Romney and a pro-choice running mate: Would it be THAT foolish?

In 2008, John McCain allegedly wanted to pick Joe Lieberman as his running mate but didn’t because Lieberman is pro-choice. Ignoring whether this is completely accurate for the moment (he may have had other reasons not to choose Lieberman, for example), it seems plausible in an election like 2008 where the Republicans were a bit demoralized and the Democrats were fired up that McCain couldn’t afford to do anything that would keep Republican voters at home.

Move on to today and the rumors about Condoleeza Rice as a potential running mate for Romney. She has some obvious strong points and some obvious weaknesses. Among the weaknesses is her pro-choice stance.

Now, obviously Romney has had some past issues with the conservative base, but they are fired up. They hate Obama. They don’t much care for Romney, but are already holding their noses and planning to vote for him. They don’t necessarily believe right now that he’s staunchly pro-life. Would he lose many of these voters if he chose Rice? And would he pick up any?

To me, this doesn’t seem as foolish as it would have been for McCain, but I may be underestimating the importance of the VP choice and overestimating the ability of the conservative base to look past a pro-choice VP and just hold their noses a little harder.

Oh, and here’s an article about this issue:—-or-hurt-—-romney/?ref=politics

“It really wouldn’t be that stupid, don’t you think”

– Romney’s new campaign slogan.

For Rice, specifically, I am not sure it would matter as much because the people that absolutely would not vote for a pro-life candidate would not vote for an unmarried woman, anyway. And I am not being coy about the possibility that she is a lesbian–I have no insight there. But to a lot of Americans, an unmarried candidate of either sex is suspect, and an unmarried woman is worse. Again, not because they might be gay, but just because marriage/family is the way our society is organized and people distrust anyone whose life is not organized along those principles. People that were uneasy with a pro-life candidate would be uneasy with her anyway: stack the two, and I think it would have a very detrimental effect on Romney’s chances: already, voters can’t identify with him, he needs a running mate they also can’t identify with?

I think he really needs someone who seems ordinary and charismatic, someone who can basically carry the message “I’m you, and I’ve checked this guy out, and really, he’s cool. You’d like him if you knew him better. I do.”

Yes foolish. As it is, there is at most 20% of the population who wants Romney to be president. And I’m being generous with that figure. The rest of those who will vote for him just don’t like Obama, or will only vote for Republicans. Anything that disturbs that base will take votes away from Romney. He has the opportunity to lose a close race to Obama, maybe even win, but picking the wrong VP candidate will give Obama another landslide victory. The Republican Party doesn’t like him that much anyway, that would leave him as a failed politician who doesn’t even have a party. He might as well choose Sarah Palin as his running mate.

I think it would be pretty dumb, yes. A lot of people who hate Obama are going to hate Condoleeza for the same reason, and might not vote at all just because she’s black. According to a recent Gallup poll, there are at least 4% of americans (1 out of every 25 people say they would never vote for a black person for president), and 5% of Americans said that they would never vote for a woman (1 out of every 20 people). I suspect that these percentages are fairly accurate, if not a little low.

So, I’d say there’s a good chunk of the population that would simply stay home and not vote for him at all if he picked a black female as a running mate. This might actually matter in states like Iowa, Florida, Pennsylvania, where there are a lot of very hardcore conservatives to whom stuff like this matters.

But isn’t the hatred of Obama intense enough to overcome some of this? It just seems that people didn’t really, truly, hysterically hate Obama in 2008, so McCain couldn’t bank on that at all. But now, wouldn’t some of that hatred be powerful enough, and wouldn’t Romney get some votes from swing voters because of it? (Not so much choosing a pro-choice running mate as choosing someone like Rice who is well-respected and smart.)

I think maybe I just can’t get a handle on what would take a Romney voter, who is already swallowing a lot of things that are distasteful to very conservative voters, to say it’s too much and hand the election to the hated Obama.

Wouldn’t those voters have this irrational hatred of Obama hate Condi Rice for exactly the same reason? She does share a fairly obvious trait with the man, after all.

Yes, it’d be suicide for Romney. Hard line conservatives are having a lot of trouble trusting him and they’ll jump ship if he does something like this. They’ll stay home or vote for a third party.

I don’t believe for a minute that Rice might be his pick. I think that either the Romney campaign leaked it as a way of thanking Cheney for his recent support (‘you guys were so great I might even pick you Secretary of State as my running mate!’) or it was leaked by Cheney’s people to pressure Romney into picking her. But it’s not happening, and it’s not because of her race or her purported sexuality- it’s because she represents almost everything he’s trying to get away from in terms of spending and the unpopular wars that started under Bush. And if all of that weren’t enough, imagine the insanity of trying to run NSA Advisor Rice against Obama while he’s campaigning on the fact that he authorized the Bin Laden raid. TV stations would be running footage of Rice reading the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike In U.S.” memo 24/7.

Leaving those Rice-specific problems aside, no, he really can’t and won’t do this. If he had impeccable credentials as a conservative, maybe he could get away with it as a play for moderates. He doesn’t, so he can’t give the base that kind of cause for concern.

I think it might be a good move on a number of levels. It sends a message that the GoP is not going to have abortion as a litmus test for admission, pushing the issue out of the spotlight. That would likely be a positive with swing voters. Condi has great credentials, and would make a fine President if something happened to Romney. Romney and the GoP have hurt themselves with women voters over the summer, and nominating a well qualified woman might help repair those fences.

Unusual first name? :smiley:

It’s not that I don’t get that. It’s that it seems like getting Obama out would be better than putting Rice in, especially in the VP slot.

I know that the Freepers and their ilk make the conservatively perfect the enemy of the conservatively good, but isn’t a half empty cup better than an empty one?

Hard line conservatives aren’t going anywhere. Romney may not be perfect, but he’s preferable to Obama. Staying home or voting third party is against their interest, and they know it. The GoP needs to back away from extreme positions on social issues, and focus on the economy. Choosing a moderate VP is a step in the right direction.

The problem is that in most of the country, it is a litmus test for election to high office. Pro-choice Republicans like Giuliani and Schwarzenegger can get elected on the coasts, but anywhere else I think you’d have a very tough time - and Romney needs to keep those voters on his side.

It wouldn’t push the issue out of the spotlight, and you go on to explain the exact reason:

The Republicans tried to appeal to female voters with a female VP in 2008, failed, and then spent several years attacking groups like Planned Parenthood and passing mandatory ultrasound bills. Rice is much more intelligent and has better credentials, but nominating a woman (again) doesn’t fix all that even if this time the woman is pro-choice. The ticket certainly wouldn’t be pro-choice. If Romney wanted to start appeal to more women and moderate voters on this issue, he’d need to disavow the whole defund-Planned-Parenthood movement for starters, and he’s not going to do that. And actually maybe this is why people are talking about Rice as a nominee- the early talk was that they weren’t considering any women and perhaps they felt it would help his positioning if people believed he was considering a woman.

So you think that even if he takes a moderate position on abortion out of nowhere, it wouldn’t hurt him at the ballot box or in donations? I doubt that.

I’m not saying it’s the wrong step for the GOP. In fact, it isn’t. The party is becoming more and more extreme and it’s not making it an easier for them to win the White House. I’m saying it’s a step Mitt Romney can’t take because a lot of people are already concerned he’s not conservative enough and this would make it worse. The guys he’s known to be considering seriously - Portman, Rubio, Pawlenty - are all pro-life, and even if he doesn’t choose one of them, he’ll pick someone who’s pro-life.

Are you saying Michelle Obama is Barack’s “beard”?

I don’t think it matters who he picks, because I don’t think he has a shot.

I think fundamentally American’s understood, something needed doing on healthcare. And what they got, may not be what they’d hoped, but it’s a place to start. The Republican’s have spent an entire term being nothing but obstructionist. Stopping and stalling government at every turn. To the detriment of the country.

People may not like Obama, but they see he’s actually and sincerely, trying to help, and the opposition is busy behaving like stubborn children. I think people react, to that difference, in a visceral way. In a world of competing 24hr news networks, (fanning flames, pumping out misinformation, creating tempests in teapots), people get to thinking there is no real way to tell, who telling the truth, and who’s lying any more. When they go to their gut, I believe they will choose the human over the cardboard cut out. Every time.

I think a dog would choose Obama over Romney, based on nothing but ‘a feeling’. And be right.

I also think by the next election cycle, the Republican’s will be rebranding Obamacare as Romneycare and trying to claim credit for it’s design.

(These are just my opinions, don’t take them too seriously!)

Considering the times and all the issues that our country faces… Abortion has got to be pretty damn low on the list. I do think Romney’s running mate will likely be pro-life, if only because there are few pro-choice potential candidates. But I don’t see that being a major part of his decision-making. Romney’s not going to run on being anti-abortion.

Romney’s running mate will be either someone with strong economic credentials so he can sharply focus his campaign on the economy, or it will be someone with foreign policy credentials to balance the ticket. Even if he has to settle for neither of those, he’ll pick someone bland and not well-known. He’d be a fool to pick a fire-breathing social conservative like Santorum or something. Of course, he just might be a fool.

Has there ever been a Republican presidential ticket that was elected where at least one of the people on the ticket was pro-choice? I don’t think so. In fact, I’m not even sure how far back we would have to go to find a losing ticket with a pro-choice person on it. Abortion may not be the main topic of discussion these days but picking a pro-choice running mate would be the equivalent of electoral suicide for any Republican running for the White House.

Furthermore, considering how suspect Romney’s conservative creditionals are in the eyes of the Republican base, choosing Condi as his running mate would be the ultimate in politcal blunders. She is viewed with suspicion by people like Bolton, Rumsfeld and Cheney, as well as the folks at The Weekly Standard. The right wing would go berzerk.

Not gonna happen.

Everyone knows that staying home or voting third party is against their interest - but try telling John Kerry that kowtowing to the middle at the expense of your base will win you an election.

Remember, Romney is already fighting his own weak social conservative chops. He refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony List’s abortion-issues pledge, remember. Evangelicals will not vote for any pro-choice candidates, and Romney can’t win without them.

It was hailed as a big turnaround in the 2008 primaries when 60% of Republican voters said they would not write off a pro-choice candidate. That’s still 40% who would!

Here’s the money quote from Richard Land:

I expect the real numbers to be significantly higher; those numbers are limited to the people who are willing to admit it.

If the Pubs are willing to concede 2012 and focus on 2016, I think it would be brilliant to go with a moderate, even socially progressive, VP candidate and see what resonates with the voters and if the Right-wing will truly bolt as most people think they will.

Yes, but why create a situation that is needed to be “overcome” to begin with? If it is to garner moderate support, past election results have shown that the deciding swing voters really don’t care about abortion. Since 1980, the voters have elected a pro-life candidate 5 times and a pro-choice candidate 3 times. If you count the popular vote, it’s tied 4-4. Either position is acceptable to the swing voters.

But by taking a pro-choice VP, a GOP nominee alienates the bread and butter of his support. The people who donate a bunch of money, pass out bumper stickers, and hammer in road signs abandon you. They might ultimately vote for you, but they aren’t going to go the extra mile.

I don’t see an upside to it.