Romney's "Boring" Choice

Politico nabbed an incredibly unsurprising scoop this morning: Mitt Romney will probably select an "incredibly boring white guy" as his running mate. That's the description attributed to one unnamed Republican official, stating the obvious. Much of the VP speculation has centered on the exciting young politicians from the class of 2010. Perhaps Romney would select Suzanna Martinez or Marco Rubio in the hopes of peeling away some of the Hispanic vote. Or South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in an effort to rebut charges that Republicans are waging a war on women. Who knows, maybe Romney could even tap Senator Rand Paul if he wants to make sure the elder Paul doesn't use his delegates to cause a ruckus at the Tampa convention.

None of those choices would fit Romney's standard modus operandi. He's the cold calculating consultant, disinclined to any flashy decisions, tending toward the safe bet. The VP selection typically has only a minimal impact on boosting the overall ticket's performance, but a poor choice can sink a campaign (think Sarah Palin in '08 or Thomas Eagleton in '72). As long as Romney continues to run roughly even with Obama in the polls it is unfathomable that the Republican nominee would select anyone who has not been vetted at a national level.

The anonymous Republican operative in the Politico story lists Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitch Daniels as the favorites with Bob McDonnell as a fourth option. While Portman has become the darling of the chattering class, I've been surprised by the lack of attention devoted to Pawlenty. He is, after all, a former two-term governor who is accustomed to the national spotlight. Sure, he failed to measure up to the rigors of running his own presidential campaign, but that's not necessarily a negative in a VP selection, especially when you don't want to upstage a candidate at the top of the ticket who is rarely described as dynamic. And while Pawlenty has enough governing experience to pass the competency test, he also has the evangelical bona fides to shore up Romney's right flank. It's a boring selection that would garner few gushing headlines, perfect for the philosophy of the Romney campaign.

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