Mitt Romney's made it clear that he believes that corporations and zygotes deserve more rights than women, which is why it's not terribly surprising that female American voters say they prefer Barack Obama over the presumptive GOP nominee by 18 percentage points. To close that gap, it may make strategic sense for Romney to select a woman as his running mate, in a sort of politically ham-fisted attempt to prove to the American public that he's got one female friend who isn't his wife. Here are the woman best poised to get the nomination ... and why Romney won't pick them.
Now that Santorum's chosen to end his campaign before carrying it fully to term, Romney's probably going to get the nomination, unless Ronald Reagan's corpse reanimates. With the War on Women on the lips of pundits and politicians alike, To Lady or Not To Lady has become the question on the minds of many a strategist. Romney's going to have to pick a Vice President that complements him on the ticket. Romney's got a woman problem. Why not kill two birds with one stone?
On the other hand, the Sarah Palin debacle taught Republicans a thing or two about just picking an unvetted spunky lady for a position a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Nicolle Wallace, a McCain strategist who worked with Palin on the 2008 campaign trail, believes that it will be a long time before a Republican presidential nominee tries to blow everyone's mind by picking a lady to run.
If Romney were to decide to Go Co-Ed with the ticket, there are plenty of conservative women who would make good choices. Unfortunately, they each come with their own deal breaker.
Who is she? Centrist Republican Senator from Maine who is retiring after her term expires because she's sick of the Washington DC bullshit.
Why she'd make a great VP nominee Her straight talk bipartisanship would be appealing to moderates. She's openly criticized the "retro" birth control debate. She doesn't appear to hate women.
Deal breaker Mittens is already getting the side eye from the conservative establishment, even in spite of the jarringly wingnut rhetoric he's been spouting this primary season. A Romney/Snowe ticket might appeal to moderates, but it would most assuredly convince hard core Republicans to stay home and forlornly shoot their guns at endangered species and abortion doctors on Election Day. Plus, Snowe's been in Washington since 1979. It's fair to assume that when she says she's tired of the District, she's really tired of the District. She probably wouldn't take the nomination, anyway.
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Who is she? Texas' first female Senator and one of the Ladies Home Journal top 30 most powerful women in America
Why she'd make a great VP nominee Tough, smart, beloved by her constituents (60% of them voted for her reelection), and willing to work across party lines — sometimes.
Why she won't be the nominee She ran for governor of the state of Texas against Rick Perry, one of Romney's former fellow contenders for the GOP nomination, and lost. A desperate man like Romney doesn't need the image of a sub-Perry loser attached to him, even though Kay Bailey Hutchison is, for all intents and purposes, pretty badass.
Who is she? Republican governor of New Mexico
Why she'd make a great VP nominee Two distinct and important groups of voters hate Mitt Romney: women, and Latinos. Susana Martinez can appeal to both, and she's pretty popular in the Land of Enchantment. She's also got conservative chops — a fiscal conservative who is staunchly anti-abortion and anti-same sex marriage.
Why she won't be the nominee She says she wouldn't accept the nomination. Plus, like Romney, she's a flip flopper — prior to 1995, she was a Democrat. And, to make matters worse: Martinez's grandparents were illegal immigrants. Mitt Romney's running for office, for Pete's sake! He can't have descendants of illegals on his ticket!
Who is she? Freshman Senator from New Hampshire, the state's former Attorney General. Beloved by the Tea Party.
Why she'd make a great VP nominee She's got everything — she's a mother, a fiscal conservative, a rabid anti-abortion nutjob, but she also can hold her own in debates.
Why she won't be the nominee Flyover country, as it tends to do, will clamor for a more geographically diverse ticket. And while she might appeal to women and non-robots, she's still relatively inexperienced.
Who is she? Haley's the governor of South Carolina and the first Indian American female governor in US history.
Why she'd make a great VP nominee Tea Party Darling Nikki Haley does not take crap from anyone. During a tough primary battle in 2010, she received a key endorsement from Mitt Romney, and the two remain bros to this day.
Why she won't be the nominee She says she won't accept a VP nomination. Plus, Haley, for all her fire and Tea Party frothing, might still be a little much for some of the party establishment. A guy from Massachusetts?! And an Indian woman? Dozens of cigars in smoky back rooms were just spat out in surprise. Monocles dropped.
Who is she? Who isn't she? Former Presidential candidate and Minnesota Congresswoman.
Why she'd make a great VP nominee Her delusion is so complete that she can walk the walk no matter where she is — even if she doesn't have any idea what she's talking about. Which she usually doesn't.
Why she won't be the nominee Just as Olympia Snowe would scare away conservatives, so too would Bachmann frighten moderates. But wouldn't it be awesome if Romney did pick Bachmann? God, that would be incredible.
So, it seems that while GOP High School is replete with attractive lady dance partners, no one wants to go to prom with Mittens.
Maybe it's better that Romney probably won't Go Lady with his Vice Presidential nominee; it's time Republicans realized that picking one woman to serve as a token isn't the same as actually supporting policies that are helpful to women. Then again, Republicans this cycle have been especially bad at understanding how women vote, and maybe this is the best they can do. Any of these possibilities is better than Marco Rubio. Even if they make him wear a dress.