Thursday, August 9, 2012

VP Picks: And Then There Were Three?

The word is out that it's down to the final three: Pawlenty, Portman, and Ryan. By some lights it's a contest of boring, boring, dangerous (the terms are "go big"--Ryan--and "cautious corner"--everyone else). InTrade bets like this:
Clearly Portman leads and Ryan is in the rear--but is that realistic? I have to think that while Romney's campaign isn't a comedy of errors the pressure to do something exciting has got to be tectonic.

However, that doesn't seem to be Romney's instincts:
Newt Gingrich hoped to get a coveted speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. Instead the Romney campaign will have him teach a series of workshops they have nicknamed Newt University. 
Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain are not scheduled to speak, either. They have decided to stage their own mini-convention of sorts — calling it a “unity rally” to dispel any doubts about their party loyalty — at a megachurch about 20 minutes outside town.
 Unity. Gotcha. Airtight.

The possibility that Palin might not speak at the convention frankly boggles the mind. While, yes, her charisma might overshadow Romney's, the same could potentially be said of the podium's.  Rich Lowery makes the case:

At times over the past few months, it has seemed that the Romney campaign has embarked on audacious experiment to see if it’s possible to run a presidential campaign devoid of real interest. 
With the choice of Ryan, that would change in an instant.
The Wikipedia Test (a splurge of frantic updates to the candidate's Wikipedia page) says Portman:
We’ll get into the full list down below, but as of 3:15 p.m. ET today, the only page with substantial changes is that of Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. Yesterday, when his page was copied into a Word file, it had 15 pages, 3,787 words, and 21,499 characters. As of this writing, it has 13 pages, 3,210 words, and 18,022 characters.
FiveThirtyEight estimates that of the three, Portman comes out on top bringing 1.1 Electoral Votes to the party and, as this is in the uber-critical Ohio, it's especially nice.

What Do I Think?
As I said above, I don't think Romney cares much for excitement. He famously said he wouldn't set his hair on fire to excite the base and I don't think he'll set anything else on fire either. If he does pick Ryan it'll be for strategic reasons--but given that the Ryan budget plan is very unpopular in the other uber-key swing-state, Florida,  my gut says that math doesn't add up.

But I also think something else: I'll go for conspiracy theory here. Back in '08 Barack Obama gave his nomination speech on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's birthday. The first black presidential nominee giving his address before the convention was a historic moment--a headline in the making.

Until McCain nominated Palin.

For three days (IIRC) McCain raced upwards in the polls and people were stunned. He managed to step on Obama's moment and Obama's momentum. My theory: Obama has not forgotten. This is not a 'prediction'--were I to actually put money where my mouth is, It'd be Romney announces something (Rubio? I still like him for VP no matter what NBC says) and the train rolls on.

But you want drama? The day Romney's iPhone app sends the message out to the world (ahead of the formal press release: download that sucker) Team Obama announces they're switching out Biden for Hillary Clinton!


No comments:

Post a Comment