It’s another four months before a decision for the VP is going to be announced. The conventional wisdom is the VP choice will be someone to help gain votes in a political demographic based on race, gender, or a key battleground state. The conventional wisdom is the VP will be one of the nominee’s 2012 primary rivals, and the selection helps unite the party and heal raw wounds inflicted during the primary process. Conventional wisdom is not always adhered to as a couple of former presidents with the same last name can attest. In April of 1988 and twelve years later in April of 2000, no one predicted a junior senator of Indiana, Dan Quayle or the CEO of Halliburton, Dick Cheney of Wyoming would be selected for VP. I think those were both excellent choices, and political conventional wisdom was not a major factor in either case.
In 1988, George H.W. Bush needed to shore up his governing deficits by choosing a social conservative voice. President Reagan could voice disagreement with Hollywood, universities. and national media portrayals of alternatives to the traditional family or women having abortions in a way that then Vice-President Bush could not. Dan Quayle provided a needed social conservative voice coming from the White House.
In 2000, George W. Bush needed to shore up his deficits with knowledge of how the inside Washington federal bureaucrats and legislators operate. Before Dick Cheney became Halliburton CEO he had served as White House Chief of Staff, US House Minority Whip, and as Secretary of Defense. This gave George W. Bush a reliable source of institutional knowledge of Washington.
One other factor is that both of these VP picks are people who had never lost a general election contest before. It is important to be someone who is relaxed, self-confident, and not in constant worry of saying something the wrong way.
So, my “thinking outside the box” VP choice is a social conservative white guy, who has never lost a general election contest, and is from a state with inconsequential electoral votes. My choice was not one of the nominee’s 2012 primary rivals. My choice won a US House seat in 1994, a US Senate seat in 1996, and won reelection to this US Senate seat in 1998 and 2004. My choice won a Governor’s seat in 2010. My choice may be helpful in getting votes for the ticket in nearby battleground states of Colorado and Iowa.
If you still have not figured out who I could possibly be talking about, then let me end the suspense. I am talking about Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. There are some who may strongly disagree with my “thinking outside the box” VP choice, and that does not bother me. In my opinion, contrary to how former campaign staffers to John McCain or John Kerry try to spin it, the running mate is not the reason one wins or loses a presidential election. The one at the top of the ticket is primarily responsible for winning or losing. Period.