Given his involvement in picking running mates for two different GOP presidential candidates, I think that Dick Cheney's observations have to be given serious consideration.
Dick Cheney has some advice for Mitt Romney on choosing a running mate: Don’t pick another Sarah Palin.
In his first interview since receiving a heart transplant in March, Cheney told ABC News, that John McCain’s decision to pick Palin as his running mate in 2008 was “a mistake” — one that it is important from Romney not to repeat.
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“The test to get on that small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’”
Cheney believes Sarah Palin failed that test.
“I like Governor Palin. I’ve met her. I know her. She – attractive candidate. But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years. I don’t think she passed that test…of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.”
I had -- and still have -- warm feelings for Sarah Palin. That said, I look back and realize that Cheney has it right about her -- she was not someone whose experience made it clear she was ready to be president should the worst happen. That isn't an insult -- nor am I saying that she would have been incompetent -- but her background was not the sort of thing which inspires confidence.
That said, let's apply that advice to some of the names being bandied about as potential picks for Romney's running mate. How do they stack up?
- Bobby Jindal -- He may be young, but he's got the sort of resume that few older men can match. He's been governor for over 4 years, he served in Congress, and he is a policy wonk in the area of health care. He's ready.
- Marco Rubio -- He's got even less experience as a Senator than Barack Obama did when he became president. His only previous experience, like Obama's was as a state legislator (though his experience is much more significant). We've seen how well that worked out. Not ready in 2012.
- Rob Portman -- He's served a dozen years in Congress, and has experience in the top reaches of the executive branch. He's ready.
- Allen West -- Only two years in Congress, but no other experience in elective office. Yes,he was a career military officer -- but retired as a lieutenant colonel, not a general. He's not ready.
- Paul Ryan -- He's a had a good tenure in Congress, and is seen as a policy expert on budgetary matters. He's arguably ready.
- Chris Christie -- Two years as governor and several as a US Attorney do not prepare a man for the presidency. he's not ready.
- Brian Sandoval -- He's got plenty of state-level executive experience, not to mention a number of years as a member of the state legislature. He's also a former federal judge. He seems ready.
- Rand Paul -- He has only two years in the Senate. If he weren't his father's son, he wouldn't even make the list. Not ready.
I could look at a lot of other possible nominees whose names are tossed around, but many of them do not make the cut under the Cheney standard.