Â Â The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President. Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believethat will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012â€²s coverage also includes each potential nomineeâ€™s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.
Today White House 2012 takes a look at New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.
|Born: (1959-07-14) July 14, 1959 (age 52) El Paso, Texas, U.S.|
|Political Party: Democratic Party (Before 1995) Republican Party(1995â€“present)|
|Souse(s): Chuck Franco|
|Residence: Governorâ€™s Mansion|
|Alma Mater: University of Texas, El Paso University of Oklahoma|
Martinez is a strong, Thatcher-like, conservative, woman who in 2010 handily won her election and became the first female governor of New Mexico, and the first female Hispanic governor in the United States. Beyond both the appeal of the balance she would bring to the G.O.P. as both a Hispanic and a woman, Martinez is simply a strong conservative leader with solid conservative positions and a powerful conservative agenda that translates into the type of solutions that New Mexico and in many ways, the nation requires .
Martinez has pursued an aggressive approach to the problem of illegal immigration in her state, and as a four term district attorney, Martinez she has a powerful law and order agenda. She has sought to repeal state laws that provide illegal immigrants access to driverâ€™s licenses and to deny children of illegal immigrants access to higher education through the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship Ironically Martinez has admitted that her paternal grandparents were illegal immigrants. While that may become a laughing point for the left, it does however give Martinez a unique ability to lead on the issue.
Governor Martinez has also been a leading â€œgood governmentâ€ advocate who has pushed for transparency in government every step of the way. This probably stems from her years as a prosecutor in which she focused on cases involving public corruption. And when it comes to fiscal conservatism, Martinez is a trim, female version of Chris Christie. While far more attractive than Christie, she shares his approach to budgetary matters and has proposed to reduce New Mexicoâ€™s debt without increasing taxes, and by proposing state spending reductions and agency budget cuts. Martinez has also called for pension reforms, that have reduced the stateâ€™s pension contribution and required their beneficiaries to pay an additional 2% into their pension funds. In other areas Martinez has promised to revamp the stateâ€™s education plan by investing in private education
Martinez is pro-life and is opposed to elective abortion. She supports parental notification laws for minors under 13-years-old who seek an abortion. She is also opposed to same-sex marriage. Martinez supports a balanced budget and lower government spending. She also favors putting taxpayer money into a rainy day fund, and refunding taxpayers to attempt to stimulate growth.
One area where Martinez may be seen as wandering off the conservative Republican ranch. While the Party line generally focusses von cutting services, the opposition often attempts to use that as a way to paint the G.O.P. as out to decimate programs aimed at helping the sick and poor. But such charges can not be used against Martinez. She goes out of her way to make it know that she believes in providing services to adults and children who canâ€™t take care of themselves. That belief even prompted Governor Martinez to wrest an additional $6 million in Medicaid money out of the New Mexico legislature during her first year in office, despite inheriting a a $450 million deficit. This may earn Martinez some sharp criticism from fiscal conservatives on the right, but in the general election, it could a long way in compensating for the harsh image that the Obama and the pro-Obama media will create for Republicans when it comes to the most vulnerable in our society.
In many ways, Martinez is shrewd or to put it in a more accurate and less ominous way, she is politically savvy. She knows that her political future is bright and so she has been very carefull in her political decision making. She has avoided any of the political landmines that often eventually blowup in the faces of other politicians. In many ways, you can say Martinez is pacing herself. She offers bold conservatives solutions that are designed to address the problems of her state but she as avoided getting heavily invested in anything that would anger one segment of the electorate or the other. This may not be seen as a profile in courage but from a political standpoint, New Mexico governors are limited to two terms and if Martinez does a job that is good enough to get reelected, her second term could be the one in which she uses to shoot for more bold, sweeping reforms.
In the meantime, Martinez has one of the highest approval ratings of all the governors in the nation and she is in a perfect position to bring that type of popularity to the Republican presidential ticket.
If tapped for Vice President, the left will surely try to palinize Martinez. Like Palin by the time of the 2012 election she will have served only half a term as Governor and many will draw comparisons between Palin and Martinez. But such comparisons would be a mistake. The two are very different people, with similar conservative solutions but with distinctly different personalities and approaches. Martinez could be a strong running mate for any presidential nominee. But her willingness to accept the VP slot if asked is in great doubt. Voters of New Mexico were not very happy with their last Governor when he briefly ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Governor Bill Richardson was term limited and could not seek reelection but New Mexicans were still not happy with the time he spent running for office instead of running the state.
Which might be one reason why Martinez claims to be dead-set against running as Romneyâ€™s Vice President. Another reason could be her dislike of the Republican establishments approach to immigration and appealing to Hispanic voters. In regards to Romneyâ€™s call for policies that promote illegal immigrants to self deport, Martinez sateâ€™s â€œâ€˜Self-deport?â€™ What the heck does that mean?â€ She also adds that Martinez â€œI have no doubt Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign. But now thereâ€™s an opportunity for Gov. Romney to have a sincere conversation about what we can do and why.â€
Martinez has many of her own ideas on how to do that. One of them includes reminding Latinos that President Obama promised to pass comprehensive immigration reform by the end of his first term year in office and to make them aware that as it turns out, he â€œdidnâ€™t even have the courage to try.â€ Another suggestion is for Republicans to come up with their own, very real, multi level approach to immigration. An approach that includes a guest-worker program for people who want â€œto go freely back and forth across the border to workâ€; increased border security; a visa (coupled with a â€œpenaltyâ€ or a â€œtagbackâ€) that allows rest of the illegal population to remain in the U.S. while they follow standard naturalization procedures. deportation for criminals; and a DREAM Act-style pathway to citizenship, through the military or college, for children brought here illegally by their parents.
But with such strong opinions and an obviously bright future of leadership, it is very possible that Martinez could be convinced that by joining the Republican presidential ticket, she might be able to accomplish these things. With Republicans needing close to at least 40% of the vote if they wish to win the White House, there is no good reason for Mitt Romney to adopt the ideas of Martinez and unleash her on the nation to campaign for the their implementation.
Given the reality of it all, Martinez is by far the best choice for Mitt Romney. Like Marco Rubio, she appeals to Hispanics, but as a Latina she also appeals to women, and not just Hispanic women. Martinez also comes from a state that if Republicans win, could make it impossible for President Obama to hammer together the 270 electoral college votes that he needs to win reelection. Martinez is also a top notch campaigner whose natural people skills goes a long way in compensating for Romneyâ€™s robotic personality. In that area, what Romney lacks, Martinez more than makes up for.
Although Martinezâ€™s record is not blemish free, her placement on the G.O.P. ticket as Romneyâ€™s running mate could make all the difference in a close election. While the selection of some potential vice presidential running mates like Marco Rubio of Florida and Rob Portman of Ohio may be essential to winning one or the other of those two states that are critically needed for Republicans to win in November, Martinez could change the electoral equation of all the states by cutting in to the Democratâ€™s traditionally reliable strength among women and Hispanic voters.
- Is solid enough on most conservative issues to satisfy and energize the Republican base that Romney is on shaky ground with
- She comes from a state that Democrats canâ€™t afford to lose
- She has regional appeal in the Southwest
- As a Latina, Martinez who speaks fluent Spanish, can appeal to both Hispanics and women in ways that no other potential running mate can
- Martinezâ€™s position on Medicare and other government entitlement programs can help counter the leftâ€™s harsh rhetoric that tries to paint the G.O.P. as heartless
- Martinez is a very strong Thatcher-like figure who connects with people and is an excellent speaker and campaigner
- Her personal story is a quintessentially American one that can help voters relate to her and appreciate her
- Will be able to address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform quite convincingly
- Open to criticism from fiscal conservatives on issues like Medicaid
- Will have been governor for two years and will initially have to contend with comparisons to Sarah Palin
- Will have to contend with rumors about her grandparents having been illegal immigrants
- Will face sharp criticism for the handling of a mentally ill man who was held without a trial for two years at a county prison while she was D.A andfor being briefly fired in 1992 when her boss accused her of bringing in a case her husband had investigated.
- The left will try claim that Martinez participated in patronage by awarding casino contracts and energy appointments to campaign donor
While there are several other favorites of my own such as Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, Allen West, Marco Rubio, John Thune, and Jeb Bush, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is another contender I am cheering for.
Martinez is a strong, convincing conservative voice with a compelling story and powerfully confident record on conservative issues and as a state executive. Her Thatcher-like strength goes a long way in providing a sometimes sexist male electorate with confidence in her and her ability to relate to women and Hispanics is unparalleled by any other figure on the national stage today. Those latter two points can have a major effect on the election, especially among those Hispanics and women who are independent voters.
From my perspective Martinez is a perfect choice not just for Mitt Romney but for anybody. She is right on the issues and is better suited than any other potential Romney running mate to articulate the Partyâ€™s position positions on those issues than most others, and when it comes to women voters and Hispanic voters, she is better than any other national figure especially when it comes to adding diversity to the ticket. The only way Martinez could add a more perfect angle of diversity to the ticket would be if she was a lesbian. Could you imagine the frustraqtion of the left having to contend with a conservtive Latina lesbian? And contrary to what you might think, they do exist.
But I am not the presidential nominee. Mitt Romney is and I do not think he is likely to select Martinez as his running mate for several reasons. Martinez is probably not the non-controversial choice that is safe enough for his comfort level and he will probably want to avoid the distraction that the media will cause with inevitable comparisons of his campaign to Johnâ€™s Mc Cainâ€™s losing 2008 campaign and the selection of Sarah Palin, another woman and freshman Governor selected to be Vice President.
Another reason Martinez might not be selected is because she has previously indicated a bit of disatisfaction with some of Romneyâ€™s polcies and that she would not consider accepting the position if it was offered. I hope I am wrong about Romneyâ€™s thinking though, and I would hope that Martinex would reconsider her earlier protestations because I truly believe she is one of the best 5 men or women for the job.
Martinez On The Issues