Land said he recently told them that Romney could win over recalcitrant conservatives by picking Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) as his vice presidential running mate and previewing a few Cabinet selections: Santorum as attorney general, Gingrich as ambassador to the United Nations and John Bolton as secretary of state.
Selecting Rubio as running mate would be ill-advised for reasons I’ve already discussed, but the other selections are truly self-destructive if the goal is to win the election. What could be better-designed to horrify libertarians and independents than the thought of Santorum in charge of the Justice Department? Santorum as Attorney General would be a lot like Bush’s selection of Ashcroft, but it would manage to demonstrate even less respect for constitutional rights than Bush did. (Unlike Santorum, Ashcroft at least paid some lip service to constitutional protections while he was in the Senate.) Nothing would be more effective in confirming that a Romney administration would copy all of the worst habits of Bush’s foreign policy than naming the likes of Gingrich and Bolton to key diplomatic posts. If Romney just wanted to concede foreign policy to Obama during the election, this would be one way to do it. It’s doubtful that all of this egregious pandering would do Romney much good with unenthusiastic conservatives, but it will give many persuadable voters several new reasons to stay home or to vote for someone else.