The GOP vice presidential selection has devolved into a game of political hot potato which is finally nearly over. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, a former member of the House, former U.S. Trade Representative, and former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, has proven a serious contender for Romney’s ticket.
Portman’s candidacy for VP would have serious political ramifications for the November election and the future of the union. As a resident of the state of Ohio, and having been represented by him in the House, I can say with certainty that Portman is Romney’s only logical choice. I say this for two reasons: (1) Portman comes from an area of the country that Romney cannot afford to lose this November, and (2) Portman’s experience and record in Washington are extensive and accomplished.
It has been said, “As Ohio goes, so does the Presidency.” The state’s diverse demography and economy essentially make it a miniature America (an imperium in imperio, if you will). When reviewing Portman’s electoral history, both for his district and in statewide elections, you will see that he is very popular in his home state (he won Ohio’s vacant Senate seat with nearly 60% of the popular vote in 2010). Portman has proven that he can appeal to a large, heterogeneous group, something Romney desperately needs. He would also assure Ohio’s support for the GOP this election cycle (and most likely other Midwestern states), which, while not the largest, is hardly insubstantial. It is paramount that Romney considers this because his own home region will most likely reject him at the ballot.
Furthermore, Portman’s political career is second to few in Washington. While there has been a coup against “the establishment” within the conservative movement, Portman’s record on tax reform while serving in the House should galvanize the conservative base this November, and bring some credibility that Romney will follow through on his many, many fiscal promises. Portman has been successful in working with Democrats in Congress to enact legislation while retaining his conservative principles. As VP, Portman would have the potential usher in a new era of political civility that Washington is currently bereft of. He has worked to gain the respect and admiration of a vast network of people both locally and federally.
The question should not be whether Romney chooses Portman, but rather: Will Portman say yes?