[UPDATE on 4-18-10]: This is no longer my dream ticket for 2012, as I just don’t see how Romney’s going to be able to explain away his Mass. health care bill, especially in the wake of ObamaCare. I’m still a big fan of Thune, however, and would like to see him on the ticket.
My ticket for the GOP in 2012:
First, the positives:
- Romney and Thune are incredibly eloquent and articulate speakers.
- Romney has been getting favorable press coverage as fellow 2012 candidates have fallen by the wayside. Even if Sarah Palin announces that she’s running for president in 2012, Romney is now clearly seen as the frontrunner.
- Romney’s knowledge, experience, and background on economic issues will offer a big boost to him if the economy doesn’t improve by 2011-2012.
- Romney’s won three straight CPAC straw polls.
- Romney’s national favorablity rating has risen 10 points since February 2008, according to a Pew Poll that was just released. In the same time frame, his unfavorable rating has fallen 16 points.
- Thune is also popular, as he has a high favorability rating (57%-32%) in South Dakota, according to a Research 2000 poll conducted in April. In that poll, when matched up with Tom Daschle, whom he beat in 2004, Thune wins the hypothetical rematch 53%-40%. That’s a clear sign of Thune’s popularity, as he beat Daschle by just 2% back in 2004.
- Thune was just elected chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, making him the #4 GOP leader in the chamber. Before that, Thune had served as Republican Conference Vice Chairman and Chief Deputy Whip.
- Thune is a staunch Conservative (more here), who received a score of “88.8% Conservative” by the National Journal on senate votes in 2008. He also receives high marks from the American Conservative Union. This would draw Conservatives who were wary about Romney to the ticket.
- Thune and Romney are both married, (Romney for 40 years, Thune for 25) and have good kids who have stayed out of trouble.
- Thune is a strong, committed Evangelical Christian who would draw hesitant Christians (“Oh no, Romney’s a Mormon!”) to the ticket.
Now, the negatives:
- Romney and Thune are good-looking white men, which is HUGELY problematic for a variety of reasons. (“Too slick” factor (mostly with Romney), minority voters wouldn’t be drawn to the ticket, two white men against a black president, etc. etc.)
- Thune’s name-recognition is quite low.
- Many Conservatives see Romney as too moderate, and may stay home regardless of who he picks as VP.
- Thune’s name-recognition is quite low. (So important, it has to be mentioned twice)
- Romney needs to learn how to connect with “the common man.” Thune has a knack for that (how could you not in South Dakota?), but Romney doesn’t. Case in point, while speaking to a group of black kids on the campaign trail in ’08, Romney thought it’d be hip to say, “Who let the dogs out?” Hey Mitt, that song is NINE YEARS OLD. That comment made it seem like you’d never talked to young, black kids in your life. You’re going to need to avoid awkward exchanges like that if you’re going to win in 2012.
- Palin voters really don’t like Romney. If she doesn’t run, he’s going to have to convince them to vote for him. As I said above, Thune helps a little bit with that, but I don’t know how much.
- The Mormon thing. Sad, but true.
- Romney owns mutliple homes, a fact that Dems would exploit in a second. He recently sold two of them, but he still owns two more, worth several million dollars each.
- Romney’s a flip-flopper. Yes, he’s come over to the right side (no pun intended) on many issues over the years, but voters don’t like flip-floppers. Especially Conservatives.
- If the economy rebounds before 2011-2012, Romney doesn’t have a shot, regardless of what he says, does, or who he picks as VP. Right now, I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance of that happening, though I may be being optimistic. If it does rebound, however, Obama will win re-election. Simple as that.
So, what do you think? Are my positives and negatives accurate? Are there any major ones that I missed? Let me know.