Mitch Daniels

Will Mitt Romney Select A Governor As Running Mate? Highly Unlikely!

As the speculation about who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate picks up, it seems clear that, despite some hints, it is highly unlikely that he will select a Governor or former Governor as his Vice Presidential choice.

The last time that two Governors ran on a Presidential ticket together was 1948, when NY Governor Thomas E. Dewey ran with California Governor Earl Warren, losing to President Harry Truman.

Also, in 1944, Dewey had run against Franklin D. Roosevelt and lost, with Governor John Bricker of Ohio as his Vice Presidential choice.

Those are the only times in the 20th century that two Governors ran together, with the choice otherwise usually being a Senator running as the Vice Presidential choice of a Governor.

So do not expect New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, or former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty to be the choice of Mitt Romney!

The Failure Of “Americans Elect” As A Third Party Movement In 2012

Independent minded centrists, disgusted with the two party system and the failure to promote political compromise, made a valiant effort to promote an online third party under the name “Americans Elect”, but they have utterly failed for the upcoming Presidential Election of 2012.

This is a bad sign for the future, as it indicates that the party conflict, greatest since the Civil War, is going to continue, and it endangers any hope of our system working, unless one party is able to win and keep control of government for a sustained period of time.

Having said the above, the author still feels that the victory of Barack Obama is essential, and that IF he is given a Democratic Congress, the country can make progress on the many issues that divide us, and loom in the future.

What it comes down to is that all of the potential independent candidates, symbolized by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, simply did not want to break with their party, did not want to go through the literal Hell that is the reality of running for President at a divisive time as we are now going through.

The list of potential candidates included also Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Rick Santorum, Hillary Clinton, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Howard Dean, Donald Trump, Al Gore, Sarah Palin, and David Petraeus.

One looks at this list and is shocked that Christie, Santorum, Paul, Trump, and Palin are on the list, all horrible choices in so many ways.

But to put most of the others on the potential list is also totally out of touch with reality, particularly with Powell, Rice, Clinton, Dean, and Gore.

Daniels, Huntsman, and Petraeus join Bloomberg as the most reasonable candidates, but again none wanted to put their name in the running.

The reality is that the Presidency is becoming such an obstacle course, that many good people will decide NOT to run in the future, leaving us with the danger of the kind of mediocrity we saw this year in the Republican Presidential race.

Gloomy Future For Bi Partisanship In Congress

The best Congresses of the past were those that promoted bi partisan reforms and change, but that has become a casualty of recent times, and there is no sign that it will be returning anytime soon.

With the Citizens United Case of the Supreme Court two years ago encouraging SuperPacs that award those on the extreme left and extreme right with unlimited campaign funds, any mainstream moderate is likely to decide to quit Congress (as for instance Olympia Snowe and Ben Nelson), or to face a challenge for re-election as not extreme enough (as for instance Orrin Hatch and Richard Lugar).

The latest possible casualty is Senator Lugar of Indiana, a mainstream conservative, but not extreme enough for Tea Party types. Lugar has served longer than any sitting Senator, and is now 80, and there is an argument that it is time to retire, but Lugar, with his expertise and wisdom on foreign policy, could be argued to be a national treasure who should stay on in the Senate for another term.

Lugar’s experience and knowledge would be valued in any other profession, no matter what his age, and yet the argument is that it is time for a change. It will, of course, be up to Indiana Republicans next week as to whether Lugar stays on, with Lugar having the endorsement of Governor Mitch Daniels and Arizona Senator John McCain.

The irony for the Republicans is that if they defeat Lugar, the likelihood of a Democrat winning the Senate seat vastly improves, so in many respects, they are committing suicide if they defeat a man regarded as one of the very best they have had in office in the past four decades.

But then, statesmanship is not in vogue these days, sadly!

The Vice Presidential Competition: Who Makes Sense For The GOP

Assuming that Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor, is going to be the Republican Presidential nominee, the speculation about who might be his Vice Presidential running mate has begun.

Were Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator, somehow able to pull out a miracle and become the nominee, the list would change, with some of the speculative candidates being eliminated, and others not now mentioned being added to the list.

The present list, as reported by NATIONAL JOURNAL is long, but with certain candidates ranked in order of likelihood of being the nominee.

The list is fascinating, but in the opinion of the author, flawed, with the assumption that Romney wants to have a real chance to win, and many of the choices are just too controversial even for him, in the mind of this author.

So we begin with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, both attractive looking candidates from battleground states, but both highly flawed by recent events, as reported by this author just a short period of time ago. These were the top two on this list provided by NATIONAL JOURNAL.

Their active movement against women and reproductive control of their bodies is a major negative, which did not exist in the same way just a few short weeks ago. Nominating anyone closely associated with this attack on women’s rights would NOT help Mitt Romney to win this crucial voting group!

But third place finisher, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, while applauded by many conservatives, is simply too headstrong and bossy to be anyone’s Vice Presidential nominee, and has a tendency to blow up and say things that are both arrogant and nasty, and would harm the Romney candidacy for President.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman, number four on the list, is far less controversial than McDonnell, Rubio, and Christie. Not as well known as the first three, Portman is a solid conservative who one can feel supplements Romney in a competent way, with his only negative being that he was the Budget Director under George W. Bush, as the budget went awry in the past decade. But, as much as that seems to be a negative, Portman still is far better as a nominee than the previous three combined. One does not want to forget that a nominee from Ohio, being the most crucial state for a Republican Presidential candidate, makes Portman even more important. Remember that EVERY GOP Presidential winner since Abraham Lincoln, the first, has won Ohio.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is fifth on the list, followed by Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Jindal has become less exciting and impressive as time has gone on, with his main advantage, sadly, is that he is an Indian American, darker skinned than any other Republican, including Hispanic and Latinos possibilities, and might fool people into thinking that he is African American, but if that is the reason to select him, it only highlights the race problem the GOP faces. His home state is not important enough to be a consideration, as it will go Republican anyway, although if the people of one of the poorest states used their head, they would not vote Republican!

Ryan, on the other hand, is very good looking and well spoken, and as head of the House Budget Committee, he would seem a good match, and his home state of Wisconsin is seen as in play. But his plan to change Medicare as we know it, and his overall controversial budget plan, makes him not as good a choice as Rob Portman. Having said that, except for Portman, he seems a better fit of the top group of six possible nominees, ahead of McDonnell, Rubio, Christie, and Jindal.

Of the so called plausible alternatives, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, the next choice, would be an excellent candidate, even though he withdrew early from the Presidential race. A strong supporter of Romney, and a front runner for John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Pawlenty is not dynamic or exciting, but a competent choice with far less controversy than most.

The rest of the list is uninspiring: Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, South Dakota Senator John Thune, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, and Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno..

The mention of Rodgers, Martinez, Sandoval, and Fortuno really brings raised eyes, as simply pandering to women and Hispanics and Latinos, as they remind us too much of picking Sarah Palin for being a woman more than any true qualifying factor.

Only Thune brings any excitement, as he is handsome, dynamic, and comes from the Senate, but his state adds nothing to the electoral base of Romney.

In summary, it seems to the author that the best choices for Romney to consider for Vice President as reputable, qualified, competent, less controversial, and qualified to be President in case of an emergency (not to be ignored), would be Rob Portman, Paul Ryan, Tim Pawlenty, and John Thune.

NONE match Vice President Joe Biden as a competent, qualified person to be next in line to be President of the United States!

A “Brokered” Republican Convention Possible? YES!

With the struggle going on for the Republican Presidential nomination, a scenario of a “brokered” convention looms.

IF Mitt Romney does not win Michigan and Arizona next Tuesday, and/or loses Ohio and other states on March 6, the “Establishment” Republicans, terrified at the thought of Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich as the party nominee, COULD work together to prevent a majority for either of them, and create a “brokered” convention.

If that were to occur, the first contested convention since 1976, when Gerald Ford defeated Ronald Reagan by fewer than 100 delegate votes (a losing campaign, by the way), then former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, or Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan COULD emerge as the nominee.

It is clear at this time that trying to predict what will happen politically this year is still very much up in the air, as foreign policy or economic crisis could transform the race not just for the GOP, but also for President Barack Obama!

Mitt Romney’s Running Mate: Who Could End Up As Vice President Next Year?

It may seem premature to ponder who could be Mitt Romney’s running mate for Vice President, after only two contests, the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary, but speculation is already beginning.

It is not an unimportant issue, as one must remember that a Vice President is one heartbeat away from the Presidency, and we have had nine Vice Presidents succeed to the office of President, mostly recently Gerald Ford, after Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

We have now had a longer period of no Vice Presidential succession than ever since the first time the Vice President (John Tyler) replaced a President who had died after one month in office in 1841 (William Henry Harrison).

We have had Vice Presidential choices that have been nightmares, such as Sarah Palin in 2008, Dan Quayle in 1988 and Spiro Agnew in 1968, with the latter two making even opponents of George H. W. Bush and Richard Nixon wish for their continued good health!

Many individuals are being speculated about who would not be good choices in one way or another.

Among these are:

Florida Senator Marco Rubio
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

All of the above are highly controversial in different ways, and would not draw moderates or independents, crucial in an election more than a nomination battle. And all, except Santorum, have been in high office too briefly, so the lack of experience would be harmful, as each has only finished one year in his or her position in government on a national level, with the exception of Christie with two years in office. Santorum lost reelection by a wider margin than just about any incumbent senator in history, when he lost his seat in 2006.

So, a better list would be the following, all adding to Romney, rather than subtracting:

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt
South Dakota Senator John Thune
Illinois Senator Mark Kirk

All of these nine, four governors and five senators, have had experience and come across as less controversial, and all would be qualified to take over in an emergency, if that were to happen.

Of course, all would have to be vetted, but on first look, they all seem to be capable of serving as President if need be, and far better than Palin, Quayle or Agnew!

The Long List Of Republican Presidential Dropouts: Why If 2012 Is Such A Great Year For The GOP?

Common belief is that 2012 will see the defeat of President Barack Obama, and recent polls seem to indicate such, except, of course, for the fact that polls in the summer and fall of the year BEFORE the national elections are notoriously misleading!

But with such predictions and prognostications, why is it that a long list of Republicans, some of them very attractive possibilities, have decided NOT to seek the Presidency?

First the list of candidates in no special order:

Jeb Bush
Haley Barbour
John Bolton
Mitch Daniels
Jim DeMint
Mike Huckabee
Bobby Jindal
Mike Pence
David Petraeus
Paul Ryan
John Thune
Donald Trump
Rudy Guiliani
Sarah Palin
Chris Christie

That is a list of FIFTEEN people, some of them very appealing in different ways, who have decided NOT to run!

But why?

1. It is an arduous chore, costly, dominating, stressful to run for President, and becomes all encompassing to the candidate and his or her family.
2. It requires tremendous financial and organizational support to make a serious run for President, not easily achieved.
3. It requires a “thick skin” with the strong criticisms and investigations of one’s record, of everything ever said or done, that is automatic when one runs for President.
4. It requires a candidate to be knowledgeable, informed, and to have good debate skills against potential opponents.
5. It is required that a candidate have the “fire in the belly” that he or she is meant to run, and willingness to sacrifice his or her life for a year or more.

With all of the above, one other point should be made in conclusion: The candidate has to believe that Barack Obama can be defeated in 2012, or else it is better to wait to 2016!

The author would contend that many on this list, maybe all of them, see the chore of dislodging Barack Obama from the Presidency to be a very difficult job, no matter what is uttered publicly!

The President will have a billion dollar campaign fund; a record of major accomplishments rivaling the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson domestically, certainly the most since the first term of Richard Nixon, the most in FORTY YEARS, that he can be proud of; PLUS exceptional achievements in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and general respect around the world! His record on defense and foreign policy is outstanding, with his ONLY major failure being the economy, one that he inherited and has been unable to overcome due to the total intransigence of the opposition party, which now controls the House of Representatives, and is doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to create jobs, build infrastructure, promote education and innovation, and will go down as the worst Congress in decades!

Barack Obama will be able to call them the “do nothing” Congress as Harry Truman did when he ran for election in 1948. The difference is that even the GOP Congress of 1947-1948, the 80th Congress, DID support the President on foreign policy initiatives, while the Republicans today ignore or dismiss accomplishments of the President in that area! So this is actually a far worse Congress, the 112th Congress, than the 80th Congress was!

So the ultimate conclusion is that the Republicans who decided not to run assume that Obama will win, and are holding their future to 2016, when it is likely MANY of the above will be running for President in a year they project as a year when the incumbent President will NOT be able to run, an open year which maximizes their opportunities for the White House!

Finally, the reception that those candidates for President who are running are receiving is NOT a good sign for any of them, that they will somehow unite the Republican Party and defeat Barack Obama in 2012! There is great discontent over the choices, and that is the reason why there has been a clamor, unsuccessful, to get others in the race. And of course, the Tea Party Movement is also destroying any chance for GOP unity, so if the Republicans want a future, they must divorce the Tea Party Movement after what will be a likely debacle in 2012, if they wish to succeed Barack Obama in the White House in the Presidential Election Of 2016!

Is Rick Perry The Savior Of The Republican Party?

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a strong social conservative, has not been willing to enter the Republican Presidential race before now, but with the decision of Mike Pence, John Thune, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels, and Donald Trump to avoid the race, and with Newt Gingrich disintegrating and Sarah Palin flirting with, but unlikely to enter the race, he is being courted to run.

Perry has been the longest serving Governor of Texas in history, having served more than ten years, after succeeding George W. Bush in December 2000.

Perry is Governor of the second largest state in population, but his position is also the weakest Governor constitutionally in the nation, although that did not hurt George W. Bush.

Perry has spoken up for the concept of secession; has flirted with religious leaders of the far right, and condemned abortion and gay rights; has a tremendous state debt which he is solving by ruthless cutting of spending, and refusing to raise taxes; and has seen his aides who went to Gingrich a few month ago decide to abandon the former Speaker and make themselves available to Perry for a Presidential run.

Perry is seen by many as a lightweight intellectually, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for the Republican Party.

Many think that if he enters the race later this month, that he will automatically become the major challenger to Mitt Romney, and surpass Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.

He would be likely to win support away from Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum, and could become the surprise candidate who becomes a major threat, not only to Romney, but also to Barack Obama.

No one should underestimate his appeal to the caucus voters in Iowa and the primary voters in New Hampshire@

Tim Pawlenty Panned By Former Republican Minnesota Governor On Day Of Presidential Announcement!

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced his Presidential candidacy today in Iowa. Seen by many as having the fewest shortcomings, he has avoided major controversy by his words and actions, as compared to all other GOP candidates.

And yet, he could not fully enjoy his opening day as former Republican Governor Arne Carlson, who had supported Pawlenty for Governor, and appointed his wife to a state job, came out on Ed Schultze’s show on MSNBC tonight to criticize Pawlenty, and say the party could do a lot better for its Presidential nominee.

Carlson’s major complaint was that Pawlenty’s claim of balanced budgets in Minnesota over eight years is a fabrication, according to the former Governor.

Carlson complained that property taxes had skyrocketed, and that the state had put the burden on homeowners in an unjust way, but that Pawlenty had made it seem as if Minnesota’s state government was doing a good job, which according to Carlson, is the farthest thing from the truth.

So Pawlenty is discovering quickly that entering the Presidential race will be a long, grueling campaign, something Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Mike Pence, John Thune, Mike Huckabee, and Donald Trump were unwilling to put themselves through!

The Internal Struggle In The Republican Party: Minnesota Vs. Mormonism!

With the announcement today that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will not run for the Republican Presidential nomination, the race seems more than ever to be one of FOUR who are likely to dominate vote getting in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the early primary and caucus states next winter!

As one looks at the field, it seems clear that Newt Gingrich has self destructed in his first week as an official candidate. Rick Santorum seems unlikely to take off as a candidate, based on his own past crazy statements and walloping defeat for re-election in Pennsylvania in 2006. Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, and even Ron Paul, will make noise, but are unlikely to poll many actual votes.

So unless someone such as Chris Christie or Jeb Bush suddenly enters the race belatedly, there seem to be four major contenders for actual popular vote support in the primaries and the caucuses early on–Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, and surprisingly, Michele Bachmann!

Bachmann is the favorite of the Tea Party people, more even than Ron Paul, who is seen as too old and flaky to be much of a vote getter. Even though she is outrageous in her statements and actions, Bachmann is likely to have a serious following in Iowa at the least, and could affect who of the other candidates benefits by her candidacy.

Bachmann, being from Minnesota, and therefore from the Midwest, poses a real challenge to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who has been very careful to avoid outrageous statements and actions, and yet is competing for the Tea Party support and for the backing of Midwesterners. Iowa is a crucial state to both, so they are therefore at loggerheads as Bachmann could ruin Pawlenty’s chances. So expect the beginning soon of sustained attacks by each on the other, and increasingly so, as the campaign gets closer to the first vote test in Iowa, which has many evangelical Christians and Tea Party people, and will likely kill off either Bachmann or Pawlenty. So it is the battle of Minnesotan vs. Minnesotan!

But the 2012 race is also of Mormon vs. Mormon, as Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, and seen as a moderate to some extent, is challenging Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, who is also often seen as a moderate. Both are working very hard to wipe such ideas out of voters’ minds, as both oppose health care and support Medicare reform along the lines of the Paul Ryan Budget plan. Both are much more electible on paper, but being Mormons and having the old image of moderation could harm both, and certainly, one will be hurt by the success of the other.

What is likely is that the nomination will come down to Pawlenty vs. one of the two Mormon politicians, with Huntsman being newer and fresher and more interesting a candidate.

So the final struggle is likely to be Pawlenty vs. Huntsman, and it would seem likely that Pawlenty would have the edge, but only if he can overcome the influence of Bachmann with Tea Party faithful.

For the election, Huntsman or even Romney would be a better bet to win than Pawlenty, but the Tea Party influence is such that the bet would be that Pawlenty will be the sacrificial lamb, with the likelihood that Barack Obama would win a major victory, possibly on the level of George H. W. Bush over Michael Dukakis in 1988!