The Right Running Mate

The prospective Republican nominee will have a tough time living up to recent standards.

As he begins his search for a running mate, Mitt Romney needs to keep one question foremost in his mind, because the decision could affect us all for years to come. He needs to ask: Will this person be good for American comedy?

The prospective Republican nominee will have a tough time living up to recent standards. It's hard to imagine a Romney vice president who would inspire a story like the one in The Onion: "Shirtless Biden Washes Trans Am In White House Driveway."

Nobody is ever going to have a run like Tina Fey had with Sarah Palin. The chances are slim that the next veep will accidentally shoot someone in the face.

So cancel my suggestion. But Romney should also ignore the advice from those who think he can significantly improve his electoral performance if he selects someone who satisfies the tea party or appeals to women or has a Hispanic name.

In fact, he would be chasing a will-o'-the-wisp. Vice presidential candidates, though commonly thought to be politically important, rarely make a discernible difference.

Dan Quayle instantly became a national joke while riding to victory with George H.W. Bush in 1988. Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman on a major party ticket in 1984, couldn't keep Ronald Reagan from capturing 55 percent of the female vote.

In 2000, when Al Gore picked Joe Lieberman to be the first Jewish running mate, the Democratic share of the Jewish vote soared to 79 percent -- from 78 percent four years earlier. Dick Cheney brought the GOP the shimmering promise of Wyoming's three electoral votes, which hadn't gone to a Democrat since 1964.

It's a rare vice presidential nominee who affects the outcome. Even if Palin hadn't cost John McCain 2 percent of the overall vote, as one study calculated, Barack Obama would still be president.

So a wise presidential candidate will disregard all the bogus factors that excite political forecasters and commentators. Romney should ask only two questions: 1) Would this person be an asset to his administration? and 2) Is this person equipped to be president?

A veep can be a useless nonentity or a continual annoyance -- or a great help. By routing Ross Perot in a TV debate in 1993, Gore helped Bill Clinton win approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Biden is not just a good punch line. After 36 years in the Senate, he has been a boon to Obama in dealing with Congress, as when he helped secure the votes for a major arms control deal with Russia.

Washington experience is an asset, particularly for someone, like Romney, who has spent little time there. Cheney's days as White House chief of staff doubtless served him well in helping George W. Bush exploit executive power to the fullest.

Equally important is finding someone who can step into the president's place should the unexpected happen -- as nine vice presidents have done.

Who fares best among the possible candidates according to these criteria? They may point Romney to a boring, safe choice -- the most notable being Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who held two Cabinet posts (U.S. Trade Representative and budget director) under George W. Bush.

Another is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who spent 18 years in the House of Representatives -- and was chairman of the budget committee when the budget was finally balanced in the 1990s.

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  • BigT||

    Portman would be a good choice because even here in Ohio he is not well known. They could paint whatever picture they wanted to about him (a la Obama in 08). But they had better get started soon before the Dems paint the picture. The first team with the brush sets the tone for the whole mural.

  • ||

    So Romney can be dull or daring in his decision. It doesn't really matter, as long as he's good.

    Since VP is the political equivalent of being a pet psychic, what is a "good" VP? Selina Myers?

  • Tim||

    Isn't another piece that the VP can't outshine the candidate himself? Like Sarah Palin did to McCain?
    Biden was picked because he was clearly well suited to the sidekick role and to provide comedy relief.

  • ||

    Smokin' Joe Biden is insurance against "unfortunate accidents" that might befall our young, cheeky, and tragically hip POTUS.

  • Brandon||

    What if Romney picked Biden?

  • johnl||

    That's a good way to keep things simple for the voters.

  • ||

    You know what's funny. Back in the old days, the VP was the person who got the second highest vote total for president. My understanding was it was done that way as yet another check on power. Romney/Obama wouldn't find much to disagree on if they were Prez and Vice Prez, in either order.

  • Ex Nihilo||

    Back in the old days, the VP was the person who got the second highest vote total for president.

    When did this change? I think it should be brought back as it would be a great check on power, as you said.

  • sarcasmic||

    1804. 12th Amendment.

  • Ex Nihilo||

    Thanks sarcasmic.

  • ||

    Yeah, it's been a long time since it was changed.

    When I was a youngster the VP candidate was the Presidential campaign's attack dog.

    The top candidate would be all solemn and presidential while the Veep dug up all the dirt and did all the rough work of attacking the opposition.

    The other criterion for picking a Veep used to be to balance the ticket nationally. If the Prez as a Northerner, he need a Southerner as running mate and vice versa. That ended with FDR who was so popular in the North and West that he was able to thumb his nose at the South (which voted for him anyway), though it was revived by JFK who reluctantly picked LBJ.

  • Brandon||

    So you're saying the Dem ticket should be Obama/MSM 2012?

  • SugarFree||

    Not that I care really summon up the effort to give a shit, but in the heavy partisanship state America finds itself in, VP-as-runner-up is an invitation to trigger a vote recount with assassination.

    That's means more work and less hookers for the SS.

  • sarcasmic||

    VP-as-runner-up is an invitation to trigger a vote recount with assassination

    And the problem with that is?

  • SugarFree||

    Not that I care really summon up the effort to give a shit

  • Jerryskids||

    President Olympia Snowe wouldn't cause you to shit? The only thing worse than a bitterly partisan government is one that ain't.

  • ||

    We'd prbably get a better president if we locked everyone who wanted to be Prez in a cage and didn't open it until only one of them was still standing. :)

  • SugarFree||

    We'd probably get a better president if we threw darts at a phone book.

  • Jerryskids||

    If we had everybody who wanted to be President locked in a cage, we wouldn't need a President.

  • Wyatt Bush||

    That's how Putin won it.

  • Brandon||

    HEY! You watch your mouth, Nutrasweet!
    It's "more work and Fewer hookers for the SS!"

  • sarcasmic||

    Alt-text contest!

  • ||

    Five dollar footlooooooooong

  • Rich||

    "Put your hands together for the next Vice President of the United States!"

  • Tim||

    Shrink your Prostate now!

  • ||

    Crap. I didn't see this.

  • sarcasmic||

    Yours is better.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    "Listen up bitches, nobody fucks with R$!"

  • ||

    "My prostate is this big!"*

    *Paid for by ObamneyCare.

  • ||

    I'm gonna throw my hands in the air, and party like I just don't care

  • ||

    America, I love you this much.

  • Sandi||

    I took a shit that long once.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    come at me bro

  • Loki||

    No really, my cock is this long.

  • Jerryskids||

    No really, Obama's cock is that long - but when you need an Obamacare tonsillectomy.....

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    I don't care who the VP choice would be, I just want to make sure Newt has a place in the administration.

    Newt Gingrich for Press Secretary!

  • ||

    Press Secretary? Newcular Titties deserves something a bit grander as a title. Press Czar? Press Poobah? Multimedia Synergizer?

  • ||

    The Big Giant Head.*

    *Apologies to The Shat.

  • Loki||

    NASA Administrator. Granted he doesn't know jack-shit about aerospace engineering, but he already wants to build a moon base. As a bonus, maybe we can send him there permanently. Preferably on a poorly made Russian rocket.

  • Bucky||

    with the serious shit this country in, Chapman, can you really mean this crap that you write?

  • ||

    He needs to ask: Will this person be good for American comedy?

    The Corpulent Jesus would fit snugly into this role. He's larger than life, and is certainly hard to spot. The Portly Politcian, The Rotund Repube...Oh, please let be Christ Christie. He's stuffed with enough material to last an entire term!

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    You can be sure he'd be given wide latitude.

  • 0x90||

    "...of the North American Free Trade Agreement."

    Also Known As NAFTA. Looks like Bok is seeping into the writing.

  • ||

    boo-yah, anonbot!

  • ||

    We all lose when Anon-Bot's posts are deleted.

  • ||

    "What a bout Padme-bot?"

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • ||

    Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hatred. Hatred leads to posting links. Links lead to AnonURL.yup

    It makes sense when you think aboUt it, LOL

  • ||

    Romney's a typical politician's politician. He could be the mildest motherfucker in the history of the office, and he'd still suck. Unless Paul pulls a rabbit out of the political latrine, we're fucked.

  • Loki||

    The first 3 paragraphs had me hoping that this would be a tongue in cheek satire examining the comedic potential of the various names that have been thrown out so far. I was kind of disappointed when it wasn't.

  • Bruce Hall||

    This explains who Romney's choice of VP should be:

    http://hallofrecord.blogspot.c.....ident.html

  • T o n y||

    The smarties say it's gonna be Portman. I think Romney is just clueless enough to pick Rubio thinking Latinos are too dumb to see what a regressive moron he is, not to mention a Cuban.

  • ||

  • Wyatt Bush||

    Unfortunately, Romney could never nominate Ron Paul as Vice President for one simple reason. That is because if he did so, Romney would be assassinated mere seconds after his inauguration.

  • ChrisO||

    I'm a little surprised no one is talking about Gov. McDonnell of Virginia.

    I'm not saying I support him versus anyone else (I don't really give a shit), but he's a relatively conservative governor of a swing state and considered a GOP up-and-comer.

    If I were Romney, Kasich would probably be my first choice.

  • joy||

    So cancel my suggestion. But Romney should also ignore the advice from those who think he can significantly improve his electoral performance http://www.petwinkel.com/pet-new-era-c-55.html if he selects someone who satisfies the tea party or appeals to women or has a Hispanic name.

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