The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Romney's VP pick?

There is an interesting post by William Kristol on the Weekly Standard's blog. It begins:

Erin McPike's “close examination of the [Romney] campaign's activity” at RealClearPolitics suggests four leading contenders for Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick — former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Ohio senator Rob Portman, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. McPike's article is an intelligent explanation of why these men seem to be leading the pack, with New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, and Florida senator Marco Rubio as long shots.

I read Erin McPike's post, which appeared Thursday, shortly after it was posted, and found it quite interesting. But in fact, I think that if you read it carefully, if anything she gave particular emphasis to Pawlenty and Portman, showing flaws in the others that would make them less likely. But then, Kristol continues:

Over at National Review Online, Jeffrey Anderson makes an intelligent case for Paul Ryan as the strongest pick from among them. For whatever it’s worth, I'm with Anderson, in the pro-Ryan camp. And if not Ryan, then I think my second choice would be Rubio or Jindal.

While this is really Kristol's opinion, to which he has a right, the meat of this is the next bit:

But it doesn't matter what Jeff Anderson thinks, or what I think. What matters is what Mitt Romney thinks.

And this is, of course, true. And what Erin McPike posted is certainly only her attempts to analyze what Mitt Romney might be thinking as he mulls over his choice. And, of course, it is interesting to see Kristol's speculations along the same lines, while we await Mitt Romney's decision:

Here's a clue to what Mitt Romney thinks — a clue that McPike doesn't mention, and that the media in general seem to be glossing over. Ann Romney — who presumably is better informed about her husband's thinking than the rest of us — said this week, "We've been looking at [picking a woman], and I love that option as well."

Yes, Ann Romney's comments are meaningful. But of course, we know what happened four years ago with Sarah Palin, so it had better be a woman who can handle the task, and Erin McPike mentioned Kelly Ayotte's qualifications. But Kristol thinks differently:

Who's the woman? It could be Kelly Ayotte or New Mexico governor Susana Martinez. But as much as I like both of them, I suspect Mitt Romney will see them as risky picks, lacking sufficient high-level government experience to unequivocally answer the question of whether they'd be qualified to take over. No, the woman Ann Romney likely has in mind is Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state.

Now frankly, I agree that she would be a great choice. If you read my past posts, I thought she'd even be a great choice for the Presidency. But the fact is, she has made it abundantly clear that she does not want the job. So this is, on Kristol's part, seriously wishful thinking. He continues:

Rice wowed the crowd — and seemed to impress Mitt Romney, who was standing beside her — when she spoke in a featured role at a Romney campaign event two weeks ago in Park City, Utah. Rice is qualified, would be a poised (if novice) candidate, and would complement Romney in terms of area of expertise, gender (obviously!), and life experience. Rice offers an unusual combination of being at once a reassuring pick (she served at the highest levels of the federal government for eight years) and an exciting one.

What's more, while the other VP possibilities have decent but middling favorable/unfavorable ratings (and are mostly unknown), Rice's favorable/unfavorable, according to a Rasmussen poll a couple of months ago, is a pretty staggering 66-24. Rice has said she's not interested — but Dick Cheney said he wasn't interested at this point in 2000.

Somehow, I believe Condoleezza Rice's statement of non-interest. Yet Kristol concludes:

Let me be clear: I'm not advocating the selection of Rice. I'm just reading the tea leaves, and the biggest tea leaf out there right now is Ann Romney's comment. It makes sense to take Ann Romney seriously. Cherchez la femme!

I just think Kristol seriously misreads Ann Romney. And perhaps his “I'm not advocating the selection of Rice” is meant seriously, but I tend to doubt it. For my part, I'd certainly be happy if Mitt Romney picked her, and she chose to run. But I don't think it's likely to happen. If Ann Romney's words mean anything, it pushes forward Kelly Ayotte, who seems eminently qualified (see Erin McPike's post).

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