by Catherine Poe
WASHINGTON, April 6, 2012 — The rumors just won’t go away. They continue to swirl around Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. No matter how quickly the Paul people try to quash such talk, the rumors flare up again.
For months now, insiders have been claiming that the two candidates have not only made a pact not to go after each other at the debates or in their ads, but that Paul will throw his full support behind Romney and not run as a Third Party candidate. In return, Paul supposedly will get one of the following
1. a VP slot for his son Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
2. a position in a Romney administration
3. a prime time spot at the convention for him and/or his son to speak
4. an adoption of at least some of his Libertarian tenets
5. a seat at the all-important table of the nominee.
Now still another account from sources close to the Ron Paul campaign has materialized, acknowledging that an alliance has been forged. Business Insider said that the confidants, who preferred to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, confirmed what we all have suspected, “The courtship [between the two candidates] has been underway for a long time.”
This even as Ron Paul’s campaign manager was saying, “Our most cordial relationship is probably with Romney’s people, but cordiality doesn’t imply anything other than that we are civil. Just because we’re polite doesn’t mean we’re cutting deals.”
However, “sources close to the campaign told Business Insider that, behind the scenes, there have been ongoing discussions between the two campaigns that appear to include, or at least be the precursor to, an eventual deal.”
Of course, both Paul and Romney have vehemently denied the allegations. But then again, they would. Wouldn’t look so good for the pure as driven snow Dr. Paul to be making side deals with the likes of Romney, an anathema to most of his supporters. And Mitt wouldn’t look so good either if it were known he was a back room kind of guy, cutting secret deals. Despite the denials, there is an old saying that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
It looks as though this emerging strategic partnership has been in the works for a while and despite ideological differences, the two men struck up a friendship back in 2008 when both were running in the presidential primary. A Republican strategist back in February confirmed that the two candidates are quietly in touch through their aides. In fact, the two campaigns have even coordinated on minor details “such as staggering the timing of each candidate’s appearance on television the night of the New Hampshire primaryfor maximum effect.”
Rick Santorum has been complaining about the chumminess of his two rivals for months now. After one of recent debate, Santorum suggested that Paul and Romney had ganged up on him, part of backroom “running mate deal.” When asked at a Tea Party Rally about the perceived bashing he took at the hands of his rivals, Santorum said: “The coordination that I felt at that debate was pretty clear. I felt like messages were being slipped behind my chair. It’s pretty remarkable that in 20 debates, Ron Paul never attacked Mitt Romney.”
Even the likes of Rush Limbaugh has added his two cents, speculating about the advantages of the new bromance that is brewing between the two candidates:
“I’m just beginning to see huge advantages to Romney if Ron Paul stays in. I can see Romney offering a plum to Ron Paul’s son (every father cares about such things.) I can see Romney offering a plum to Paul’s son and to not run a third party to set his son up for the future. If you’ve noticed, Ron Paul never rips Romney, which I know Romney appreciates. In fact, Ron Paul joins the chorus of those defending Romney sometimes.”
Even though as recently as last Monday, Paul said he wasn’t sure if he would endorse the ultimate Republican candidate, the rumormongering goes on unabated. Paul’s campaign advisors told Business Insider on the record that “Ron Paul’s principles will not be compromised. I’m shocked that anyone would think that.”
Still other supporters protest that what observers may think their being simpatico is actually more likely Dr. Paul’s animosity toward Santorum and Gingrich than any “friendship” with Romney. (Both men have opposed the candidacy of both Paul and his son Senator Paul in the past.)
If it turns out that there is a deal, the impact will be interesting to watch. In the long run, Romney’s supporters probably could care less. Whatever secures the nomination for their candidate is ok with them. But for the fervent, often zealous supporters of Congressman Paul, this could be a disappointment of monumental proportions. It might be equal to learning that your parents lied to you and there is no Santa Claus.
Dr. Paul has been known as a man of integrity or at least that is his campaign persona. He gives ground to no one on his Libertarian principles even when they ruffle the feathers of the Republican Party. He doesn’t play to crowd in the debates, telling them what they want to hear.
He says what he thinks they should hear. His followers are like disciples going out among the great unwashed and bringing the gospel of Libertarianism. They are probably hoping to see him on the ballot come November as a Third Party candidate, not that they truly believe he can win, but so he can continue to carry the message.
In fact, to some degree Paul’s Libertarian message has penetrated the GOP, which has moved much closer to where Dr. Paul stands than it did just ten years ago. Paul didn’t move closer to the GOP’s long held positions, it shifted his way.
For Ron Paul, all this political jockeying is merely a means to an end if he and his supporters are to gain a toehold in the Republican Party. They have organized at the grassroots level, gotten themselves on county committees, and even run to be delegates and state officers. Their goal all along has been to bring the libertarian vision into the mainstream.
However, do not expect to see a Mitt Romney and Ron Paul joint press conference after the primary, one in which the two rivals now swear allegiance to one another. After all, the Congressman, who is retiring this year, has his legacy to preserve.
So how will we know if a pact was made? Look for two things to happen:
- Paul does not start a Third Party insurgency;
- Romney allows Paul his moment in the sun at the GOP August convention during prime time.
“Ron Paul wants a presence at the convention,” one Paul adviser told Business Insider, and if Romney is the GOP nominee he would grant that wish.
That in turn would bring out an important constituency, one that works hard, tirelessly, some might say relentlessly, into the Romney fold. The Paul supporters could be the tipping point in Mitt Romney’s drive to defeat President Obama.
That is why Mitt and Dr. Paul are BFF.