"The Romney-Paul alliance is more than a curious connection. It is a strategic partnership: for Paul, an opportunity to gain a seat at the table if his long-shot bid for the presidency fails; for Romney, a chance to gain support from one of the most vibrant subgroups within the Republican Party.
Romney’s aides are “quietly in touch with Ron Paul,” according to a Republican adviser who is in contact with the Romney campaign and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss its internal thinking. The two campaigns have coordinated on minor things, the adviser said — even small details, such as staggering the timing of each candidate’s appearance on television the night of the New Hampshire primary for maximum effect."
|ROMNEY: "HUG? ... HUGGIE? ... HUGGLES?" PAUL: "WA'ALL ... OK, I GUESS ..."|
So what gives? As the story implies, the Romney campaign wants to bring Paul and his followers quietly into "the fold." It may be the price for avoiding an insurrection by Paul delegates and supporters inside and outside the GOP convention. My guess is Ron Paul has been assured a speaking role at the convention (ignore what Lawrence says; think the opposite) as part of getting "a seat at the table." Have the two campaigns discussed cabinet posts? Too early, but Romney might have dangled that fruit in front of Paul, as his trump card.
Paul's supporters, the thoughtful ones at least, I'm sorry to say are being played for fools by their racist champion. Things are not as they seem. The WaPo story points to Ron Paul not as the free agent libertarian hero, "raging against the machine," but as the cynical subordinate (given the behind-the-scenes coordination between the two camps) to the Romney campaign, a stalking horse for Mittens that "helps keep the GOP electorate fractured." For Romney, "accommodating [Paul] and his supporters could help unify Republican voters in the general election against President Obama." Actually, their greatest concern is not bringing Paul's constituency "into the fold" but keeping Ron Paul from running as a third party candidate. And Donald Trump, too. Which explains the puzzling (to the clueless Idiot Punditocracy) Trump endorsement.
They needn't worry. The Beltway Media has so atrociously misread the Paul-Romney-Trump ménage à trois that its speculation of a Paul third party candidacy is as realistic as the Cubs winning the World Series in 2012. Ron Paul isn't going anywhere. Neither is Donald Trump. But the panicky Romney campaign, victims of an excess of caution, just couldn't take any chances.
The same can't be said for Ron Paul's passionate supporters, whose libertarian ideology will be sorely tested by their hero's alignment with the ultimate GOP Establishment candidate, the insider's insider, Mr. 1%. Maybe when they figure things out, they might decide not to go along.