Actually I take that back -- it's not the worst idea ever if you're looking at it from the perspective of the Obama campaign. But, yeah, otherwise this is the...Dumbest. Idea. Ever. Let's review the case for -- and against -- Pennsylvania freshman GOP Senator and Tea Party favorite Pat Toomey as Mitt Romney's running mate.
Here's the latest pro-Toomey trial balloon from the unfortunately named Future of Capitalism blog:
Mr. Toomey's blue-collar background — his dad was a union worker for an electrical utility company, his mom a part-time church secretary — would help counter Democratic attempts to portray Governor Romney, whose father was an auto-industry executive and governor of Michigan, as a child of privilege.
Mr. Toomey's mastery of tax and spending issues — he used to run the Club for Growth, a pro-growth, free-market-oriented political group — endears him to economic conservatives. And as a pro-life Catholic who challenged Arlen Specter in a primary partly on social issues, he'd generate enthusiasm for the ticket among social conservatives. If relatively unknown nationally, he is nonetheless smart and well-respected within the party.
The writer also says Toomey will appeal to the Romney campaign as a way to win our swing state of Pennsylvania while saying a giant (bleep) you to Rick Santorum -- because of a tangled web involving Santorum, Toomey, Arlen Specter and a 2004 GOP Senate primary that I don't particularly feel like untangling today.
Anyway, I think the speculation proves one thing: How completely self-delusional Republicans have become. They don't seem to even know who Pat Toomey is, nor do they seem to care. So I'll have to spell it out for them. If Toomey were nominated for vice president, you'd be pairing the vulture capitalist of Bain Capital with this:
Toomey's an easy target for economic-centered attacks. As a Wall Street banker, Toomey helped pioneer the use of some of the same financial products that have caused fiscal chaos for American towns, cities, and states. He spent years as a derivatives trader for Chemical Bank and at Morgan Grenfell, a British financial firm. While at Morgan Grenfell, Toomey focused on things like interest rate swaps—complicated debt instruments that poisoned many a municipality's portfolio. Shortly after he was elected to Congress in 1998, a trade magazine rejoiced that "now the derivatives industry can claim representation by one of its own." Toomey parlayed his trading experience into a spot on the House banking committee, where he crusaded against regulation of financial markets—especially derivatives.
I would have thought Toomey on the ticket was horrible political strategy even before the news of Jamie Dimon and the risky JPMorganChase trade that lost another $2 billion -- proof that both Wall Street and our political overlords have learned nothing over the last four years. But now it's obviously an even more ridiculous suggestion today. Pairing up a middle-class-job-destroyer with the ultimate front man for the 1 Percent on Capitol Hill?
That's not going to happen. Not in this climate.