There is a growing debate within Republican circles about a form alliance between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum and his campaign even went as far as to say the Romney and Paul have made a deal to run on the Republican ticket together. On the surface, the assertion may seem true, but in no way would the two presidential candidates run on the same ticket or even work in the same administration.
Paul and Romney are the only two candidates to run again from 2008, and both men have been running for president ever since they have formed a friendship. This is no secret, after many debates the two candidates exchange handshakes, talk, and don’t mingle too much with the other candidates. It has been reported that the wives of both men are friends as well, but this is where any Paul-Romney alliance stops. While both men seem to respect each other and at times come to aid the other, they do not agree on almost any policy.
Much has been said about Romney and his “flip-flopping” so it can be hard to gauge where he stands on the issues, which is in stark contrast to Paul who described himself in Wednesday night’s debate as “consistent”. Romney isn’t a budget hawk, is more willing to go to war, and is more likely to follow a George Bush brand of Republicanism, whereas Paul is the opposite in all regards.
Ron Paul’s brand of economics would even put him at odds with Romney’s economic team who embraces a more Keynesian style of policy. With these differences, it would be difficult to imagine Paul as Secretary of Treasury under a Romney administration, much less as a vice-presidential nominee.
Rather, it seems the two presidential contenders have an informal de-facto alliance. Neither candidate pulls from the same base. Romney is the country club establishment Republican who gets more donations from large banks and corporations. Paul is the anti-establishment candidate who is more a reminiscent of the old Republican brand of Robert Taft or Barry Goldwater who receives most of his donations from small donors.
Both men see Santorum and Gingrich as direct opponents to the nomination. Romney worries about the anti-Romney vote, and Paul contends with Santorum and Gingrich for Tea Party and traditional conservative voters. It seems both Paul and Romney has bet they could each win if it was down to a two-man race between them.
This tactical informal alliance is what we see on the trail and in debates. Even if this doesn’t seem convincing enough, would Ron Paul (a man who consistently sticks to his principles) take a Romney offer? I think not, as Paul has only two objectives: win or change peoples’ minds. Expect more tag team action from Paul and Romney against Santorum in the coming weeks, but don’t make any plans to see a similar Republican ticket in the fall.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore