Karl Rove writes that he was Wrong About Dick Cheney.
.... A running mate's principal political impact is on behalf of the presidential candidate's themes or issues. The vice-presidential candidate helps reinforce what the presidential candidate is emphasizing. But if the top banana on the ballot isn't getting it done, the running mate won't be able to on his or her own.
Choosing a running mate reveals much about the presidential candidate himself. Though still only a candidate, this is his first presidential decision.
It is one best made by asking about the skills, philosophy, outlook, work ethic and chemistry of a prospective running mate. Do they have good judgment? Can they be counted on to give their unvarnished opinion? Are they loyal? Who can best help the president govern?
In other words, set aside politics. Put governing first.
This was brought home to me in 2000, when then-Gov. George W. Bush was strongly leaning toward picking Dick Cheney as his VP.
He knew I was opposed and invited me to make the case against his idea. I came to our meeting armed with eight political objections. Mr. Bush heard me out but with a twist: I explained my objections with Mr. Cheney sitting, mute and expressionless, next to the governor.
The next day, Mr. Bush called to say I was right. There would be real political problems if he chose Mr. Cheney. So solve them, he said.
Politics was my responsibility. His job was different: to select his best partner in the White House and a person the country would have confidence in if something terrible happened to him.
The country was better served by Mr. Bush's decision than by my advice.
There's a lesson there for Mr. Romney. Choose the best person for the job. Leave the politics to the staff.