Posted on | August 4, 2012 | 119 Comments
This is an emergency post. Driving back from the AFP Defending the Dream Summit in D.C., I pulled off the freeway and logged on at a Burger King to get this online as quickly as possible: Mitt Romney must choose Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential nominee, period.
There is no time now to fully explain the emergency nature of this post, but let me quickly make three points:
- My hatred of media “veepstakes” speculation is well-known. When I turn on the TV and see a bunch of pundits talking about who might get the vice-presidential nomination, I turn the channel. It’s a bunch of useless noise, and I can’t stand to watch it. Nevertheless, a sudden crisis makes it imperative that I speak out.
- My first choice — and what I think was the most obvious choice — was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. However, the word among Republican sources is that there were problems with Rubio in terms of vetting. Loath as I am to repeat this, I’ve heard talk that because Rubio is the son of immigrants, there is concern that this might cost Republicans the “Birther” vote. Crazy? Yeah. But whatever the basis for the objections, the general belief is that there is indeed some sort of vetting issue. And so the smart money says that, although Rubio is still officially on the “short list,” he’s unlikely to be the final choice.
- The emergency? Two words: Tim Pawlenty.
Friday night, I was talking to some top activists at the AFP summit and one of them assured me that the word among Minnesota Republicans is that T-Paw is at the top of Romney’s VP list, all but guaranteed to be the running mate. Do I have to explain why this shocked me?
So shocked was I, in fact, that I refused to believe it. Certainly, the smart guys at Team Mitt could see the obvious arguments against T-Paw. But then Saturday, I talked to some well-informed D.C.-based operatives and they, too, said they’d heard that Pawlenty was top of the list.
Now I was truly concerned. Dear God, not T-Paw!
Driving home, this worry weighed heavily on my thoughts, and so I called a well-connected and experienced conservative journalist to talk about it — and he’d heard the same basic thing: Pawlenty might already have the VP spot locked up, said my friend, who happens to be a supporter of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. According to my friend, the word is that T-Paw is at the top of the list, with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman the nearest rival. And this is even worse news. While I like Portman OK, he’s a Bush guy, and we don’t need any ghosts of the Bush administration haunting the GOP in 2012.
So if Rubio has been more or less eliminated from consideration, as my sources suggest, we’ve got to do something to stop this crazy talk about a Romney-Pawlenty ticket. You can’t beat somebody with nobody, and of the remaining guys on the short list, Paul Ryan is the obvious pick.
He’s an Irish Catholic from the Midwest, a hero of deficit hawks, young and handsome, and pre-approved by Bill Kristol, who deems Ryan “the Republican party’s intellectual leader.”
This is, I repeat, an emergency, because Kristol says Mitt’s VP pick could be announced as early as Wednesday, or more likely Aug. 13-15. So if conservatives are going to push back against an ill-advised choice of Pawlenty, we’ve got to start pushing now, and pushing hard as hell.
UPDATE: Wow! Bobby Jindal, himself a short-list candidate for VP, praises Paul Ryan at the Red State Gathering. Momentum!
UPDATE II: Twitchy has more from the Red State Gathering:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, himself often mentioned as a top-tier candidate for vice president, today recommended Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan for the job.
Speaking this afternoon at RedState Gathering 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla., Jindal’s message of responsible spending and education reform had plenty of attendees sold on him as the vice presidential candidate. . . .
Asked by Breitbart’s Larry O’Connor his pick for vice president, though, Jindal named Ryan as his favorite of “a lot of great choices.” “Paul Ryan has been specific, bold and courageous in his budget plans,” said Jindal.