Rob Portman is a very impressive man. Great resume; solid citizen. He’s from an important, no, vital, swing state, Ohio.
Here’s the problem: he is boring. He brings no excitement to the ticket, just another quietly brilliant man.
Then there’s the question of whether a veep choice can bring his state along on election day. Past results on this are mixed, at best. I suggest that the new conventional wisdom is that geography take third place behind two other factors.
First, the veep choice ought to be someone who can generate excitement. Excitement of the right kind, of course. Sarah Palin brought a lot of excitement, but too much of it was negative.
Second, the veep choice should be someone who complements the nominee’s ideology. In Mitt Romney’s case, a hard-core conservative might help bring the base around.
Overarching all of these factors is the one thing that must always be true: the veep choice must be considered ready to step in and be the president.
Rob Portman certainly meets this criterion, but he’s lacking on the other two factors. We need someone like Marco Rubio or Allen West, or, dare I suggest, Chris Christie (it would make Ann C. most enthused). Heck, if we want a policy wonk, Bobby Jindal or Paul Ryan.
Our bench is deep, people. Let’s use it to our best advantage this fall.