David Usborne: The vice-presidential warning: don't do a John McCain

Among the first to raise the Palin spectre has been the man credited with bringing her on in 2008

Share
Related Topics

It is mid-August, one week before the Republican convention in Tampa and Team Romney is having kittens. Unemployment is falling almost as quickly as petrol prices and Barack Obama is playing smug. To turn things around they need to startle the country with a really bold choice of running mate.

Regardless of who the Republicans were going to pick to lead them into battle in November, the selection of a vice-presidential nominee was always going to be affected by memories of four years ago. Now that Mr Romney seemingly has the nomination in his grasp, the admonitions have already begun: for the love of Lincoln don't do a John McCain.

Among the first to raise the Sarah Palin spectre this time round has been the man most often credited with having brought her on to the 2008 ticket, former McCain campaign chief Steve Schmidt. "I think the mistakes made in 2008 will have a big effect, as they should in 2012," he told the New York Post.

Mr Romney is not a person prone to flamboyant gambles. If things are looking grim by late summer, he will flee instinctively to safety like the good private equity investor that he is. That means returning to the traditional veep-pick playbook.

"Remember, Romney's a numbers guy. This is the way he will think," Frank Luntz, the Republic- an pollster, said. Talking to The Independent, he offered four names all from battleground states. They are Senators Rob Portman and Marco Rubio, of Ohio and Florida respectively, Congressman Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, and Governor Bob McDonnell, of Virginia.

All four have helped Mr Romney campaign. Most conspicuous in recent days has been Mr Ryan who threw himself into helping him to secure this week's Wisconsin primary. Mr Ryan has other advantages – handsome looks and youth (he is just 42) and a reputation for straight-talking. He, however, is also the author of a draft budget that Mr Obama seized on this week as 'social Darwinism'.

Mr Rubio is similarly youthful and anyone who remembers the hanging-chad chronicles of 2000 will know how important winning Florida can be. With his Cuban heritage, he might also prove a big asset nationally by reversing the flight of Hispanics to the Democrats. And the Tea Party likes him.

Betting souls might also consider Chris Christie, the bulldog and widely touted (and wide) Governor of New Jersey and Governor Susana Martinez, of New Mexico. The latter is Hispanic and female. Finally, let's not forget Rick Santorum and Senator Rand Paul, Tea Party standard-bearer in the US Senate and son of Ron Paul. They will go to Tampa with lots of delegates and expectations of favours.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Boyd Tonkin
Rebel fighters walk in front of damaged buildings in Karam al-Jabal neighbourhood of Aleppo on August 26, 2014.  

The Isis threat must be confronted with clarity and determination

Ed Miliband
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone