Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is an A-list celebrity and a worthy consideration for any of the GOP candidate’s VP. If you don’t believe me, just look at his schedule: he’s hosting a reception for director Steven Spielberg and appearing alongside Donald Trump for the opening of Trump Vineyard Estates. He also spoke in front of 400 people for a prominent New Hampshire fundraiser and let’s not forget that he was just named head of the Republican Governors Association last month.
It seems that Governor McDonnell is touching upon all the key issues of the 2012 campaign on a microcosm level within his own state of Virgina. He’s created a new task force to address cutting local costs. He’s made it abundantly clear that disaster relief and budget deficit are two entirely separate issues, as he approved funding to help flood victims in his state. Under his leadership, Virginia sold $600 million in bonds and added a new highway toll to improve road infrastructure. He launched a new program to help local entrepreneurs get their businesses online and announced the addition of at least 250 jobs to their economy with the opening of an ACE Hardware distribution center and Navy Exchange command station. He’s held strong to traditional Republican “family values,” despite some criticism. He is committed to reforming K-12 education, looking into programs like merit pay for teachers and enhanced focus on Science/Tech/Engineering/Math fields, while still pledging a prudent, fiscally conservative approach seeing as “money is not just dropping off the trees.”
Reasons McDonnell Would Make A Great VEEP:
- His Poll numbers are incredible. As of September 2011, he enjoys a 61 percent approval rating, which is among the nation’s best. Additionally, 62 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of Independents and 47 percent of Democrats support his legislative measures, showing that he has a wide appeal.
- According to Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, McDonnell is a winner because his “brand of conservatism — fiscal restraint, focus on bread-and-butter issues and a low-key demeanor — is a winner.” He plays nicely in the sandbox with others and he appeals to Democrat-leaning Suburban areas. In other words, he would make a “sober, reliable vice president pick.”
- His resume includes posts as: former lieutenant colonel in theUnited States Army from 1976 to 1997, Virginia House of Delegates representative from 1993 to 2006, Attorney General of Virginia from 2006 to 2009, Virginia Governor from 2010 to present, and leader of the Republican Governors Association. Not too shabby!
- He’s no dunce! Bob got an ROTC scholarship to the University of Notre Dame and graduated with a BBA in Management in 1976 and he also attended night classes to get his MBA from Boston University. He then received a joint degree in Law & Public Policy from Regent University in 1989.
- During his time as Attorney General, he focused on domestic safety issues like sexual predators, drug enforcement, identity theft, gang violence, and terrorism.
- In his gubernatorial campaign, he ran on the “Bob’s For Jobs” platform, supporting right-to-work laws, lowering operational costs of government, and simplifying the tax code.
- He can appeal to conservatives by mentioning his 93-page Regent University thesis paper: The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade.
- African Americans support him: he has a 47 percent approval rating in the polls and his run for the governorship received an endorsement from Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET.
- Virginia is a swing state going into the 2012 election.
And, as New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien puts it: “His presence and ability to clearly state what the issues are, articulate a Republican vision for the future, and, on a personal level, I found him to be an easy person to talk with. We’re used to seeing presidential candidates come through and those are things we look for. He was exhibiting all of that.”
What History Says:
With Governor Romney and Governor Perry both on the ticket, history is against the selection of McDonnell as a running mate. Two governors have not appeared on a ticket since 1948 when Thomas Dewey and Earl Warren ran together on the Republican ticket that ultimately lost to Harry Truman and Alben Barkley in a surprising upset.
What McDonnell Says:
In the wise words of Jack Kemp, when it comes to the vice presidency, you should: “Keep your mouth shut, your head down, and don’t act like you want it.” Anything else could be the equivalent of political suicide. McDonnell gave the safe, smart answer when recently asked whether he wanted to run on a 2012 ticket. As he said in Richmond, “I’m not campaigning for it. I’m not lobbying for it. I’m not asking for it. I’m not expecting it all. All I’ve said is, if any governor in America gets a call from a candidate [who] says, ‘Hey, I’d like you to help my ticket. Would you be on it?’ I’d say, sure, I’d think about it.”
However, he rather candidly confessed that he’d love the job in an interview with Politico’s James Hohmann. “I’d be very interested,” he said. “It is a swing state. I’m not asking for the call. I’m not looking for the call. As I’ve said many times, I’ve got the best job in America, but I think anybody who is in public life, if a presidential nominee called him and said ‘I need your help to win,’ it would be a tremendous honor… We’ll see. It’s going to be seven, eight, nine months before any of these decisions are made.”