A report today stated that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has been left off the short-list of vice presidential candidates to run with Mitt Romney. As evidence, they use sources close to Rubio who have stated that the Senator has not been asked for any information customary in a VP search. Noting the style of Beth Meyers and the process of past VP search committees, the fact Rubio has not been contacted almost certianly means he is not on the short list.
It appears Romney is trying to avoid the "Palin effect" at all costs. Although I personally don't think Marco Rubio is half as untested as Palin was, it does give an interesting insignt into Romney's thinking and all but garuntees that no Latino will be on the ticket. Also, it is hard to picture Chris Christie getting the #2 spot either, given the decision not to look at the young senator from FL.
So who does that leave us? Many belive the selection withh come down to Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).
When looking at this list one thing comes to mind, EXPERIENCE. Romney is looking for a man who is beyond a shadow of a doubt qualified to be president and who he can work with in a business-like setting. This bodes well for Sen. Portman, who gets along very well with Romney and is extremely qualified having served in the house, the senate, as a US trade rep, and President Bush's budget director. He also is close with Romney's family, notably cleaning up some of Romney's grandchildren on the campaign bus after the kids got food all over them. However I feel Portman would give the President exactly what he wants: a Direct connection to President Bush. So to me pikcing Sen. Portman is the exact opposite of "do no harm"
We all love Paul Ryan and his "Path to Prosperity" and it appears that Romney is taking on many parts of it as his own, but I would warn against putting him on the ticket. If he joins Romney, the Ryan plan will overshadow any initatives that Romney may have himself and leave an opening for the democrats to demogauge the issue, potentially sinking Romney.
Gov. Pawlenty is a safe pick. A trustworthy surrogate with good legislative experience and rock solid conservative credentials. However I fear his "Obamney care" line and lack of Washington experience could hurt him both in the campaign trail and as someone working alongside Romney.
That leaves 2 more people I think must be the top 2 options at this time: Gov. Jindal and Sen. Thune
Both have 100% conservative voting records. Both are young, fresh faced, and beloved by the base (albeit Jindal is easily lampooned for his demeanor and likeness to Kenneth from 30 Rock). Jindal is a Rhode Scholor who served several terms in the house and was GWB's assistant HHS director before his 2 terms as LA governor. His downside is his service to Bush and some of his extereme penalties he passed for sex offenders (castration). While many, including myself agree with him, it may pose a problem. However I think he is better positioned than the candidates mentioned above.
Lastly is Sen. John Thune. His only blemish on a great voting record is a vote for TARP. It may not be popular with the base but will seldom come up in debates and is therefore rendered meaningless. He also may not come from an important state but he knows how to win elections and even beat the one time majority leader Tom Daschle. In fact, he is so good at winning elections that the SD democracts didn't field a candidate against him in 2010. When he announced he wouldn't seek the White House, left wing blogs rejoced as if it was already November and Obama won in a landslide. Thune also has a knack for making the complex seem simple, and the bold seem run-of the mill and expected. He has a campagining gift and plays very well with independents. He also has the non political things people love: all star athlete, well read on sports, young family, hunter, fresh faced, funny, raised in a small town of 450 people. These things will help soften the Romney ticket's image and change the dialogue. He also is not gaffe prone like the others and will serve Romney well.
And if Romney loses in Nov. I'm all in for Christie/Rubio '16.
Rankings (If I were Beth Meyer):