After questions and contradictions about Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain followed by renewed pressure for him to release all of his tax returns, his campaign could benefit from a change of subject. Enter the Veepstakes: everyone’s favorite guessing game. Remember last week when Drudge reported that Condoleezza Rice was at the top of Romney’s list? That ridiculous head-fake was enough to turn heads and send the political world spinning away from Bain and taxes for hours.
The world of punditry thinks picking a VP now would be a deft political move to get the narrative off those pesky tax returns. The only problem with Romney announcing his pick - the two people presumed to be at the top of his list, Former Governor Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Senator Rob Portman are super boring. Sure, a “safe” VP choice might be better in the long run, but with the current media narrative, Romney needs someone who can pack a punch and neither of these men do that. If you ask politely they might give you a firm handshake, but that’s about it. If the speculation around Pawlenty and Portman already feels like watching paint dry then just wait until that white, eggshell finish is dry to the touch.
The American People may remember Tim Pawlenty best from what appeared to be an attempt to become the 2012 Republican nominee for president. During that short-lived campaign, he famously coined the term “Obamneycare” and then when asked to say it to Romney’s face infamously ran away from it. Beyond that, Tim Pawlenty loves the great American pastime: hockey on ice.
And what about Rob Portman? He is a senator from a crucial swing-state and, more importantly, has absolutely nailed the “middle-aged white guy in a prescription drug commercial” look. If America is looking for a vice president whom they can go on a bike ride with or walk a Golden Retriever with, then this is the guy.
If Romney wants his VP pick to dominate the news cycle neither of these men will do. So why not pick someone bold, someone exciting? Nobody votes for the #2 anyway so throw us a real curveball, Mitt. Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, hell even your old pal Newt, will do. Choose one of those three and that’s all anybody will be talking about. By the time the novelty of a choice like that blows over the whole tax thing will be history - a history nobody will want to reopen. Romney’s money can accrue peacefully knowing it won’t be bothered as it sips Coronas and catches up on the latest Daniel Silva novel on a beach in Grand Cayman.
Realistically, Romney will go safe and choose Pawlenty or Portman. Neither will be enough to distract and drown out the calls for those missing years. When he does eventually release them the Romney campaign will need a big and lasting distraction. For that, maybe just release Condi’s taxes too.