Election 2012: How Ron Paul Plans to Get What He Really Wants

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Texas Rep. Ron Paul knows he can't win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but that was only part of his end game.

Sure, winning the nomination would have been a plus, but Ron Paul's strategy for years has been to bring his libertarian, anti-debt, anti-inflation views square into the mainstream of American politics.

In that light, the 2012 election is just a means to an end.

That's why Paul is determined to stay in the presidential primary race until the Republican national convention is held in August.

Rather than create a schism within the Republican Party or mount a third party challenge – a tactic that never works in American politics — Ron Paul wants to infuse his philosophy into the GOP by working within the existing system.

Toward that end, the Paul campaign has stepped up its delegate-collection efforts in recent weeks, taking advantage of often-arcane rules unique to each state's selection process.

Last weekend, Paul won 21 out of 24 delegates in Maine and 22 out of 25 in Nevada. A week earlier Paul won 20 out of the 24 delegates in Minnesota and 20 out of 40 in Missouri.

The sticking point is that convention delegates are bound by party rules to vote according to primary or caucus results on the first ballot. That means many of Paul's hard-won delegates will have to cast their first vote for former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.

But it also means a lot more supporters at the convention than Paul would have had otherwise. And those delegates will be free to vote as they wish on other issues, such as the official party platform.

"We want to have a strong, respectful presence that says 'We are here, we are going to participate, and we are ready to talk about the party platform with you if you take our issues seriously," Ron Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton recently told Business Insider. "We're going to send a message that the liberty wing of the Republican Party is strong, and that it isn't going anywhere."

The Romney campaign has begun to take notice, sending a top lawyer to the Maine GOP convention, though it did little to stop the Ron Paul juggernaut.

Romney, who still should easily surpass the 1,144 delegates he needs to secure the nomination, may be better served letting the national Republican Party try to rein Paul in while he tries to negotiate for the support of Paul's energized legions after the August convention.

In fact, some sort of deal between the two camps almost certainly is already in the works.

The Ron Paul-Mitt Romney Connection

There's plenty of evidence for a tacit, if not explicit, Romney-Paul alliance.

The men – and their wives – became friends during the 2008 presidential campaign, in which both sought the nomination ultimately won by Sen. John McCain, R-AZ.

During the often rancorous Republican primary battles, Romney and Paul noticeably went easier on each other than their other opponents.

And despite loud and frequent denials of cooperation from both campaigns, word from insiders has time and again said otherwise.

As far back as early February, a Republican adviser who had worked with the Romney campaign told the Washington Post that Romney's aides were "quietly in touch with Ron Paul."

Another anonymous source told Business Insider in early April that "the courtship has been underway for a long time."

It's easy to see why. Both have much to gain.

Although Paul almost certainly won't run as a third-party candidate, Romney nevertheless will need the support of Paul's enthusiastic backers to beat President Barack Obama in what is expected to be a close race.

But Paul's supporters have little love for Romney. Many won't be all that eager to vote for him, much less campaign on his behalf.

So the key question becomes, what could Romney offer Ron Paul that might change their minds?

An obvious plum would be a prime time speaking slot for Ron Paul, or possibly his son and heir apparent, Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY. Still, that probably wouldn't be enough to excite the Paul acolytes to campaign enthusiastically for Romney.

A voice in the official Republican platform would carry more weight. Priority issues for the Paul camp include reform of the Federal Reserve, reducing federal spending and the national debt. Romney is already fairly close to Paul on these issues, so a compromise here would be easy.

Still, Romney has one ace in his hand that could truly inspire the Paul camp.

Vice President Rand Paul

Romney could offer the vice presidential slot on his ticket – not to Ron Paul, but to his son, Rand.

It's true that Rand's resume is light – he's only been a senator since January 2011 – but it's not that much shorter than that of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 or North Carolina Senator John Edwards in 2004.

While some of Ron Paul's true believers would prefer the father on the ticket, Rand is the better option for Romney. Less eccentric than his father, Rand would appeal to a wider swath of moderates and independents in a general election.

Much closer to evangelicals than his father, Rand Paul could help reassure a Republican constituency that has many doubts about Romney's Mormon faith.

What's more, Romney knows as well as anyone that the libertarian element of the Republican Party is growing in both size and influence. He's far better off embracing it than fighting it.

"Structurally, there is something that is happening inside the state Republican parties that will have to be dealt with politically," David Lane, a politically influential Christian conservative, told Business Insider.

And when you think about it, Rand is also the better option for the Ron Paul-inspired libertarian movement.

At 76, Ron Paul is nearing the end of his political career. Without a successor, much of what he's achieved through the 2008 and 2012 campaigns would be lost.

But the Paul camp already has Rand, and will never get a better opportunity to launch him into the national spotlight than as the 2012 vice presidential nominee.

Putting Rand Paul on the 2012 Republican ticket would set the Kentucky senator up for a presidential run himself in either 2016 or 2020, and would be a major step toward the long-sought libertarian conversion of the party.

Still, even if Romney can't quite bring himself to make Rand Paul his running mate, the Ron Paul revolution is going to make its presence felt in the 2012 election.

"It would be very foolish for anybody in the Republican Party to dismiss a very real constituency," a senior Republican aide familiar with both camps told the Washington Post. "Ron Paul plays a very valuable part in the process and brings a lot of voters toward the Republican Party and ultimately into the voting booth, and that's something that can't be ignored."

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Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. Jackie | May 10, 2012

    Why does it not even phase me anymore when I read these lies? BLATANT lies. It used to make me angry, and now I don't care. Perhaps because it's not working? This revolution cannot be stopped. Even if you say so.
    The delegate numbers are incorrect, he CAN win, his supporters would never vote for Romney in any capacity. Gone are the days of free press? It's not just Ron Paul that is winning, it's a whole generation of people being woken up, getting involved, working hard, and hearing the message of freedom once again. I hope you, and others like you, will take a good honest look at the truth, and join us. As Ron Paul says, "Freedom is popular". Don't you want your children to be free? Don't you want future generations to have it better than we do now?
    America's bankruptcy is inevitable. When the welfare checks stop coming from your government, when civil unrest allows the government to use martial law in America, you are really going to wish you would have voted for the only honest man left. United we stand, divided we fall. Unite!

  2. jh | May 10, 2012

    If Romney wants RON Paul folks involved, Ron Paul needs to be integral.

  3. Darrell | May 10, 2012

    I'd rather see Ron Paul & Rand Paul run together.
    Then this nation would take a turn for the better.
    If Ron Paul is not on my ballot, I WILL write in Ron Paul.
    I will vote my conscious this time around.
    I am not alone on this, deal with it.

  4. PattyFromTexas | May 10, 2012

    "Texas Rep. Ron Paul knows he can't win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination" How do you know this? Did you ask him? Because otherwise you're claiming to be capable of reading minds. Ron Paul is running for president. He's been trying to change the course of history for 30 years, and is finally having some success. The policies that represent his platform would be real change. Policies that promote peace rather than policies that promote, and facilitate engaging in undeclared wars. Policies that promote transparency and sound money rather than 16 trillion dollar bank bailouts. Policies that are consistently respectful of our constitution, rather than policies that include unconstitutional mandates, policies are based on his 35 years of consistently predicting the results of our policies. We should have listened to him when he warned us about Iraq repeatedly saying it was a bad ideas because we didn't have sound information, we should have listened to him when he warned our policies of bombing aspirin factories and blockading Iraq would cause more terrorist attacks ,and we should have listened to him 6 years before the collapse of the housing market when he warned about the federal reserve causing a housing bubble by artificially lowering interest rates, and making so much credit available.

  5. ODIrony | May 10, 2012

    "In fact, some sort of deal between the two camps almost certainly is already in the works."

    If I were the Paul camp, I'd be highly suspicious of any offer of a deal from the Romney camp, especially after they (or the GOP) had operatives at the recent conventions in Maine and Nevada attempting to distribute false Ron Paul delegate slates. In both instances it was caught and in Nevada the man was escorted out by the Police and hotel security.

  6. Jim | May 10, 2012

    He can win…..and when he does, people like yourselves in the media better start to worry that you do not get replaced by those who would report honest fact-worthy and unbiased pieces.

  7. Albert Nelson | May 10, 2012

    Your take on the process is deceptive at best. Undisclosed sources? Why would stupid uninformed people read a column like yours. They would not.Now they know you are a liar.

  8. Rocketman | May 10, 2012

    There is a real possiblity that Ron Paul could win both the nomination and the election. All Romney has to do is stumble between now and the convention. If something is found out about him (which the Obama supporters are looking for) or if he screws up somewhere along the way it could happen.
    Paul is not that far behind him and in the right position.

  9. nonyo | May 10, 2012

    The #1 reason I know you are not informed about the subject matter is, you seem to be unaware of two things about Ron Paul supporters. First, there is no such thing as a former Ron Paul Supporter (there is nobody but Paul for us), and Second, the jig is up on trying to get us to believe we only have two choices … if not the nominee, we will write Ron Paul in on the ballot. Simple.

  10. JD | May 10, 2012

    "Texas Rep. Ron Paul knows he can't win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination"

    I commend Mr. Zeiler for announcing his ignorance and/or bias at the outset of his post, rather than attempting to conceal it. He saved me as much as four minutes that I would have wasted reading the rest of it.

  11. Ed the Grocer | May 10, 2012

    When and how does Rule # 38 kick in?

  12. rv | May 11, 2012

    If anyone honestly thinks that any true Ron Paul believer would ever cast a vote for Romney, is looking for a speaking slot at the convention or has an end goal of getting Rand in office, is severely underestimating what is going on. Wake up, the revolution is on and even as it may not fully manifest in 2012, it will be remembered as the biggest revolution the world has ever seen. So if you think this is about power, control, short-lived positions or notoriety you are just plain and simply missing the boat on this one.

    Speaking of history- Ron Paul will go down as a great. The world knows and loves Ron Paul outside of the US. While I think Rand would be better than almost any mainstream candidate I can tell you that Ron Paul is so "one of a kind" that not even his offspring could possibly be as honest, as consistent and as intelligent. Frankly, that is impossible. A once in a lifetime candidate, no doubt.

  13. Paul | May 11, 2012

    After reading the comments I think the anger level might be a bit high toward the author. Keep cool guys, it wasn't terribly slanted and offered some interesting insight. The movement must continue and I think we should push for a Romney/Rand Paul ticket if Ron doesn't get the nomination. If we make no concessions at all then it will set the movement back incredibly. Until then, write in Ron!

  14. Dave Zeiler | May 11, 2012

    Folks,

    Thanks for all the comments. I realize that Ron Paul's true blue supporters want nothing to do with Romney, but I also believe that Dr. Paul and his close campaign staff are thinking past the 2012 election. The American political system is stacked against anti-establishment candidates like Dr. Paul, and to his credit he has devised a plan to hijack the Republican Party from within. But this project requires time and patience. The goal can't be solely the 2012 nomination, and the focus can't be entirely on Ron Paul. For this movement to live on, it has to have bigger objectives, and that's why I think a lot of this "behind-the-scenes" stuff is going on. Instead of being upset, Paul supporters should be applauding!

    As for writing in Paul on the ballot, one needs to weigh the consequences. If enough Paul supporters do that, it could tip the election to Obama.

    Finally, here's a quote from Dr. Paul speaking on CNN that I saw just today that emphasizes his desire to remake the GOP in his philosophical image:

    "I'm in it for very precise reasons: to maximize our efforts to get as many delegates as we can. I'm still a candidate, and to promote something that is very, very important, that is a change in the direction for the Republican Party."

    – Dave Zeiler

    • fallingman | May 14, 2012

      David,

      If you don't want to post legitimate comments, that's your business, but it says a lot about you.

      You got an earful. It's clear what people think of you, so I hardly needed to have my two cents added. You are reviled, but hey, don't let that dissuade you from carrying water for your handlers.

  15. Liberty2012 | May 11, 2012

    Thomas Jefferson was right. The more one reads the news, the more one realizes how worthless it is.

    News flash. None of the delegates are bound anymore!!!! Watch this youtube clip for some real news.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqLrfZz3rUc

    This means that Ron Paul has basically wrapped up the nomination and will become the nominee, and then president.

    This means that our country is saved! How does Ron Paul plan to get what he wants? By sitting in a nice, cozy White House chair in the Oval Office, that's how. And we'll be the ones to put him there.

  16. Concerned American | May 12, 2012

    What grand absurdity.

    A great deception; a delusion of momentous proportions based on preposterous notions and on ideas whose time should never have come.

    Simplicity grossly distorted as complicated and insanity passed off as logic.
    Grandiose schemes built on falsehoods with the morality of Ponzi and Madoff.
    Evil described as virtue and ignorance pawned off as wisdom.
    Destruction and impoverishment in the name of humanitarianism.

    Violence is the tool of change and preventive wars used as the road to peace
    Tolerance delivered by government forces and reactionary views in the guise of progress.
    An empire replacing the Republic and slavery sold as liberty.
    Excellence and virtue traded for mediocrity as socialism to save capitalism.

    An out of control government, unrestrained by the rule of law, the Constitution.
    Morality bickering over petty politics as we collapse into chaos.

    And the philosophy that destroys us is not yet been defined.

    What grand absurdity…

  17. Tired of Mandates | May 13, 2012

    RNC Rule #38. As a reporter, it may behove you to do some fact digging before sharing a commentary.

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