This is an interesting question that could well determine the election.
Does Gentleman Mitt go safe or reckless with his choice? The rumor mill has it that the choice is down to three, Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, Rob Portman, the Senator from Ohio and Paul Ryan the congressman from Wisconsin.
I’m betting it will be Rob Portman.
Tim Pawlenty would be a safe choice and would allow Romney to play the “former successful governors vs. Washington” tune but Pawlenty generated no enthusiasm for his own run and the chances of Romney converting Minnesota to Red are pretty slim.
Converting Wisconsin is perhaps a bit more possible but Ryan carries with him all sorts of negative budget baggage. Even the dumb Democrats would crucify him for his past positions on Social Security and Medicare. Besides, he strikes me as a bit of a cold fish that I don’t think voters would take to if you put him on the tube.
Portman has all sorts of pluses. He’s got more personality than Pawlenty and Ryan put together and tends to exude confidence. Ohio is also a much better bet for Romney and Republicans never win without Ohio. Granted, being a Washington insider could be a disadvantage but I think it’s outweighed by the advantages.
Personally I was hoping Romney would do something stupid like pick Newt Gingrich but he’s not that dumb.
Intrade has Portman at 32% followed by Pawlenty at 21%. Ryan is at 14%. The only other person with any significant Intrade support is Marco Rubio at 12%.
Like I said, I’m betting on Portman. If there is any doubt remaining that the Republicans think gays should be ostracized and that women should be second class citizens whose uterus’ should be controlled by male politicians, the selection of Portman should end it pretty darn quick.
So is this a good choice or a bad choice? I thinks it's a very good choice that will immediately close the gap in Ohio, make the Republican base happy and not alienate Independents. Portman will probably make mincemeat of Joe Biden in the Vice Presidential debate but that didn't help the Republicans last time around.
Would Pawlenty be a disaster? No, but I don't think he's as good a choice as Portman and Ryan is just too much of an unknown in terms of how the country would react to him. I could be wrong but I think the selection of Ryan would be a high risk, high reward choice and the election is too close for Romney to look for a "game changer" like McCain was forced to do.