The Bland, The Bad & The Ugly: Romney’s VP Choices Cover The GOP Gamut

Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan have all been bandied about as potential running mates

Now that Mitt Romney has the delegates he needs to be the Republican presidential nominee, the vice-presidential wannabes have emerged with full force.

While seeking to be on the GOP ticket this year is a little like trying to find a tug to join Captain Romney on the bridge of the Titanic, there’s no shortage of ambitious Republicans who want to be Romney’s running mate. After all, if Romney wins, they get to be the front-runner to replace him after he leaves office. If Romney loses, they won’t have to wait eight years for their shot.

How could anyone resist?

Romney’s campaign is being tight-lipped about who’s under consideration, but the pundits have their own lists, based largely on who is auditioning as Romney’s attack dog against Obama—and, well, us.

So Queerty’s come up with its own list of the high-profile Republicans that are likely under consideration by the Romney campaign.

Click through to see the GOP Veep short list.

Who do you think is gonna get the call? Did we miss your favorite second-in-command? Vote your conscience in the comments!

Feature photo: Donkey Hotey

Rob Portman

Portman, a Republican senator from Ohio, has a perfect track record on gay issues—perfectly odious, that is.  He’s voted against marriage equality, gay adoption and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. His anti-gay positions led to graduates walking out on him when he was commencement speaker at the University of Michigan Law School in 2011. Portman may help Romney in a key swing state, but the Senator has some significant negatives as well. He served as George W. Bush’s budget director, and we all know how well that worked out. In addition, he brings new meaning to the word “colorless.”

One sign that Portman has the skill set needed for the job: When asked in a recent interview if Republicans were anti-gay, he was able to respond with a straight face, “I don’t think Mitt Romney is anti-anything.”

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Marco Rubio

The freshman senator from Florida would certainly attract attention as the first Latino VP candidate—and give Romney a boost in another key swing state. And when it comes to gay issues, Rubio knows how to pander as well as the best of them. He recently accused President Obama of using his support of marriage equality as a way to push Republicans into the trap of “trying to prove we’re not haters.”  Why would anyone suppose Rubio is a “hater”? It couldn’t possibly have to do with his opposition to marriage equality, federal nondiscrimination laws and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, could it?

Like Portman, Rubio carries some extra baggage: His son-of-Cuban-exiles story took a hit when it turned out his parents left Cuba before Castro assumed power. He’s had significant personal financial problems that include foreclosure. Plus, at age 40 he may lack the gravitas that voters expect from someone a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


Chris Christie

Governor of New Jersey and the butt of more fat jokes than Kirstie Alley, Christie has the love of the Tea Party base because he likes to yell at his constituents when he disagrees with them. (The Tea Party just loves bullies.) As a Republican governor in the increasingly Democratic Northeast, Christie also appeals to pundits who argue he has a relatively moderate record that appeals to independent voters.

Of course, moderate is a relative term. Christie vetoed a marriage-equality bill on the grounds that the public should get to vote on who to grant civil rights to. Christie says that he just vetoed gay marriage, not gay rights.

We’re relieved to know there’s a distinction.

Photo credit: David Shankbone


Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, had a short-lived run for the presidential nomination last year. He may have left too early: given how long it took for Romney to beat back the competition, Pawlenty could have emerged as the credible alternative.

As a presidential candidate, Pawlenty tried to establish his conservative credentials by calling for a return of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and suggesting that climate change and homosexuality were alike. The effort didn’t work—Pawlenty was gone from the race by August and threw his support behind Romney.

More recently, he’s been saying he has absolutely no interest in being Romney’s VP choice—a sure sign of interest.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


Rob McDonnell

The Republican governor of Virginia promises the state won’t discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, so why would we need a law when we have his word? And those laws that we do have—like the one banning gay adoption—we shouldn’t want to repeal. That kind of weasely approach would be just in line with Romney’s.

Plus, Virginia is another swing state that Republicans would like to take back in 2012.

The big downside with McDonnell is his support for a bill that would have mandated invasive ultrasounds for women considering an abortion, an effort that earned him the nickname Governor Vaginal Probe. No one with that name has run for national office yet (although San Francisco is looking for a member of the board of supervisors), but it’s a safe bet that it wouldn’t play well on either side of the aisle.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


Kelly Ayotte

Ayotte, the freshman Republican Senator from New Hampshire, has been making the rounds with Romney in an effort to bolster Mitt’s favorables with women. She certainly has the anti-gay creds to be on the ticket: She wants to repeal the state’s marriage-equality law and ban gay adoption. But other than the homophobia, she may not have much to offer Mitt. Ayotte comes from a small state next door to the one where Romney was once a liberal, gay-friendly governor.

And as someone with just two years in the Senate, Ayotte would be hard pressed to live down the memory of another two-year-rookie brunette that was a GOP veep nominee four years ago.

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Mitch Daniels

Like Portman, the governor of Indiana shares some credit for the wild success of the George W. Bush presidency: In Daniels’ case, he was head of the Office of Management and Budget, a handy credential to use in an election—if you’re a Democrat trying to attack the GOP ticket. Daniels won the enmity of the right wing last year when he suggested that the party call a “truce” on social issues.

“We wouldn’t stop our disagreements or our passionate belief in these other questions, we just sort of mute them for a little while, while we try to come together on the thing that menaces us all” like the economy, Daniels suggested. For religious conservatives, this was the equivalent of surrender. (More importantly, it would hurt their fundraising efforts.)

Daniels backpedaled, but it’s a slight that won’t be forgotten. He’s also said he would “disconnect the phone” if Romney called with the VP offer.

Apparently no one has yet to inform the governor of the existence of cell phones.

Photo credit: Ray Taylor


Paul Ryan

The Representative from Wisconsin has the mainstream media believing he’s a serious budget hawk because he wants to eliminate all federal programs except defense while cutting taxes for the rich. But Republicans took a hammering because Ryan’s first stab at a proposed budget would have shifted the cost of Medicare from the government onto the elderly. (That seems fair).

His second attempt at a budget would mean the end of the FBI, the National Park Service, the FDA and just about everything in between. Needless to say, small-government advocates and wealthy Republicans  consider him the intellectual giant of the age.

Ryan’s philosophy springs from Ayn Rand, who—surprise!—was really uncomfortable with homosexuality. He’d love to be on a national ticket for the exposure, conservatives would love to have him there to argue his case, and Democrats would love to have him there so that they could characterize the GOP as reverse Robin Hoods who’d cut food-stamp programs to put more money in the wallets of the rich.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Bobby Jindal

The young governor of Lousiana had a less-than-auspicious national debut when he served up the GOP response to President Obama first address to a joint session of Congress: Being compared to Kenneth from 30 Rock is not the way to advance your political career.

Still, Jindal has managed to regain some credibility in the party by his performance during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Having some ethnic diversity on the ticket would help Republicans beat back those nasty (but probably true) accusations that the rabid right hates Obama because he’s, well, Kenyan.

For his part, Jindal has shown he’s just one of the guys: In 2008, he opted not to renew Louisiana’s nondiscrimination protections, proving that he can be just as homophobic as the rest of the party.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


Jeb Bush

You would think that having a Bush on the ticket for every national election but one for the last 32 years would be enough, but lots of folks think the former governor of Florida would be the ideal running mate for Romney. It’s not clear that Bush would fit into the party landscape, despite his opposition to marriage equality and hate-crime laws. He said he found the GOP presidential debates “troubling” because of their appeal to “people’s fears.”

More recently, he said that gay marriage is a “distraction” from the real campaign issue of the economy. That may make sense politically, but it’s not the kind of red-meat rhetoric the base wants to hear.

Photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Sarah Palin

The former half-term governor from Alaska probably has zero chance of being Romney’s running mate, but it sure is fun to contemplate the notion. Since doing her best to rain disaster down on the GOP ticket in 2008, Palin has fancied herself the right-wing equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, selecting a series of anti-gay candidates—Christine O’Donnell, anyone?—while cashing in with a series of goofy ideas to bolster the family checking account.

But there have been some tantalizing hints that Palin may not be quite as homophobic as the rest of the party: There’s the time she retweeted a comment that suggested she supported repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She also seem to have no problem with GOProud attending CPAC, even after support for banning the group became a litmus test for the right.

Of course, imagining Sarah going all pro-gay rogue on Mitt is fun, but there’s still that heartbeat-away business that we can’t quite get beyond.

Photo credit: David Shankbone



Donald Trump

Apparently, the Donald thinks he should be vice president, a perch from which he can launch an in-depth investigation of Obama’s birthplace, host a reality show, and prove that the Earth is flat. Of course, it’s a lot more fun to cover Trump than the issues, so the media (including Queerty) will keep speculating about Trump’s future.

The association with Trump doesn’t make Romney look very presidential, to say the least. One thing Trump and Romney have in common, though, is an uncanny ability to change positions at will. Before become a conservative darling, Trump had expressed support for legal protections for gay couples.

Of course, Trump may not qualify as a VP choice because the nominee will have to have been born in America and it’s not clear from his current behavior that Trump ever resided in our universe.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore



The Romney’s Irish setter proved he has the right stuff to be on the ticket when Romney tied his crate to the top of the family car and then drove off on the highway for 12 hours. The petrified dog shit all over itself, which Romney kindly remedied by hosing it down and hoisting back onto the roof.

This is pretty much what the actual VP candidate will endure on the Romney ticket, so why not just go with the one being that has the experience to handle it?