Romney Wants White Dude for Veep

Republican Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at Lawrence University March 30, 2012 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Wisconsin residents will go to the polls on April 3 to vote for their choice for the Republican presidential nominee.
We're looking for someone who looks safe and boring. Like me. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei have some reporting on Mitt Romney's plans for his vice-presidential selection. They frame it as Romney having learned from the mistake of the McCain campaign, but I see it as a straightforward case of employment discrimination:

[T]he most conscious effort by Romney’s team to do things differently will be in the V.P. selection process. One Republican official familiar with the campaign’s thinking said it will be designed to produce a pick who is safe and, by design, unexciting – a deliberate anti-Palin. The prized pick, said this official: an “incredibly boring white guy.”

I suppose you could call it affirmative action for white men who have long been denied a chance to hold the second-spot on the GOP ticket, and by "long" I mean "once."

The reported front-runners are Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Rob Portman, and Bob McDonnell. Now, it's quite possible that the report is wrong, and Allen and VandeHei are being fed deliberate misinformation designed to ramp up the surprise factor when Romney picks Marco Rubio. But if their reporting is right, there's really no way to interpret it other than white guys are considered inherently safe, and brown skin or ladyparts are considered risk factors. Consider this later passage in the piece:

Other names will be floated but, under the campaign’s current theory of the case, are long shots: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is said by insiders to want it the most and also to annoy some aides with his aggressiveness; Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is not being as seriously considered as popularly believed because aides don’t see him as experienced enough or appropriately vetted. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez are also seen as too untested and lacking the national experience that would assure officials at Romney headquarters in Boston that they weren’t walking into another Palin problem.

Okay, sure, Haley and Martinez are first-term governors. But Bob McDonnell is a first-term governor, too. What makes first-term governor Susana Martinez Palinlike, and first-term governor Bob McDonnell safe and boring?