It”s May and Tim Pawlenty has finally wrapped up the Republican nomination. Now he turns to the task of selecting a Vice Presidential running mate. One thing is for sure, none of his competitors for the nomination will be considered. Bachmann might be a tempting choice, but she is also from Minnesota and therefore disqualified. The media is pushing for him to choose Christie or Rubio, but both have publically and privately taken their names out of the picture. At any rate, Pawlenty doesn’t want to upstaged by his running mate. In addition to Christie, several other governors seem willing and able–Haley Barbour, Scott Walker, and John Kasich–to list three. But all have their own baggage. Besides Rubio, a number of Senators come to mind–John Thune, Pat Toomey, Jim DeMint–but what does any Senator really bring to the ticket.
What Pawlenty needs in a running mate is someone who will not outshine Pawlenty; someone who is serious and will be taken seriously; someone who has executive experience; someone who is older and will , like Cheney, add gravitas to the ticket; and someone who will help in the Midwest battleground states. The ideal candidate for Tim Pawlenty to choose as his running mate is —John Engler. Engler was governor of Michigan for three terms from 1990 to 2002. He cut both personal and corporate income taxes and created hundreds of thousands of jobs. He won re-election twice in landslides with over 60% of the vote in what was then a very blue state. Since leaving office he has served as President of the National Association of Manufacturers and is currently President of the Business Roundtable. He will be able to credibly reinforce Pawlenty economic, small government, job creation message. And if he can carry his home state of Michigan, which is considered in play, the election is pretty much over. Even if he can’t carry Michigan, he is widely known throughout the Midwest and helps Pawlenty in Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as well as Minnesota. Winning Ohio is essential and winning an any other Midwest state should give Pawlenty an electoral college majority. At 63, Engler is old enough, but not too old. More importantly, like Pawlenty, he is a Washington outsider–in contrast to Joe Biden who is the ultimate Washington insider. This isn’t a flashy ticket–but it’s a winning ticket. Pawlenty – Engler 2012. Republicans could do a lot worse.