Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s search for a running mate is allegedly entering its final phase, and establishment Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman is believed to be at the top of the list. Portman has campaigned repeatedly with Romney, and he is flying to New Hampshire this week — where the Romney family is vacationing — to appear at a Republican fund-raiser.
Portman continues to garner plaudits from the establishment media, but most importantly, he is the clear favorite of many establishment Republican insiders.
As The New York Times observed, “he [Portman] is among a select breed of politicians who have a keen and deep understanding of the inner workings of government.” And to the big government Republicans who were Portman’s colleagues in the George W. Bush administration and the House under Speaker Dennis Hastert, this makes him not just a safe choice, but the best choice.
Portman, who was elected to the Senate in 2010 after representing the Cincinnati area in the House for 12 years, has been around Washington for some 30 years. He may be unknown to many Republicans across the country, but in Washington -- where he worked in both Bush administrations -- he is the ultimate insider. He's also the ultimate Bush Republican.
In addition to working in both Bush administrations, Portman campaigned hard for George W. Bush in 2000, dogging Senator John McCain across Ohio, crashing McCain campaign events and contributing mightily to W’s victory in Ohio.
As the Budget Director of the George W. Bush administration, Portman became an acknowledged expert on the federal budget. Indeed, as a newly elected senator, Portman pulled out his own charts and graphs on the Senate floor to analyze the nation’s rising deficits and its then-debt of $15 trillion.
But Portman’s problem on spending is not his knowledge of the budget, it is his failure to actually do anything to end the deficits and debt that are destroying the American dream we just celebrated on the 4th of July.
Portman, like many establishment Republicans, comes across as a basically conservative Main Street Ohio politician -- but he’s no Bob Taft.
If Republicans want to defeat President Obama, and in the process get America off the road to economic disaster, they must reject the big government Republicanism that led the Republican Party to its defeats in 2006 and 2010.
Mitt Romney claims that he is a Washington outsider who was not part of those Republican disasters. If that’s true, he will certainly choose a conservative “boat rocker” like Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal or Jim DeMint, not the chief architect of George W. Bush’s budget deficit disasters.