Diary

Cruz should choose Rubio or Haley for VP if he wins the nomination.

The base of the Republican party is out of control. That’s going to anger some people, but it’s the truth. As Mark Wright notes over at National Review, the fact that Governor Nikki Haley, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senator Marco Rubio are now considered “establishment” is really silly for people who hate them and really good for rational conservatives who understand people can disagree on an issue or two and still be on the same side. Righteous anger is a very good thing and people have every right to be angry at Washington. From the Democrats pushing “change” few Americans really want, to the Republicans just rolling over and taking it again and again. Washington is in disarray and it’s driven people to the edge of sanity.

In just two short weeks, Republicans in Iowa will have the opportunity to choose a genuine conservative in Ted Cruz or a pretend conservative in Donald Trump. There are others of course, most notably the aforementioned Senator Rubio (who is an acceptable conservative), who’s hoping for a third place finish there. But by and large, Iowans will be choosing between Cruz and Trump. My hope is, the better angels of people will finally prevail. As Governor Haley noted about that righteous anger, it’s okay as long as it’s followed by a rational response. Cruz is the rational response.

So, assuming Cruz wins the nomination, who should he choose for his running mate? I believe Cruz needs to do three things in choosing his VP:

1. Double down on his theme of courageous conservatism.

2. Signal a generational shift

3. Show leadership to this base that considers a single disagreement reason to brand someone a “RINO”

The two people who would qualify for all three of these would be Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley. They’re both strong conservatives, around the same age as Cruz and would give Cruz the opportunity to show some leadership and unite the party. The stronger of the two for Cruz would be Haley. She wasn’t involved in this campaign (unless you count her state of the union response), she’s got a good relationship with Senator Cruz and hasn’t worked with him as a colleague, I’m sure Rubio would be fine with it, but it’s something to consider. And she has, by far, been more unfairly labeled a RINO. Rubio AT LEAST supported that disastrous Gang of Eight bill. Haley has been taken to task for suggesting that we treat illegal immigrants well while they’re here and criticizing someone who is truly a Republican in Name Only, Donald Trump. Rubio would be a good fit for Cruz too, but I think he would be much happier being the Governor of Florida than Vice President of the United States.

A Cruz/Haley or Cruz/Rubio ticket would be a strong conservative ticket that could unite the party and give Senator Cruz the opportunity to show some leadership to a base that’s being driven by anger.