Romney-Cain in 2012!

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Over at The Washington Post, Ed Rogers (a former Haley Barbour business partner) proposes an interesting idea: “Huntsman and Bachmann should have a meeting of the minds and offer themselves as a Huntsman-led ticket before the Iowa caucuses next year.”

This would be creative. I like the way he’s thinking.

And it got me thinking about possible pairings between establishment favorites and Tea Party conservatives. The beauty of selecting a running mate is the opportunity to build bridges and heal old wounds. Sometimes this is about geographical balance — but more and more, it’s about message.

One possible match that is beginning to grow on me is the notion of a Romney-Cain ticket. (Stick with me here). Both are successful businessmen, so, in a way, this would be sort of like what Clinton-Gore did in 1992 when — instead of seeking to “balance” the ticket with an older Democrat from the North — Democrats doubled-down on the young, Southern thing. Cain would balance the ticket geographically and philosophically. But the primary message would be obvious: Romney-Cain are proven business leaders who can fix the economy. Period.

… I’m not suggesting the two team up now. But if Romney goes on to win the nomination (not an absurd possibility), there is something about it I like. Conservatives who are skeptical of Romney (or even hostile towards him) might be wooed to the ticket by the exciting Herman Cain. Romney would bring the establishment money and highly-professional operative team to the table, while Cain would bring excitement, energy, and authenticity.

There would, of course, also be the historical angle of electing the first black Republican vice president. And unlike McCain’s selection of Palin (which did inject the ticket with much-needed energy and enthusiasm) — Cain will have the advantage of having been through the ringer via running for president, himself. Palin was air-dropped in the middle of a presidential race, with little time to ramp-up. Conversely, Cain is making his mistakes now — when the stakes aren’t as high — and growing as a campaigner.

It could happen. Romney-Cain in 2012!

Matt K. Lewis