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July 11th, 2012 12:41 pm
VP Pick Clarification

Ashton makes some interesting points. For what it’s worth, my bets are hedged all over the place. He puts me in the Jindal camp and Troy in the Kyl camp, but I actually have Jindal and Kyl as MY choices 1A and 1B. I would be thrilled with either of them, and I keep pushing them equally. (I also would be almost equally happy with Paul Ryan.)

But that’s who I myself would pick, not who I predict Romney will pick. Ashton himself urges the choice of Chris Christie. Well, while in my most recent column I don’t even mention him, because the tea leaves don’t seem to be steeping his way, I nevertheless have not withdrawn my prediction (from this column) that Romney will eventually choose Christie:

Last weekend, Andy McCarthy of National Review Online explainedcomprehensively why conservatives should see that New Jersey Gov.Chris Christie is “not one of us.” Among other factors, wrote McCarthy, “The brute fact is that, while Christie is not a hardcore statist, he is a mild progressive — which is to say, a ‘compassionate conservative’ in the Bush mold who wants to make government ‘work,’ not drastically reduce its size and scope.”

Nonetheless, Christie offers Romney a boatload of political advantages. First, he is perhaps the single most effective communicator anywhere in today’s Republican Party. He talks in ways everybody can understand. His directness is refreshing, and it can cut through every strand of Obama’s various webs of deceit. Second, Christie can excite conservatives and Tea Partiers with his in-your-face style, while providing substance that comes across to independents less as ideological than as indubitably practical. Third, he would shake up the electoral map – forcing Obama to spend far more time defending New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and probably New Hampshire, Maine, and even Connecticut than Obama otherwise would. Even if Christie doesn’t succeed in helping Romney win an otherwise unreachable northeastern state, his ability to expand the playing field by his persona alone (without adding extra GOP resources) would force Obama to dilute hisresources in a way that might hold Obama back in other swing states as well.

Meanwhile, about the only place Christie might marginally hurt the ticket is in the Deep South – but his pugnaciousness, again, can make up for some of his ideological apostasies (in the mind of many southern voters), and it’s also highly doubtful that Romney will come close to losing anywhere in the Deep South anyway.

So there: No matter how you slice it, I’ve got the bases covered! I’m in perfect agreement with both Troy and Ashton. I feel like Abe Lincoln in the apocryphal story about two haberdashers cornering him to demand that he adjudge whose hats were of finer quality. “Gentleman,” said the wily Lincoln, “these two hats mutually excel each other!”

Likewise, the picks of Kyl, Jindal, and Christie mutually excel each other (as would the choice of Kelly Ayotte).


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