President Obama wants to run against George Bush….again. Four years ago Obama blamed Bush for everything. Obama’s team has already chosen “Forward” as their campaign bumper sticker slogan. This implies the alternative will move us backward, as in back to when Bush was president. The president’s team will draw as many comparisons between any Republican and Bush as they can. This needs to be taken into consideration when Mitt Romney shuffles through his stack of choices for a running-mate.
Recent polls asking who do you want Romney to choose for vice president have Condoleezza Rice as the preferred choice. She is a brilliant woman, but Rice would not be a wise selection. The president recently remarked that he needs to tell a story better, he will if Rice is the pick. The story coming from the spin laboratories would then be all about Rice’s unilateral march to war against Iraq. Before it was either Bush or Cheney who singlehandedly started a war, but that would turn into a story about how the real unreasonable warhawk in the Bush White House was really Rice all along. Obama will tell you he didn’t vote for the war with Iraq, she did. He will omit the minor detail about being in the Illinois State Senate at the time. Then the economy gets thrown in on top as the Democrats blame economic woes on the war, which allows them to blame Rice for everything.
The other name being mentioned a lot is Senator Rob Portman. He too, for the same reason, is an unwise selection. Portman served as Bush’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which would fit in the narrative the president wants even better than Rice. The warmongering narrative against Rice may be stale as our troop numbers in Iraq have greatly decreased. But the narrative that would be used against Portman would focus entirely around how he helped Bush wreck the economy which would give the president the firepower he needs on a current issue. With Romney focusing on the economy in his message the president will have daily opportunities to say that the Portman pick is evidence that Romney will do things just like Bush.
Picking either Rice or Portman gives the president the narrative he wants. David Axelrod and his cronies are salivating at the chance to draw specific connections between Romney and Bush. Let’s not play into their wishes. Romney needs to play it as safe as possible. McCain was in an entirely different political scenario. He had to roll the dice and it is admirable that he did. A dice roll for Romney here is too risky. He needs safe, boring, relatively unknown, and of course, Clorox clean.