Saturday, December 16, 2017
Politics

Don't do it, Marco Rubio! Why would you want to be vice president?

The senator is young. Charismatic. Telegenic.

He appeals to a growing Hispanic population, and can talk tea party issues without sounding cuckoo. His star has been on a steady incline, and his future has no limits.

So why in the world would Marco Rubio want to be vice president?

I ask this with the utmost sincerity. Because, considering all Rubio has going for him, a run at the 2012 vice presidency has more potential risk than reward.

And yes, I know that Rubio, who will be in town Saturday night for a speaking engagement, has been pooh-poohing his candidacy for months. But as the Times' Adam C. Smith and Alex Leary pointed out earlier this week, there are also signs Rubio is positioning himself just in case an invitation comes his way.

I'm just not sure why.

The vice presidency, while quite prestigious and extremely important, is also a black hole. The last stop before political careers end up on milk cartons.

Am I overstating matters? Yes, but not by a lot.

Do you know how many VPs went on to become president without first reaching the White House via death or resignation in the last 200 years? Three.

There was Martin Van Buren, George H.W. Bush and Richard Nixon, who lost in his first shot after serving under Dwight D. Eisenhower and waited another eight years before eventually winning.

And those were the successful ones. The actual VP incumbents. As for the sad sacks who lost elections as vice presidential candidates? They're like ghosts, practically never heard from again.

They are Jack Kemp (1996) and Estes Kefauver (1956). Lloyd Bentsen (1988) and Ed Muskie (1968). Geraldine Ferraro (1984) and William Miller (1964).

Only one person has ever lost while running for vice president, and then returned to win the presidency. That was FDR, and even he had to wait 12 years between bids.

Win or lose, postage stamps and national holidays are typically not in the cards for those sitting in the No. 2 spot on a convention stage.

So I ask again, why would Rubio want the job?

He has a chance to dominate the Republican Party in the coming years, as long as he avoids missteps along the way. And losing in 2012 would qualify as a misstep.

There is a certain excitement that comes with being a first-time candidate. You need only look at Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain to understand that.

Now, maybe Rubio has the muscle to help Mitt Romney win in November, but if it doesn't work he will never have that fresh flavor again.

And even if they do win, Rubio's fortunes are still tied to Romney. If the first four years of their administration go poorly, Rubio might as well start looking for teaching jobs.

You want a parallel?

Go back to 1956. There was a 39-year-old, first-term senator rising quickly up the party ranks. Rubio is a 40-year-old, freshman senator with similar buzz in his wake.

That first senator lost the Democratic VP bid to Kefauver in '56, and the Democrats went on to lose in the general election. The senator would later come to believe that his political career might have been over if he had gotten the VP nod instead of Kefauver.

Four years later, Sen. John F. Kennedy was president.

John Romano can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a potential solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenter, and use voucher funds to attend a private s...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 5 hours ago
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Published: 12/15/17
The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

WASHINGTON — As the spooling drama of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s White House departure spun into its 36th hour, Washington began asking itself: "Does it actually matter whether Omarosa quit or was fired?"Dumbest story ever," tweeted John Harwood, the...
Published: 12/15/17
Know your candidates: Florida State House | District 58

Know your candidates: Florida State House | District 58

A hard-fought Republican primary ended with the nomination of Lawrence McClure in October during a whirlwind special election cycle to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who is stepping down for health reasons. The GOP winner faces face three less wel...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17