Now that Santorum has dropped out of the race, it is inevitable that Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee. To me, this really means nothing, since the impossibility of a Ron Paul candidacy meant that I lost interest in the race a long time ago. I would be marginally more satisfied with a President Romney than a President Santorum, though. I think he’s somewhat less likely to start a war with Iran. And he has a much better chance of beating Obama and actually becoming president.
That’s why I hope, as a gesture of good will and political acumen, Romney chooses Rand Paul as his running mate. Here is why I think it is a good idea:
1) It would provide him with a base of enthusiastic supporters. Of course, I imagine that there is a hard-core of Ron Paul supporters who would not support Romney under any circumstances. But all political movements are broad and multi-layered, and I think enough Ron Paul supporters to make a difference would end up supporting Romney if he chose Rand as a running mate. I am one of them.
2) It would serve as a clear demonstration of the power, relevance, and legitimacy of the “paleo” movement. By “paleo” movement, I mean the coalition of strict Constitutionalists, libertarians, “paleo”-libertarians, paleo-conservatives, and fed-up-with everything conservatives who banded together to support Ron Paul. No longer could the likes of David Frum, Michael Gerson, or even personalities such as Hannity or Limbaugh write off this section of the right wing as “fringe” or “extremist” – or at least, without straining their own credibility.
3) This is a no-brainer: it sets the stage for a Rand Paul presidential run in 2016. He could run even without having been VP, but it would provide a tremendous boost ceteris paribus. I would support a Romney-Paul ticket for this benefit alone.
I am sure there are “purists” who hate this idea. Some of them even dislike Rand Paul, they don’t think he’s as pure as his father. Maybe he isn’t. But he would be a thousand times better than anyone else, and has a much better chance at one day capturing the White House. And if we can’t appreciate that, we deserve to be dominated by an oppressive state.