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VeepStakes ’12a – Mannes in Politico: Thumbs Down for Marco Rubio

Although the GOP doesn’t have a nominee yet, the 2012 veepstakes have begun. Politico’s Arena asks if Marco Rubio is a viable VP candidate. The short answer is NO, the longer answer is:

Marco Rubio is not VP material yet and has probably missed his moment to be considered presidential material. Over the past 35 years Americans have preferred outsider, people with minimal Washington experience to be president (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama.) These outsider candidates (including the one losing outsider – Dukakis) have picked experienced D.C.-insiders, often to explicitly balance their own lack of experience.

With the exception of Gingrich and Ron Paul, all of the current Republican candidates are outsiders who would probably select an experienced D.C.-hand as their running mate. Rubio, with less then a year in the Senate is hardly experienced.

Young, telegenic and charming Rubio might have had a chance for the presidency. A few years in the Senate doesn’t eliminate the “outsider” label. Obama did not complete his term in the Senate before becoming president. But it may take years for the current controversy around Rubio to fade in which case he will no longer be an outsider. But, like Biden who wrecked a presidential run with a minor controversy decades ago – Rubio could become a respected insider and become VP material around 2028.

THe Washington Post also takes a skeptical look at Rubio, noting that as a Cuban-American he does not resonate with the vast majority of Latino voters. Probably true, but I take a structural look. While candidates certainly choose based on politics, outsider candidates have had a strong record of picking experienced “presidential” running mates.

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