Campaign advice for Mitt Romney

Unless the ghost of Ronald Reagan swoops in to clinch the Republican nomination for president, it’s inevitable that Mitt Romney’s name is going to be on the ballot come November.

So the question now is, “Who ya gon’ pick for Veep, Mittens?”

Allow me, a lowly Democrat, to reach across the aisle and offer Romney some tips of the trade on picking his vice presidential nominee.

I may disagree with him on most, if not all, issues, but I’m starting to feel really bad for Romney, so I’ll try to help him out.

If I could pick a nominee for him, it would be Jon Huntsman. It doesn’t matter if he was The Invisible Man of the primary process; he is the Republican who attracts the independents (and even some incredibly left-wing Democrats like me) with his all-American charms, moderate positions on the issues and hey, who didn’t swoon when he spoke Mandarin in the New Hampshire GOP Debate? He believes in evolution and global warming. He’s perfect for Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch strategy for the general election. Romney tried to reach the far right in the primary and alienated plenty of independents. Huntsman would bring them back.

Only downside? I’m afraid the general American electorate won’t accept a double-Mormon ticket when PEW reports that “many Americans continue to see the Mormon faith as unfamiliar and different.”
So who else is left in the running to be America’s next top vice presidential pick? It’s easy to take the safe route and pick a clean-cut WASP as a running mate. However, there are not many establishment picks that can raise excitement.

Romney shouldn’t even think about choosing anyone even remotely tied to the Tea Party. Their approval ratings are at a low. Most will never be able to woo the independents.

Santorum, our fearless leader in the war on pornography? Seriously? How many moderates are going to vote for a man who compares same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia?

Forget about people like Bob McDonnell, the governor of Virginia? He’s at the center of a controversial Virginian law that requires trans-vaginal ultrasounds before abortions. Republicans want to win back the female electorate their party is alienating. Cut these guys from the shortlist immediately.

What Romney needs is someone different. The public jumps at game changers.

Remember the (short-lived) boost in ratings Sarah Palin brought to McCain’s ticket? The political context has changed; the American electorate doesn’t want the safe bet anymore. Romney, too, can capitalize on that excitement brought to a campaign by picking someone young and different.

Just make sure to conduct a thorough, careful screening so we don’t have any more Russian land-sightings from Alaskan front porches.

So who is this game changer? I’ll throw a couple of popular names out.

Marco Rubio is the man whose name is on everyone’s tongues and Twitter updates these days. He’s young, attractive and ethnic. His Cuban-American background has the potential to reach out to the Hispanic voters the Republican party has estranged with its stances on immigration. Maybe.

Bobby Jindal? Nikki Haley? Susana Martinez? They are all popular, ethnic governors. They have executive experience, high approval ratings and for the most part reasonably clean character records.

I’d give them a chance. They would definitely attract some key minority votes. But at the end of the day, Senator Olympia Snowe is Romney’s ticket to a fighting chance.

Not only is she one of the last moderate Republicans standing in the United States government, but she’s voted with the Democrats on key issues regarding women’s choice, LGBT rights and environmental protection. If there’s anyone who will help him win back the female vote lost in the War on Women, it’s her.

You can trust me. I’ve seen enough episodes of The West Wing to be an expert on the subject.