The best pick for Romney vice president? The one no one's talking about.
Speculation over Mitt Romney's pick for vice president repeats the same few names. But there’s another VP Mr. Romney should consider, someone who could help him with the Jewish vote and gain him support in a crucial swing state: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.
The Romney campaign announced Tuesday that it will alert Mitt Romney's supporters of his pick for vice president via smartphone app, renewing speculation about a potential VP and Mr. Romney’s timeline for announcing the decision.Skip to next paragraph
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The great mentioning game for the Republican vice presidential slot has featured the same few names over and over: Tim Pawlenty, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mitch Daniels, Rob Portman, even Condoleezza Rice. But there’s a candidate that Romney should be considering, someone who could help him with the Jewish vote, gain him support in a crucial swing state, and give him an exciting surprise selection bounce: Eric Cantor, the majority leader of the House of Representatives.
But Mr. Cantor, the strongest pick for Romney, isn’t even listed on predictwise’s otherwise exhaustive set of 26 possibilities, which even includes such unimaginable choices as Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul.
Why reach way back into the obscurity of the House of Representatives to Cantor, passing over so many able governors and senators, most with much bigger national name recognition?
For starters, Cantor is sharp, and knows all the major national issues. Picking a governor always involves a steep learning curve as he or she gets a crash course in national and international issues. There would be no Palin moments with Cantor. Sunday talk-show firing lines come easy to Cantor.
At the same time, like Sarah Palin, Cantor would be almost a completely fresh face for most Americans, and a young and attractive face at that. He’s got nerd-chic, and that may be just the right image for economic hard times.
Cantor also comes from a crucial swing state, Virginia, and his name on the GOP ticket would make it a lot easier for Romney to carry the Old Dominion. Romney almost has to have Virginia in order to get to the White House, and it is well within reach. Cantor would probably seal the deal. And having a Southerner will help throughout the region, particularly for Romney, who did so poorly in the southern Republican primaries in both 2008 and 2012.
Cantor has also shown an ability to raise money on the national scale, which will come in handy, as Romney will surely reject public financing in the fall.
And Cantor’s been tested and investigated. He seems clean as a whistle, and that is a priceless asset in a running mate today.
Then, there’s the coup de grace of the Cantor candidacy: the Jewish vote. American Jews are overwhelmingly leaning for Obama, even after all the strains in the US-Israel relationship during Obama’s first term. I doubt Cantor could get Romney anywhere near a majority of the Jewish vote. But in the crucial state of Florida, where Jewish voters comprise a vital bloc, Cantor’s heritage could swing a lot of votes.