As most remaining vies for Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick duck from the national spotlight with carefully manicured declarations of loyalty to their locales, Rob Portman remains tellingly vague.
Junior United States Senator Portman is the right-of-center guy next door from the contentious political battleground state of Ohio. His stance on divisive issues -- abortion, health care, same sex marriage, tax policy -- are by-the-book conservative, and his undramatic demeanor has won the affection of political puns on both sides of Ohio’s line.
Portman has been touted as “safe” and “steady,” but mostly, blatantly and resoundingly, “boring.”
The Portman Pros: As VP, Portman will be an extension of Romney’s megaphone declaring jobs and economic policy as paramount in priority. With a background in Bush’s economic policymaking as Trade Representative and Director of Management and Budget, and a stalwart supporter of entrepreneurship based on familial experience, Portman will speak to Tea Party conservatives as a personal example of capitalism gon’ right. He boasts increasing numbers in Ohio’s job creation under Governor John Kasich and a decades-long consistently conservative voting record.
The Portman Cons: Portman’s aesthetics add zero diversity to Romney’s campaign; a side of Romney already tainted by his recent NAACP embarrassment. In a country where the white majority is hurriedly diminishing, and half of the population without ever having a presidential look-alike is angrily tapping their ceilings, Portman as Romney’s VP pick is a polite ignore.
Portman’s stances are identical to Romney’s, making him, to repeat, the safest choice for VP. With Portman as VP, there will be a collective voice of backlash against hot-button issues like same-sex marriage, the Obama administration’s healthcare plan, but a giant plus for attention steered to the benefits of individual liberties. Portman’s name on the ticket will strengthen Romney’s reputation as a “jobs-guy” and more straightforwardly pin Obama as the “socialist.”