The Romney/Paul-uminati

Rush Limbaugh is currently expounding upon the Ron Paul/Mitt Romney alliance which is also getting top placement at Drudge — though they’re coming at it from different angles, the first tearing down Paul/Romney and the second propping Mitt and Ron up.

The idea that Romney is using Paul to get votes and attack Santorum is believable. The idea that Romney is actually going to make Ron or Rand Paul his VP candidate is silly — and my G-d, if the Pauls are dumb enough to believe it then maybe Mitt Romney is smarter than most people give him credit… or, no, not credit — gold?…. but let’s slow down and just look at this…

The British Trash Press:

After tonight’s debate, in which Ron Paul and Mitt Romney repeatedly attacked Rick Santorum over his 16-year record in Congress, the former US Senator for Pennsylvania hinted that something nefarious was going on.

“You have to ask Congressman Paul and Governor Romney what they’ve got going together,” Santorum told reporters in the spin room in Mesa, Arizona. “Their commercials look a lot alike and so do their attacks.”

Santorum’s top strategist John Brabender went even further, charging that the two men had “joined forces” and were coordinating attacks against his man

The Conservative Fun Times Press:

A Romney-Paul ticket seems a bit unlikely, although it becomes more plausible if you substitute a different Paul.  There has been speculation that Ron Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, might be on the vice presidential short list.   Rand Paul recently said “it would be an honor to be considered.” Rand would presumably be able to bring a good deal of Ron’s support to the Romney ticket, and the 49-year-old Senator might be more content with spending four or eight years on the vice-presidential launch pad than his 76-year-old father.

Kentucky Media Breaks the Rand Story:

After a speech in Louisville today, Paul held that door firmly open, saying he wants to be part of the national debate.

Paul’s name has swirled as a possible pick that would give Romney points with the Tea Party. When asked directly what he would say if Romney made the offer, Paul tried to punt.

“I don’t know if I can answer that question, but I can say it would be an honor to be considered,” he said.

Paul’s father Ron Paul is also running for president, and is reportedly close to Romney.

This Terrible Show Talked About It:

Some Paul People Conspired About It:

Rand Paul has always come across as far less genuine as his dad. From Sean Hannity calling him a good friend to his more hawkish views on foreign wars and the role of government. For a few years now the whispers have been consistent: Rand Paul is not his old man.

Let’s not kid ourselves though, Rand and Ron are conspiring together on this. If his quote means anything, it is that the the Paul campaign will not go for a 3rd party bid or if they do it is a plan B because Mitt Romney had enough delegates and did not need the Paul vote to get him elected.

Ron Paul supporters may be faced with a choice soon. Live by your principles and don’t vote for Paul or scrap your principles and vote for someone who supports NDAA, bailouts and more of the same. Are Paul supporter really going to vote for the lesser of two evils? Regardless, this is a lesson learned for another generation: Politicians are not to be trusted.

* Or maybe the Ron and Ron Paul is playing chess, while the rest checkers? We can only hope.

Rand Paul Continues to Hold Up Drug Legislation:

The Kentucky Republican is using a procedural maneuver to try to block Senate bills seeking to ban the use of certain chemicals in synthetic drugs such as “bath salts” and other compounds that mimic marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines.

He said that people who use synthetic drugs are foolish and that he’s not opposed to laws against the substances.

“I do think that justice is better served by having the laws locally,” Paul told reporters after speaking to a group of conservative lawyers.

Meanwhile, back in Conservative Blog Land:

Similarly, Paul almost seems to go out of his way not to attack Romney, even though Mitt’s big government record would violate Paul’s strict constitutionalism.

Could there be something in the works there?

At this point, it’s hard to imagine Paul granting an outright endorsement to any of his competitors. The best they can probably hope for would be an agreement not to run as a third-party candidate. But what if Sen. Rand Paul was being bandied about as a potential VP candidate – in return for Ron Paul’s nod of approval?

No, not delving into conspiracy theories here – but it does seem strange that Paul appears to have a special disdain for Santorum and no one else.

At Reason, the view from libertarianland is that the conspiracy is played up and Rick is just Ron’s real opponent for votes:

We should also remember that Paul’s campaign has for a long time seen a race that’s all about just Romney and Paul as providing the best chance for Paul to pick up the widest range of GOP insurgents, Tea Partiers, social cons looking for a traditionalist anti-abortion guy they can trust, and everyone wanting to tell the Establishment to shove it. While alas that Paul/Romney race is seeming less and less likely with every passing vote and Santorum’s relentless rise, it’s still something for Paul’s campaign to bank on, and it continues to make perfect sense outside a narrative of “Paul is Romney’s li’l buddy.”

Whilest Rand’s staff spun backwards a bit in forward motion:

Rand Paul’s chief of staff, Doug Stafford, told HuffPost late Wednesday that there was no there there in his boss’ comment.

“The senator was answering a question posed to him by the media. His father is running for president, and since no one has won even 20 percent of the delegates needed to win, he is a contender for the nomination,” Stafford said in an email. “If he does not win and the eventual winner wishes to consider Senator Paul for the VP spot, of course he would be honored. Why wouldn’t someone consider it an honor to be asked to run for the second-highest office in the country?”

And the Pauls’ are dreaming of a brokered convention:

Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says there’s a growing chance that his party’s presidential nominee could ultimately be chosen at a brokered convention this summer.

The Kentucky senator has a vested interested in the Republican presidential race – his father, Ron Paul, is among the candidates.

Rand Paul told reporters Wednesday that a brokered GOP convention could happen, and the odds might have grown to 30 percent.

So where does all this get us?

Mitt Romney enjoys Ron Paul’s help. Mitt is, to the eyes of many of the most active Republican Party rank and file, too moderate. They are looking for someone more conservative, more religious. They keep trying people out who surge to the front of the line and then Mitt and the Republican Party leaders push that person back down. Ron Paul has never been this person and is unlikely to ever be it — just as most GOP activists view Romney as too moderate, they view Paul as too crazy (Israel, Iran, Drugs, etc).

As Reason noted above, Ron is in a battle to be the true conservative, anti-choice candidate. Newt and especially Santorum present viable alternatives to the Paul candidacy, so it makes some sense Ron would attack them and ignore Romney.

Which is why a Romney/Paul alliance makes sense on one level and doesn’t on the other. It makes sense because they are at perceived opposite ends of the Republican spectrum so they aren’t really competing for voters… and that’s exactly why the other side doesn’t make sense. A Romney/Paul ticket (whichever Paul) further confounds an already real Romney problem. If he gets the nomination, Mitt will face a similar lack of enthusiasm from many in the Party that hurt McCain in 2008. Coupling that problem with Christian and fiscal conservatives with the anti-Israel, pro-drug, anti-woman extremist set of views of the Pauls further deflates wide swaths of the party needed to pull out a victory.

And then, too, if you want to believe a Romney/Paul ticket is actually behind this alliance, then you also have to accept that either Paul would be controllable as a Veep, which clearly is not in their nature (and one of the reasons anyone should love and adore them).

So if there’s an alliance — and Paul is going after Santorum while going easy on Romney — what are the stakes? They could just be vote related. Simple as that. If the Pauls see a brokered convention, then they would be best positioned if the campaigns march on, Ron continues to rack up delegates and they arrive in Tampa with enough delegates to put Mitt over the top… at which point, it’s not a decision made in January or February to form an alliance, it’s a matter of deal-making in the Convention suites.

The brokered convention could go down several ways in the Paul mind but if delegates are unlocked then Rand Paul takes over the party… or not. You can read about that here, here and Karl Rove’s crazy rantings here.

Also, this is the first time since 1972 the Republicans have held their convention in Florida. Good times!

Other cool stuff happening in 1972:

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