So now the rumors are flying that Ron Paul has become a surrogate of Mitt Romney; another development in this 2012 GOP nomination process that no one saw coming. I am still not sure what to make of this rumor, but it is, at the very least, a quite interesting and peculiar story.
Ron Paul has always been a rather odd character in the Republican party. His Libertarian style of Republicanism has grown in popularity in recent years, particularly with Barack Obama's out-of-control regulation and spending. But his stance on Israel, Iran and out-of-the-mainstream views including legalizing drugs and gutting defense spending make many GOP party faithful wonder why he is even in the Republican party. This is what makes an alliance with Mitt Romney most unorthodox.
Ron Paul has represented Texas' 14th Congressional district in the U.S. House since 1997. He's described as a loner by many representatives in the House, but is personally liked those that know him. Paul has been running for President of the United States since 1988, when he ran as a Libertarian. He is not known for building coalitions and tends to vote in opposition to his party more often than not. He's developed a very loyal following of supporters who enthusiastically campaign for him, in a style which some describe as manic.
This rumor began in earnest around the time of the Florida primary, when open-speculation began about Paul's silence on Romney-care and Romney's fiscal record as Governor of Massachusetts. Most assumed that Romney would be precisely the type of candidate that Paul would rail against, seeing that Romney's positions and behaviors while in office, were exactly the type of big-government overreach that Paul has been tirelessly critiquing for years. But, there was no attack, no critique .. just silence. Folks were waiting.
So the silence on Romney has continued, but the attacks from Ron Paul against the other candidates, relentless. Paul has gone after Gingrich as a Washington Insider and Santorum for pork-barrel spending. Paul's rather tactless comment 'He's Fake' when asked about Santorum in the Arizona debate was considered quite harsh. He's had similar biting rhetoric in the past for Gingrich.
According to the New York Times, this friendship has been cultivated by Mitt Romney. The wives of the candidates are friends, and apparently Paul and Romney have a budding friendship as well. Perhaps this explains Paul's silence, but many are skeptical that a friendship would derail Paul's assault on big-government. I am one of those.
Opponents of Paul have suggested that Paul has accepted some sort of payment from Romney for his silence. Or, that he has received promises of a cabinet appointment, a speaking role at the Tampa GOP Convention in August, or promises that Rand Paul, his son (and popular Tea-Party Senator) would be chosen as his Vice-President. None of these confirmed, but the speculation continues.
There have been 20 debates, and we've yet to hear Ron Paul openly chastising Mitt Romney for Romney-care, which was the model used by the Obama Administration to develop the Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as Obama-care. Similarly, no critique of Romney's over-assessment of regulations and fees while in office. These are bread-and-butter issues for any good Paul supporter, I'd be curious to know if Paul supporters are comfortable with Paul's silence on these.
I don't know what Paul is up to, but I do know that this silence can not just be a coincidence. Paul has no path to the nomination without taking some of the more moderate supporters of Romney. The vast majority of Santorum and Gingrich supporters have no interest in a candidate who has openly rejected the idea of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and who has determined we should not be defending Israel against hostile-radical neighbors.
Paul has come out in recent days and said "There is no alliance with Romney", but still deafening silence on Romney-care and Romney's less-than-conservative credentials. Until Paul speaks out against Romney's record on core principles that Paul has spent his entire career championing, this talk of an unholy alliance with Romney will never die.