COMMENTARY | There has been a flurry of articles written by people who want Romney to pick a particular candidate. Such arguments are based on what the writer wants, rather than what the candidate needs. And when you look at Romney’s needs, the choice is clear.
During the 2008 election, when I wrote for Southern Political Report, I wrote about how Obama needed someone with a long resume, and had foreign policy experience, which Obama had neither. For McCain, I argued that he needed to pick a woman, and a long resume was not needed (McCain had that).
Not bad, huh? Actually, I was thinking of Sam Nunn and Lisa Murkowski, but I got the candidate types right (Joe Biden and Sarah Palin).
Romney has only four years of political experience, knows little of foreign policy and diplomacy, needs someone with legislative experience so he can get some of his initiatives through Congress, and needs to win a swing state. Anyone who cannot contribute to all four doesn’t need to be considered.
Right off the bat, Chris Christie is a non-starter. He has not served a full term as governor, has no foreign policy experience, has no legislative experience and is not from a swing state.
That also would eliminate Marco Rubio. Though he’s from a swing state, he has a shorter resume than Obama did in 2008 and does not have foreign policy experience. All he has is less than two years of U.S. Senate service. It would also eliminate Bobby Jindal, who is not from a swing state, has no foreign policy experience, has only a modest-length resume, and a short time in Congress.
Tim Pawlenty is from a swing state (Minnesota) and has eight years as a governor, but that’s about it. Condoleezza Rice has the resume and foreign policy knowledge, but is not from a swing state, has no legislative experience, and isn’t liked by conservatives.
Paul Ryan is a decent choice. He could make Wisconsin competitive, has legislative experience, and has a long resume but does not have foreign policy on the resume. He’s close.
But Rob Portman has everything Romney needs. He has the political experience, the foreign policy and diplomacy experience, as a former U.S. Trade Representative. He’s been in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. And he’s from one of the three biggest swing states. If Romney wants to offset his weaknesses and improve his chances of winning, the choice is clear.
John A. Tures is an associate professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga.