The 2012 presidential race is close. Mitt Romney stands a historic opportunity to become only the second Republican in the last 123 years to unseat an incumbent Democratic President. (Ronald Reagan was the first.)
As is the case every four years, many people (most of whom are misguided and not knowledgeable about politics and are guided solely by their personal political ideologies) are making suggestions (or demands) to Romney about whom should he pick for VP. Candidates suggested include Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman, Bob McDonnell, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio.
They are wrong. Only a few people have offered a rational analysis of whom Romney should pick, Professor being one of them. In his lengthy May 2012 article at the Sabato Center’s Crystal Ball website, Professor Joel K. Goldstein, the nation’s foremost expert on Vice Presidents, explains the realities facing Romney as he is considering whom to choose:
1) Romney needs someone who would be capable of performing the job of President, should the need arise. That means that his running mate must be someone with a lot of national experience under his belt. There mustn’t be any doubt that his running mate would be able to competently perform the President’s duties should Romney himself die or become incapacitated. And that has to include national experience (as a long-serving Representative, Senator, or executive official). Professor Goldstein says that in the post-WW2 era, running mates on average have had 14.5 years of experience in jobs preparing them for the Vice Presidency.
2) The running mate must not cause any headaches for Romney or have any skeletons in his closet that could cost Romney the election.
3) The running mate must have experience in foreign policy, which is something Romney does not have much experience with and is not knowledgeable about.
4) The veep must be conservative (because conservatives, at least until Thursday, had doubts about Romney’s conservative bona fides), and yet also be able to appeal to centrist voters.
Jon Kyl – the candidate whom I support – passes all of these tests, and in fact does so with flying colors.
He’s a staunch conservative (as proven by his ACU and Club4Growth ratings that are always above 90% and usually close to 100%, making him one of the most conservative Senators currently serving), yet one who does not scare off and cannot be caricaturalized or successfully portrayed as an extremist by the dinosaur media. So he can appeal to indies and Reagan Democrats.
He has 25 years of Congressional experience under his belt, serving as Congressman, Senator, and now the Senate’s Republican Whip (i.e. #2 GOP Senator). If Mitch McConnell wants to mobilize his conference, it’s Kyl who does the job and counts the votes. In fact, he exceeds the “experience standard” cited by Professor Goldstein by more than 10 years.
During his 25 years as a member of Congress, he has studied many subjects in depth – including foreign and defense policy, on which he’s one of the GOP’s leading spokesmen, along with Sen. Ayotte and Reps. McKeon, Forbes, and West.
But he’s not prone to speaking from the hip or saying wacky things that could haunt him (unlike West and Gov. Chris Christie), does not have any skeletons in his closet (unlike Portman), and does not have a millstone hanging around his neck (Chairman Ryan).
The Dems have nothing on Kyl. In fact, if he had any skeletons in his closet, don’t you think we would’ve heard of them by now? He’s been in Congress for 25 years, for goodness’ sake.
Jon Kyl is, in fact, the safest pick that Romney can make, and yet a very conservative one.
Not only does he meet all the requirements cited by Professor Goldstein, he exceeds all of them. Anything other veep candidates can do, he can do better.
But he can also do things that others cannot. He can credibly attack (as he already is) Obama’s dangerous foreign and defense policies (e.g. the “reset” with Russia, unilateral nuclear disarmament, deep defense budget cuts, the LOST, etc.) and explain to the American people why they’re dangerous.
Being knowledgeable about many other issues as well, he can also explain the Fast and Furious scandal, Arizona’s SB1070 and its border problems, and the fact that Obama’s socialized medicine scheme remains unconstitutional.
In short, there is nothing that other veep candidates can do that Jon Kyl cannot do better, but there are many tasks that Kyl can do that other candidates cannot.
And speaking of these other candidates, let’s see how flawed they are compared to the Arizona Senator:
Kelly Ayotte, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, and Scott Walker are too inexperienced to be Romney’s running mate. Too many Americans would ask the legitimate question whether they would be capable of acting as President themselves, to which the answer, at present, must be “no”.
Paul, McMorris Rodgers, Haley, Martinez, Sandoval, Walker, Pawlenty, Daniels, Portman, Jindal, Christie, Pat Toomey, and many other current and former governors and senators have no foreign or defense policy experience (no, Sen. Portman, negotiating three flawed FTAs that only increased America’s trade deficit is not a FP accomplishment).
Bob McDonnell, Portman, Daniels, and Paul have skeletons in their closet. Portman has served as George W. Bush’s OMB Chief (as has Mitch Daniels) and is partially responsible for the Bush Administration’s spendathon (as is Daniels); he has also served as Bush’s Trade Representative and negotiated an FTA with South Korea that, as stated above, has greatly increased America’s trade deficit with that country and globally. Bob McDonnell is the VA Governor who signed a bill MANDATING that every woman who wants to have an abortion must undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, i.e. must consent to have an ultrasound machine being pushed into her vagina even if she doesn’t want to. That’s a gross violation of privacy and would give Obama more ammo than he could possibly use. The skeleton in Rand Paul’s closet is his wacky father Ron Paul, who scares off millions of people while attracting only a small band of rabid, fanatical worshippers.
Nominating Portman or McDonnell would virtually guarantee a second term for Barack Obama.
Furthermore, Portman, Daniels, Christie, and several others are RINOs, not conservatives. They wouldn’t excite grassroots conservatives nor reach out to centrist voters. And polls show Portman would not make any difference in Ohio, while Indiana is safely back in the Republican column. New Jersey is out of reach for the GOP.
Finally, Christie and West are loose cannons prone to speaking from the hip and saying wacky things.
Jon Kyl is absolutely superior to any of these candidates.
Ladies and gentlemen, 2012 is not the year for a wildcard. As Ann Coulter rightly says, it’s not a year for any candidate who will end up himself being the issue, instead of making Obama the issue of this election. It’s not a year to bet, like Walter Mondale did in 1984, that America is ready to elevate a young, inexperienced Congresswoman or Senator to the Vice Presidency, or that the country wants a loose cannon, Bush Admin retread, or Governor associated with transvaginal ultrasounds one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.
The GOP cannot afford to lose THIS election. Too much is at stake. In short, if the GOP loses this one, America will be permanently transformed into just another Western European style socialist country. The country made a huge mistake in 2008 and will get only ONE chance to correct it – this year – before starting to bear that mistake’s consequences forever.
That being the case, the GOP cannot afford to do anything that would cause it to lose. It must not nominate ANY candidate who will end up being the issue himself, instead of making Obama the issue. This election needs to be a pure referendum on Barack Obama.
Jon Kyl is by far the best VP candidate to do that.