I hesitate to offer any guidance to Mitt Romney’s campaign, but I would ignore pressure to accelerate the pick of the vice-presidential candidate. While I don’t think there’s any reason to wait until the convention, to make the announcement now reduces the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Republicans, with some reason, are grumbling that Romney is failing to introduce himself effectively as a general-election candidate.
Romney’s campaign since he wrapped up the nomination has had three distinct phases: First, he was basically invisible to the public as he toured the country furiously and successfully closed the fundraising gap with President Obama. Second, he had a pretty good, but short, bus tour of some swing states. Third, he went on vacation.
A successful campaign follows a narrative arc that resembles a play. There is a first act where we meet the character and start to relate to him as a hero. We learn what makes him tick; what motivates him; his passion and vision. Act 2 is the conflict, where our character clashes with the forces of darkness and emerges triumphant. Act 3 is the resolution where we are once again reminded why we care so much for our hero and understand that his fight has become ours, too. Mitt Romney hasn’t done any of this yet, not even the foundational character and bio-building work.
A vice-presidential candidate should enter the show only after the stage is set. And if Romney needs his running mate to set the stage, he has worse problems than I thought.