Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 29, 2012

Not picking Portman could cost Romney

As we near the end of the election cycle, one thought is universal:

Whoever wins Ohio wins the election.

Mitt Romney would have a better chance of winning if he had chosen Sen. Rob Portman from Ohio as his running mate.

I’ve been reading The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro. Like Caro’s other three books about Johnson, they are the definitive history of the person and the era.

Caro describes in great detail Kennedy’s decision to pick Lyndon Johnson as his running mate in 1960.

Kennedy and Johnson were as different as night and day and really didn’t care for each other personally. For Kennedy, it came down to one decision: He needed to carry Texas to be president and couldn’t do it without Johnson.

Kennedy won in a squeaker. Without Johnson, Kennedy would have gone down in history as the second Catholic to have tried for the presidency and failed. With Johnson, Kennedy is remembered as the Thirty-Fifth President of the United States.

Elections aren’t about promoting an ideology or making a statement. They are about winning. The winners get to set policy and wield power. The losers get to whine about it on cable television.

Thus, I thought that Mitt Romney had an easy decision to make: All paths to the White House for Romney go through Ohio. Obama can win the presidency and lose Ohio. Romney can’t. Ohio is a “must win” for him. Portman would have ‘sealed the deal.”

Instead, Romney picked Paul Ryan. Outside of a 15-second “debate” about Ryan’s innovative (if you are for them) or controversial (if you are against them) ideas about Medicare and Social Security, Ryan has been a non-factor in the Presidential election.

Furthermore, Ryan is useless in the quest to pick up electoral votes. According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog, President Obama has a very high probability of winning Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.

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