Earlier today, it was reported that New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, is preemptively turning down any VP offer, because of her commitment to her family -- in particular, to a developmentally-disabled sibling. Leaving would be "devastating."
Here are some popular excuses that politicians use -- from least significant to most significant, and why Martinez's is so powerful and immutable.
6. "I won't be asked to be VP" = That's Marco Rubio's current line and the softest deflection of interest.
5. "I have no interest in VP" = That's Rob Portman's current line and another certain sign of certain interest.
4. "I won't accept it. Period" = Marco Rubio used to fling this idea about, but hasn't for over a year.
It doesn't involve any concession about readiness, ability, or constituent-obligation. Thus, it's easier to wiggle out if you want to.
3. "It wouldn't be right to leave my job" = That's Nikki Haley's most plausibly deniable line (she's also used both "a" and "b"). It's a bit more emphatic, because if you do end up accepting, you're opening yourself to the accusation from opponents that you've sacrificed the well-being of your constituents.
2. "I wouldn't do it because of my family." = Here's why this is so iron-clad. If you toss this concern aside and accept the VP spot, it looks like you're putting ambition over your family, which is never great.
E.G. If Bob McDonnell said right now that he'd never ask his family to make that sacrifice, he couldn't accept the offer one month later without seeming super ambitious and careless about his family.
1. "I wouldn't do it because of my responsibility to a developmentally-disabled sibling." = That's what Susana Martinez is saying, and that's 10 times tougher to overcome than "I wouldn't do it because of my family," which is a tough one on its own.
You're not just turning down family because of your ambition; you're turning down care for those who need it the most. It's hard to imagine anything more ironclad or binding than this denial.