Mitt Romney may be getting ahead of himself. The former Massachusetts governor — who leads the GOP presidential field in both the polls and fundraising — acknowledged at a Virginia fundraiser that he's already pondering running mates. On Romney's shortlist are two first-term governors — Virginia's Bob McDonnell and New Jersey's Chris Christie — and a first-term senator: Marco Rubio of Florida. The names themselves "aren't earth-shattering": McDonnell and Rubio come from critical swing states, and Christie is a Tea Party idol. But Romney's veepstakes hinting comes more than six months before the Iowa caucuses, and more than a year before the 2012 Republican convention, when the eventual nominee would traditionally announce his VP. Is Romney being "presumptuous"?
This is presumptuous — and risky: Romney has been casting himself as his party's best shot to take down President Obama, says John Ellis at Business Insider. Once again, he's looking past the whole primary process — and onto a general election battle. But that's "risky business." Voters who decide the early primaries don't want to be taken for granted. They want to be wooed. So floating the names of possible running mates "before a single precinct caucus has been attended and before a single primary vote has been cast" threatens to turn off conservative voters already wary of Romney.
"Mitt Romney's short list for vice president"
It's not presumptuous — it's smart politics: This is simply a campaign tactic, and a potentially valuable one, says Meghan Malloy at The Iowa Independent. It's doubtful that Romney truly thinks he has the nomination locked up, but acting as if he does is self-fulfilling. And dropping the names of Tea Party celebrities like Rubio and Christie telegraphs to voters that Romney wants a Tea Partier as his partner in the White House — which could help him court a crucial voting bloc that's long shunned him.
"Mitt Romney's early VP shortlist is a campaign tactic, not presumption"
This isn't really about the VP slot: This is really a case of Romney "trying to woo [these three conservative heroes] into supporting his campaign," says Robin M. at Care2. An endorsement from any of them — Christie, especially — would boost Team Romney. With "so many Republicans... still trying to push [Christie] into the race as a presidential candidate," if Romney can win over Christie, he'd not only score a key endorsement, but also keep a dangerous potential rival out of the race.
"Is Romney floating VP picks already?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- How America's broken immigration system is failing the military
Subscribe to the Week