(I strongly doubt that Willard will pick Rand Paul. However, it definitely is an interesting question whether Ron Paul will run as an independent/third-party candidate, and whether the GOP would hold that against Rand forever. – promoted by lowkell)
by Paul Goldman
It is difficult to see how the Republican ticket will have any chance of even getting to 45%, much less than 50%, in the general election without the support of the “Ron Paul Liberty Revolution Army” as they call themselves. Which begs the question: Has Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, now leaped to the head of the list of possible Vice Presidential candidates for the GOP in 2012?
Under normal circumstances, a Senator from Kentucky would not be high on the list for the GOP ticket in 2012. But the Ron Paul constituency is larger than the experts thought possible, given his showing in previous races including 2008.
Yet the results in Iowa and now New Hampshire suggest his appeal to the younger generation and disaffected Perot-type Republicans is far stronger than expected.
Assuming it isn’t merely some fluke of this crazy GOP presidential election so far, with people going up and down faster than an Otis Elevator, then the GOP presidential nominee has a problem: to get to 50%, he is going to need the Paulites.
Enter then, stage (far) right, Senator Rand Paul.
In 1952, General Eisenhower, in order to keep the McCarthy wing of the party happy, selected first-term Senator Richard Nixon as running mate. Nixon was in the second year of his term. If you read Ike’s memoirs, there is no explanation of why he chose Nixon, indeed at their first true meeting – a month after Nixon had been nominated! – IKE said he didn’t realize Nixon was so young!
They took the “VP review process” a little differently back then.
In 1968, Nixon took Spiro Agnew to pacify Strom Thurmond and keep his Dixiecrats happy. Indeed, it is generally accepted that the future President gave the South a veto over his running mate as part of the deal to keep them from going for Ronald Reagan. At the time, Agnew had been Governor of Maryland for 2 years.
Both tickets won.
In 2008, afraid of a conservative revolt, John McCain chose Alaska Governor Palin, also in her second year of a first term. McCain clearly felt that a conservative woman would force party unity. It proved a good way to leave the GOP Convention united, but a bad general election choice.
Now comes 2012, and the GOP has a triple play to pull off, or seemingly so.
Getting the “moderate” and “conservative” wings behind the winner will not be easy; the mind meld failed in 1912, 1924, and 1964, 1980 and 1992. But it usually works out. Moreover, the Democrats were so weak in 1924 and 1980, it didn’t matter.
However, the Ron Paul constituency may not be so willing to join the team, and the President remains strong in the polls.
So, could Rand Paul be the solution, the way to keep the Paul folks in the GOP tent?
Senator Paul is very charismatic, highly intelligent, and a better politician than his father.
His politics are different than the old man’s in key areas.
Rand Paul’s selection would thrill the Tea Partiers, mollify the social conservatives, be acceptable to the pro-growth Wall Street Journal crowd, and sit well with professionals.
Last, but not least: the Ron Paul crowd would surely follow the Congressman in backing his son, and thus the entire GOP ticket.
Depending on how the rest of the campaign plays out, a Rand Paul nomination fits the Nixon and Agnew mold of keeping everyone inside the tent for the general election.