Rick Santorum Would Be A Terrible VP Choice for Mitt Romney in 2012

With the news today that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign for president, the question among political pundits turned to whether or not he would be a good choice as Mitt Romney's VP in the general election.

Even though Santorum competed admirably in this primary race, he would be a terrible running mate for Mitt Romney in the general election against President Obama.

The biggest problem facing Mitt Romney heading into the general election is the widening gender gap between he and the president. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 19 points among women voters. Sen. Santorum is very pro life, even in cases of rape and incest and has also voiced his concern about women serving in combat. So putting Santorum on the ticket would only exacerbate Romney's problem among women.

Santorum also does not appeal to independents who will decide the election in the fall. In a March CBS/New York Times poll, both Santorum and Romney trailed the president among independent voters by eight points and 10 points respectively. Calling the president a snob for wanting to send every child to college and comparing homosexuality to bestiality is red meat for the conservative base of the republican party, but it is a turn off to independent voters who want to hear ideas on how to move the country forward, not extreme partisan rhetoric.

Perhaps the strongest argument for Santorum being on the ticket is that he would help alleviate the concern that many conservatives have about a Romney candidacy. But even this argument does not pass the smell test. Santorum does not fire up the base like the superstars Marco Rubio and Sarah Palin. In fact, among “very conservative” voters in the primary, he lost to Mitt Romney by six points. Even among evangelicals, he only beat Romney by three points.

Considering Santorum cannot bring women or independent voters to the ticket and not to mention that he could not even get his own base to rally around him in the primaries, Romney would gain absolutely nothing by putting him on the ticket. He would be wise to look elsewhere.