Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Silly Season for the Republican VP Selection Has Begun – Romney Floats Many Names to Get Positive Stories

Tim Pawlenty the Latest to Get Star Treatment – But Soon to be Discarded

One of the positive aspects of the Romney campaign is that it gets to dominate part of the news with speculation over the choosing of the Vice Presidential nominee.  A good campaign, and the Romney campaign is good at politics, uses the speculation to make news and present an aura of  anticipation over the VP choice.

Last week the news was leaked about the possible selection of Condi Rice, formerly a senior member of the Bush administration and a somewhat appealing choice.  Ms. Rice is almost certainly not under serious consideration, but by choosing to publicize her consideration Romney looks like a more inclusive candidate.  Ms. Rice surely knows the cynicism of all this, and like a good sport she seems to be taking it in stride.

The current leak by the Romney folks is that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is under consideration.  This is an attempt to appeal to a more basic Republican voter, one who is not a billionaire for example.

The country received only an abbreviated introduction to Mr. Pawlenty, 51, a former two-term governor of Minnesota, whose working-class roots, experience outside Washington and evangelical faith have formed the core of his appeal to a broad spectrum of Republicans.

Mr. Pawlenty is currently unemployed, having gone through a short lived Presidential run in which he convinced just about everyone that he was not qualified to be President.  So he has the time to campaign for Mr. Romney.

He has emerged as one of the most energetic cheerleaders and forceful defenders of Mr. Romney, firing back against Republican skeptics and Democratic critics alike. All but forgotten are the days when Mr. Pawlenty coined the troublemaking term “Obamneycare,” suggesting that few differences existed between the health care plans of Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Tim Pawlenty introduced Mitt and Ann Romney
 in Milford, N.H., in June. Mr. Pawlenty
 has been active on the campaign.
The conservative National Review now describes Mr. Pawlenty as “Romney’s traveling salesman.” While other potential vice-presidential candidates like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana have day jobs that limit their availability, Mr. Pawlenty, who has no other full-time position, is the political equivalent of an empty nester, available to do whatever Mr. Romney asks.

But as Governor of Minnesota Mr. Pawlenty left the state with a huge budget deficit, leading to a shutdown of state government last year, and as a Presidential candidate his economic plan was a laughing stock.  So he is not likely to be selected, but the campaign leaks that he is being considered is a way of thanking him for his service to Mitt.  And if Mr. Romney is elected Mr. Pawlenty will probably find himself in a minor cabinet post.  After all, he needs a job.

Is this a cynical interpretation?  Yes it is, politics is a cynical business.

1 comment:

  1. Correction. Silly season for Republican VPs started decades ago.