Political Animal


July 16, 2012 10:20 AM Today In Directed Veep Speculation

By Ed Kilgore

As my last post indicated, I share the belief that the sudden spate of media coverage about Romney’s vice presidential possibilities and deliberations is being carefully promoted by his campaign to distract attention from a set of stories about Mitt’s relationship with Bain Capital that aren’t going well for the challenger. That’s apparent not just because of the timing, but of the variety of arguments for and rumors about various Veep hopefuls that are circulating, most based on supposedly good inside sources.

Last Friday you had Condi-mania, which, unlikely as it was, got a lot of both positive and negative attention. Today you have competing articles boosting T-Paw, Bobby Jindal, and Jone Thune. And it’s about time for another outbreak of pieces about how fascinating Rob Portman is when you get to know him, and then some contrarian talk about how Marco Rubio still makes sense, and/or is the secret choice the Romney campaign is trying to hide. And Chris Christie and Paul Ryan rumors always get some buzz—the former from excited Republicans and the latter from excited Democrats. The louder and less credible the speculation becomes, the more trouble the Romney campaign perceives itself to be in on other fronts.

It’s important to remember now and then that the identity of Romney’s running-mate is very unlikely to have much if any impact on the outcome of the presidential contest, unless it’s someone profoundly controversial like Rice (a pro-choicer) or Ryan (who represents the hidden Republican policy agenda). But the perceived news value is enormous, which makes it a resource the Romney campaign can reliably tap again and again.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ron Byers on July 16, 2012 10:29 AM:

    How can the corporate media enablers help without damaging their own reputations? Help Team Mitt change the subject.

    It ain't going to happen. Team Obama smells blood. More importantly, the American people smell something rotten in Bain.

  • c u n d gulag on July 16, 2012 10:44 AM:

    Oh, Ryan or Christie, PLEASE!

    Ryan's the guy who'll throw Grandma under the bus - and Christie looks like the guy who'll eat her remains with some 'fava beans, and a fine chianti!"

    And Romney/Ryan on the podium will look like a the centerpiece on a December-June Gay wedding cake.

    And Romney/Christie on the podium will look like Laurel and Hardy, if Ollie weighed about 250 extra pounds.

    Please, Santa-Jesus - I'll be a good boy the rest of the year.

  • John B. on July 16, 2012 10:48 AM:

    Over the weekend, commenters over at Conservatives4Palin were floating two scenarios: 1) Palinistas launch some sort of coup at the GOP convention; or 2) Romney chooses Palin as his VP to unite the party and salvage this train-wreck of a campaign.

    Translation: Folks is nervous, at best.

  • schtick on July 16, 2012 10:50 AM:

    I've gotta stop taking sips of coffee when I'm reading gulag's posts. I have to spend too much time cleaning coffee from my keyboard and screen.

  • Ronald on July 16, 2012 11:01 AM:

    What a pickle for Mr. Romney. Does he pick somebody to appease the rabid evangelical right wing? Does he pick somebody to appease the corporate moneybags that hold his leash? Does he pick somebody who is bland and won't show him up (a la Palin)? Does he pick somebody who isn't bland, but has some foreign policy or any government cred?

    Nobody, and I mean nobody among the current crop of Republicans can fulfill all of those roles. And anybody who may be close has been smart enough to take themselves out of consideration. Nobody wants to be second fiddle on a losing team. No matter who he picks, there is going to be a significant wing of his party that is going to be disappointed.

    W. Mitt Romney- Presidential Disappointment.


  • Diane Rodriguez on July 16, 2012 11:10 AM:

    Perhaps he can offer the VP job to 4 people with a term limit of 1 year each?

    The Bain Capitol thing is good but now we need to move on to $ offshore - how much, why, no confidence in US, etc. Then swing right into the IRA Bermuda Triangle mystery - how did a max of 6K turn into 100 million? On the other hand maybe Obama's Team is milking each f-up before they move on to the next. It does have to last until Nov.

  • mb on July 16, 2012 11:12 AM:

    There are many things about the Romney candidacy that are sources of endless amusement, imo. The VEEPstakes is a prime example. As I tick off the list of possibilities, I cannot think of anyone that stands out as a clear, or even likely, winner. They either upstage Romney, look ridiculous, are unacceptable to his base, or, as with Portman, highlight the complete whiteness of Romney with touches of pale beige. I think Romney will delay his pick as long as possible if for no other reason than his choices are all pretty bad.

  • PTate in MN on July 16, 2012 11:12 AM:

    I expect we'll see a lot of "change the subject" gambits by Romney's campaign over the next couple weeks, heh!

    For me, the most interesting thing about the VP short list is spotting who the Republicans think they can substitute at the last-minute as Bain becomes Romney's bane. Personally, I am betting on Tim Pawlenty, Mr Super-dull, but Paul Ryan is cuter, and those big blue eyes might give Ryan the edge. Still, given his ground level organization, it could be Ron Paul, someone not on the plutocrat's VP list at all.

  • Hedda Peraz on July 16, 2012 11:15 AM:

    Gulag's wish list would make for a Fun Fall , but we need to consider the "Groucho/country club" joke.
    Anyone the least big qualified is thinking about 2016, and the top of the ticket spot.

  • T2 on July 16, 2012 11:16 AM:

    looks like Mitt was on FOX again today, arguing that since John Kerry's wife didn't release her tax returns, Romney shouldn't have to either. He's starting to sound rattled.

  • Stetson Kennedy on July 16, 2012 11:45 AM:

    I'm curious as to why people don't think that Condi is a possibility - is she really that toxic to the Christian right? If she is, then it would be hard for anyone to explain their attitudes as anything more than good, old fashioned racism. Plenty of GOP'ers have fudged between pro-choice and pro-life, including the guy at the top of the ticket.

    While I thought Condi was a bit of a buffoon, she has foreign policy experience, she is highly intelligent, and she expresses herself well. In short, she's certainly no Mama Grizzly.

  • eserwe on July 16, 2012 12:09 PM:

    If Romney doesn't stop the Bain/tax return bleeding pretty soon, the work load of his VP vetting team will probably lessen considerably, cause some of the prospects will start quietly telling Mitt about family obligations that unfortunately keep them from possibly joining his White House ticket.

    Not Sarah though, her griftin' gig would greatly benefit from the renewed attention and she'd always do it to "save 'merica".

  • James E. Powell on July 16, 2012 12:14 PM:

    I'm curious as to why people don't think that Condi is a possibility - is she really that toxic to the Christian right?

    Can you name the last Republican candidate for president or vice-president who was pro-choice? What year? In fact, who are the Republican candidates for US Senate from the last 20 years?

  • massappeal on July 16, 2012 12:20 PM:

    It's going to be difficult for Romney to change the topic because there's nothing else going on politically. http://masscommons.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/the-calendar-is-not-mitt-romneys-friend/

    If he does name his VP choice this month, that gives everyone (reporters, Democrats, Republicans who didn't support Romney in the primaries) a full month to start picking apart the nominee's record and background.

  • Snarki, child of Loki on July 16, 2012 12:24 PM:

    Okay, I'm going to out-contrarian ALL of you!

    My pick: Rafalca, Ann Romney's dancing horse.

    Nothing in the constitution requires being a "human", something the RomneyBot is counting on.

    Besides, isn't there a really old precedent for having a horse presiding over the Senate?

  • T2 on July 16, 2012 12:26 PM:

    Condi Rice has repeatedly said she would not accept the VP nod. Since she is a proven liar that means nothing, of course. I believe there are some major skeletons in her closet that she'd prefer to keep there. I'm not sure, but I don't think she's ever been in an election contest. Also, Romney doesn't seem too comfortable around blacks.

  • Mimikatz on July 16, 2012 12:32 PM:

    Jim DeMint is the latest name I've heard. I'd prefer Paul Ryan, but either would scare the independents.

    Condi has never run for office. She isn't a politician, and the role of the VP candidate is to be an attack dog, a role she would probably find uncomfortable. I just don't see her getting it apart from questions about her personal life.

  • Rrk1 on July 16, 2012 12:32 PM:

    Being, mercifully, out of the country at the moment, and not paying close attention to this pitiful circus called a presidential campaign, it is still altogether too obvious that Mittens is desperately trying to change the subject. It is way too early for him to be playing his VEEP card, and his possible choices, aside from Rice, won't get more than a day or two of feverish coverage from the clown contingent of the MSM media. So what does he do then?

    We will see the VEEP sweepstakes dragged out whenever Mittens is in trouble, as he is now. He will choose the loser at or after the convention, which is nothing but an expensive pep rally to begin with. Obama just needs to keep hammering him 24/7 with inequality, Bain, and 0.1% elitism, while annnouncing policy changes, past and present, that highlight his more progressive approach.

  • Hedda Peraz on July 16, 2012 12:41 PM:

    A gay, female, black, PhD VP- what's not to like?

  • Honeyboy Wilson on July 16, 2012 12:55 PM:

    "The louder and less credible the speculation becomes, the more trouble the Romney campaign perceives itself to be in on other fronts."

    I guess if we see Sarah Palin's name bandied about we will know the real extent of Romney's troubles.

  • j on July 16, 2012 12:58 PM:

    gulag: I don't give a toss about religion, but Jindal until recently was a hindu, partnering with a mormon should make the neocons a little uneasy.
    Portman was the genius in charge of Bush's budget, that got us into the mess we're in.
    Pawlenty left his state in a mess and in debt, and is so boring he would send us all to sleep.
    I think Romney had better pick Palin and we could all have fun!

  • N.Wells on July 16, 2012 1:15 PM:

    "Portman was the genius in charge of Bush's budget, that got us into the mess we're in."
    Yes, but Ohio somehow elected him to the Senate anyway.

  • Stetson Kennedy on July 16, 2012 1:21 PM:

    Can you name the last Republican candidate for president or vice-president who was pro-choice?

    Yeah, Mitt Romney. Now, I understand that he has neatly "qualified" his position on abortion, but who's to say Condi can't do that as well?

  • DRF on July 16, 2012 1:50 PM:

    I think Jindal is unlikely, given the brewing scandal with Louisiana's school voucher program. In addition, you have to be leary of any politician from that state, given its long history of corruption.

  • stinger on July 16, 2012 3:02 PM:

    @gulag: ROTFLOL

    @Stetson Kennedy: Rice is a pro-choice black woman. All three of those qualities are toxic not only to Mitt's Mormon base, whose religion is rigidly gender-stratified and racist, but to the Repugnican base, which already is straining at the gnat of Rmoney's Mormonism.

    "sicsfu These", indeed.