Senator Marco Rubio speaks to the Latino Coalition annual economic summit on May 23, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo/AP)

Opinion: This is not Rubio’s turn

There are many reasons why Marco Rubio is on the short list in the “Veepstakes” including his youth and good looks, his conservative bona fides, his perceived ability to help the ticket in his home battleground state of Florida and his excellent oratory skills.  Oh, and the fact that he’s Latino doesn’t hurt either, especially when the GOP is working mightily to find ways to attract Hispanic voters.  Picture a Latino on the stage of the convention accepting the Republican VP nomination.

However, there are also a number of reasons why Rubio may not be the best pick for Romney and why it may not be great for Rubio either.

First, is the experience factor.  In 2008, John McCain’s main argument for why he was better than Obama was that the president should have a wealth of experience, but when he chose Sarah Palin, who had served less than two years as governor of Alaska (among the least populated states in the country), his primary rationale was crumbled.  Rubio has been a Senator for less than a year and a half.  If Republicans believe that Obama did not have the experience to be president, than the same could be said for Rubio who would be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Second, is the Electoral College calculation.  Florida is a purple state to be sure.  But in a recent Quinnipiac poll, Romney leads Obama by 7 points and adding Rubio to the ticket would bump him up by only 2 more points.  So if you contend that the running mate should help secure a key toss up state, there are others where the contest is much tougher for Romney including Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, etc.

Third, recent history shows that the VP candidate has an unofficial role of being the attack dog against the other Party and someone who could shore up the base.  Rubio has been quite effective at pointing out the failures of the Obama administration and he won his senate seat with the support of solid conservatives, however, in recent months he has been moving towards a role of reformer, statesman, leader and coalition builder. A five-month tour of duty as pit bull might damage the image he is working to build.

Fourth, the concept that Rubio would bring a wave of Latino voters to the Republican tent just by virtue of his ethnicity is dubious.  Until recently, he has shied away from taking on the mantle of Latino political leader and his ability to capture support among Latinos in Hispanic-heavy states in the southwest is yet to be borne out in any polls.

Lastly, from Rubio’s perspective, this may not be his moment.  Yes, no doubt he’s enjoying the spotlight and the adulation of being considered a VP contender.  And sure, he can take full advantage of the visibility to increase his brand equity.  But, during his political career in Florida, he was known as being smart, deliberate, and ambitious.  He is not someone who would act on a whim or without carefully considering the pros and cons.  He knows that he is young enough to be viable on a national ticket for the next 20 plus years.  He can build a career in the senate for the next four to eight years; establish himself with a list of accomplishments, solidify a perception as a leader and make a presidential run of his own in 2016 or 2020.  Why settle for number two when you can wait and go for number one while you’re still in your 40’s?

Opinion: This is not Rubio’s turn dannyvargas politics NBC Latino News

Danny Vargas, President of marketing consulting firm VARCom Solutions. Former Commissioner, National Museum of the American Latino Commission, Former National Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, regular MSNBC contributor, U.S. Air Force veteran raised in NYC.

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