There's a rumor going around that Romney has his short list for VP down to four names: Pawlenty, Portman, Ryan and Jindal. If that's the case, it's Portman. Here's why.
1. Pawlenty. Pawlenty would be a good choice. He's been a governor, he comes from a swingable state (barely), Minnesota. He's likeable (although his own presidential campaign didn't take off). But... the thing about Pawlenty is that main thing he was known for in his short campaign was a half-assed attempt to blast Romney for Romneycare, calling it at one point "Obamneycare." We can't afford having commercials blasting in swing states saying "Romney's own running mate said X." Add to that the fact that Minnesota would be a good "get," but if we get Minnesota, we've already won, and I don't see what Pawlenty adds.
2. Ryan. I love Paul Ryan. I love him as the face of the party for budgetary issues. I'd love for him to run for President in eight years (after two terms of Romney). But I don't want him this year as VP. I think he's been labeled by the MSM as the right's archdruid who wants to cut everything to the bone. I agree with him on all of that, but politically I think he would be a liability. He's also young and doesn't have any executive experience... not ideal. And, again, if we get Wisconsin, we've already won. (P.S. We are going to win Wisconsin this time around, but we'll do so without Ryan at the top of the ticket because of the energy in the state coming from the Governor's office, and because we'll have a strong Senate candidate for Herb Kohl's open seat, former Governor Tommy Thompson.)
3. Jindal. I also love Bobby Jindal. He's my second choice for VP, and he'd destroy (I mean de-f'in-stroy) Slow Joe Biden in debates. He's that smart. And he'd add some diversity to the ticket as the son of Indian immigrants, and perhaps insulate Republicans on the immigration issue. But he's young, and the pick might smack a little bit of desperation a la Sarah Palin... something to heighten the drama, attention-seeking, etc. And, Republicans are going to win Louisiana easily anyway, so I don't know what he adds from an Electoral College perspective either.)
That leaves Portman. Mature. Check. Experienced. Check. Able to be President. Check. Executive experience. Not so much, although he did hold two essentially cabinet-level positions in the Bush administration as director of OMB and U.S. Trade Representative. And, as the Senator from Ohio, he could help reel in the ultimate swing state, the must-have state, the can't-do-without-it state. Rubio would do a similar trick in Florida and help with Hispanic voters, but he's short on experience after only two years in the Senate. So it's Portman.
Or it's a surprise, someone we haven't even thought about yet.