At this point donors to the Ron Paul campaign should just go ahead and make out the check to Mitt Romney instead in order to cut out the middle man.
And I’m only half-kidding when I write this.
That’s because it has become obvious that that Paul campaign is more interested in aiding and abetting the Republican Party nominating its weakest and least principled candidate then it is trying to promote its own candidate. The latest prima facie evidence to support this premise is the Paul campaign’s decision to invest money running a 30-second negative ad about Rick Santorum in Michigan, despite the fact Paul has never actually campaigned there.
Now the negative ad the Paul campaign is running against Santorum is basically true. Santorum has voted for too much big government during his legislative career, which is one of the reasons I didn’t endorse him and why conservatives en masse have taken so long to warm up to him. Where I come from, it’s not an attack if it’s your record.
But that’s beside the point.
Why is Paul investing resources in a state he’s not actually campaigning in? And why just invest those resources to go after Santorum and not Romney, who (according to Townhall.com finance editor John Ransom) represents the very crony capitalism Paul rightly criticizes?
The media has been noticing for weeks the strange symbiotic relationship between Romney and Paul, with Paul’s campaign running interference for Romney on the campaign trail. I’ve even witnessed pro-Paul activists on Twitter re-tweeting tweets and articles that are pro-Romney. Funny thing is Paul and Romney are probably the two Republican candidates that are the most diametrically opposed philosophically if you look at the records and not just the rhetoric.
Which begs the question: what in the world does a crony-bailout-stimulus capitalist like Romney – who is also the father of government mandates and advocates the sort of timid targeted tax cuts the Democrats typically push – have in common with a professor emeritus of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute such as Paul?
The answer is pure Realpolitik.
Either the Paul campaign is engaged in the dumbest strategy to promote a presidential candidate since Lyndon LaRouche’s disciples handed out pamphlets in airports, or it’s time to admit the Ron Paul campaign of 2012 is really the Rand Paul campaign of 2016. Since I know Paul's campaign people are not only not dumb, but some of the best political operatives in the business, I’m going with the Rand Paul option.
The Paul people are smart and don’t lack for resources. He’s been the best consistently funded candidate in this race other than Romney, yet they’re using those resources in a way that helps Romney more than Paul. And that’s because they’re smart enough to know that a quirky near-octogenarian whose stage presence makes William Hung look like Cary Grant isn’t getting elected President of the United States—no matter how great some of his ideas may be.
The Paul campaign also doesn’t believe there’s any way Romney can win a general election. I know, because some of them have actually told me this. They believe Romney (like election losers Ford, H.W. Bush, Dole, and McCain before him) is a malleable establishment candidate that won’t fire up the conservative base, and his history of firing people as a successful businessman will be successfully exploited by the class warfare tactics of the Left.
The Paul campaign sees another four years of Obama as just the prescription for what the nation needs, because they believe the country needs a radical paradigm shift that it probably won’t be willing to embrace until there’s no other alternative but insolvency.
They might actually be right about that last part. It’s doubtful the country can afford another four years of Obama in the short run, but it’s also doubtful the country can afford to carry this much debt and phony money in the long run regardless of who is in the White House.
The Paul campaign is taking the long-term view, seeing the more charismatic, likeable, and socially-conservative Rand Paul as the superior standard-bearer for their revolutionary message. The movement surrounding Paul sees Ron Paul 2008-2012 as analogous to Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Rand Paul 2016 as analogous Ronald Reagan 1980. Goldwater’s defeated 1964 campaign was where Reagan’s conservative star first shined nationally, remember, laying the groundwork for future victory.
This is why the Paul campaign has become a stalking horse for Romney. It’s why they blistered Newt Gingrich in Iowa, and now they’re doing the same to Rick Santorum in Michigan. They want Romney to be the nominee and lose to set the stage for Rand Paul in 2016. If Iowa remains the first in the nation caucus state for that cycle Rand will be step ahead of other GOP future stars, because he’ll inherit his father’s outstanding organization in that state. Furthermore, one of Paul’s top political operatives was just elected chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.
Regardless of whether you view this as a cynical or sound strategy, the Paul campaign owes its donors and supporters an answer as to why it applies Laissez-faire to the Romney campaign as well its fiscal philosophy.
Steve Deace's nationally-syndicated radio show airs coast-to-coast each weeknight from 9-Midnight eastern, including many of the Salem Radio Network's top conservative talk stations in markets like New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Minneapolis. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and National Review among others. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Town Hall.com, Deace is also a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.