Rubio Off the Veep List?

There’s a small shred of real–if somewhat speculative–political news this morning: a report from ABC’s Jonathan Karl that Sen. Marco Rubio is not being vetted for possible selection as Mitt Romney’s running-mate. I would call this more “real” than “speculative” for the simple reason that while you can bloviate endlessly about Romney’s compatibility with this or that pol, or his or her “star appeal,” or his or her congruence with the Mood of the Heartland, or whatever–but the fact remains that documents have to be reviewed, closets have to be examined, and rumors have to be checked out before even the most exciting prospect can be seriously considered. If that ain’t happening for Rubio by now, it may well not be happening at all.

The timing is interesting, what with Republican dismay over Obama’s DREAM Lite initiative and its possible impact on Hispanic voters, and the rapturous reception Rubio received for his speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington over the weekend. Rubio has always been a Tea Party favorite, and is particularly a heartthrob to his Senate colleague Jim DeMint, who I suspect has current custody of the soul of the Republican Party (perhaps wrapped in a Confederate Flag) somewhere in his office.

On top of everything else, Rubio’s autobiography is officially being released today.

If Rubio’s truly off the list, it could mean the aroma of ethics scandals that occasionally wafts from his direction (particularly given his close relationship to Rep. David Rivera) is too strong, or it could just mean Romney’s already leaning in the direction of one of the white-bread alternatives like Rob Portman (whose chameleon-like ability to impersonate Democratic candidates during debate prep over the years may strike a personal note with the very slippery Mitt) or even Tim Pawlenty. Now that Karl’s broken the seal, we’ll probably hear more before long.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.