Female Vice-Presidential Picks Weighed in the Balance

Since last week when Ann Romney, wife of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney slyly leaked the fact that her husband may be considering a female running mate, the talking heads have been breathless with possible vice-presidential picks of the female persuasion. First of all, my crystal ball is in the shop so you may not take my vice-presidential picks to the bank, nevertheless, one need not be a gypsy fortune teller to look at the short list and see the strength’s and weaknesses of each.


Condoleezza Rice –  The former foreign policy advisor and Secretary of State under Bush 43, Doctor Rice is both my dream team vice-presidential pick and the least likely to appear on the ticket.


Not only is Rice eminently qualified in her own right with her years of hands-on foreign policy experience, she also happens to be of African American descent, which places her prominently in two key demographics where Romney needs as much help as he can possibly find. As a vice presidential pick, she would bring both black and female voters to the ballot box as well as those who bemoan Romney’s inexperience in the foreign policy arena.


Rice, though, has consistently said. “Not me!” when asked about becoming Romney’s vice-presidential pick.


Nikki Haley – Lightning rod, Nikki Haley, was once a Tea Party golden gal who lost support among the ultra conservative for her early support of Mitt Romney during the primary season. This may or may not matter in the vice-presidential pick since, the most conservative among us have finally admitted that Romney is the only game left in town.


Being a minority female gives her a couple of plusses which are offset by her possible eligibility issues as a vice-presidential pick. Haley is the child of Indian immigrants who were not yet citizens at the time of her birth. (These same issues plague vice-presidential pick hopeful, Florida Senator Marco Rubio whose parents emigrated from Cuba.)


Of course, since Barack Obama’s own eligibility issues have been a constant bone of contention among the Republican faithful since Obama’s days as an Illinois Senator, chances are the GOP would love to flaunt Haley’s possible ineligibility for the sheer fun of it. I know I would. Still, in a must-win election such as this one is most certainly, it is unlikely that a vice-presidential pick with ‘baggage’ will be considered for long.


Kelly Ayotte – Another Tea Party favorite whose name may be on short list of vice-presidential picks is New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte has developed a close personal relationship with Romney over the past months and could, if given the nod as the vice-presidential pick deliver her share of the Tea Party faithful.


On the downside of an Romney/Ayotte ticket is the fact that both are associated with Northeastern states and neither has a strong standing among Hispanics a key voting block Romney must woo if he is to defeat Barack Obama in November. Ayotte may find herself well-placed in a Romney administration, but it is doubtful that she will be the vice-presidential pick.


Mary Fallin – Speaking of baggage, Mary Fallin has more than her share. While publically espousing “family values” as Lieutenant Governor back in 1998, Fallin had a very public divorce peppered with rumors of infidelity with a bodyguard (Shades of Clintonian sexual harassment) who resigned when the inappropriate fraternization came to light. Such morality smudges on the character of a vice-presidential pick are not the kiss of death in this day and age, they are far from optimum in a vice-presidential pick.


Fallin’s voting record when she served in the United States House of Representatives can be described as extraordinarily conservative, giving her a plus in both the experience and economic savvy categories. Nevertheless, Fallin’s weaknesses outweigh her strengths as a vice-presidential pick.


Susana Martinez – Ultra cautious and just as conservative, New Mexico’s first female (and Hispanic to boot) Governor is this blogger’s go-to gal if Condi Rice says “No way, Jose” when her name comes up in the vice-presidential pick lottery. Martinez has consistently made careful policy decisions throughout her career designed to keep her political nose clean.


Martinez’s worst flaw is her belief that people who cannot help themselves must be protected by government – which might raise a few conservative eyebrows. On the other hand, Martinez’ history of leniency might garner her higher place among Hispanics who lean left.


Prior to 1995, Martinez wore the Democrat’s banner. This kind of behavior, of course, is a common sign of early inexperience and liberalism which has apparently been overcome in Martinez’ case. Like yours truly, who was formerly afflicted with a bleeding heart, Martinez is now a card-carrying Republican. Perhaps the best compliment paid to New Mexico’s Governor is that she is frequently compared to Margaret Thatcher – a sure seal of approval when it comes to a vice-presidential pick. Mitt Romney could use an Iron Lady in his administration.