RUBIO FOR VP? I'M NOT SURE
The Daily Beast's Mark McKinnon thinks this is unassailable logic:
If anyone other than the former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gets the Republican nod for the top spot, it's a no-brainer to pick Senator-elect Marco Rubio of Florida as the VP on the ticket.
Look at all the boxes he would check:
• A Tea Party favorite
• And a young, fresh face
• With a solid conservative record
• From the critical state of Florida
• He has a compelling American story
• And a rationale greater than himself for running, and for governing
• He appeals to the base
• He appeals to younger (and older) voters
• And he attracts Hispanic voters
If Palin chooses to run and is not the presidential nominee, Rubio fixes what will certainly be the "Palin problem" for the GOP. With her unmatched magnetic appeal, which attracts headlines as well as campaign donations, there will be enormous pressure on whomever is nominated for president to pick Palin as a running mate. The only other option that provides any real conservative cover for a VP pick is Rubio. Otherwise, you will have a grassroots riot on your hands.
Really? I'm not sure. I get the feeling that Rubio has a bit of Scott Brown in him -- he's going to dial down the purity so often that, while he's always going to be a good GOP foot soldier, he's not going to necessarily be a good tea party foot soldier. So if that's what's demanded on the GOP ticket, he'll fall short.
I'm not sure I believe that there's going to be a demand for Palin to be #2, and I'm not sure her ego would allow her to accept the "first runner-up" slot twice in a row. And who the hell (besides John McCain) would want her stealing the spotlight in the fall the way she inevitably would? Obama's rejection of Hillary Clinton as a running mate would be invoked -- that worked out electorally -- so I think it wouldn't happen. (Though let's hope she wouldn't be offered the secretary of state slot as a consolation prize.)
Maybe I'm just old-school, but I think the front-list contenders (Gingrich excepted, and he won't win) will all feel the need for someone with some semblance of a foreign policy background to balance the ticket. I'm thinking Santorum or John Bolton -- both of whom would be Fox News-y and red meat-y enough to quell the need to put a teabagger on the ticket. So that's my hunch -- or, God help us, Newt himself.