A Ron Paul ad that attacks all three of the Texas congressman’s GOP rivals will hit Washington state airwaves today — but it’s actually not new. “Three of a Kind” brands Newt Gingrich a “serial hypocrite,” hits Rick Santorum with “counterfeit conservative” and labels Mitt Romney a “flip-flopper.”
Pretty weak, if that’s the case. I’m not even sure this ad counts as unduly negative toward Romney. How does accurately labeling him a “flip-flopper” constitute an attack? Certainly, it doesn’t compare with stripping Rick Santorum of all his conservative credentials.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul also claims Rick Santorum is too apt to embrace conspiracy theories because Santorum has posited a non-aggression pact between Romney and Paul. But, as Katie Pavlich writes, Santorum’s theory doesn’t seem too far-fetched.
If Paul seriously wants to prove he’s not protecting his son’s place on Romney’s VP shortlist, he’ll have to do more than recirculate an ad that reproaches Romney. Just as he consistently calls out Santorum, he’ll have to issue consistent reminders that Romney was on the wrong side of this cycle’s biggest issues — Obamacare and the bailouts.
Another option entirely: Paul could quell the speculation of an alliance by admitting an unofficial one. Something simple like, “If I had to pick from the remaining candidates and couldn’t pick myself, I would pick Romney to be the nominee.” Alliances help reality TV stars win Survivor and they help candidates to win nominations, too. Gingrich and Cain helped each other early in the race, for example. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Paul just needs to be honest with himself that his “Romney restraint” gets him nowhere. Rand Paul won’t become Romney’s VP pick just because his dad played nice any more than Ron Paul will become the GOP nominee by never attacking the frontrunner.
More of this type of ad, on the other hand, might get him somewhere. It succinctly lists the other candidate’s flaws and provides enough information about Paul to make him glow by comparison. It’s simultaneously substantive and savvy — one of the better ads I’ve seen.