Bryan’s Brain: Predicting the 2012 Presidential Ticket — Romney and Rubio
- Mar. 20, 2012
- 414 Comments
Let’s talk strategy.
Last May, I predicted that the GOP ticket would be Romney/Rubio. Back then, we hadn’t yet met Gov. Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich’s campaign was a media laughing stock following resignations of top campaign aides. Rick Santorum hadn’t been considered as a serious candidate yet. Mitt Romney was battling critics of his conservative credentials, and Ron Paul was still being his consistent, constitutional self.
Fast forward to today. I can’t help but notice how close I am to being correct on my prediction. At least, the polls suggest that my prediction seems to be very sound. So, how did I come to the prediction?
It starts with Mitt Romney and the economy. Ever since Barack Obama was sworn into office, the national polling data has said consistently that Americans are most concerned about the economy. Sure, there have been major news events that have deviated away from America’s main concern, but the dialogue always seems to come back to matters of economic implications. This benefits Mitt Romney who has successfully labeled himself as the “turnaround guy” or the guy with “private sector experience.” This also makes Obama vulnerable, since he decided to spend the bulk of his first term on healthcare and it has subsequently become his office’s centerpiece.
This “turnaround guy” label seems to have registered well with the American people and Romney has been rewarded with front-runner status. But, the Rick Santorum presence suggests a fascinating second narrative: social conservatism. Romney’s lack in perceived conservative streetcred can be remedied with the right kind of buzz and excitement that is needed for a more socially conservative minded electorate. Enter Marco Rubio.
For me, the Rubio factor comes down to three major elements: Tea Party favorite, Hispanic leader and swing state vote in Florida. Not to mention, his speeches are energetic, he isn’t afraid to take on popular liberal media figures (check out Rachel Maddow’s tiff with him) and he’s funny. He ranks off the charts on the conservative likability scale. The voters have taken note.