Sure, it’s early. Like real early. However, that doesn’t stop the prognosticators from considering who would make a good Vice Presidential pick for the eventual Republican ticket. Politico starts off the speculation with a piece on many rising Republican stars such as Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio, Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich and New Mexico Governor-elect Susana Martinez.
The story from Politico:
The 2010 election, still visible in the rear-view mirror, has already produced a new crop of potential 2012 Republican running mates.
They haven’t actually accomplished anything yet, but that’s beside the point. The mere act of winning races in key presidential states, or adding statewide elected office to their résumés, immediately affixes them on the national radar.
By far the most-buzzed-about is newly minted Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican whose trajectory is so obvious that he was tapped to give his party’s first post-election weekly address Saturday.
Other Republicans, also elected just days ago, will likewise be closely watched by talent spotters on both sides who wonder if their next step could be the vice presidency.
The list starts with pols from big, electoral-vote-rich states: two from Ohio, Sen.-elect Rob Portman and Gov.-elect John Kasich, and Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Corbett.
There also are new faces from smaller states who’ll have to prove themselves after riding in on a wave of hype, like South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov.-elect Susana Martinez. Then there are potential sleeper picks like Wisconsin Gov.-elect Scott Walker and Oklahoma Gov.-elect Mary Fallin.
Plenty of other, previously elected Republican politicians are already the subject of this Washington parlor game. The boomlet for putting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, elected in 2009, on the top or bottom of the ticket has not abated, leading him to joke recently that the only way to stop the rumors would be for him to commit suicide.
But Tuesday’s results have suddenly broadened a field that Republicans say was destined to expand after the party’s experience in 2008, when then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was tapped by John McCain despite the fact that she was on few GOP insiders’ shortlists.
“What 2008 did was demolish any retort that says, ‘Well, that’ll never happen.’ 2008 showed us that there really is no impossible scenario,” GOP consultant Kevin Madden said.
“I think we all agree that it’s too early to speculate about these things — but that’s not going to stop any of us from doing it anyway,” Madden added. “People like Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley have regional and demographic appeal. They’re also beloved by conservatives. So before they’ve even been sworn into office, they’re going to be speculated about by the political class that’s engaged in this kind of Beltway chatter.”
Republican strategist Mike DuHaime, while offering the same it’s-too-early caveats, said anyone from Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania “has got to be good to rise to statewide office.”
That makes Rubio, Kasich, Portman and Corbett automatic players, helped by well-regarded performances in their prior offices. Rubio was speaker of the Florida state House; Kasich and Portman both were longtime House members, with Portman also serving as U.S. trade representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget; Corbett was his state’s attorney general.
Personally I am conflicted on this issue regarding Rubio. He is a dynamic figure for conservatism, however, he can do much good in the Senate given the battles happening with Barack Obama right now. The Republican “farm team,” if you will, is a talented and amazing group of leaders just waiting to be unleashed on the national stage.