If you're wondering who Mitt Romney will make his running mate in 2012, don't trust the pundits.
Yahoo's Jeff Greenfield says there's really no tried and true formula to predict Romney's running mate. Some think the VP pick should balance out the ticket ideologically or geographically.
Greenfield says the latest trend is for the presidential candidate to pick a running mate that reinforces what they want voters to think about them. Greenfield says Ronald Reagan chose George W. Bush so voters thought he was running an inclusive campaign. Clinton chose Gore to underscore the campaign's youthful energy.
In each of these cases, the critical factor was less about the running mate and more about what the presidential candidate wanted voters to think about himself: that Reagan was no rigid ideological zealot; that Bush would respect the judgment of more experienced advisors; that Gore was his own man.
You can find the same motive behind a choice that did not work. John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin was supposed to convey a sense of boldness, and a sense that his age did not link him to old ways. And had Palin been equipped with a reasonable level of cognitive skill, the choice might have been a huge asset, rather than persuading a fair number of voters that his judgment was clouded by a reckless streak.
Who knows, maybe this is the year that the importance of electoral geography returns. More likely, though, if you can figure out what Mitt Romney wants to tell us about himself, you’re a long way toward figuring out whom he will choose.