Skip to comments.Portman's bipartisan reputation could hurt chance of joining GOP ticket
Posted on 06/01/2012 6:52:16 AM PDT by SharpRightTurn
One mark against Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) being Mitt Romneys vice-presidential choice may be that Portmans not sufficiently polarized.
If the speculation Portman will become Mitt Romneys vice-presidential pick proves true, he could complicate the presidential race in an unexpected way: he has a legitimate record of bipartisanship and is well-regarded even by a number of Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Portman is currently stirring more vice-presidential talk among Beltway insiders by taking a trip to Israel, where he held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.
The Ohioan has faced criticism for his supposed grayness but he pushed back against that during an interview with CNN immediately following the Netanyahu meeting.
Asked by anchor Gloria Borger whether a perceived lack of pizzazz would hinder him, Portman responded:
I think what people are looking for right now is not the kind of pizzazz and pop that perhaps we thought we got in 2008 certainly President Obama offered that. What they want now is someone who can work closely with Congress and get things done. We have a paralysis in Washington.
Should Portman get the nod from Romney, President Obama's team will undoubtedly focus on his work for the administration of President George W. Bush. He served as U.S. Trade Representative and, later, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) during Bushs second term. He served a little over a year in each position.
But his service during the Bush years, and his conservative positions on social issues (he backed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, for example), may not displace the broader sense that he is more willing than most to reach out for common ground.
When he left the OMB, and the Bush administration, in 2007, then Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called him one of the finest public servants with whom I have served in the House and praised his willingness to work with members on both sides of the aisle.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) called him a person of credibility and decency.
The liking for Portman goes beyond pro-forma warm words. His close and constructive relationship with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) dates back more than a decade to when, as House members, they worked together on legislation that they said would have simplified and strengthened the pension system.
He is said to be friendly on a social basis with Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), the two men having apparently bonded over their love of outdoor activities. Portman, a keen kayaker, is even reputed to practice his rolls in the congressional swimming pool.
Running for election to the Senate in 2010, Portman saw the benefits of highlighting his bipartisanship too. During a debate with his Democratic opponent, Lee Fisher, Portman stated: I often joke in front of Republican crowds, and probably people are [made] a little nervous by the fact, that 12 of my bills were signed by President Clinton.
An investigation of the claim by Politifact found the claim mostly true saying that while it depends on how you count the bills, the claim was more or less accurate.
Among the more intriguing partnerships Portman forged was with the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), with whom he sponsored a bill to guarantee federal funding for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. Tubbs Jones once said of him: Compared to other Republicans, [he[ is pleasant and good to work with.
During his time in the Senate, Portman has worked with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark) on regulatory issues, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) on energy efficiency, and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on seniors health.
Still, if personal liking for Portman is in relatively abundant supply, some Democrats caution that this should not be mistaken for ideological centrism.
He is very likable, a gentleman, but he is far more conservative than the demeanor would indicate, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) told The Hill. Hes not acerbic, thats for sure. But hes very conservative.
But Republican Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), who served alongside Portman on the House Ways and Means committee, spoke up for his friends willingness to compromise. Calling himself a big fan of Rob Portmans, Brady said the he did work with Dems on saving issues, especially.
Susan Schwab, who succeeded Portman as U.S. Trade Representative, also weighed in emphatically on his side, lambasting reporters who write about him as a boring white guy, and who obviously have never met him or worked with him.
Schwab added that anyone seeking to demonize Portman would face a difficult task.
It would be hard to caricature him because hes not a caricature, she said. There is a tendency in politics now to present people as two-dimensional all the time. But hes got such a proven record that you couldnt make him seem two-dimensional. You couldnt get away with that with Rob Portman.
We'll see in the VP pick if Romney is seriously going to court conservatives with a pick like DeMint, Palin, Lee, Rand Paul, etc. or will listen to the establishment and go with someone like Portman, Bush, Christi, Pawlenty, etc.
Also see Halfmanhalfamazing's post a few weeks back: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2875281/posts
That's a bad sign already. We don't need people that are "well regarded" by Democrats. Who the hell cares what the enemies of this country think.
Don’t know why I’m having trouble with hyperlinks:
If he is being praised by democrats, he is a rino.
Oh, great a rino as VP for a liberal v a loon VP for a liberal.
We are so screwed.
Personally, I have very little hope that Romney will “seriously court conservatives”. A RINO IS A RINO!
I don’t care much about that reaching across the aisle thingee..........I want a president who has a clear vision and goes for it!
I worry about what Romney’s “clear vision” is, though.
Why oh why do we keep putting up establishment politicians as our candidate for president.
Isn't that nice - wonder what that costs us each year to keep open? Could you imagine the indignation if it were suggested this be opened up to the public on weekends?
Lets hope this political trqnsgender type doesn’t get tapped. I still think Romney’s best choice would be Colonel West or Marco Rubio.
“We don’t need people that are “well regarded” by Democrats.”
Exactly right. Everytime I hear some Republican extolled because they “work well with others” I know it’s bad news.
Gov Martinez (R-NM) for VeePee!
I don’t care who Mitt picks.
I’m not voting for him.
If I hear one more “reach out to my friends across the aisle” Republican recommended for ANYTHING, it will be difficult to resist the urge to puncture my own eardrums. All that means is they want to be loved by the Dems, who are anything but their “friends.” Grow a spine and stand for something. Liberals don’t need to be reached out to, listened to, or understood. They need to be exposed, mocked, and voted out of office!
“Whos Portman? If he is being praised by democrats, he is a rino.”
Which is, of course, why he is being talked up so much. Not only would the Dims be comfortable with him, I have no doubt that the Republican party hacks would love to see him on the ticket also.
Everyone knows the worst thing in the world is to be known as a 'boring white guy'.
Hey Susan, instead of simply accepting the characterization why not take exception to a disgusting racial slur?
Romney will probably go with someone he likes, someone he is comfortable with, and that means he may pick a Democrat. The lucky boy or girl will have to fill in a few blanks, like adding color to the ticket, and/or sexual diversity, something like a black dyke, lover of at least on Hollywood actress. She will need to be a vegan, and look natural in a “Free Trayvon” shirt. Most importantly, Romney’s VP pick will have to speak fluent Spanish, and have at least 1/5 Cherokee blood in her. What Romney should really look for is someone with more intelligence than Biden.
“Personally, I have very little hope that Romney will seriously court conservatives. A RINO IS A RINO!”
I suspect the only way Romney might pick a conservative, which clearly would not be his instinct, is if he realizes he may have to do so to win the general election. And so I think there is a slim possibility he might because, unlike McShame, it looks as though Romney really wants to win instead of throwing the election.
I looked him up on the internet and it appears he is one of those milk toast, soft voice, all grey looking really boring guys.
He looks like Romney with grey hair only shorter.
We are so screwed.
“I dont care who Mitt picks. Im not voting for him.”
I think that shows the difficulty he faces. Even without a solid conservative pick for VP a lot of conservatives will not support Romney. All the more shows that to win some he better be willing to forego a Portman or Jeb Bush and pick a conservative VP. Otherwise, I don’t think I can suppress my gag reflex enough to vote for him either.
Time will tell—and we can hope—LOL!
I don't care either, I'm not going to vote FOR Mit...But I am darned sure going to vote against Obama!
“If I hear one more reach out to my friends across the aisle Republican recommended for ANYTHING, it will be difficult to resist the urge to puncture my own eardrums. All that means is they want to be loved by the Dems, who are anything but their friends. Grow a spine and stand for something.”
Lugar was certainly angry that Tea Party types were trying to purge the Republican party of members who were working with “the other side.” I’m sure most establishment Republicans agree with him. To which I reply: good riddance. I don’t want someone who will make a bargain with the devil. I want the devil defeated.