Mitt Romney/Ron Paul 2012?Catch-All

Polls are closed. Perhaps this is not the best time to post this. Paul supporters would accuse me of hedging my bets, throwing in the towel, and not being loyal to principle; Romney supporters would see the suggestion as a desperate or needless promotion of influence for a fledgling and irrelevant candidate. Not knowing the outcome of Virginia’s primary election, it could be both—or neither.

But the other side of those perceptions are that Paul supporters could realize that having their man as the V.P. candidate means much more than just having the possibility of Ron Paul becoming the president of the Senate; and for Romney supporters it would mean much more than pandering to a libertarian base.

Their relationship has been notably cordial throughout the campaign—at times, Paul seeming like Romney’s attack dog; at others, Romney seeming like he is going out of his way to agree with Paul. This makes me wonder if Ron Paul has had the opportunity to talk with Romney, and find out what he believes in. Paul’s words, not mine.

It is a popular misconception that Ron Paul refuses to endorse anyone but himself, even if he loses the primary. Many people still speculate—read ,”hope”—that he just might still run as an independent. But to the contrary, Paul has stated more emphatically that he will not run third-party; he has expressed more vaguely his reservations of endorsing a different Republican nominee.

To be sure, Ron Paul disagrees with Romney on quite a few things; but I don’t think that total agreement is a condition for Paul’s endorsement. He wants to “talk to them and find out what they believe in” before he would even consider endorsing them. And this is just for an endorsement.

What if Paul were the V.P. nominee? That would be a much bigger advantage than “talking to them and finding out what they believe in.” He would be in a position of influence—more so than a one-time lobbying platform at the GOP convention.

Their main disagreement is in foreign policy. Would Paul, as a Vice President, be able to influence Romney into non-interventionism? Very doubtful, but I guarantee you a President Romney would be very, very hesitant to intervene with a Vice President Paul and his vigilant band of Paulistines.

To Paul supporters, the idea of this ticket may be unconscionable—an unthinkable violation of the unshakable Dr. Paul’s principles. Perhaps an unequivocal (and unrequited) endorsement would be. But running on the ticket is by no means the same thing as an endorsement. You need only look at Reagan/Bush to see that (and no, I am not making any personal comparisons, here). While a Paul endorsement of Romney might easily be seen as selling out, a partnership with Romney is totally different.

“Ron Paul for President,” in my opinion, has never contained the ideal of Paul being able to transform the world (nor does he claim to be able to); but it contained the ideal of legitimizing some very good arguments—some very good Constitutional arguments that have been forgotten amidst this past century’s complacent populace accepting the aggrandizement of federal power because it seemed to benefit them (who else even thought of using Letters of Marque and Reprisal?). It was never about using power to Restore America Now; it was about presence. A Vice President Paul could restore legitimacy to what once were the only legitimate arguments. A President Paul could, too. But a Representative Paul and his most ardent supporters resting in retirement, refusing even to acknowledge the general election, cannot—neither with a Mitt Romney, nor a Newt Gingrich, nor a Rick Santorum,  nor with a Barack Obama—ever hope to have their voices legitimized at a national scale.

Another advantage of that—for the Romney supporters—would be Dr. Paul’s exclusive ability among GOP candidates to energize the electorate with any consistency, longevity, and ubiquity. It is no secret that Romney—while qualified, groomed, and ‘safe,’—is very frankly boring to a large number of people. And it would be a mistake to underestimate the electoral vigor that Romney’s opponent in the general election would be able to demand and receive through demagoguery and very well organized communities.

Who else could pull votes away from Obama like Ron Paul could, even as a Vice President? Many national polls have shown this (though they have never posited a Romney/Paul ticket). And what else would be able to balance the fervor of Paul like the coolness of Romney?

For me, a presidential ticket is never just about the president. (Do you really think the McCain campaign would have been as invigorated with Mike Huckabee running as the Veep?) And the presidency is never about the man. The presidency—and the entire executive branch—is about the sum of the philosophies of all who make up that branch. Is it better to be a part of the sum than a difference unnoticed?

Surely there are many variables I haven’t considered, but I believe the question of a Romney/Paul ticket must at least be asked.

The question for Paul-can’t-win voters, who want nothing more than to see a 45th president next January, should never have been, “which candidate is more likely to beat the incumbent,” it should have been “which ticket can beat the incumbents?”

The question for Paul-or-nothing voters must not be, “Can my ideal candidate win?” It must be, “Can my ideals exist with a candidacy?”

  • http://Www.bearingdrift.com Brian W. Schoeneman

    It would be irresponsible for Romney to choose a 76 year old as Vice President. I could see Rand Paul, but not Ron Paul.

    • http://bearingdrift.com/author/andrew Andrew Schwartz

      I could see Rand, too. I almost wrote the post with that in mind instead of Ron. But I don’t think people would play the age card against Paul as quickly as they did against McCain. I would definitely agree with you if it were McCain…

  • MD Russ

    Wasn’t this the same logic that caused John McCain to pick Caribou Barbie? Look how well that worked out.

    The flaw in this strategy is whichever Paul Mitt picked, 80+% of the voters would be horrified by the thought of “President Paul” if anything happened to Romney and would that would drive the vote to the Democratics on that basis alone. Mitt Romney could not make a worse choice if he picked Rum Limbaugh.

  • http://bearingdrift.com/author/andrew Andrew Schwartz

    You think McCain had a better chance with someone else? I’m not a Palin fan, but she certainly brought a lot of voters out.

  • MD Russ

    Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, Mitch Daniels…

    For every vote that Suicide Sarah brought to the ticket, she turned off 2 votes.

    • http://bearingdrift.com/author/andrew Andrew Schwartz

      Mitch Daniels maybe. Sumthin tells me it wouldn’t have mattered if it were Lincoln/Reagan on the ballot in 2008 though. I’m not saying you’re wrong, MD; as I said, a lot of variables I didn’t consider, but I had to throw out the possibility.

  • http://www.bearingdrift.com Brian Schoeneman

    Top three in my book are McDonnell, Rubio, and Rand Paul.

  • JayD

    My first reaction was similar to MD’s – this combo unlikely because of huge risk of blow-back w/ Independents.
    Also to consider, Romney is now tanking w/ suburban women voters – 18pt gap (maybe “crater” is better description?) between him and the President. Republicans need those voters to win and Ron Paul won’t help him (and may hurt him) there.
    I’m guessing VP pick will (a)appeal to women/Independent voters and (b) appeal to swing state voters, likely in upper Midwest or Florida.
    That’s my bet and I’m sticking to it! :)
    Enjoyed the post and comments.

  • MD Russ

    Brian,

    Governor Bob, yes. He has proven to be a reasonable and pragmatic Republican, despite the efforts of the Democrats to paint him as a Pat Robertson fanatic. Rubio or Rand Paul would cost the Republicans large chunks of Independents.

  • http://TheRedStater.blogspot.com/ CR UVa

    There are a lot of people who are hesitant to vote for either. Putting the two together may be enough to keep them home in November, even if it meant another four years of Obama. Romney needs to look at Marco Rubio as many have stated before, or possibly Governor McDonnell.

  • Jumping Jack

    I read on Daily Kos (don’t judge, I know thy enemy) they quoted couple different polls that showed McDonnell would only add 2% to Allen and the Romney/”generic” Republican vote. If Ron Paul was the VP, the slim majority of his voters will still vote Gary Johnson. Also, it would keep Paul away from having to endorse someone at the cost of his son’s political future.

    Rand Paul does not have the Libertarian pull Ron has because he actively campaigned in Kentucky that he would “not rule out military intervention” in Iran causing Paul’s fray supporters not to like Rand. As one Paul supporter summed it up, “Rand is not his dad.” Which is probably a good thing if he’s considering a run in 2016.

    DeMint would be a good VP and to help cross the bridge from Romney to Tea Party.

    Rubio will be better for GOP’s future…may not grab the Tea Pary’s attraction as much.

    Condoleezza Rice wouldn’t be bad either but may be a tough pill to swallow with those independents still bitter with Bush.

    Sarah Palin would be stronger as a VP candidate in 2016. She has gotten much more polished. I like her better as a GOP cheerleader in a non-sexist means of the phrase.

  • JayD

    Doubtful it will be our Guv. He’s too similar to Romney and VP McDonald = reproductive rights and contraception get worked over again. I’m thinking Romney hopes to get back to talking jobs/economy as quickly as possible with minimum ‘social policy’ diversions.

  • Nathan Miller

    I think the ship has sailed for McDonnell this time. As JayD stated, the abortion debacle from a few weeks ago did him in.

    DeMint, Rubio, or Christie. I don’t think Christie would accept though.

  • http://www.littledavidobermark.blogspot.com/ LittleDavid

    All I can say is that I was leaning very heavily towards voting for McCain up until he made that goofy pick of Sarah Palin to be his running mate. I didn’t stay home and Obama got my vote.

    Thus far Obama still gets my vote.

  • Nathan Miller

    @LittleDavid: Palin cost McCain my vote. I like McCain, but having Palin one heartbeat away from power was more than I could swallow.

  • http://www.littledavidobermark.blogspot.com/ LittleDavid

    Oh, and I am going to point to how McCain could have selected better so as to have won my vote. He could have selected one of his friends, Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina. Acceptable choices would not have been limited to just Lindsey, but you people seem to want examples.

    Would McCain been our current president if he had not made such a goofy pick? Probably not, but who knows for sure? But I am pretty sure he would have shown up a whole lot better in the final results with Lindsey as his running mate then he achieved with Sarah filling the position.

  • http://www.advrider.com James “turbo” Cohen

    Its the economy. Romney Paul can beat Obama. McD is making waves and the bow wave he pushes is job creating and fiscal discipline. The abortion discussion will be irrelevant later, even when its brought up.

    I still feel Bob would make an outstanding VP as well but I am thinking Ron will bring more to the table this round.

    Job #1, Nobama

  • RS

    I think Mitt Romney’s best VP choice would be Ron Paul. Dick Cheney became Bush Jr’s VP so why can’t Ron Paul and unlike Dick Cheney, Ron Paul is very healthy and looks like he can live to 100. Unlike the other candidates Ron Paul is very approachable, jovial, and has a good sense of humor. He really knows the government inside and out and has a very good image with the public which would be a huge asset to Romney. Also choosing Ron Paul as VP will be a very big threat to the Democratic campaign as Ron Paul attracts alot of independent and young voters.