What would Rubio mean for Romney?

Romney needs a vibrant VP contender. He’s failed to demonstrate he’s really committed to free markets, and his monotone style and good looks have too often created a vanilla persona that could use a little extra flavor.
 
Marco Rubio might just be that candidate. He is a darling of the Tea Party movement, a symbol of limited government for many voters. What’s more, he could have a marginal impact with Hispanic voters.
 
But let’s be clear, we’re talking about the bottom of the ticket, and VP candidates rarely have a dramatic impact on voter behavior.
 

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It’s true Sarah Palin breathed new life into the McCain campaign, but it’s not clear that a vice presidential candidate will necessarily drive voter turnout. Individual-level factors like demographics, registration laws and education might determine turnout more than the VP candidate. And even more important than who’s on the ticket could be a voter’s own sense of value to the election process.
 
So a better question to ask is: Does Rubio help restore feelings of political connectedness? Does his association with the Tea Party movement help re-establish a sense of political inclusion? Does Rubio encourage feelings of civic engagement?
 
In the end, these are the questions the Romney campaign ought to ask.
 

Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum.

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