I have been racking my brain for some time now as to who the Republican Party and Mitt Romney should turn to for the vice-presidency. Now that Rick Santorum has dropped out, any pretense of “stop Romney” has ended. I am personally a supporter of Ron Paul and, though he may not be a favorite here on RedState (where I have been a member under the name “mason_beer” since 2004) I believe in much of what he says. But I’ve been active in politics for a long time now and understand how this works. I believe much (though not all) of Paul’s message is the future of the party, I understand the future is not now.
So as unmoved as I am that Romney is the GOP nominee, I understand the threat President Obama’s second term offers to this country and to liberty. Any true Ron Paul supporter who supports his vision of limited and smaller government, the perils of undeclared wars cannot stand for a continuation of the Obama Regime.
Mitt Romney’s first clue into what kind of president he wants to be will come this summer when he selects a running-mate. The names are legion, and all have their various pros on cons:
- Marco Rubio: Young, conservative, Hispanic, and from Florida
- Bob McDonnell: Young, conservative, a governor, and from Virginia
- Rob Portman: Experienced, knowledable, and from Ohio
- Cathy McMorris Rogers: Young, conservative, female, and able.
- Condelizza Rice: Experienced, African-American, ready to be president on day 1
- Paul Ryan: A bold legislator, young, from Wisconsin
On and on . . .add Thune, Christie, Martinez, and Pawlenty.
But one name that I keep coming back to brainstorming this problem is Tom Coburn. The Oklahoma senator has managed to bridge the gap of being both a conservative stalwart in Congress while also able to offer smart, concise solutions of his own. He has experience in Congress where Romney does not, he is a doctor that can be a strong Obamacare critic where it will be harder for Romney to do so.
Unlike some of the hotter tea party commodities like Rubio or the competent conservative like Sen. Portman, Coburn has every possible conservative credentials imaginable BUT has shown leadership in the Senate beyond rhetoric, and has done so for a long time. Coburn has had his hands in nearly every major issue before Congress. He a tea partier with tenure, if you will. He was fighting the power in the 1990s, a rebel against Newt Gingrich. He has had real skin in the game for nearly two decades. He’s a conservative warrior who has learned the ways of Washington without selling out. All of Romney’s skeptics on the right would, I think, embrace Coburn happily. He brings over the right, he has credibility on issues like health care since he is a doctor, and as an OB/GYN he has unique knowledge of women’s health and women’s issues that none of the other candidates can talk about. He’s the real deal. Also, Coburn considers President Obama a personal friend, quoted once as saying (paraphrasing) that he loves the man but detests his policies. I think Coburn would brunt some of the criticism that Republicans just hate Obama to hate him, that Coburn’s presence on the ticket would add some seriousness to the debate.
One last point. I think about what if Romney wins? I worry that he’s so outside of DC and so unfamiliar with the legislative process at a national level that he would be lost early on. Romney reminds me a lot of Bill Clinton in 1992. Clinton’s nomination dragged out until June, and it took him a long time to convinced a liberal party to embrace his more southern-moderate style. When he took over he was lost because DC was nothing like Little Rock and Democrats hadn’t been in office for 12 years. Coburn has served in both houses of Congress and knows the ways of Washington and the Capitol. Coburn would give Romney one-man flashlight into the legislative process and how the sausage is made, and I think would be a great guide until a President Romney could get his feet wet.
Selecting Senator Coburn would send a message that Romney is serious about solving our problems with conservative solutions.