by Paul Goldman
With Governor Christie finally ending the tease, and Governor Perry starting not to please, the Mittster is looking like the favorite to win the GOP nomination. Turning to the GOP VEEP field, the best choice for Romney would be our own Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, as this keeps the GOP ticket from having any connection to Washington in 2012.
This will put Virginia in the top of states to watch, and the Kaine vs. Allen Senate race at the top of the charts too. Could Bill Bolling, a sure loser to Ken Cuccinelli in a 2013 GOP nomination fight, become Governor by divine intervention? First time ever if it happens.
The thing that should scare Democrats about a Romney-McDonnell ticket is this: the boys seem to have the political angels looking out for them right now. Former Governor Romney ran a poor race in 2008, getting barely 20% of the vote. Historically, no one with that kind of record in his first try for the White House has ever been a serious threat to win the Presidency four years later.
But despite Romney’s weaknesses, the stars have aligned for him. Congresswoman Bachmann, fading badly in the polls, remained strong enough early on to knock former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty out of the race. Texas Governor Perry, once the leader in the polls, has stumbled over a series of issues and is now barely holding onto second position. The other potential anti-Romney heavyweights have decided not to run. Herman Cain is a surprise contender on the right. But he can’t beat Romney head on.
So Romney’s weaknesses in 2008 – being a political opportunist on the issues – is now his strength – in this new field.
Conservatives don’t trust Romney, but they want to win and Romney seems the best of a weak field. In 2008, the businessman thing didn’t hunt. But this year, with Perry getting hurt again by his Hunting Camp incident, the Mittster seems best suited to GOP primary voters.
It could change of course.
As for Governor McDonnell, he is the anti-Christie: and as this author predicted in 2010, in the end, McDonnell’s steady-as-you-go approach would have staying power, not Christie.
The Washington Post poll showed that GOP primary voters are not looking for someone like Christie, only the money players.
But McDonnell makes a perfect VEEP choice for Romney: a good balance on many things, key state, and McDonnell wouldn’t make any mistakes as the VEEP candidate.
McDonnell’s lack of flash was thought to be a reason he couldn’t win the Governorship. But he won big even though he almost lost 4 years earlier in the AG’s race. A few more votes for Creigh Deeds in 2005 and McDonnell isn’t in the running for VEEP in 2012. Now, both McDonnell and Romney are on a roll, in part due to good timing and good luck.
Given all the turmoil and angst, a Romney-McDonnell ticket — a couple of guys who are right of center, who seem competent, and who are not confrontational — could have a lot of appeal to voters caught in an economic mess.
Mormon and Catholic, Massachusetts and Virginia, business guy and military veteran, private sector and public sector, nice hair gel and nice hair spray.
Democrats in Virginia can deride McD all they want: he is a solid player who Democrats best not antagonize prior to the 2011 state elections.
Right now, a Romney-McDonnell exacta ticket gets you 40-1. As Oliver Stone’s character said in the movie Wall Street: “I buy. Take it and bid it.”
Or better yet, wait for the eventual Romney stumble, the feeding frenzy, as this will make him seem a loser, drive the odds up to 100-1 on the exact. But in the end, unless things change a lot, a Romney-McD exacta is the ticket you want at that price.
With Christie out, I says Romney-McDonnell is in.