Taking Mitt Romney's Measure
Now that the dust has cleared in the messy quest for a Republican presidential nominee, presumptive winner
To lead the process of selecting and vetting potential running mates, Romney has selected a longtime political aide,
If that is the limit of her role, all well and good. Choosing a running mate, however, also requires judgments that only the presidential nominee can and should make. The presidential nominee first and foremost must see the running mate as truly qualified to be president if fate should dictate. The person picked must also be able to carry out the greatly expanded responsibilities that have fallen to the vice presidency over the last two decades.
These considerations require personal compatibility with the presidential nominee, to continue his policies if succession is required, and the background and capacity to govern. Hence, how he chooses a running mate, the first major decision a presidential nominee must make, is a window into his own maturity and sense of responsibility to the country.
History does not offer a foolproof blueprint for making this decision, but it can be a guide to what to do and not do. Every presidential nominee mouths the cliche that the object is to pick the individual best qualified to be president, and some have tried to make such a choice. But many have thumbed their noses at that standard with transparently political selections, with an eye to winning the approaching election but with little regard to the ability to govern.
The choice need not be either-or.
Many running mates have brought both the ability to govern and to deliver electoral votes, or talent as a strong campaigner. One such was
On the other hand, LBJ's Republican opponent in 1964,
In 2000, Republican nominee
All this recommends to Romney a careful and responsible running-mate selection in the ample time he now has to make it. He also has an opportunity to demonstrate that he has the presidential stature that seems to have eluded him on the long primary path to the
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Taking Mitt Romney's Measure | Politics
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