Romney/"X?": An Open Letter To Governor Willard M. Romney

By Martin A. Knight Posted in | | | Comments (44) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Good day again, Governor Romney,

Since I wrote you last it would seem as if you've found your sea legs - the cutting down on the negative ads and running to your strengths seems to be working (who'd have thunk it, eh?) That said, that was a very nice win in Michigan, and in retrospect, it would seem that the rather unconventional decision to step it down in South Carolina to go for the gold in Nevada was something of a very clever move. So now you're heading towards Super Tuesday with the highest number of delegates, raw votes and the most cash. Couple all that with apparently very good Florida numbers, you're looking like you very well could win this thing.

You still have a long way to go. But well done sir, if you don't mind my saying so. Very well done indeed.

All that said, let me get straight to it - let's talk about the guy (or gal) you're picking to be your Vice-President. You need to pick somebody who will balance your ticket in terms of geography and electorate appeal, experience in those areas of policy where you're perceived to be weak, and just as importantly, someone that makes your ticket one that the overwhelming majority of Republicans who still find it hard to trust you would want to vote for. By and large Republicans continue to place a great deal of stock in the Reagan Administration aphorism that "personnel is policy" - the guy you pick to be your Vice-President is an excellent opportunity for you to close the deal.

The good thing is that you seem to have figured this out - the Judicial Advisory Council you've put together is a case in point; I can't say that it's anything less than a seriously major upgrade from the Governor's Council you had to contend with in Massachusetts, and the names on it are very pleasant reading for any Republican who believes in the curtailing of judicial activism and the production of legislation by unelected men and women in black robes.

But let's go back to who "X?" would have to be on the Romney-"X?" ticket. First of all, I am of the opinion that it would be a mistake to pick all but perhaps two of the guys who are (or were) your rivals for the nomination;

[1] Fred Thompson: is not likely to happen - like I said before, it would be better if he were to top the ticket anyway. However, his presence on the ticket would shore up your credentials with all three legs of the GOP base and there is a chance that it would unite and perhaps even excite, at least, his sadly too-small if passionate fan base. This is a running mate I would have urged you to seriously consider though, that is, if I thought he'd be willing to leave his wife and young children to be the second name on the ticket. Note however that all the evidence so far points to the fact that his campaign skills leave much to be desired - his failure to gain traction despite his nearly pristine conservative record in South Carolina in a GOP Primary is not reassuring in that regard. It's all very well to favor substance over style - and Thompson has substance in spades, but a lack of style ensures that the substance never gets any of the attention it deserves.

[2] Sam Brownback: has already endorsed John McCain but that could be smoothed away by the reminder that Senators tend to stick together. That said, a Romney-Brownback ticket would be nothing to sneeze at, for more Republicans at least. Social conservatives would turn out for such a ticket as the Senator more than adequately shores up the ticket with his own stellar record on the social issue side of things. Another plus is that his fiscal record, while not particularly spectacular, is actually quite solid. The only problem is that he does not add any major strength/experience in the area of national security. However, this is not a fatal flaw. If anything, it is his endorsement of McCain that poses the major argument against giving him a call and offering him the role of "X?". I would recommend against it as a first choice though because I think "X?" should be someone else.

Senators Jim DeMint, Jeff Sessions of Alabama or John Cornyn of Texas were my suggestions in my previous letter and I think any one of the three would make a fine Vice President. While they do not provide any experience on the national security front, all are solid conservatives with sterling records that would add major heft to a Romney-"X?" ticket from a conservative's perspective and they all provide a great deal of regional balance and more or less solid assurance that the South would be painted a solid Red on Election Day 2008. However, considering how rare it is to have solid conservative Senators fighting the good fight in the far too collegial world of the United States Senate, most Republicans would be loathe to lose them and take a chance on their Governors (all Republicans thank goodness) adding yet another invertebrate to the Senate.

So, upon further thought, I thought perhaps being a little unconventional was called for. Three names came into my head at the time. Michael Steele, Julius (Ceaser) Watts and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. The argument against Michael Steele would be that he has never won an election on his own, but I have no doubt that a Romney-Steele ticket could indeed become something of a juggernaut to contend with for the Democrats, especially if Hillary wins their nomination and declines to select Barack Obama to be her Vice-President (perhaps for fear or being outshone on convention night). Steele, unfortunately, would not bring along his very Democratic state. This last does not apply to JC Watts - though not necessarily because of him; being that Oklahoma is pretty solidly Red at the Presidential level. However, Watts' years in the House gives him a credibility that Steele lacks as a man who has faced the voters (albeit on much friendlier territory) time and again and easily ended up being sent back into public office each time. Another person who would make a very fine Vice-President is the state of Tennessee's Marsha Blackburn. Ignore the fact that she (understandably) defected from you to back a candidate from her state and focus instead on the fact that she is one of the very best the GOP has to offer in all of Congress - consider the fact that back in Tennessee she was at the forefront of the fight against a Republican Governor's attempts to enact a state income tax, that she's as socially conservative as the day is long, and that she, by all accounts, exudes competence and intelligence out of every pore.

Either one of these three would be excellent choices to be your "X?". But they all lack national security credentials and experience, and under the circumstances, with troops on the field in Afghanistan and Iraq, this is a vulnerability in an area that is a Republican strong suit in what still doesn't look like it's going to be a good year for the GOP.

So, being a bit more unconventional, I thought some more and came up with another name. He is a guy who lives up Virginia right now - has oodles of national security experience and all indications are that he is a social conservative. His fiscal views are unknown largely because they have been irrelevant in his long (almost forty year) career of wearing the nation's uniform - an olive green uniform, by the way, so he's a United States Marine (being that there's no such thing as an former Marine). However, since that's where you're strong that's not much of a problem, I'd think. He wanted to continue serving his country but certain complications came up and he was prevented from doing so.

He might be up to continue serving his country though, in a somewhat different capacity. I mean, he may not be interested in being a Senator. But being a Vice-President is not exactly the same thing; he gets to support his men and women on the field, and by his mere presence tweak some noses in the Senate while he's at it - something I'm sure Jeff Sessions perfectly understands. What do you think of a Romney-Pace ticket, Governor?

Personally, I think it's something you should look into.

I am honored to remain,

Sincerely Yours,
Martin A. Knight

Good reading Martin.

I've heard some argue against Michael Steel because he lost, but considering the OREO incident and Chuck Schumer's underhanded and blatantly illegal search of his credit history, I don't think the libs would want to dwell too long on the WHYS of why he lost. I would love to see J.C. Watts chosen as his Veep, because I would love to see J.C. Watts as POTUS some day. He should probably run and win the Okie governorship first though. What about Condi? I've thought for a long, long time that conservatives would elect the first black President, and we're gaining more and more fine candidates everytime due to the simple fact that capitalism is colorblind.

America stands for bold colors!

Tim Schieferecke

and all names I could get behind to support.

aka "the guy who DIDN'T screw up Katrina".

Romney/Barbour would have appeal in the South, the Midwest, the West, and the "sagebrush states".

That would be my dream ticket.

Romney/Palin would be my second choice.

I'm not on the band wagon for Romney. I'm still digesting Fred's withdrawal and trying to sort through the chaff and wheat on McCain and Romney. Thankfully, Huckabee seems to have passed as a realistic option.

My gut tells me that we'll be better served by Romney, but this is mainly because I have years of irritation to deal with on the part of John McCain, whereas I can at least think fairly calmly on a Romney candidacy.

I like all of your suggestions.

I would like to see the GOP do something bold and nominate a competent woman or black leader such as you have mentioned.

I cannot think of a better way to 1) undercut Obama and Hillary's appeal to minorities and women and 2) take concrete steps to dissolve the GOP's (undeserved) reputation of being anti-women/minority than to nominate as VP someone who is both rock solid and smart.

I doubt Hillary/Obama would select the other as VP. America is ready for a woman or black President, but the combination I think would decrease the chances of their success.

The greatest single cause of Atheism today is Christians who profess Jesus with their lips & then go and deny him by their lifestyle. That's what an unbelieving world simply finds..unbelievable -Brennan Manning

... in that order for me ...


If You Liked George Bush's "New Tone™", You're Gonna LOOOOVE John McCain's "Bipartisanship™" ...

Neiter one could choose the other as a running mate.


Zero military experience.

That just isn't safe.

Americans have never elected a ticket with zero military experience.

Wes Clark or Chuck Hagel would be smarter choices for Hillary.

Watch Chuck Hagel. He's being very coy about his future plans. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a tentative deal with the Hillraiser herself. (I'd call her "Pinhead" but I doubt anyone would get that reference.)

He has been on her bandwagon for a long time, and in her ever calculating way will figure that she needs to shore up her military credentials.

Hillary might have to rebuild her bridges to the black community, and what better way to do that and pander to the center than by nominating a relatively centrist, young, black man from the South? I heard Ford speak at Washington and Lee Mock Convention ( and of all the Democrats who spoke, he most impressed me - me, a FredHead. (Not enough to vote for him, of course.) Harold Ford is Barack Obama, except Barack won in a blue state and Ford lost in a red state. If Ford ran in Illinois and Obama had run in Tennessee, we would be seeing Ford for President instead of Obama.

Ford is far to the right of Obama

Ford is far to the right of Obama

... But Ford is a Blue Dog, does that fly at the National ticket level with the Dem hard-cores?

Former Fredhead, Current McCainiac

It is not hard to notice that most of your suggestions were actually adopted, and Romney has benefited beautifully. His VP choice has to be everything you said it should be. I am going to look more into what Pace would bring to the table. Of course, there is always the matter of Romney winning this thing first, but Tuesday will tell that tale. I can't wait.

Go ahead, make your jokes, Mr. Jokey... Joke-maker. But let me hit you with some knowledge. Quit now.

-White Goodman

Pat Toomey perhaps?

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

Engler? Not a chance... his final term as Governor he was MUCH more concerned with HIS next job than the state's best interests.

Despite my approval of both the NAM and CFG, I think the Republican nominee would be ill advised to select either.

If people thought Fred was bad---look out

...other than the fact that he won three terms as governor in a liberal blue state, running as a conservative.

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

And I like Kyl and I like Giuliani. And Blackburn. All good VP picks.

I think in an ideal world it will be someone a little edgy because Mitt could use some edges, and maybe not a senator.

My choices would be the following 2:

1.) Mark Sanford: Governor of SC did not endorse anyone and is one of the FEW politicians out there who is actually a conservative. He also happens to be a southerner. Therefore, his appeal would be to help southernors decide to stick with the republican party and to convince true conservatives that Romney is, in fact, a conservative. He's also a young and articulate guy with a great record and will probably be our party's nominee in 2012 if we don't win in 2008.

2.) Condaleeza Rice: If Romney's strength is economic issues, his weakness is foreign policy experience. From a demographic standpoint, he would be running against either a woman or a black man. Condi would help him with both. She also is one of the few members of the Bush administration who always gets high favorable ratings.

There's too much ammo there for the Dems to exploit a la Iraq and the perceived failings of the Bush administration.

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

either. Instead of changing the state department, it changed her.

I've lost a lot of respect for her since watching her morph at State.

I can't see her leading this country as VP or POTUS.

Regardless of who wins on our side, we have got to get someone at State who believes America's interests come first and who can either use their supposed diplomatic skill to outmaneuver the partisans in the State Department or who can crack heads - someone like John Bolton.

The greatest single cause of Atheism today is Christians who profess Jesus with their lips & then go and deny him by their lifestyle. That's what an unbelieving world simply finds..unbelievable -Brennan Manning

but as I recall she has shot down any possibility of becoming a veep.

The big problem with Rice is that, well, she's just not all that competent. I don't think her career with the Bush administration is anything too spectacular, myself. I like her as a personality well enough, but I'm just not the biggest fan professionally.

moderates and independents Romney will need to win and election. Pace would be too controversial. I don't think Romney wants to alienate the press further. Don't mess with the gays.

Vote for Romney; his family is better than yours.

Alienating the press should be a goal in the general election. The press are going to play up the inevitability of the Dems nominee anyway, so trying to court them is a waste of time. And why should a Republican (and somewhat conservative) candidate worry about alienating the gay vote? The point is to get the conservatives (all 3/4 types) excited and rally the reluctant conservatives (independents) to the cause.

I apologize for the overuse of parenthesis.

The Chad

"Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream." ~ Rush Limbaugh

May I say Blackburn is a superb choice. If the Governor is the nominee, I hope she makes his very short list. Inspired idea!

Former Fredhead, Current McCainiac

J.C. Watts served on the House Armed Services Committee for eight years. He co-authored legislation that created the House Committee on Homeland Security, and then he served on that committee. He served in the House from 1995 to 2002, and is former chairman of the Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the majority party in the House. He’s 50 years old. Among other activities, he currently serves on the board of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He's critical of the GOP’s presidential candidates because they "don't show up" for black voters:

Republicans want to say we reach out. But what we do instead is 60 days before an election, we'll spend some money on black radio and TV or buy an ad in Ebony and Jet, and that's our outreach. People read through that.

Here's a link to a video of Watts. We could do a lot worse than this guy as the vice-presidential nominee. Especially if Romney is the nominee, Watts could help bring the GOP together, seeing as how Watts is a good friend of Senator McCain.

Changes my ordering somewhat ...
[1] Romney/Pace
[2] Romney/Watts
[3] Romney/Blackburn

If You Liked George Bush's "New Tone™", You're Gonna LOOOOVE John McCain's "Bipartisanship™" ...

JC Watts couldn't (and should of) win the Governor's race in Oklahoma

That's true, Watts decided to not run for governor against the popular incumbent Brad Henry. So? Watts has proven he can win elections, and that's the main thing.

### Condaleeza Rice ? Maybe next time . Too much Iraq "ick" sticking too her . She'll have to do something else for awhile , to regain some credibility . In actuality might be good for the job, but W listened to Rummy , so they all get to carry the baggage.

### "Romney/Barbour "? That criminal? OK maybe that's a little strong, (maybe not) , but at least "questionable" or "shady" .(re: the FEMA trailer deal, and some of he reconstruction contracts)

### McCain ? Although it would cause apoplexy in certain quarters , it makes the most sense, especially if Hillary gets the nomination .Or if it's Obama/Webb. It's a balance for Romney in areas of experience , geographically , and policy-wise (I know, I know, ....a lot of y'all don't like him on that , but it's the GENERAL election we're talking about.)

### Brownback? It'll help where Romney would likely win anyway, but might hurt elsewhere .

### Huckabee ? Ditto ^ , especially where most people haven't eaten squirrel . (Good, and good for you! ;D Really!)

### Rudy? Nope .

### Thompson? Might help , but not as much as McCain, and would Fred settle for 2nd banana?

### Cornyn? Good for balance , but not much national name recognition .

### JC Watts? Maybe.

Anyway, my 2c .

Not only do I think Fred would settle for 2nd Banana, I'm starting to think that was the plan the whole time, and I'm still disappointed he dropped out of the race. I'd love him as a Veep for Romney.

The Chad

"Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream." ~ Rush Limbaugh

If the GOP elects Romney, it sends a pretty clear message that the GOP is a social conservative and controlled immigration party. Giuliani would have bit it because of his record on social conservatism and McCain would have bit it because of his record on amnesty.

Given all that, and especially if Obama loses to the Clinton's race-based campaign, I'd love to see the GOP put a competent black man on the ticket and put advertising and outreach into black areas. The GOP could really make some inroads. If the GOP could capture 20% of the black vote, for instance, the Democrats would be toast for at least a decade.

If the GOP selects a black VP and makes and effort in black areas, the Dems will respond with a barrage of racebaiting, accusations of racism, and so on. This will put whites off the Democrat party. Its basically the same strategy the Clintons are employing now, except without the GOP having to get its hands dirty.

In other words, a black VP is a twofer:
--it lets whites feel good about themselves voting for the GOP
--it makes the Dems paint themselves as the party of racial division.

. . . or, indeed, Giuliani's, should the case arise, should be someone who knows DC and knows national security.

Ideally it should be someone with Congressional and Executive branch experience in DC. Newt Gingrich would be a fabulous Veep, and reassure many conservatives and southerners with doubts about either Romney or Giuliani. He would have extra weight within the administration because, like Cheney, he would not be campaigning for the top job. His electoral negatives, however, probably outweigh his positives.

There is, however, one outstanding pick: Dick Cheney. There are no term limits for VPOTUS and no reason why someone should not serve under two Presidents, as George Clinton did.

Quentin Langley
Editor of

International Editor of

We need a clean break from Bush to have any hopes to win, although my dream ticket is Romney/Patraeus.

If you ever find that you only have an hour to live,spend it with a liberal and it will seem like a year."-Rush Limbaugh

I was brought up to believe that how I saw myself was more important than how others saw me. (Anwar al-Sadat, President of Egypt, 1970-1981)

Sec. Def. Robert Gates?

I want to add two great governors that don't seem to have been mentioned already:

Gov Sarah Palin of Alaska She has a favorability rating of 90% and is super strong against wasteful spending and corruption. She's also a strong social conservative and a former beauty queen. She'd be great for restoring the image of the GOP.

Gov Pawlenty of Minnesota He would help bring along the upper midwest, and is pretty conservative as far as I can tell.

McCain might - that might be why Pawlenty and Barbour have endorsed him.

Quentin Langley
Editor of

International Editor of

Redstate Network Login:
(lost password?)

©2008 Eagle Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Legal, Copyright, and Terms of Service