March 15, 2012. St. Louis. Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul is making the rounds through Missouri and Illinois, the next two states in the primary season. But according to an article released by TIME today, the Texas Congressman’s campaign is quietly negotiating a back-room deal with one of his opponents, Mitt Romney. What is Ron Paul asking for in exchange for his support, and more importantly, his delegates? The magazine could only speculate. One thing that is slightly more certain however, Paul’s millions of followers can’t be happy about the news.
For one thing, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is reminiscent of all the arrogant, elite, chameleon-like politicians that Ron Paul’s army of supporters has grown to dislike. Where Paul’s supporters tout his unquestionable consistency, Mitt Romney is the least consistent of all. While Paul’s supporters want government out of healthcare, Mitt Romney was passing government-mandated universal healthcare. While both candidates campaign on a promise to balance the budget, observers agree that only Ron Paul’s proposed budget would do that.
While Ron Paul wants an end to all wars for profit, Mitt Romney supports launching yet another Middle East war with Iran. Ron Paul would close down America’s global spider web of military occupation, with US taxpayers going further and further into debt to have a US military presence in over 150 foreign countries. Mitt Romney would leave most of those bases where they are. It’s no coincidence that his friends on Wall Street will continue to profit by running the US military Donald Rumsfeld designed to rely on corporate mercenaries and corporate suppliers.
Ron Paul pays the same higher income tax rate that average Americans pay. Mitt Romney pays the much lower capital gains rate instead. Ron Paul is a doctor and works for a living. Mitt Romney has been running for President for eight years and lives off his investments. Ron Paul served in the US military during a time of war, the only one of the candidates who did. Mitt Romney received three consecutive ‘deferments’ to avoid the draft. The most important difference of all – Ron Paul would end the FED. Mitt Romney wouldn’t dare.
With their differences so great, how is it that news outlets are reporting confirmations within each campaign that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are quietly negotiating a deal?
TIME pulled no punches when it reported today, ‘Even after his southern losses, only Romney has a real shot at amassing the 1,144 delegates required to wrap up the nomination, and he would then face the task of unifying the GOP's warring factions. Which is why Paul's campaign has sent discreet signals to Camp Romney that the keys to Paul's shop can be had for the right price’.
The article then proceeds to suggest that Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have been in “cahoots” for some time. They explain, ‘Throughout the primary, Paul has been Romney's secret weapon. During the 20 GOP debates, Paul attacked Romney's rivals a total of 39 times while sparing Romney entirely, according to an analysis by the liberal group ThinkProgress. Paul leapt to Romney's defense when his tenure at Bain Capital and his taste for firing insurance companies came under attack, and skewered a series of Romney antagonists in TV ads. "He is our deputy campaign manager," jokes one Romney ally’.
TIME goes on to source an adviser to the Ron Paul campaign as confirming that talks between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney “are slowly taking shape.” The Paul adviser also insists that negotiations are also underway between the Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich campaigns. Throughout the race, former Pennsylvania Senator Santorum has stated that New Gingrich is one of his political heroes. And Gingrich has repeatedly returned the favor complimenting Santorum on his foreign policy, especially in regard to Iran.
While almost every Presidential election season involves deal-making between candidates to secure their support and endorsement after they drop out, this year’s Presidential election may actually hinge on it. If none of the Republican candidates can secure the needed 1,144 delegates to the GOP’s tax-payer funded national convention, a mad scramble will ensue behind the scenes. The four candidates, depending on their position, will be making deals to try and essentially buy another candidate’s pledged delegates.
The most-likely scenario, already taking place according to TIME today, is that the two front-runners, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, will trade something in exchange for Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich’s support and delegates. Already, Gingrich and Santorum are aligning, mostly because they’re popular with the same rural, Christian, older demographic. And don’t forget how much former Speaker Newt Gingrich truly despises Mitt Romney. Once Romney ran the endless string of mud-slinging ads against Gingrich in Florida, the former Speaker has been on a mission to bring Mitt Romney down.
As for the Ron Paul and Mitt Romney alliance, that one is a little more difficult to understand or explain. Perhaps, it’s simply a matter of necessity. If Mitt Romney falls short of the 1,144 needed delegates, he will need Paul’s delegates to have a chance at winning. And it’s no secret that Ron Paul has been quietly amassing pledges from other candidate’s delegates to vote for Paul if it goes to a second ballot. Also, the Paul campaign insists that a large number of delegates being counted for the other three candidates are actually Ron Paul delegates.
One member of the Paul campaign recently explained, “Whoever hangs around all night until the end gets to be a delegate. And some of the candidates were in need of volunteers.” Ron Paul supporters were only happy to volunteer to be delegates for Romney, Santorum and Gingrich when their grassroots support failed to show up in countless precincts and numerous states. TIME quotes Josh Putnam, a political scientist at Davidson College who studies delegate allocation, saying there is a chance Paul could "completely exploit the system and take delegates from caucus states where there's no written rule to how delegates are allocated."
As far as primary states are concerned, some state organizations for Ron Paul have been volunteering to be delegates for other candidates since the beginning. Those delegates, pledged to one candidate but loyal to Ron Paul, could be invaluable if nobody wins the GOP’s first-round nominating vote.
What would Ron Paul ask for in return for his support?
One senior advisor for the Ron Paul campaign, Doug Wead, told TIME, “Romney wants the ring of power. He wants it so bad. Negotiating with Ron Paul is very difficult because he doesn't want anything. If he got the ring, he would throw it into Mount Doom."
According to the TIME piece, a Romney adviser suggested they would offer Ron Paul the standard speaking opportunity televised nationally at the convention. According to Paul’s supporters, that would never be enough to get him to ask his delegates to support establishment’s Mitt Romney, especially after all the dirty tricks Ron Paul and his supporters have been subjected to throughout the campaign at the hands of Romney-backing Republican Party officials. Instead, the Texas Congressman’s supporters suggest they might be understanding if their candidate were to secure something special – like the Vice Presidency.
While the Republican Party would never nominate Ron Paul for Vice President out of fear he may eventually become President, they may be willing to nominate his son, US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Critics however, insist that a Mitt Romney-Rand Paul ticket would be too much for the GOP establishment to swallow. Others fear it would turn off independents because of the obvious deal-making to create another political family dynasty. A rising star within the Republican Party, Sen. Rand Paul is also a hero of the Tea Party. Some Republicans fear that having a Tea Party candidate on the ticket would negate the Romney strategy of using his somewhat moderate positions to steal votes away from President Obama.
On the positive side, supporters of the idea insist that the Republican Party is fatally divided and having Mitt Romney as the nominee will do nothing to unite it. One main reason Romney is having so much trouble securing the nomination is because the party’s conservative base refuses to support him. Regardless of whether Mitt Romney chooses Rand Paul as his running mate or not, he will probably pick someone from that wing of the GOP. If he doesn’t, conservative and religious voters may stay home in November, ensuring Romney’s defeat.
The choice of Rand Paul over other contenders like Rick Santorum would bring a few positive dynamics. One Ron Paul adviser confirmed to TIME, “If you're talking about putting Rand on the ticket, of course that would be worth delivering our people to Romney." The Ron Paul army of young voters and future voters would rejuvenate the entire GOP and steal away President Obama’s most valuable asset – his campaign’s energy. Most critics contend however, that a Rand Paul Vice Presidency would be an extreme long-shot. More likely, Ron Paul would demand other concessions from the party and the nominee.
Those concessions could include a number of things ranging from Mitt Romney campaign promises on Ron Paul’s favorite issues to changes to the Republican Party’s official platform. TIME suggests the four issues Ron Paul would be most likely to ask for in return for his endorsement and delegates are:
Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s campaign chairman, explained that any alliance with Mitt Romney would be very delicate and would need to accomplish something real. Benton says, “We wouldn't ask our people to do that if we worried they were just being co-opted or that we were in some way selling out.” One thing is for sure, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul currently find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to delegates. And if trends hold up, both men could find themselves in the position of king-maker at the convention.