Rob Portman, is a lawyer and junior U.S. Senator from Ohio, but should he be the Republican vice presidential nominee? Portman is a frontrunner among those being considered. But who is he?
In his personal life, Portman is a Republican who married a Democrat -- Jane Dudley. Dudley became a Republican when her husband agreed to become a Methodist. The couple has three children. Portman is a man who has put his family first only to have his wife say he had to serve his country. Portman is a contradiction: Serious and detailed in business but wildly adventurous in his recreation.
“Nice guy” and “integrity” are words allies use to describe him. A conservative on both social and fiscal issues, Portman has a reputation as a, “Republican you can talk to.” He takes his job seriously but is also just as likely to discuss matters with his opponents as he is with his allies, not to compromise his efforts but rather to find common ground. He is known to have discussed his decision to run for the Senate with friends on both sides of the aisle. He takes strong stands and leaves no misunderstandings in his positions. As such, he is generally trusted by both Democrats and Republicans.
Rob Portman is no stranger to Congress or the White House. He served from 1993 to 2005 in the House representing Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. During elections, he never received less than 70% of the popular vote. He co-authored 12 bills signed by President Clinton but took the most pride in the Welfare Reform Act and the Balanced Budget. Other bills included IRS reforms giving more rights to taxpayers, expanding 401k pensions, curbing unfunded mandates to states, and swapping Costa Rica’s debt for the preservation of rain forest. In the Senate, he was selected by Minority Leader McConnell as the Republican representative in the budget negotiations.
Under President Bush, Portman headed the Office of Management and Budget and served as the U.S. Trade Representative. He was responsible for the first successful suit against China for unfair trade practices and frequently served as liaison between the White House and Congress.
But is Portman a viable vice presidential candidate? Reread his resume. He has experience in both houses of Congress. He is an expert in budget and commerce. He has the ability to talk to both sides of the political aisle. He has integrity. He is conservative. Portman might just be the key that can bring the power houses of the Democrats, Republicans, and the Tea Party to common ground and bring this country together.