Over the weekend, some friends asked my opinion possibilities of an alliance between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, so I thought I’d take the time to detail my thoughts on that idea.
First, it’s not Paul’s goal to help Mitt Romney. His plan is to win the nomination at a brokered convention in Tampa by having the most delegates on the floor of the convention. Any rumored alliance of Paul to Romney assumes Paul doesn’t win the nomination at convention or that Romney wins the nomination outright before convention. Maybe this won’t matter in the end, but it’s worth mentioning that Paul’s goal is not to be Romney’s sidekick.
The next thought I have about this possible alliance is that Paul would have to concede too much, and he’s not much for compromises. Paul’s message, save his stance on foreign policy, resonates well with most Republican voters. Lower taxes, reduce spending, balance the budget…these are all items that will be on Romney’s checklist anyway, so Romney shouldn’t have to concede too much on those points. He would have to get very specific about his plan; vague promises won’t sit well with Dr. Paul.
My bet is that Paul would have to give in on foreign policy – or, at the very least, agree to keep quiet about it. Maybe he can do that as long as the movement to war comes from the legislature instead of the executive branch (like it’s supposed to). That might be enough for Romney, but, like I said, Paul isn’t known for his willingness to compromise.
(The interesting piece to that thought is that if we have a sound fiscal policy, continuing our current foreign policy would be all but impossible. How many people do you know that would support a huge tax hike to fund ongoing war efforts?)
Why would Paul, who is nothing if he’s not consistent, agree to some sort of alliance with Romney if Romney wins the nomination? Here are a few possibilities:
A Romney-Paul alliance would prove Paul is a team player. You’ve got to figure that Paul’s grown sick of answering the question about running on a 3rd party ticket by now. If Romney is willing to get serious – really serious – Paul could move forward with a “let’s do this” approach and do a lot to reunite some of us who have grown weary of the name calling and mockery from the rest of our Party.
A Romney-Paul alliance would bring the younger voters into the party. People like Romney (and McCain in 2008) don’t excite the young voters. Ron Paul does. While some of his supporters may bail out and go for a 3rd party, I’d bet that the vast majority will follow his lead and would vote for Romney if Paul endorsed him.
A Romney-Paul alliance would help pave the way for his son. Rand’s time is coming. It’s not quite here, but it’s coming. When that time comes, the issue of how his dad handled this election will come back to the minds of voters. Ron Paul could do a lot for Rand’s presidential run in the future by playing nice with Romney now.
A Romney-Paul alliance would impact his legacy. It’s obvious that Ron Paul isn’t in politics for personal gain. Still, as he approaches the end of his political career, being able to retire knowing that he had an impact in solving our fiscal policy issues would be a good thing. Just like Seinfeld, he could go out on a high note.
A Romney-Paul alliance would be necessary because fiscal policy is that important. I think this, more than any other reason, would be the catalyst to get Paul to work with Romney. He got into politics in the 1970s because of our federal monetary policy, and he knows what will happen if we continue to let our dollar weaken. While there are so many other points he’d rather not concede, our nation’s fiscal policy is at a critical point. If not corrected, it will bring some very serious problems for his kids and grandkids.
So what happens if there is a Romney-Paul alliance for November? I’ve said it before, and I still believe it’s true, the GOP needs Paul supporters to have a chance of beating Obama. Gary Johnson will likely be the Libertarian nominee, and Paul voters really like him; he’s not just some guy with an “L” by his name. We know him pretty well, and we’d be proud to support his campaign for the presidency. Without Paul in the mix, his voters will primarily go to Johnson. With Paul supporting Romney, some Paul voters will support Johnson, but I believe most would follow the Good Doctor’s lead.
As for me (since so many of you have asked), I trust Ron Paul on this issue. If he can find a way to support Romney (whether as a VP on the ticket or as a bystander), I’ll assume he knows more than me – which is, I assure you, a safe assumption – and I’ll follow his lead.
Still, this whole conversation is a bit premature. Things are looking good for Romney, but this nomination isn’t his quite yet. If this nomination process leads us to a brokered convention, don’t be shocked if the Romney-Paul alliance turns out to be a Paul-Romney alliance.