Thanks to a poorly timed and horribly messaged discussion of women’s rights and contraception the Republican Party, and particularly Mitt Romney, are hemorraging women in the approval polls. The former Massachusetts governor is trailing the president by 18 points amongst women, especially in swing states.
And it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to bring them back even if he does live in a Malibu Barbie dream house.
So what’s Romney to do? Well, once he formally finishes up this primary fight he’s still got the vice presidential pick, right? If he’s going to go up against Obama he needs to shore up the women’s vote – which is a tough lift considering the GOP looks as exclusively male as the Augusta National. But, to do that he’ll need some strong, powerful women on his ticket. He needs: Romney’s Angels.
There are about four women that Romney could conceivably put on his ticket in 2012 that might close the gender gap and give his campaign a sexy boost to boot. Mitt is a bit of a blank faceless character, so the Charlie role is perfect for him. I can totally see him placing an anonymous call to several powerful GOP women languishing away in various positions across America with that classic 70’s voiceover:
Once upon a time there were three very different women, who all were on the rise in the Republican Party. But they were each assigned various dead end GOP duties.
But I took them away from all that. And now they might come to work for me. My name …. Is Romney. And these are ….. Romney’s Angels.
Here are each of his angels, and what they might bring to his ticket.
Susana Martinez (Governor – New Mexico): She’s tough, she’s Latina and she’s packing heat. Martinez is a tri-fecta for a stuffy New England governor trying to add some spice to his campaign. Besides possibly pulling in the critical Latino vote for Romney, Martinez is governor of a swing state and is a proud NRA member and owns a concealed weapon permit and she’s not afraid to use it. The drawback to this Angel of the Southwest? Martinez is fairly new to the political scene and it’s not quite clear if she’s ready for primetime. What’s more – reports are she already shot him down – and I’m not sure if Romney has the political juice to strong-arm someone into running with him.
Nikki Haley (Governor – South Carolina): Haley is a southern belle, and by south I mean Southeast Asia. Born in South Carolina to parents from Punjab, India, Haley has risen to power pretty quickly in South Carolina and is the youngest serving governor in America at the tender age of 40. Dynamic, Tea-Party approved and dripping with business acumen she fits the profile of a Romney Whitehouse.
Drawbacks? Haleys popularity in her own state is questionable at this point. Her strong endorsement of Romney in an SC primary where he got trounced by Newt Gingrich has shown how weak her political capitol is right now. She’s been mired in a spending scandal and a possible extra-marital affair for starters and has been accused of seeking national fame over state issues. Her recent appearance on the View didn’t help the GOP pivot off their “War on Women: when she said “Women don’t care about contraception….They care about jobs and their families.” Oh yeah, and she turned down Romney too.
Condi Rice (Former Secretary of State): Now this is the type of high powered super-ticket that might get tongues wagging. Rice is the perfect Angel for Romney, she’s popular, well spoken, loved by the GOP base and a Black Republican woman who isn’t hated by the entire Black community. Moreover Condi brings with her foreign policy expertise, and since that’s one area where Obama has a huge advantage over Romney she is definitely a plus.
Then again, her drawbacks are so huge that even approaching her about this idea puts the Mitt campaign in the doghouse. First, when Van Jones is suggesting strategy for the Republican presidential candidate, look out. The Obama campaign would have a field day with this, Condi Rice carries all of the Bush administration baggage with her, from economic to foreign policy. What’s more: if you’re going to play popular Black women head-to-head for voter’s love, Condi can’t raise a finger to everybody’s favorite Aunt Viv in the Whitehouse Michelle Obama. And, in an increasingly disturbing trend …. Condi told Romney where he could stick his VP pick as well. When you get on Fox and Friends and say “How many ways can I say it? Not me!” that’s pretty damn definitive.
So, it would appear that maybe Romney has already struck out as Charlie. As talented and sexy as all of his potential Angels are, they’ve all said no, despite each one having special abilities that might bring Romney one step closer to Pennsylvania Avenue. But never fear, there is one last ditch hope. Just like the original Charlie’s Angels there’s always someone who drops out and gets replaced. A new star to replace the team’s Farah Fawcett when she rides off after the closing credits. I give you: Kristi Noem!
Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota): Noem is like Sarah Palin but better looking, with more business acumen. Romney can’t go the experience route because Obama is president. He can’t go the charm route because he has none. Mitt Romney’s best chance is to make the argument that a patriotic, pro-business conservative is the only one who can dig this nation out its current mess. Who better to pick for a VP than a range-owning beauty queen who is an up-an-comer in the Republican party? The major drawback to Noem is that she’s just too new and young to take on the heavy lifting of the VP job right now, and that her selection would be stunt casting a-la Sarah Palin in 08’. However she has no major scandals, and as a Democrat turned Republican could give a real boost to Romney amognst Gen X indepedants who see her as a peer (she’s only 41).
In the end, maybe Romney will step away from his telephone and realize that he can’t pull three very different women from very different backgrounds into his campaign with any success, but he’s going to have to do something. With most of the superstars of the GOP preemptively declining to run with him he has got to make a splash with this pick because you know Obama and Biden are going to be coming at him Full Throttle in November.
DR. JASON JOHNSON, Politic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at www.drjasonjohnson.com or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson