How Does Romney’s VP Pick Compare With His Other Options?
Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president, announced Saturday that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be his vice presidential nominee for the election this November.
Ever since the GOP wrapped up its primary fight this past June, political nerds and wonks across the nation have been speculating who would fill the VP slot on the Republican ticket. We heard all sorts of names, from Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
With this announcement comes the real beginning to the presidential race, now that both sides know exactly who and what they will be facing from the other party.
Ryan hails from Wisconsin and chairs the House Budget Committee. He also sits on the highly prestigious House Committee on Ways and Means.
All of this means he is a highly influential member of the Republican Party, as well as the congressional caucus, and he is a favorite of the Tea Party wing of the GOP. This Romney-Ryan ticket will certainly be an interesting one to watch.
Romney had a host of other options to fill the VP slot on the ticket. The Washington Post had a break down of those choices here.
It is disappointing, though not surprising, that Romney chose yet another white male to run alongside. He had the choice to pick Sen. Rubio, another Tea Party darling, or Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), the first female Hispanic governor. Either Rubio or Martinez would have been the first Hispanic vice presidential nominee.
In 2008, with former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) on the GOP ticket, there was a lot of buzz about potentially putting the first woman within a heartbeat or two from the presidency, though she was not the first woman to run for vice president (Geraldine Ferraro was the first female VP candidate).
When John McCain announced his running mate for the 2008 presidential election, gasps were heard across the nation. Palin was not particularly experienced, nor was she known for her political prowess. She is, however, a woman. The general understanding was that if the nation was ready for something as “progressive” as a black president, McCain needed to show that he, the conservative, was willing to be progressive as well. And what better way to do so than by choosing a woman as his vice presidential nominee?
Common opinion seems to be that Palin played a role in McCain’s loss, but it had more to do with her inexperience and her frequent gaffes than it did with her gender. Romney, who was himself passed over as McCain’s VP in favor of Palin, seems to have learned from McCain’s mistake.
Dick Cheney weighed in during a meeting with Romney, his opinion being that Palin was “a mistake” because of her inexperience. However, there is little doubt that McCain’s campaign gained a great deal of publicity because of Palin.
It comes as no surprise that Romney did not select a female VP nominee. Though it may have helped his poll numbers among women as long as his choice was someone generally respected, it would be out of character. He might think his top male choices are simply better for the job, or he may just not be interested in impressing the people a female VP would be likely to win over.
One of the most buzzed-about choices for Romney’s running mate was none other than Condoleezza Rice, who would have been an exceptionally good candidate for vice president.
Rice is a brilliant political mind and has incredibly impressive foreign policy experience: she was the first woman to hold the National Security Advisor position under President George W. Bush, and she went on to become the first African American female appointed to the post of the U.S. Secretary of State.
Though we may not agree with Rice’s politics, we have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for her for her abilities and her intellect and wish she (or some of the other possibilities) had warranted more consideration for the GOP ticket.
As a country, we have yet to nominate any women of color for either major party’s ticket (though Shirley Chisholm was the first African American to run for a major party nomination for president in 1972, and the first African-American woman to be elected to the House of Representatives).
While Romney has missed out on opportunities to expand his party’s reach to new demographics by selecting Rice, Martinez or Rubio, I’m most disappointed that in this election, when record numbers of women are running for elected office, there remains at least another four years until we will see a woman in the Oval Office, or as vice president.
Opinions stated in our editorials do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Feminspire and its staff as a whole, but instead reflect the opinions of the writer.
Header image courtesy of M. Spencer Green / AP.