Now that Mitt Romney has secured the Republican nomination — or rather that the media are forced to give up the horserace narrative they’ve perpetuated to make this primary season something other than a big snooze fest — the next overblown mystery du jour shall be Romney’s VP pick.
Of course, speculation has been going on for a while now. Sarah Palin’s thrown out Allen West’s name a few times, encouraging Republicans not to settle for “somebody necessarily safe.” (You know, go rogue like McCain did.) People have asked if Ron Paul is accumulating delegates as leverage to put his son Rand on the ticket. Nikki “women don’t care about contraception” Haley garnered some attention as a potential pick when she endorsed Romney, but has since stated she’ll refuse if offered. Paul Ryan has allegedly been “chummy” with Romney recently. And finally, Ann Coulter wishes the GOP would avoid “novelty candidates,” which include all aforementioned names, with Sarah Palin sitting right at the tippy top of the Republican fad machine.
But there’s a less insufferable way to sort through the speculation excess when it comes to electoral politics: gambling sites. One such site, PaddyPower.com released a list of the top contenders Tuesday. Allen West is nowhere to be found, however another Floridian, Senator Marco Rubio, leads the pack with odds of 11-to-4. Ann Coulter favorite Chris Christie is second with 5-1 odds, and Herman Cain sits at the bottom at 100-1.
Both Palin-approved and Coulter-rejected, Rubio denies he’ll be picked much less accept the offer. Naturally, a lot of people are crying bullshit. (Conservative Florida site Shark Tank bet Rubio a Chik-Fil-A sandwich he would accept the nod.)
But there are practical reasons to avoid being part of Romney’s ticket — even if Romney/Rubio has a nice euphonic ease to it. First, no one thinks Romney’s going to win. PaddyPower puts Obama’s odds at 2-5 over Romney’s 15-8. In other words, the money’s saying Obama will win five times out of seven. Second, being on a losing ticket makes you look like a loser, not the frontrunner for 2016. In fact, losing VP candidates win the presidency about once a century: John Tyler lost as a VP nominee in 1836 and won the presidency in 1840, and FDR did the same in 1920 and 1932. More public servants (six total) have gone from serving as vice president to U.S. senator, the cozy job Rubio already holds. And we mustn’t forget Bob Dole, who won the GOP ticket, though not the election, in ’96 after sharing a losing ticket with Gerald Ford. But it took him two decades and ended with Viagra commercials.
And that’s not including all the vetting that will occur — Rubio’s parents weren’t citizens (gasp!) when he was born in Miami? Having to defend to Birthers the idea that a natural-born citizen always includes someone born in the U.S. sounds like one big torture fest. Then there’s his new DREAM act that unravels anything dreamy about the legislation. His star as a conservative bigshot on the national stage is just beginning to rise. Why accept 15-8 odds as a half-prepared noob and bury it by November?