Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)
There's a report out and the conservative blogs are a'twitter right now with word that the Republican machine in Florida is trying to gerrymander conservative Allen West out of his Congressional seat. What's odd about this is that Florida is actually gaining 2 electoral votes, so it shouldn't really be an issue. But the redistricting seems to be taking place in a way that has conservative, tea party supporters, and Allen West fans very concerned. In fact, the guy who is the Florida House Speaker -designate (the one in charge of this whole thing), Will Weatherford, is a big Mitt Romney guy. So then there's the connection that maybe Mitt is behind it all. Weatherford has denied the whole thing and says he is a big Allen West fan.
Here's my thought: if they do put him in an un-winnable district for some reason, let's compromise. Make him the party's VP candidate. There are a number of reasons I think that would be a dynamic and brilliant pick. Not sure I think Romney would do it, but I could see Newt doing it or Santorum doing it for sure.
You'll remember how I've talked about this Newt phenomenon before, and why I think he's surging. Right or wrong, I think it's because people see him as a fighter. They see him as someone who will go to the mat for conservatives against the liberal machine in media, government, and the culture. Would he? No one knows for sure. But he's surging because conservatives are getting that impression. That's the precise reason that West would be a great VP pick. He's got conservative blood that runs deep. And he's as bold as anyone in defending it.
If you don't believe me, check out this line from West's speech at a Lincoln Day Dinner in Florida:
"Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America," Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said at the Palm Beach County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner.
Proud, unabashed conservatism. It will sell. And the hand-wringing by all the squishy Republicans who worry about upsetting moderates instead of leading them and drawing them into the fold with the power of our convictions and ideas convinces me I'm right about that.
But West isn't the only one who would be a great VP pick. Another guy from Florida recently gave a speech that demonstrated why there's so much to be excited about in the future of the conservative movement:
In the Weekly Republican Address, Florida Senator Marco Rubio explains the failures of the Obama administration. He contrasts those with the promise of America that he and Republicans believe in, if the government stops doing the wrong things.
Sen. Rubio says, "As you know, earlier this week, President Obama delivered his fourth annual address to Congress. It was an opportunity for the President to talk about his accomplishments over the last three years and to lay out his plans for the year ahead.
"And he missed on both counts.
"You didn't hear much talk about the success of his Administration?and that's because there isn't much.
"Yes, this President inherited a significant national debt, but over the last three years he's made it worse. Our national debt has grown by nearly 50 percent since he took over, and now, for the first time since World War II, our national debt is larger than our country's economy.
"Yes, this President inherited an economy where unemployment was too high, but over the last three years he's made it worse. Today our unemployment rate is higher than the day he took office. In fact, since he took over, it's been stuck over 8 percent every single month.
"This President didn't talk about his record for one simple reason; he doesn't want you to know about it. But you do know about it, because you feel the failure of his leadership every single day of your life.
"The bottom line is this President inherited a country with serious problems. He asked the Congress to give him the stimulus and Obamacare to fix it. The Democrats in Congress gave it to him. And not only did it not work, it made everything worse.
You might remember, I said of Newt's rise that he is surging because conservatives aren't looking for someone to sit down with liberals and compromise with liberals. Liberals are wrong - why would you compromise with their bad ideas? Conservatives are looking for someone who will defeat liberalism. They see that in West and Rubio. I know they both have denied interest in the vice presidency. All Vice Presidents did at one point. The real question is not whether they'd be good choices - that's obvious. The real question is whether they'd agree to be part of the ticket. And that may depend totally on who the nominee ends up being.