There used to be unwritten rules for anyone who wanted to be a vice presidential candidate: Keep your head down. Deny any interest and call your current job "the best job in the world." And for the love of all that is holy, don't actively campaign for the job or act like you actually want it.
The old rules have clearly been tossed out the window this year. Gone are the days of under-the-radar campaigning. Just today, all four of the consensus short-list vice presidential candidates are making moves to vie for Mitt Romney's attention.
-- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will give what's being billed as a major foreign policy address at the Brookings Institute this afternoon. Rubio's top aides insist he is uninterested in the job (That rule, apparently, still applies), but he's taken every opportunity to leverage the spotlight: He's moved up the publication of his memoirs, and he's emerging as a leading Republican voice on immigration by outlining his own version of the DREAM Act. Rubio is also quietly establishing his foreign policy bona fides, and his call to engage the world today will help that effort.
It's impossible to overlook the extent to which the Sarah Palin debacle have cautioned Republicans this year, some of whom wonder whether picking Rubio would give the media an excuse to delve back into his time in the Florida legislature. But Rubio has always been the buzziest possible vice presidential contender, and he has wisely used that buzz to increase his own stature within the GOP, even if he's not the pick this year.