As you may recall, Dear Readers, a while ago I suggested that Bob McDonnell be chosen by Gov. Mitt Romney (now the de facto GOP presidential nominee) for Vice President. I based my argument on the grounds that McDonnell ticked all the required boxes – he’s conservative, represents an imporant swing state (which he’d nail down for Romney if selected for VP), has ample experience as Governor and Attorney General (and a sellable record), and also possesses significant military experience, having served in the Army and achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Since then, however, McDonnell has made two mistakes. Firstly, he has signed a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds on all women wishing to obtain an abortion in Virginia. Although I’m pro-life, I believe this is an unacceptable invasion of privacy, and so do most Virginian women, I guess. Thus, even if McDonnell could help Romney win Virginia with that kind of a Big Government invasion of privacy on his record, he would drag Romney down elsewhere and cost him the election.
Secondly, he has accepted a rotten “compromise” on voting fraud laws in Virginia, thus annoying conservatives. Indeed, conservatives who live in Virginia tell me they are dissatisfied by him. It appears he’s trying to have it both ways – pandering to conservatives and moderates alike.
While I think that the latter mistake is forgivable, the first one would certainly cost the GOP the election, and therefore, I believe, disqualifies McDonnell as a potential VP candidate.
Yet, Mitt Romney needs a good veep to help him win the election.
Since I endorsed McDonnell for Vice President, experienced American Spectator journalist Quin Hillyer (one of the few AmSpec contributors deserving to be taken seriously) has written a landmark article which sets forth good metrics by which Romney should select his running mate. Mr Hillyer writes that:
- Anyone who lacks at least 2 years’ worth of experience in a high-profile job must be disqualified (although he has, sadly, relaxed that rule since then, making exceptions for Kelly Ayotte and Cathy McMorris Rodgers);
- The list of those who meet that minimum treshold must then be whittled down to just 5-6 people who have the most of such experience plus would be best suited to helping Romney win the election;
- The Romney camp should poll focus groups in swing states (e.g. VA, NC, FL, OH, IN, PA, IA) on what they think of this or that potential VP candidate, including videos of them speaking and negative information that the Obama team would feed them with;
- The 5-6 finalists should then be interviewed in a locked room by Romney aides and warned that any loose lips on their end would automatically disqualify them;
- The Romney camp must prepare the eventual VP selectee for the madhouse that will ensue once the choice is announced.
However, Mr Hillyer failed to add one important requirement: significant knowledge of and experience in foreign policy and defense issues.
And I’m not saying that because I’m a defense/foreign policy analyst, although I am. I’m saying that because Romney does not need another economic expert as his running mate.
Polls show that a significant majority of voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy and trust Romney and the GOP on that issue more than Obama and the Democrats. Moreover, Romney is recognized by every honest person as a man very well versed on economic issues. As far as the economy is concerned, Romney has already won the argument.
But polls show that a majority of Americans are still allowing the media to fool them that Obama is a great steward of foreign policy (when he’s not), that they trust Obama on that issue more than they trust Romney, and that Romney is not considered to be knowledgeable about the subject.
So I believe that just as the 2-year-rule should be a strict requirement, with no exceptions, candidates for VP must also be REQUIRED to demonstrate good knowledge of, and significant experience in handling, foreign policy issues (and no, Condi Rice, I’m not talking about you – no one is interested in yet another neocon advisor).
Considering all of the other requirements listed above, that leaves us with only two candidates: Governor Bob McDonnell and Senator Jon Kyl.
But McDonnell would, as stated above, cost Romney the election, so that leaves us only with Jon Kyl, recently suggested by a CFIF analyst, who says Romney should move Kyl to the top of his list of VP candidates. Mr Hillyer himself has been very sympathetic towards the Kyl option for the same reasons.
Kyl (R-AZ) is one of the Senate’s staunchest conservatives, always scoring at or near 100% in annual ACU ratings, placing him in the same class with Jim Inhofe, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, and the freshman Tea Party Senators elected last year: Paul, Lee, Johnson, and Rubio.
Kyl has been leading the Republican opposition to the Obama Administration’s dangerous foreign policy initiatives, including the New START treaty, the pending sellout to the Russians on missile defense, and now, the Law of the Sea Treaty. His commitment to a strong defense is hard to doubt.
Moreover, Kyl has also recently devoted time to explain why building a strong national defense, and protecting it against savage cuts, is not a Big Government policy and is fully consistent with conservatism, including its Limited Government Principle. This is important, because recently some libertarians masquerading as conservatives have been trying to portray this as a Big Government policy and its proponents as Big Government neocons. Kyl would educate the public, including young conservatives, about the facts, and would therefore prevent the conservative movement from being taken over by leftist libertarians. Using facts, logic, and reason, he would utterly belie libertarians’ claims.
And as a longtime Senator and the current Republican Whip/vote counter, i.e. the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, Kyl is intimately familiar with the ways of Washington (an absolutely crucial trait if you want conservative policies to get enacted, especially when you’re nominating an outsider like Romney), yet not tainted in the least by the Beltway – he has never sold out conservative principles.
Last, but not least, Kyl has no presidential ambitions of his own, and if elected, would not pander to anyone nor fight inside the future Romney Administration against anyone who does dream of being President. If he’s chosen and accepts, being Vice President will be his last service to the Nation.
So let’s sum up:
Is Jon Kyl conservative? Yes.
Does he have experience of serving in high-profile jobs? Yes.
Does he make up for Romney’s biggest weakness (foreign and defense issues)? Yes.
Would he help Mitt Romney win the election? Yes.
Would he be ready to take over the office of President anytime, should Mitt Romney die, become incapacitated, or resign? Yes.
Is he familiar with the ways of Washington? Yes.
Would he help advance conservative policies through the Congress and the future Romney Administration? Yes.
As you can see, Kyl checks all boxes. He fulfills all criteria that a good Republican Vice Presidential nominee must meet. Unless Kyl suddenly commits an apostasy against conservatism – something that he has not done during his 25 years in Congress – Romney should pick him for Vice President.