Romney's Pool of Governors; the States Offer Many Possible Vice Presidents

Article excerpt

Byline: Brett M. Decker, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

T homas Marshall, the former governor of Indiana who served as Woodrow Wilson's vice president from 1913-1921, quipped, Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected vice president of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again. His successor to the vice presidency, former Massachusetts governor and future President Calvin Coolidge, reflected, I enjoyed my time as vice president. It never interfered with my mandatory 11 hours of sleep a day. Despite two centuries of jokes about the uselessness of the office, the vice presidency is an important training ground for president, and a vice-presidential nominee can be important to a campaign's electoral success.

Governors make sense on a national ticket for many reasons. Unlike the current occupant of the White House, governors have executive-management experience and are used to real responsibility over large bureaucracies and budgets. Of this nation's 44 presidents, 20 (46 percent) previously served as state or territorial governors. For the same reason - perceived preparedness for executive responsibility - governors are seen as safe choices for the No. 2 job in an administration. In a campaign, there is the additional necessity to add value that a party's presidential candidate doesn't have, whether that is by offering policy depth, personal diversity, esteem with a particular constituency or a geographic spread. Governors have the extra appeal of being sold as Washington outsiders, which is why they are so popular when VP vetting season rolls around - especially in times like these when only 7 percent of voters say Congress is doing a good or excellent job, according to Rasmussen Reports.

As the Romney team bats around ideas for the ideal running mate, there are a number of governors on the short list, and there are a few more who are not in contention but should be. One of the perennial factors is how to win swing states. At the top of this list is Florida. While the national spotlight has been focused on young charismatic freshman Sen. Marco Rubio, the Sunshine State also holds out two impressive executives in current Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush. Mr. Scott was elected after Barack Obama carried his state in 2008 and made his fortune building what is now part of the largest private health-care operation in the world, making him a possible expert critic of Obamacare on the stump. Having a home-state hero announced at the GOP convention in Tampa could provide a boost in numbers and local enthusiasm. This would be in dramatic contrast to the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., a state where President Obama is down 3 points and looks like he will lose.

Other Republican governors of swing states that are in the running include Susana Martinez of New Mexico - who has added appeal as a Hispanic woman - Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and John Kasich of Ohio. The Buckeye State also offers Sen. Bob Portman, a former congressman whose impressive curriculum vitae includes service as the U.S. trade representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget. …