Mitt Romney is closing in on choosing his running mate for November.
Last week, coinciding with the pummeling he took in the nedia over some disclosures about his tenure at Bain Capital, the suggestion of Condi Rice was floated. Rumors this week are swirling around Rob Portman and Tim Pawlenty. And, of course, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is interested.
Condi Rice isn’t a realistic choice; the Republican base already doesn’t trust Romney, and they would like a pro-choice running mate even less.
Pawlenty? Boring, to say nothing of the stench of being a quitter (he abandoned his own presidential campaign without doing anything of note).
Portman? Who? Seriously, that’s his problem. He’s a boring, anonymous nobody. Romney is already boring; Portman on the ticket would create a naked singularity of such unchecked boringness that it will consume all reality.
McDonnell? He would be acceptable to the religious extremists in the Republican base, and he presents himself as a more moderate candidate than he actually is. However, McDonnell doesn’t seem to have much tenacity or personality. He’s not as boring as Portman, but he wouldn’t be an exciting pick, either.
Michael Tomasky thinks that Romney will opt for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. However, there is another possibility in the Old Dominion. A tenacious pit bill. A cultural warrior that will excite the base.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
A left field choice, to be sure. Not a mainstream choice, and I find his politics vaguely appalling. But he fits Romney’s needs.
Cuccinelli would reassure the Republican Party’s religious extremists that Romney had their back. As a cultural warrior and a Tea Party favorite, Cuccinelli has proven his commitment to the issues that matter to the base — no health care reform, vehement opposition to global warming, rabidly pro-life, and so on. He doggedly pursues his goals, he fights for what he believes in, he’s young, he’s telegenic. In short, Cuccinelli complements Romney’s deficiencies as a candidate, would help Romney make a play for the crucial swing state of Virginia, and would create a formidable ticket.
Yes, Cuccinelli has his sights on the Virginia statehouse (campaign site here), but that’s clearly in his mind merely the stepping stone for a larger stage. If Romney is serious about winning, though, he needs to do something splashy. He needs to take a gamble. Safe, boring choice? Not splashy.
If I were advising Mitt Romney, that would be my advice — Ken Cuccinelli for the Republican Vice Presidential nod.