Opinion

The GOP needs a strong VP to defeat Obama

Photo of Ford O'Connell and Steve Pearson
Ford O'Connell and Steve Pearson
Contributor

Democrats and many journalists continue to argue that the 2012 GOP presidential field is flawed and weak. There are two reasons why that view is wrong.

First, perfection in politics is a myth: There really is no such thing as a perfect presidential candidate. Candidates are human, and humans are inherently flawed.

Second, in an election where the economy is the top issue, how can a field that boasts former CEOs, several candidates with executive experience and a current governor who possesses the best jobs record in the nation over the last several years be considered weak? It can’t, particularly when these candidates are looking to unseat a president whose job approval rating is hovering in the high 30s.

Obviously, there is more at play than candidates’ records. As Shelby Steele notes, Obama’s “presidency flatters America to a degree that no white Republican can hope to compete with. He literally validates the American democratic experiment.” Nowhere is this more evident than in Gallup’s most recent presidential polling (released Aug. 22), which shows that, despite all that has gone wrong under his watch, Obama is still running even with the GOP frontrunners. Hope does spring eternal, even if patience wears thin.

As long as President Obama and congressional Democrats continue to cling to their problematic economic policies of tax, borrow and spend, America is unlikely to see strong domestic job growth in the near future, and it is certainly not going to see a dramatic improvement in the economy over the next 14 months. Given our country’s dismal economic outlook, we agree with political prognosticator Alan Abramowitz, who posits that the 2012 battle for the White House will likely be an extremely close election that could be decided by a handful of battleground states.

So how does the GOP unseat a president who has strong appeal among a broad swath of the American electorate despite the weak economy? By selecting a presidential nominee with executive experience who will keep the debate focused on jobs and the economy.

Unfortunately, selecting such a candidate will not by itself lead to Obama’s defeat in 2012. According to Republican strategist Mike Murphy, “The 2012 election is shaping up as a battle between economics and demographics,” and “The demographics of a changing America might just re-elect [Obama].” Three groups seem to be keeping President Obama’s second-term hopes afloat: Hispanics, women and independents.

If the eventual GOP nominee is going to unseat Obama, he or she will need a running mate who can make inroads with these groups, particularly in the battleground states of Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. There are several potentially strong VP candidates who could do this, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

But what looks good on paper could quickly crumble under Team Obama’s extensive opposition research arm, so the GOP nominee must choose wisely. Otherwise, Obama will likely get four more years.

Ford O’Connell and Steve Pearson are the co-founders of CivicForumPAC and advisors to conservative candidates on Internet outreach, communications and campaign strategy.

  • Jmanuola

    As much as like Rubio, we know very little about him.  It reminds me of a little known Senator from Illinois who is presently pretending to be President of the United States.  We also have unresolved issues about what a “natural born citizen” is.  No matter how much either side of that issue thinks they know the answers about Art. 2 Sect. 1, Cl. 5 of the Constitution, the Court has NEVER fully defined the term.  The only Supreme Court case which ever even mentions it, Minor v. Happersett, admits to there being doubts regarding the full scope of what a natural born citizen is.  This MUST get resolved or we will be facing some serious issues in the future.

  • Guest

    rubio vp
    or carla fiorina

  • Anonymous

    How ’bout electing candidates who wont pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to abide by or usurp! Endless, non-declared, un-winnable wars and an invasive anti-privacy DoJ has got to go. Paul/Johnson 2012

  • Anonymous

    The GOP needs a strong VP to defeat Obama???  No they don’t!  Give me a break. Obama is beating himself – he requires no assistance.   Voters don’t give a rat’s backside who the VP candidate is, other than it’s someone who isn’t deemed entirely unfit to govern, if an unlikely event should take place.  Besides, I think you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself even talking about a VP nominee at this point in time.  Additionally, I think it would be a horrendous mistake, removing any of the enormously talented people from their positions as Governors as it is becoming increasingly clear that a lot of our problems are going to be solved at the State and Local levels, due to the fact that both parties in Washington are spineless and tone-deaf.  We need Marco Rubio in the Senate, not reduced to irrelevancy in the VP’s mansion.  If the nominee is a Conservative – select a Conservative as running mate, not someone to ‘balance the ticket’.  That is phony and transparent.  I see some typical patterns of GOP ‘campaign strategy’ emerging that will be disingenuous and counter-productive.

    • MJHBAMA

      In this case, since it looks as if Obama will get the nomination uncontested, we know who will be his Vice-President.  Four more years of Obama is frightening.  Four more years of Biden is unconscionable.  Maybe speculation about the office is a good thing.  I like Marco Rubio but I don’t think he will accept the job if picked.  Not because of his need in the Senate because, remember, the VP is President of the Senate and can vote a tie-breaker so he can play a major role.  But because, and this is my impression from what Rubio says, he is sensible enough that he doesn’t feel ready to take the chair in the Oval Office should the need arise.

      I’m sure though that the GOP nominee will have to have someone of either the opposite sex or from a different ethnic group (a combination of both would be ideal)  just to placate those who vote with their prejudices (or feelings if you prefer) rather than their knowledge.  I do agree with you, 7N, it is phony and transparent yet millions of Americans won’t see it that way.

      Personally a Perry/Bachmann (or reversed) ticket wouldn’t upset me at all.

      • Anonymous

        I’ll respectfully agree to disagree about Obama having any chance at being re-elected. The independents that were the swing voters that got Obama elected are now opposed to him by a better than 60 to 40 split. The youth vote is disillusioned. The Latino vote being a critical factor in a Presidential election, is a myth of the media at large and the Associated Press, along with some very out of touch ‘eggheads’ behind the beltway, who are either so lazy they haven’t bothered to study Census reports or the analysis of them done by the Pew Hispanic Center. Assuming a growth rate trend of Hispanic voting registration, it is still a long way off, decades in fact, that Hispanics could even theoretically influence with any great magnitude, a Presidential or Congressional election, other than in the districts that have been carved out by Democrats. The third leg of the stool is Black voters, which, although they will still vote for a Democrat and a Black candidate by a wide margin, will still trend by anywhere from 5 to 10 percentage points away from Democrats. Working Blacks are in small numbers at least, re-considering their historical alliance with the Democratic party – especially since the jobless numbers and the wage depreciation are hitting the states and neighborhoods where they live in a considerably disproportionate numbers. Finally, the far Left, the ‘Progressives’. Yes, the Unions will drive their members to the poll in buses or with a Bull Whip if needed, but beyond that, disappointed liberals become disinterested in elections. Just a slight erosion in all of the above segments of the Democrat base spells inevitable doom for Obama and Senate Democrats. Should Tea Party members and Conservatives treat the next 12 months as though the game was won and it’s garbage time? Absolutely not. We’ve got the opposition on the run and we need to keep up the pressure – no argument there.
        If I’m cajoled into stating what I think is the only sensible scenario in terms of a VP nominee, I’ve got to pick Guiliani. That’s right, Guiliani! He’s not quite my brand of ‘social conservative’, I’ll admit, but the man has a hell of a lot of gravitas, he has integrity in spades and he is a decent, honorable fellow. He also will respectfully put his best foot forward even when there may be areas of policy where he and the Prez nominee don’t see eye-to-eye. He’s also the kind of sensible and take charge kind of man that would step in in a crisis and take the helm, demonstrating competency that will be respected around the world. I would also say, that even though he hasn’t written extensively like Gingrich, I would rate Guiliani’s intellectual at a level equal to Gingrich and I would rate his street smarts a cut above. Finally, I can’t join you regarding the imperative for a female or minority VP choice. I’d be happy with either, but if you’re trying to pull the ‘feeling’ voters into your net, don’t waste your time – you won’t get those. Those will always go to the Democrat side of the ballot.
        Subject: [thedailycaller] Re: The GOP needs a strong VP to defeat Obama

      • Anonymous

        Latino vote being a critical factor in a Presidential election, is a
        myth of the media at large and the Associated Press, along with some
        very out of touch ‘eggheads’ behind the beltway, who are either so lazy
        they haven’t bothered to study Census reports or the analysis of them
        done by the Pew Hispanic Center.  Assuming a growth rate trend of
        Hispanic voting registration, it is still a long way off, decades in
        fact, that Hispanics could even theoretically influence with any great
        magnitude, a Presidential or Congressional election, other than in the
        districts that have been carved out by Democrats.  The third leg of the
        stool is Black voters, which, although they will still vote for a
        Democrat and a Black candidate by a wide margin, will still trend by
        anywhere from 5 to 10 percentage points away from Democrats.  Working
        Blacks are in small numbers at least, re-considering their historical
        alliance with the Democratic party – especially since the jobless
        numbers and the wage depreciation are hitting the states and
        neighborhoods where they live in a considerably disproportionate
        numbers.  Finally, the far Left, the ‘Progressives’.  Yes, the Unions
        will drive their members to the poll in buses or with a Bull Whip if
        needed, but beyond that, disappointed liberals become disinterested in
        elections.  Just a slight erosion in all of the above segments of the
        Democrat base spells inevitable doom for Obama and Senate Democrats. 
        Should Tea Party members and Conservatives treat the next 12 months as
        though the game was won and it’s garbage time?  Absolutely not.  We’ve
        got the opposition on the run and we need to keep up the pressure – no
        argument there.

        If I’m cajoled into stating what I think is the only sensible scenario
        in terms of a VP nominee, I’ve got to pick Guiliani.  That’s right,
        Guiliani!  He’s not quite my brand of ‘social conservative’, I’ll admit,
        but the man has a hell of a lot of gravitas, he has integrity in spades
        and he is a decent, honorable fellow.  He also will respectfully put
        his best foot forward even when there may be areas of policy where he
        and the Prez nominee don’t see eye-to-eye.  He’s also the kind of
        sensible and take charge kind of man that would step in in a crisis and
        take the helm, demonstrating competency that will be respected around
        the world.  I would also say, that even though he hasn’t written
        extensively like Gingrich, I would rate Guiliani’s intellectual at a
        level equal to Gingrich and I would rate his street smarts a cut above. 
        Finally, I can’t join you regarding the imperative for a female or
        minority VP choice.  I’d be happy with either, but if you’re trying to
        pull the ‘feeling’ voters into your net, don’t waste your time – you
        won’t get those.  Those will always go to the Democrat side of the
        ballot.
         

  • Anonymous

    Perry/Rubio.  My dream team from day one.

    • notalone

      Many, many, many agree.

  • Pingback: Aug. 26, 2011: Contact Report – Bearing Drift: Virginia's Conservative Voice

  • http://twitter.com/conservative__ conservative

    Perry/Haley!

  • Anonymous

    I’m just looking for two principled conservatives unassociated with the go-along-to-get-along-compromise-at-any-price-RINO-establishment.  And as far beating Obama is concerned – at this point a ticket consisting of Pat Paulsen’s old toupe and a Dick Nixon bobble head doll would do the trick.
     
    d(^_^)bhttp://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/“Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”