The Spectacle Blog

AP: Romney VP Pick to be Named on Saturday

By on 8.10.12 | 11:47PM

The Associated Press is reporting that Mitt Romney will announce his running mate on Saturday morning in Virginia.

Some, as Jim Antle mentions, are thinking Romney might try to make a "splash" with his pick. I disagree, and think that he will pick someone with executive experience, i.e. Tim Pawlenty rather than a legistator, with the clear possible exception of Rob Portman, who while currently a senator has previously been the US Trade Representative and head of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

My first guess is Portman, second Pawlenty. I would be quite surprised with Rubio, Ryan, Christie. I suppose my third guess would be Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

At the time I'm writing this, Paul Ryan is trading over 90% to be the choice, as if political bettors think they know the answer. Perhaps the reason is a National Review report that Romney's plane is in Ryan's home town in Wisconsin. And perhaps it's an NBC report with other facts (or rumors) which suggest Ryan.

Here's why that would surprise me, and I say all of this as a huge fan of Ryan's:

  • No substantial private sector experience
  • No executive experience
  • Would make the election debate all about Medi(s)care and entitlements, unnecessarily scaring the senior citizen voters whom Romney absolutely must get to win
  • Would take away the most effective voice for economic rationality in Congress, a voice which a President Romney would need to get a solid budget passed
  • It's not for nothing that Democrats hope that Romney picks Ryan

The other side of my argument, as well-made by the Wall Street Journal, is that selectiing Ryan would force this election to be about "big issues."

That is certainly true, but it is also a very big gamble if Mr. Romney believes he can win the election by running on the current set of issues, primarily on jobs, rather than making the election about a bigger discussion of cutting government, one which Democrats will use to scare independent women to death about voting Republican.

To be sure, I won't be disappointed if Romney chooses Ryan. But I think that his situation does not require such a bold move, that his personality does not gravitate toward such a bold move, and that he knows that Ryan would be an important ally in the House.

I'm selling Ryan at these very high odds, willing to lose a little if I'm wrong in order to make a lot if Ryan is not the pick. If I lose the bet, I'll still be quite happy because it will show Mitt Romney to be more interested in principles of liberty and limited government, and to have a more aggressive personality, than I currently assume of him. Furthermore, Paul Ryan would be a stunningly good influence on a Romney administration, and being VP gives him a clear line to run for president himself down the road. If the AP is right, I'll know the answer in less than 12 hours...

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