So who will Mitt Romney pick this year? Will it be one of his primary rivals? I seriously doubt it. When he recently suspended his presidential campaign, Rick Santorum didn't even mention Romney in his farewell speech. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, the quintessential D.C. insider, doesn't trust a "Liberal from Massachusetts." Ron Paul of Texas, the libertarian dressed in a GOP cloth coat, poses a problem for the Republican nominee if he runs as a third-party candidate this fall.
If you agree with Greenfield's analysis, as I do, then outsider Romney needs to pick a Washington insider. No one's personal history or political experience (i.e., conservative, a son of the south, military officer, homeland security expert and national co-chair of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign) comes close to matching Lindsey Graham's heft. Despite his youthful appearance, Graham has served in the House and Senate continuously since 1995. He embodies the best of Santorum, Gingrich, Ryan, et. al. without their negatives. This means he can help generate enthusiasm and votes for Romney coast to coast. In other words, Graham will make Romney look presidential in the eyes of a dispirited Republican electorate.
There's one other thing Lindsey Graham can bring to a Romney campaign. That's composure. He's used to the media's hot lights. Put Graham on the ticket and you won't suffer what Richard Nixon constantly worried about: loose lips. As the former vice president and president used to say, “The vice president cannot help you; he can only hurt you.” Was there ever anyone more qualified to make that statement than Nixon?
If Mitt Romney cares about what voters think about him, which he does, he'll pick Lindsey Graham as his vice presidential running mate. Just when you thought the Obama-Romney presidential debates were going to be exciting, we now have the possibility of a Biden-Graham vice presidential debate. Stay tuned. This debate really could be a game-changer for the Republicans.
Freidenrich is the founder of First Strategies consulting in Laguna Beach, California. He served as a staff asst. to Rep. Don Edwards (D-CA) in 1972.