Paul presence on the ticket would also become more of a distraction than a benefit. A slew of controversial comments will be combined with his limited voting record and used by the left and the Obama campaign to try and make a Romney-Paul ticket look out of touch and extreme. And in doing so, each new news cycle would be dominated by a Paul oriented, liberal attack line rather than any focus of the Romney campaign to bring attention to the real issues and Obama’s record.

For example Paul recently voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Now he did not do so because he supports violence against women. Of course he doesn’t. But he voted against it because the bill contained langauge and measures that he believed were not appropriate and in some cases passage of the bill included passage of measures that were not germane to the issue. But take that vote and combine with something like the much discussed incident that came up in Paul’s senate race. The Aqua Buddha incident in which an anonymous woman claimed that back in college, Rand Paul and a friend tied her up, tried to force her to smoke pot, and then took her to a creek, where they blindfolded her and forced her to bow down and worship something they called the “Aqua Buddha.” That incident came out in the campaign and was discovered to have no truth to it, but since when did the truth have anything to do with news headlines and the impressions of others that liberals create? So just as an example, put those two stories together for a liberal media outlet and what you have is a false claim being combined with a false impression of Paul’s reasons for voting against the Violence Against Women Act, and a story that a Romney-Paul be spend three days explaining away and being taken off message.

For that and all the other reasons outlined above, Rand Paul is probably not even being considered as a viable option for Vice President by the Romney campaign. But that hasn’t stopped certain political circles and media outlets from declaring that Rand Paul is at least a possible dark horse nominee. So White House 2012 included Rand Paul in this series merely to address existing speculation. In the final analysis, Rand Paul has about as much of chance to be nominated for Vice President by Mitt Romney as does Hillary Clinton or Al Gore.

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Recent Key Votes

HR 2072 – Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012

Legislation (Nay), May 15, 2012

S 1925 – Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act

Legislation (Nay) April 26, 2012

More Key Votes

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Rand Paul On the Issues

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