Last night after the debate, Rick Santorum implied that Ron Paul and Mitt Romney had formed an alliance of some sort intended to take out the biggest threat to Romney’s nomination. He’s convinced at least one person today. Joe Scarborough called the alliance “obvious” on Morning Joe today, as well as “bizarre”:
“The thing that went unspoken but everybody knows, and that is that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have formed an alliance,” Scarborough said. “It is such an obvious alliance that Mitt Romney would do well to just come out and admit it. I don’t know what he’s promised Ron Paul. I don’t know if Ron Paul is hoping that his son gets in the administration. But let’s just be really honest here — for all people for Ron Paul to form an alliance with in the Republican Party, to pick out Mitt Romney is really bizarre.”
Scarborough posed that question to Daily Beast columnist Mark McKinnon, who served as an adviser to former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain in their bids for the White House, noting that this possible alliance wasn’t talked about much in the media.
“What’s the deal here?” Scarborough asked McKinnon. “You know there’s either a spoken or unspoken deal between Mitt Romney. This is the sort of thing nobody in the media likes to talk about but everybody in the game knows is going on. I mean, is Ron Paul hoping that his son gets a job in the cabinet? Is he hoping his son is going to be the VP nominee? What’s going on here, because there’s a deal between these guys.”
What possible interest could the die-hard libertarian have in the author of RomneyCare? Over to you, John Hayward:
A Romney-Paul ticket seems a bit unlikely, although it becomes more plausible if you substitute a different Paul. There has been speculation that Ron Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, might be on the vice presidential short list. Rand Paul recently said “it would be an honor to be considered.” Rand would presumably be able to bring a good deal of Ron’s support to the Romney ticket, and the 49-year-old Senator might be more content with spending four or eight years on the vice-presidential launch pad than his 76-year-old father.
I’d think that Rand’s chances of ending up on the bottom of a Romney ticket would be roughly equal to that of his father. The younger Paul just began his Senate term — the first public office he has held — a year ago. In comparison, Marco Rubio is a grizzled veteran. Paul would certainly deliver Kentucky, which is in absolutely no danger of going to Obama in November anyway. He’d keep the Ronulans in the fold, but how would Romney sell the younger Paul as prepared to lead the country in case the unthinkable happens to a President Romney? Romney needs a conservative as a running mate if he wins the nomination, but there are plenty of other choices with more experience, both in politics and in executive experience than Rand Paul.
So why is Paul attacking Santorum instead of Romney? Paul and Romney have a long-standing friendship, but don’t forget that Santorum went after Paul on foreign policy in numerous debates. I’d call this more of a personal choice on Paul’s part rather than a conspiracy, in the absence of better evidence. To the extent that there is any strategy in this calculation, it’s probably that Paul thinks Romney will win the nomination and he wants to make it easy for Rand to engage with the GOP during and after the election by refraining from attacks on the next party leader.