Who will join Mitt Romney on the way to the White House?
Mitt Romney has mentioned that he might be dropping the VP bomb some time very soon. Why he won’t do it at a point where a message like that should – theoretically – give him some upward momentum from the terrible mess of tax returns and his involvement at Bain Capital after 1999 is beyond me. But it does make me think that he might not have an A+ candidate at hand.
So I’ve been thinking about who might be up, and who might be out. Here is my definitive list on possible and improbable candidates (in no particular order):

Sarah Palin
The short answer, no. The former VP candidate during John McCain’s run for office is too well off right now to start something as desperate as that. She’s got a good thing going as a FOX News contributor, author and public speaker. Right now she has the privilege to only speak about what she wants to whom she wants, meaning conservative issues to conservative audiences. She wouldn’t trade that for anything at this point in time. Plus, Romney is not the kind of strong candidate she would support. From Romney’s point of view there is a nice ring to Romney-Palin, but in the end she is too dominant and always a loose cannon. Sarah Barracuda is just too risky for an already unstable campaign.

Allen West
Think bat-shit crazy sidekick that would really get the blood flowing: Alan West, Congressman from Florida. African-American and ex-military sounds good, but that doesn’t make him less of a war-mongering religious zealot and total buffoon. He is any Democratic strategists dream candidate: just let him talk and he will implode taking Romney down with him. No, I cannot imagine the Romney campaign ever getting that desperate.

Tim Pawlenty
Who is Tim Pawlenty? Exactly.
The former Governor of Minnesota and opponent of Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican Presidential Race might have a small shot at this. Granted, it’s a long shot. He was already a somewhat strong contender as Vice President for the McCain campaign. What’s his problem? Noone knows him. Pawlenty seems to be invisible. No matter what he seems to be doing, he just can’t get any publicity. After eight years as Governor and two campaigns for the Republican nomination for President his name recognition is still… well, not good. Not exactly the most glamorous of choices.

Rick Santorum
I can’t really imagine there is a lot of love between Santorum and Romney. So the question is: what can Santorum offer Romney? Bible-thumping, gay-bashing right wing nuts would love this pick. Everyone else would hate it, including a good portion of independents and minorities. I just can’t see the upside to a Romney-Santorum ticket, aside from the media frenzy that will ensue. But is that enough to justify a pick that will alienate significant voter blocs? Nope…

Marco Rubio
Now here’s a good one: Young, attractive, conservative. Married his cheerleader girlfriend and has four kids. He’s the son of Cuban immigrants and currently Congressman from Florida.
This sounds like solid gold to most people. And I believe it would be… if he were in the least bit interested. He couldn’t care less about Romney and the position of Vice President. And why should he? He’s the Republican Superstar-in-waiting, he’s the next big thing. Why join a campaign that is setting itself up for failure.
Marco Rubio is looking for a bigger opportunity, and he is young enough to wait. He has no reason to rush into anything.

Chris Christie
Okay, let’s keep it real: he’s fat and not very charismatic. That right there is already a problem. Then you add his Soprano-esque demeanor and accent and his unpopularity, and he’s out.
Then again, he might just want the job and could try to talk Romney into it. And some food for thought: he’s pretty good pals with the Koch Brothers. So it wouldn’t be a total surprise…

Jeb Bush
No way, no way, no way. Jeb Bush will not be Vice President to Mitt Romney, rest assured. He might just try to run for President in 2016, but until then expect the Bush clan to stay out of the White House until the smoke has cleared.

Mitch Daniels
Mitchell Elias “Mitch” Daniels is the sitting Governor of Indiana. He is also notoriously bland and boring. He worked in the White House under the Bush Administration as Director of the US Office of Management and Budget. Everyone expected him to run for office in 2012, but he didn’t. Expect him to decline this VP invite, which he will surely get based on his expertise and competence, as well. He was just elected President of Purdue University last month.

Kelly Ayotte
One of the few women in the cards, which instantly makes her a viable option. And she would be the perfect candidate in any other year. But since she is a Senator from New Hampshire, she will not make the race. From a strategic point of view it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense to nominate a running mate from the same geographical region of New England – Romney is from Massachusetts. It would just be wasted potential in mobilizing another region, preferably a swing state. Add to that the fact that Ayotte is still quite inexperienced as a politician in only her second year in Washington and the chances fade away…

Susanna Martinez
Martinez is the current Governor of New Mexico. She would be a solid right wing pick with the added value of being a woman and Hispanic. That all sounds very good, but she is, just like Kelly Ayotte, very inexperience with only 18 months in office. Also, she has repeatedly stated that she is not interested in the VP position. But don’t completely count her out, she will be wooed by the Romney campaign.

Paul Ryan
Mr. Budget himself. The Wisconsin Congressman has made quite a splash in Washington this year making him a household name nationwide. But not always in a good way, Ryan is unpopular with many Americans. But he does serve the profile of a fiscal conservative with a strong voice on economics. He is young and quite handsome (in a big-eared kinda way). He might be a liability, but he’s not out of it completely.

Rob Portman
Rob Portman is a bulldog. The Senator from Ohio is a good campaigner, and a vicious attack dog if need be. He has great experience on Capitol Hill as well as the White House under George W. Bush. Also recognize that he has already attacked Obama in the last couple of weeks on several occasions. He might just be warming up to bigger tasks. Now take into consideration that Ohio is a swing state and there you have it: Rob Portman is the real deal. There is a very good chance that the ticket will be Romney-Portman.

John Kasich
Another possible pick from Ohio. John Kasich is sitting Senator in Washington, after an impressive 18-year career in Congress. He is a real Washington insider who could also give Romney the swing state of Ohio. Possible, but has less of a ring to it than Romney-Portman…

Terry Bransted
The sitting Governor of Iowa is popular, a real conservative and good with the Tea Party and religious folks. He would surely deliver Iowa. Look to Bransted as a go-to pick if Rob Portman falls out.

So there you have it. My two cents are on Rob Portman from Ohio, with Terry Bransted and John Kasich in the backhand. Look to Susanna Martinez as the dark horse surprise candidate. Don’t waste your time thinking about Palin, Rubio or Santorum joining Romney in this fight. They all don’t want to get burned…