Despite the rumors, it's not Mitt Romney. No way, no how. Romney doesn't bring a state, a narrative, a constituency, or at this point in the cycle with McCain taking public funding. much money. Worse, McCain is getting torn apart on his wealth. Picking the only guy wealthier than he is would be unthinkable. The ticket would have a combined net worth -- somewhere in the $250 million range, I think -- exceeding that of small countries. Romney himself was CEO of Bain Capital, a private equity firm responsible for engineering the layoffs of tens of thousands of Americans. When Mike Huckabee said, “I want to be a president who reminds you of the guy you work with, not the guy who laid you off,” he was talking about Romney.Here's why I think it is:
Despite all the press ballyhoo about Obama's decline and McCain's resurgence, let's look at InTrade:
In other words, the odds of McCain winning are still pretty long--close to 2-to-1 against. That makes Romney the heir apparent for the 2012 GOP nomination. And, while his money isn't very useful in this cycle if McCain takes federal matching funds, it's incredibly useful down-ballot to stanch the bleeding in the congressional races. He's smart, he's telegenic as hell, and he'll make mincemeat out of Biden in a debate.
Romney has a power bloc that revolves around his money and the money of his friends. McCain will feel the pressure from that bloc. He may resist it, but he knows he's got to make nice with the party establishment to get the voter turnout he needs.
Finally, running with McCain, Romney is free to be Romney. He can't step back from the pro-life thing (and I suspect that he doesn't care personally one way or the other) but McCain and Romney are more ideologically compatible than they seemed to be in the primaries, when Romney screwed the pooch running so obviously away from his real political persona. The general election allows him to rehabilitate himself in public, after which he's either the VP or he's the guy who got to shine in the general election campaign. Either way, he's the heir apparent.