Posted by Rojas @ 9:26 pm on January 11th 2012

The overwhelmingly obvious Republican VP choice…

…is Senator Rand Paul.

At a stroke, Romney ensures the full support of the Paulites, who would otherwise overwhelmingly defect to Gary Johnson in November; indeed, he likely cements them to the Republican Party for a generation. He brings any possibility of a third-party campaign by Ron Paul to a screeching, immediate halt, and resolves any possible convention dispute by giving Ron Paul a Thursday night speech in which he introduces his son–a platform on which Ron will promote the ticket rather than his own pet causes. He enhances his candidacy in an otherwise loseable state and region and bucks up otherwise questionable support among independent libertarian centrists AND tea partiers.

Meanwhile, he adds to the ticket a candidate with much of the appeal of Ron Paul but none of the baggage, racist or otherwise. Rand Paul is a critic of defense spending but otherwise very much on the wagon with the party on foreign policy. On domestic policy his views on the drug war might be fractious but his credentials on federal spending and against Obamacare are unmatched.

Finally, if the ticket wins, the vacated Kentucky Senate seat is very winnable for the GOP.

What’s not to like?


  1. He doesn’t have the balls.

    It’s the Joe Lieberman situation. Makes perfect sense, and would shake things up, but at the end of the day the Kristols, McConnells, Boehners, Governors, etc., would strike it right down. And Romney just ain’t that creative.

    My guess for VP is that they focus group the hell out of it and pick it by committee.

    Comment by Brad — 1/12/2012 @ 12:50 pm

  2. McCain DID select Lieberman, though, didn’t he? Only to have Lieberman himself bail and force them into Palin? That’s the way I’d heard it.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/12/2012 @ 1:09 pm

  3. No, as I recall the scuttlebutt was that McCain selected Lieberman (or at least was putting him forward as the choice he was heavily leaning towards), and in backroom talks with party bigwigs – notably the National Governors Association – he was told in no small terms that that wasn’t going to fly.

    I don’t think there was ever definitive word on what happened, just heresay, but that’s the heresay I remember.

    Comment by Brad — 1/12/2012 @ 3:28 pm

  4. I know Rand Paul, and Rand Paul is no Joe Lieberman. The comparison is risible. Joe, bless his heart, was a hawkish fellow with certain moral sensibilities that put him at odds with the Commun…er…Democratics he caucused with. He was, in short, a proverbial bridge to nowhere.

    Rand Paul is a bridge to what may be the only place we have left.

    Good idea, Rojas.

    Comment by James — 1/12/2012 @ 11:32 pm

  5. Sadly, the mainstream VP speculation articles only focus on Christie/Rubio/Haley and the like.

    Comment by Jack — 1/12/2012 @ 11:44 pm

  6. It sure seems unlikely that Christie or Rubio would pass up a likely win in a race for the top spot on the ticket, yet be willing to accept a caboose spot which would do little to enhance their national profile while still dragging them into all the campaign debauchery which was their ostensible reason for sitting this one out.

    I can see Brad’s point; yet from every angle I view this, Rand Paul is objectively the best and smartest choice. Grover Norquist went on record today claiming that Ron Paul’s decision to endorse or not would–not could, WOULD–be decisive this fall. If he’s right, Rand Paul is the ultimate insurance.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/13/2012 @ 12:02 am

  7. And don’t get me wrong, I tend to agree. I just have a feeling Romney, himself, will tend towards playing it safe.

    I think Jack actually lists the three names that he’s going to ask first. I think the first definitely says no, the second probably does, and not sure on the third, but I guarantee Romney asks them all, in that order too.

    If they do decide they have to get creative, I bet Rand does come up as a potential name – and you’re right, he’d be almost objectively the best. However, there question about Paul is going to be what my question: is Rand ready for prime time? And does he have enough of a national profile to help with anybody but Paulites?

    It’s a helluva gamble, you know – sure he can bring Paulites into the fold, but who else? From a Romney camp perspective, in a general election framework (where Paul’s ability to win independents and Democrats, which has always been theoretical in a general election where he’s not just running against diecut Republicans, remains an open question), they would look at it like this. The Paul wing represents, what, 20-25% of Republican primary voters. A sizable chunk, for sure, but hardly an unprecedented swath. Of those, without Rand, you run the risk of losing maybe half? Maybe a third stay, a third don’t vote at all, a third maybe threaten to vote Obama? So Rand Paul solidifies you with those last two halves, two thirds of 25%, so something like 16% if we’re being generous? Shoring yourself up with 16% of your base – who, remember, may well vote for you anyway – buys you, in a general election – eh, again, let’s be generous and say 3%.

    So, Rand buys you 3% (you might have gotten anyway). The next obvious question is: does that 3% gain take away from any other potential gains? Well, to get that 3%, you’re going to make the foreign policy establishment of the GOP awful mad, the Islamaphobics, etc. Does that have the potential to knock out any of that 3%? What about the “tough on crime” folks? Social conservatives?

    And that’s just the GOP coalition. What about blacks? Minorities? Progressive 99%ers who can suddenly append Romney’s Bain image with Rand Paul arguing that government health care is like physician slavery and his father arguing that if somebody can’t afford their health care, let them die? Does any of that chip into the 3% advance a Rand pick buys you?

    Etc. Note, I don’t necessarily agree with this analysis, although obviously I do to some extent, but you can see, from a Romney campaign perspective, even one tasked with getting creative, Rand Paul as a running mate is by no means a slam dunk. Of course, you can say that with any running mate, but my hunch is they’d be more inclined to talk themselves out of Rand Paul than most other candidates.

    Comment by Brad — 1/13/2012 @ 12:36 pm

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