This is one of those posts where I would use a polling mechanism if I knew how to use it. But being the Luddite I am, no polling available.
The question is simple: would you as a Latter-day Saint feel more comfortable voting for McCain, who has had problems with his Republican base, if he chose Romney as his running mate? Here’s my take:
UPDATE: this New York Times article, which I saw after I posted this, indicates Romney appears to be the front-runner as McCain’s VP.
The issue here is that McCain has to choose SOMEBODY as his running mate. Virtually all of them seem to have huge problems. A running mate has to be loyal, be able to raise money, hopefully bring in votes in swing states, be well-vetted and not embarrassing and not hurt the ticket. By that criteria, Romney is the best choice.
I will admit I have some sentimental choices that are intriguing. Bobby Jindal, the La. governor, would be a great choice. Portman from Ohio looks good. But I don’t think Jindal or Portman help the McCain ticket as much as Romney does. (Readers should know right now that several conservative publications such as the Washington Times and Investor’s Business Daily have already called on McCain to choose Romney).
As a conservative, I really have two criteria in a running mate for McCain: I want somebody more conservative than he is, hopefully a movement conservative, and I want somebody who will help him beat Obama. Romney was my man in the primaries, mostly because I simply identified with him politically and personally.
I have no enthusiasm for McCain. I’ve written elsewhere that I perhaps agree with him 40 to 50 percent of the time. If he chooses another “moderate” Republican (like Charlie Crist or Chuck Hagel) or, heaven forbid, an independent like Bloomberg or Lieberman, my enthusiasm will go from lukewarm to downright cold. So far I haven’t sent him any money or talked him up or campaigned for him in any way. With the wrong running mate, that will continue.
Still, even if he chooses a horrible running mate, I will hold my nose and vote for McCain (Ann Coulter says conservatives should get drunk and vote for McCain, but I need to keep my temple recommend). But if he chooses a true conservative, I can see myself getting more excited about the septuagenarian.
Romney would be a good choice because he understands the economy, can fix things and can inspire optimism during difficult times; he helps McCain in Nevada, Colorado and Michigan, three key states that McCain probably has to win to have a chance; he can raise a lot of money; and he has been completely vetted and is unlikely to embarrass McCain.
Please note that I have not mentioned religion in this at all — if Romney were a Baptist or Catholic I would be just as excited about him.
What do my fellow Latter-day Saints say about this issue?
Updated: Link to BCC poll. (Thanks, Steve.)