Ever since Mitt Romney’s wife Ann told CBS News that Mitt was considering tabbing a woman as his running mate, the blogosphere has been speculating on whom she was referring too. Speculation naturally centered on New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte and yes, even Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
It would only make sense to have Ann “accidentally” leak that type of information to the press as Mitt Romney continues to try and woo female voters who might be disillusioned by the party after the battles over contraception and transvaginal ultrasounds.
Sadly, the next woman who is chosen to be a GOP Vice Presidential candidate (whether it’s for Romney or in the future) will be compared to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who may have excited the conservative base but otherwise was seen as a disaster amongst moderate or independent voters. It’s rather unfair as comparing people just based on demographics rarely works and it’s rather demeaning too.
Yet one thing the Republican Party of now and the future needs, frankly, is to show that they aren’t just the party that appeases to the richest people in the United States of America.
Also, it has to be acknowledged that while Democrats are more than likely going to crush the national vote amongst women; the GOP might have a deeper bench when it comes to potential women who will be in the conversation for national office.
So in honor of Mrs. Romney, let’s take a look at who Mitt Romney would be looking at when it comes to women on the ticket.
Kelly Ayotte – New Hampshire
As Mitt Romney tries to swing the Granite State to the Republican column, it seems he has taking a liking to the state’s junior Senator as a future prospect for national office. Ayotte does seem to qualify as a “safe pick” as she hasn’t exactly generated a lot of controversy since being elected in 2010 and in fact, I’d say she’s most likely the candidate Ann Romney was referring too. Still, if Romney wants to argue that he is the best candidate with “executive” experience; it wouldn’t make sense for him to tab a career politician (Ayotte was the Attorney General of the state beforehand) like Ayotte. Still, remember her name because she seems to be making a good impression.
Susana Martinez – New Mexico
The Governor of New Mexico would make a lot of sense for Romney seeing how Susana Martinez could help him gain credibility amongst Hispanic & female voters. But Martinez has separated herself from Romney as she criticized his “self-deportation” immigration proposal back in May. Nonetheless, Martinez might actually be a rising star in the party but the recent revelations concerning her emails. Given the new controversy and the repudiation of Romney’s weak immigration stance; I don’t see how Martinez gets any serious consideration from Team Mitt.
Nikki Haley – South Carolina
I don’t buy Nikki Haley, the current South Carolina Governor as a serious pick for the Vice Presidency but after being cleared by the state ethics committee, she does have a chance. Haley is a favorite amongst the Tea Party crowd and Mitt Romney was an early endorser of her when she was running for Governor back in 2010, in which she repaid the favor in reciprocating. But her endorsement didn’t help Romney win the Palmetto State primary, in fact Romney lost to Newt Gingrich after appearing to have won the first two contests. What benefit would Haley bring to the campaign?
Sarah Palin – Alaska
But besides those four and Michele Bachmann (who we covered a few days ago), there aren’t many prominent, potential national figures that are female; which is a problem both parties have.
We still live in a society, even though we elected the first African-American President, that is still widely represented by white males. We now acknowledge that we live in an amazing country with people from different walks of life all around us, but our politics still remains the “same ole’, same ole'”. The Democrats only have Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand and maybe Elizabeth Warren as potential Presidential contenders which does show that this is not just a Republican problem.
I am a firm believer that the “War on Women” is a complete reality but it’s not just limited to contraception and ultrasounds. In fact, the political process is opening up but women are still being pushed as essentially “benchers”.
Why? Let’s look. Every women that might have national aspirations are compared to Sarah Palin and the comparisons are often negative. Every women (and I’d even say other minorities) are still being looked at as “radical game-changers” as opposed to serious contenders.
I think that is eye-opening in itself and one that needs to end before we can get a truly open political process.