The EFM Feature

I meant to post this earlier, but Kathryn Lopez made a case for McCain picking Gov. Romney as Vice President:

For Mitt Romney, the suspension of his campaign at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference two days after Super Tuesday marked the beginning of a new and promising campaign. As he ended his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, he staked for himself a position as leader for the conservative future. It’s a good position to be in for a potential 2012 run for the presidency. And it’s a position that makes him an attractive option for John McCain’s No. 2 in 2008.
In his withdrawal speech, Romney announced that “conservative principles are needed now more than ever” — hitting the economy, the culture, and the war. One Romney adviser referred to the speech and the pullout as “a down-payment on a conservative future.”
Romney’s biggest value to McCain, though, comes from his experience in business. John McCain has no such experience and famously said during the New Hampshire primary that “the issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” (He added that he owns former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan’s book.) That quote will come back to haunt McCain once general-election time finally arrives.
Mitt Romney’s greatest asset for McCain — who has been in Congress for almost a quarter of a century — is, therefore, his executive experience, most of it in the business world, most notably as vice president of Bain & Company, Inc. from 1978 to 1984, and as founder of Bain Capital, venture-capital savior of the likes of Staples, Domino’s Pizza, and Sports Authority. Romney famously turned around the corrupt and broke ($379 million in debt) Salt Lake City Olympics and cleaned up a Massachusetts budget running $3 billion in the red without raising taxes. At a time when the country may be in a wartime recession, Romney emanates a confident competence (and he would do it, as veep nominee, alongside a GOP presidential nominee with a mixed tax-cutting record). Choosing Romney, then, could be as practical as politics gets. When in the voting booth, partisan preferences may pale in comparison to the attraction of a guarantee of competence in the executive.
McCain, if he chooses Romney, may be wise to give Vice President Romney more than economics in his assignment portfolio. As two-time Cabinet secretary William J. Bennett recently put it on his radio show, “McCain would do the war. Romney would do domestic.” Social conservatives might hold up McCain’s speech this week on the judiciary and say, great blueprint, Senator. But we don’t trust you, Senator. (In fact, former Department of Justice official Mark R. Levin, another talk-show host, said just that in the wake of the judges speech: “I don’t trust this guy.”) Take that basically sound blueprint and give us someone we trust. Romney, who fought judicial activism on marriage in Massachusetts — and made the issue a key part of his campaign for president — has some credentials there.
The governor makes electoral-map sense, too. First of all, now we can agree the Mormon factor is a plus. Utah’s a lock, he won the caucus there with 90 percent of the vote. But Utah’s not the battleground: Michigan is. And Romney’s favorite-son status there makes it a likely delivery for McCain with Romney on the ticket. (Romney’s economics talk went over well there, too, you might recall.) Romney’s already been to Michigan on McCain’s behalf and no doubt will return. Would the Michigan effect spread to Ohio? McCain seems already to have an appreciation for Romney’s electoral assets: Romney recently spoke to the Nevada state Republican convention; Romney won the Nevada caucus with 51 percent of the vote to McCain’s 13 percent.
Since endorsing McCain, Romney has hit the media trail for McCain, too — including talking to radio and TV giant Sean Hannity — at the McCain communications shop’s request.
And speaking of numbers, Romney proved to be the Republican dream of a fundraiser and money source: He ran with some $47 million of his own during primary season. On the calendar this week, Romney has a meeting set up in Houston with McCain and Romney 2008′s finance chairs and co-chairs to encourage those who are holding back to give to the senator’s cash-starved campaign.

Read the rest here.
Here’s the bottom line:

Vetted outsider Mitt Romney adds to Washington-insider McCain. He’s a running mate with pluses, which, most importantly, includes being a plausible president — 294 delegates’ worth of primary voters thought so, anyway. His resume speaks for itself. McCain could do worse than pick Mitt Romney — and he’s got to know that, if he wants to win in November.


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