Is Ron Paul secretly working for the Mitt Romney campaign?

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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38 Responses

  1. Michael Drew says:

    Is it possible that Paul can sufficiently undermine Romney simply by disagreeing so fundamentally with Romney’s ideas and painting that contrast so effectively?

    So will this continue to be your line if Paul outlasts Santorum and has a one-on-one contest against Romney throughout the spring and early summer during which time he never seriously goes after Romney in direct-mention-challenge (if not devastatingly negative, as he’s done with other candidates) way, then goes to the convention and endorses Willard with a big smile on his face, harshing no one but Obama the whole time, and makes not a single peep about a third-party run?  (That’s my prediction, btw.)  I’m not saying it’s a conspiracy – I’m not even saying you’d  have to twist yourself into much of a knot to see all of that much as you describe what you’re seeing now here.  I guess all I’m saying is… it’s weak, that’s all.  Not you — him.Report

    • Erik Kain in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Well we’ll see. But this is sort of an unfair question, don’t you think? Will you still support Obama when he starts eating babies for breakfast? Eh, eh, will you? I mean, who knows what the strategy is for Paul? I just suspect we don’t need to leap through a bunch of hoops to find out.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Erik Kain says:

        Uh, no.  Not unfair.  To imagine things might keep going pretty much the way they’re going now and ask if you”d keep saying what you’re saying now about it?  No, don’t really think that’s unfair.  Certainly not the same as asking about Obama turning into a cannibal.Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    In SE Asia, we used to have a strategy for flushing out trouble.   We had a little helo called a Loach which could fly in very low.  It went out accompanied by a much more powerful Cobra helo which would hide not far off.   The Loach would draw fire which the Cobra would come in to deal with immediately.

    Ron Paul is a Loach.   He’s out there, saying things which would get anyone else in serious trouble.   But the Loach could take an awful lot of fire but it could dish out plenty of trouble, too.  Like the Loach, he’s nimble.   But is Romney the Cobra in this team?   I don’t know.   I don’t think so.

    Is he operating in concert with Romney?    It’s hard to say.   That conclusion might be a bit far-fetched.   Ron Paul serves a very different mission in this campaign than Romney.   Romney’s got some serious problems, what with his backing away from everything reasonable he’s ever done as governor of Massachusetts.   Ron Paul’s supporters might vote for Romney when push comes to shove but they’ll be holding their noses when they do.


    • Erik Kain in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I question whether Paul even wants to win. He wants to get his message out there, and I don’t think he wants to spend a ton of time deflecting Romney attack ads. Better to shoot spitballs at the other kids for now.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Erik Kain says:

        Ron Paul would very much like to win.  He knows he won’t, of course.  As you say, he’s more interested in getting his message out there.    Engels observed

        The worst thing that can befall a leader of an extreme party is to be compelled to take over a government in an epoch when the movement is not yet ripe for the domination of the class which he represents and for the realization of the measures which that domination would imply.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Erik Kain says:

        That’s it, EDK.  In return for not splitting the party or damaging its nominee, RP gets his last moment in the sun at the convention. Finishing 2nd or 3rd was his ceiling anyway, so he’s accomplished his achievable goal.

        Rand Paul’s future in the party is assured, everybody wins.  Except Gingrich.  Which on the whole is good for the GOP too.  Better a Dole-like capitulation than a Goldwater-style immolation.Report

    • James Cowan in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I haven’t seen anything present that resembles evidence of Paul working with the Romney camp. Perhaps the only justifiable reason would be to eliminate the extremists, i.e. Santorum. Simply focussing all efforts towards that goal, however, doesn’t prove to me that he’s in cahoots with Romney. I’ve been tracking Paul for more than a few years now I just don’t see a Romney/Paul ticket happening. The VP seat just doesn’t provide enough benefit to completely sell out to obtain it. The only disagreement I have with the comment above is that I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a true Ron Paul supporter who will end up voting for Romney, or any other GOP candidate for that matter. That’s a false assumption I’ve read from a lot of folks. I think it would be a mistake for any of the candidates to count on those votes… not that they’ll need them, but if the polls are any indication, Romney may need every possible vote to win the White House; probably a point that perpetuates the Paul/Romney conspiracy theory as well… That relationship would perhaps benefit Romney far more than Paul.Report

      • Michelle in reply to James Cowan says:

        The few Paul supporters I know have no intention of voting for Romney if he gets the nomination.  They’ll likely go libertarian.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to James Cowan says:

        I said, they might, but they’d hold their noses.   Perhaps Erik sees something we don’t in all this:  Ron Paul is running on the GOP ticket.   Would you go so far as to predict Ron Paul wouldn’t endorse the GOP nominee?Report

        • Erik Kain in reply to BlaiseP says:

          He didn’t last time.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Erik Kain says:

            By the time I was finished with the Mark Ames article, I’d opened a metric buttload of tabs and believe I reached the End of the Internet.   It’s awfully hard to prove a negative and as you’ve pointed out here, there’s no love lost between Romney and Paul.

            I have an alternate theory:   Ron Paul has been in the game so long now he really don’t care much about how his message gets sliced and diced.  What you see (and hear) is what you get with him.   Even all those goofy things he said in his newsletters, nobody cares about that stuff.   He’s a walking tautology.   If folks agree with his conclusions, they love the guy.  Just don’t ask for a whole lot of justification for them.

            Ron Paul’s got nothing to win and plenty to lose from an alliance with Romney.Report

  3. North says:

    I think it’s a little early to say flat out alliance but it’s patently obvious Ron Paul likes Romney and would prefer he get the nod (above anyone but Ron Paul himself of course).Report

    • Michelle in reply to North says:

      Paul likes Romney? I don’t get that sense at all. I think Romney pretty much represents the antithesis of everything Paul stands for. While I don’t think Paul believes he’ll win, I suspect he’s waiting for Santorum and Gingrich to kill themselves off so he can go mano-a-mano with Romney.Report

      • North in reply to Michelle says:

        I’ve read in several sources that the two campaigns are quite friendly. There’s regular communication and, when the Paul campaign jet broke, Romney arranged for Paul to use his jet to get to Texas. On a legal and political principal level they are very far apart but on a personal level the seem to get along great.Report

  4. There’s a long tradition of campaigns making wink-wink deals with one another once it’s become clear who the nominee was ultimately going to be. I think it’s likely that Paul and his however many delegates want to be very respected figures in the room when Team Romney gets to work on the Party platform before the convention. I don’t think Ron Paul, crazy as he is, genuinely believes he can win the nomination. Although maybe that friend of his in the Mossad has some inside info…Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Elias Isquith says:

      Right, but given how much of a contrast Ron Paul ostensibly (and actually) is to Romney on issues, how is he helping those who follow him for his ideas (rather than because they harbor hopes for the political trajectory of Rand Paul) by softwalking that contrast with the frontrunner? (I know you know this – this is kind of a question to Erik.)  Are we going to see the hard, hard sell for Liberty as contra Romney?  I have my doubts.  And if not, what’s the point of Ron Paul from the perspective of someone who cares about his ideas but not at all about the man?Report

  5. Dan Miller says:

    “I never was a fan of conspiracy theories.”

    …and yet you’re a fan of Ron Paul.  (/snark)Report

  6. trizzlor says:

    This is such a ridiculous theory I’m embarrassed for the pundits considering it seriously. The fact that it emanated from one of Limbaugh’s crack-pot musings is just icing on the cake. The current primary, as with most, is broken up into three tiers: the front-runner (Romney), the challengers (Santorum, Gingrich somewhat), and the novelty act (Paul). You can only move through one tier at a time, so if a novelty candidate attacks the front-runner he will, at best, create space for the challengers to move in. Likewise, if the front-runner attacks the novelty candidate he will only strengthen the position of the challengers. The novelty act is always interested in chipping away at the challengers with the hope that he can swap with them, and the front-runner is always interested in ignoring the novelty act and looking presidential. Have I just been playing board-games too much or Is this not how every primary has played out?Report

  7. Who do you think draws the support of more nutcases: Ron Paul or Mark Ames (not that I don’t love the both of them)?Report

  8. REVOLUTION says:

    Why are you not willing to talk about the media’s conspiracy to not give Dr. Paul a fair amount of time?

    No interviews. Camera told to stay off him at debates. Moderators deliberately avoiding giving him questions.

    Why not ask why the media are conspiring against Dr. Paul?Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to REVOLUTION says:

      I see this is your first time here.  Do a search on Ron Paul above and work your way backwards through the threads.  It’s not such an ignored topic; was a time it felt like it was all anyone talked about.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I see this is your first time here.

        Kind, funny, incisive, RTod.  You rock.

        Likely a kiss of death, though.  Anyone who cannot perceive the upper limit of discussion here is likely to help drag it toward the low.Report

  9. b-psycho says:

    Besides, how people behave in debates or on their ads says very little about their past or future support for a rival. Huntsman had some very harsh anti-Romney ads (and words) during his brief run and later endorsed the former Massachusetts governor.

    Huntsman pretty much had to do that, since it was blindingly obvious that him & Romney were rather close politically.  Ron Paul is about as near Romney as Los Angeles is to Prague, so he really doesn’t have to do much work in distinguishing himself.Report