Ron Paul Roundup: The Romney "Alliance," the Billionaire Backer, Winning Washington?, Beating Obama, and Flight Reimbursement Scandal

As Rick Santorum lives out all our nightmares by becoming our frontrunner of the moment, and Ron Paul's campaign (as he has been for a long time for some obvious reasons) attacks him, the old stories of the secret Paul/Romney alliance resurface.

The headline on this Dave Weigel entry from Slate takes a huge interpretive leap from a fact with multiple interpretations. It's headed "The Ron Paul-Mitt Romney Alliance is Strong." The fact contained in it is that Paul is running anti-Santorum ads--as he's done since Santorum's first sign of unexpected strength in Iowa in January--and that a Washington Post reporter said a few weeks back that the two campaigns have cooperated on things such as timing their public appearances post-New Hampshire vote to maximize TV time for them.

While I cannot prove that Paul running anti-Santorum ads isn't at the sole insistence of Romney-the-puppetmaster, certainly this entry does not support the weight of its headline. (Which may have been cheeky, but certainly reflects an idea--of a secret Paul-Romney treaty--that many are taking quite seriously. OMG, Rand Paul has said he'd consider it if offered the vice presidency!) 

Here's that latest Paul anti-Santorum ad:

First, we should get rid of the often-repeated but never-true statement that "Paul never attacks Romney." See this early ad from the summer comparing Romney and Obama (via images) as just two smooth-talking politicians, this June Moneybomb hooked off attacking Romneycare, Paul slamming Romney's wishy-washyness on Afghanistan in this June debate, and jabbing at his NDAA pusillanimity in this January one.

We should also remember that Paul's campaign has for a long time seen a race that's all about just Romney and Paul as providing the best chance for Paul to pick up the widest range of GOP insurgents, Tea Partiers, social cons looking for a traditionalist anti-abortion guy they can trust, and everyone wanting to tell the Establishment to shove it. While alas that Paul/Romney race is seeming less and less likely with every passing vote and Santorum's relentless rise, it's still something for Paul's campaign to bank on, and it continues to make perfect sense outside a narrative of "Paul is Romney's li'l buddy."

NBC in this oft-cited little piece is making a common mistake in Paul coverage: taking something that's been done and hashed over and treating it like new news or something extraordinary and requiring extraordinary explanation. They are trying to claim that Paul campaign attempts to spread oppo ideas about Santorum in the press and to voters--something that's been going on ever since Iowa--is new, and giving it a not-well-supported interpretation--that Paul running against the current frontrunner is merely a sign of Paul trying to help out the falling frontrunner, Romney. No, it's a sign of Paul trying to carve off whatever portion of that insurgent vote might want someone serious about low spending and limited government.

Yes, it is true that Paul's official paid campaign ads entirely dedicated to attacking other candidates (it's not something Paul-the-speaker tends to do much of, if at all) have been aimed at Gingrich and Santorum, but again that's part of an understandable strategy of path-clearing and an intelligent sense of whose voters might be up for grabs by Paul. It need not be explained by secret alliances, even if, as the New York Times reported last week, the two men have no personal hostility between each other, can speak friendlily, and their wives like each other.

Still, as even the Times concluded:

Mr. Paul has already provided some tactical help: When Mr. Romney began to flounder in South Carolina and was under attack over his career in leveraged buyouts, Mr. Paul came to his defense, suggesting that his critics were anticapitalist. His campaign even issued a press release assailing other rivals for, in Mr. Paul’s view, taking Mr. Romney’s quote about firing people out of context.

What is not clear is how much, and under what circumstances, Mr. Paul might ever provide any more tangible help to Mr. Romney. His aides say publicly that Mr. Paul is committed to winning the nomination. And the two camps are at odds right now over the outcome of last weekend’s Maine caucuses, in which state Republican Party officials declared Mr. Romney the winner by a relatively small margin over Mr. Paul even though some places have yet to cast ballots.

That first graf is the usual sort of thinking involved in this whole "Paul-Romney alliance" idea--taking something that is absolutely and legitimately in Paul's interest, in this case speaking his mind accurately, leaping in to get his voice heard on the issue that was dominating the news that day (that's why you issue press releases) and refusing to jump on an anti-business bandwagon when asked about it and interpreting it as "tactical help" for Romney. Maybe it was, in effect; but that was clearly not why Paul said what he said. The second paragraph I think is a more accurate summation of what, at this point, any intelligent observer should be making of this whole alliance thing based on the actual evidence at hand: not much.

*In other Pauliana, is Paul really the frontrunner in the (barely polled) state of Washington? Says Kelley Haughton writing from Tacoma at Examiner.com:

His mostly volunteer campaign workers have a larger presence in Washington than any other Presidential candidate. They have been out doing nuts and bolts politics by identifying Ron Paul supporters, teaching them how to participate in the caucus process and encouraging them to get out on March 3. In this process, they have been reaching out to independent voters who previously have not thought of themselves as Republicans. The Ron Paul campaign is growing the Republican Party in the state of Washington. 

In 2008, Paul took 21% of the caucus vote in a four man race in the state of Washington. This year, the Paul campaign seems far more organized and to have far more supporters preparing for participation in the caucus process. In 2008, only 12,320 people participated in the caucus. If that many participate this year, given the turnout for these recent rallies, Ron Paul should win the state of Washington.

None of the other Republican Presidential candidates have near the presence in the state and no where near the enthusiasm for their candidate. It appears as if Romney, Santorum and Gingrich are focused on Super Tuesday and are leaving Washington to Paul.

*Press is noting the big SuperPAC money that eccentric libertarian-leaning rich man Peter Thiel is giving to Paul. From the Houston Chronicle's site:

when Thiel gave $900,000 in December and $1.7 million in January, he wasn’t strictly endorsing Ron Paul — he donated in support of Paul’s libertarian ideals.....

In an Endorse Liberty press release, Thiel explains why these principles of liberty and small-government are so important.

“Too often in this country we learn things the hard way – whether it’s putting your nest egg in overvalued stocks, borrowing more than your house is worth, or amassing a mountain of student debt to pay for a degree with no real job prospects,” he said. “With its unsustainable deficits, government spending is heading down the same path. Men and women who want freedom and growth should take action. A good place to start is voting for Ron Paul.”

Endorse Liberty is a group of entrepreneurs and inventors who call for “open, unhampered creativity,” citing innovation as an economic engine. ...

The Atlantic notes Thiel's attraction to the eccentric in his giving:

That the Paul campaign, well-financed but not well-received by voters, would be bankrolled by Thiel makes perfect sense. Thiel, who is openly gay and Christian, has spent his considerable wealth on a number of mainstream and unorthodox causes including the Methuselah Foundation, a research organization that seeks to extend the human lifespan to 1,000 years; the Committee to Protect Journalists; gay-rights groups such as the American Foundation for Equal Rights and GOProud; the Seasteading Institute, an organization set on building small floating countries in the middle of the sea for a "vivid, wilde-eyed dream" of a Libertarian island; and the Thiel Fellowship, which give grants of $100,000 to people under the age of 20 who drop out of school to pursue entrepreneurial projects. 

*Paul doesn't only have a billionaire backer, he has polls in a couple of states showing him beating Obama in a one-on-one: Iowa (where he's the only GOPer beating the margin of error against Obama) and Arizona.

*Roll Call has been hitting Paul with their findings of at least 26 flights the congressman took where he seems to have been reimbursed both by Congress and by private groups backing Paul:

In March 2005, David James called Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) Congressional office for some documentation.

James’s nonprofit group, the Liberty Committee, had paid for one of Paul’s flights, and James needed a receipt or boarding pass to document the expense...

The office manager said Paul’s Congressional office no longer had documentation for that flight; Paul had sent it in to the House Finance Office for reimbursement. But Liberty Committee had already sent a check to American Express to cover the charge on Paul’s credit card.

“I don’t care what flights the Liberty Committee pays for,” James said, “because Ron never took enough in expenses to come anywhere near his value to us. And this was piddly. But it’s just what it was.” James first thought it was 

accidental and faxed a letter to Paul’s office, requesting that its money be returned for the flight. Paul did repay the $403.70, but the episode strained their relationship and led to a falling out a year later.....

Spokesman Jesse Benton said then it was “possible that wholly inadvertent errors were made in a handful of instances” in which flights were reimbursed twice, but he maintained that “absolutely zero taxpayer funds were ever misused.”....

Paul recently told James that his office is investigating the payments and will return money to Liberty Committee if duplicate payments are found....

James told Roll Call that he and the Liberty Committee now want about $10,000 in reimbursements from Paul. Paul returned over $141,000 of taxpayer money to the Treasury last year from his congressional budget, an increase over the $100,000 he'd returned the year before, and about 9 percent of his office budget.

My forthcoming book, Ron Paul's Revolution.

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  • "I disavow." ~Newt Paul||

    I sign shit, marriage vows and newsletters, that just aren't my style. Things happen, ya know.

  • Suki||

    Is there someplace where I can sign up for that newsletter? Where can I find some back issues to see how you really feel about domestic events?

  • Could it be Ssssssssanitorium?||

    Church Lady Dude vs. Obama

    Who wins?

  • ||

    Still here.

    That is all.

  • Fat Indian||

    Too tired to [GAMBOL] then....pity.

  • Dúnadan||

    Fatigue? Maybe. I hadn't considered that.
    I was truly surprised he wouldn't even begin to look at an opportunity to live off the land. Given a chance, people at least approach their dreams before shying away from fear of failure. Instead it was far more important to him to immediately attack the offer. That's the main reason I truly don't believe he wants any part of living that way. He also dismisses all new facts and clearly knows little or nothing about actual life under primitive conditions. That shows his interest is not in the subject itself, but in how he can use it.

  • rather||

    That is not true. You don't know what I do in my private life!

  • Rectal||

    Something to do with farts and jars?

  • Dúnadan||

    That is not true. You don't know what I do in my private life!

    Nor do I care to, but it's clear from the slightest glance you don't live a primitive lifestyle, nor do you intend to. You betray yourself on this at every opportunity.

    It's possible you think you should believe in primitivism, but you don't. So what do you have to gain here? You aren't here looking for converts, information or support. You represent your own case so poorly I can't imagine you're even trying to win. What remains? You just use it as a trick to get you some part of the attention you crave.

  • Sevo||

    Dúnadan|2.22.12 @ 10:34PM|#
    ..."That shows his interest is not in the subject itself, but in how he can use it."

    His/her interest is promoting a religion. As with all fundies, facts or logic are irrelevant; revelation is all that matters.
    Either you've been 'born again' or you haven't.

  • Capitalism the Unknown Ideal..||

    ..but I'm the one with religion.

    LULZ!

  • Fraudulent offer from shysters||

    ...always rejected.

  • Dúnadan||

    "Shyster?" Nice. The record is there for all to read. You made no attempt to confirm or deny a single fact about the land. You made immediate unfounded claims about its condition and continue to make unfounded accusations about the offer. You show that you have no interest in living what you advocate.

  • rather||

    I'm still here too.

  • rather||

    Oh I guess I kind of talked to myself there

  • rather||

    You are a complete ass spoof; you've forced my hand

  • rather||

    I'd never make a racist remark, and I won't let you use my name and associate me with racial slurs

    Good luck

  • rather||

    Stop spoofing my posts!! And stop calling me a racist!!

    This will never work. You just want to get me banned. They will never ban me. Suck it libertard.

  • rather||

    Stop spoofing my spoofs!! And stop calling me a race fan!!

    This will never work. You just want to get me to work. They will never suck me. Suck it mommy. Libertards don't play with me like you do.

  • ||

    I would assume that the alliance will fray in Virginia, where only Romney and Paul have qualified for the ballot. Note that the state becomes Winner-Take-All if one candidate gets a majority, and with only two, one will.

    It's an Open Primary in Virginia, so I'd be interested in seeing what happens. 49 delegates for Romney or Paul.

  • Robert||

    It'll be interesting to compare that vote to the polls. I'd like to see whether voters for Gingrich & Santorum are really voting for those respective candidates, or primarily against Romney.

  • ||

    I saw a Virginia poll that basically had "Romney 50
    Paul 25
    What, what, those are the only two choices in Virginia? 25"

  • Vote Constitution||

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    No.

  • NPR||

    SUPER PACS!!!!111!!

  • Comcast Sucks (Coxswain Hardy)||

    Since you mentioned Weigel:

    David Weigel

    ....I’m voting for Barack Obama [in 2008], the only remaining candidate whom I trust not to run the country (further) into the ground with stupid and erratic decisions,...

    E-mails reveal Post reporter savaging conservatives, rooting for Democrats

    ...In the e-mails, Weigel appeared particularly invested in the President’s health care law, expressing undisguised scorn for moderate Democrats who seemed fearful about voting for it....

  • fish||

    Maybe he wasn't getting invited to enough parties?

  • Sevo||

    Maybe he's a hypocrite?

  • Yes...it certainly could that.||

    Dave could indeed be a hypocrite!

  • smartass||

    Nah. No far-left screaming liberal is ever a hypocrite. Liberals are not hypocrites and hypocrites are not liberals. They're just -- well more than anything else they're just RIGHT about things. Forever and ever,

    a-men.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They're more sophisticated than we are, don't you see?

  • Joe M||

    Calling Washington barely polled is an overstatement. It's basically never been polled in a meaningful way.

  • ||

    PPP did this poll last week, though I'm not sure their likely voter screening works in a caucus.

  • ||

    I spent almost all of my formative years in the great state of Washington, and while I haven't lived their in a decade, I still have a VERY hard time believing these numbers. 69% have a favorable view of Frothy? Did they even poll the western half of the state?

  • ||

    Presumably they limited it to people who said that they wanted to vote in the GOP caucus.

  • ||

    Ron Paul needs to change his strategy. A loss by Romney in AZ and MI could knock him out and I think Paul would have a fair chance of picking up Romney voters who probably tend to be more independent and straight-down-the-party-line than Santorum's supporters.

  • smartass||

    Sure. Independent minded people always go straight-down-the-party-line. That's how independent people are.

    Now, if Ron Paul would only change his message to something straight down the party line, he'd be the most independent and most popular GOP candidate in the whole universe.

    Besides, there's no need for a Ron Paul-RumNuts alliance because if Paul doesn't do what he's told, they're going to torture and maim his son.

  • ||

    Exactly, Romney doesn't need to play nice with Paul to keep him from going rogue. Ron's emotional investment in his son is what will ultimately keep him in check.

  • MJ||

    The type "independent" voters Romney attracts are rather dfifferent than the one's Paul attracts. Romney's appeal is to people who are moderates and are uncomforatble with strongly held ideological positions. While many people Paul attracts may classified as "independents", they are so because they are highly ideological and do not feel the major parties welcome them. The use of the word "independents" in politics generally obscures more than it reveals.

  • Robert||

    Exactly. If Romney were knocked out, then it'd be a clear choice for ideologues between Santorum & Paul, and Dr. Paul loses that one.

  • Little James||

    Sweatervest!

  • el Commentariosa||

    Screw this. MOSCOW is on streetview.

  • el Commentariosa||

    Boyd Crowder gets the best dialogue.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Likely because he's, by far, the best actor on the show.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Boyd is awesome I agree.

  • Brett L||

    The new Dixie Mafia boss is growing on me.

  • ||

    JFK and LBJ were originally running against each other for the Democratic nomination in 1960. Who knows what could really be going on between Romney and Paul.

  • ||

    And Reagan and Bush, Obama and Biden, Barr and Root, etc.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You're making me all tingly!

  • Robert||

    Except that by the time Obama was running, Biden wasn't a serious contender.

  • ||

    Biden was never a serious contender.

  • Robert||

    And they were running against Humphrey too.

  • Fernando||

    http://redgreenandblue.org/201.....mo-safety/
    Monsanto blocks research on GMO safety

    "Monsanto has been systematically blocking researchers from using its patented gene modified (GMO) seeds to learn if there are problems with them, according to an explosive op-ed in yesterday’s LA Times by Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists."


    Monsanto doesn't understand safety, that is why they won't let others in..
    It's not fear, it's intelligent when you have an affordable, natural, known safe alternative. Why bother with an unproven invented biological plant that no one is allowed to test for safety other than a corporate paid "scientist".

  • Cytotoxic||

    The testing has already been done asshole. They just don't want to give their product to some eco-shit 'scientist' that will tell everyone the anti-GMO lies we've been hearing for a quarter century.

  • Fernando||

    The 'testing' was done by a 'corporate' scientist.
    asshole.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    And by the millions of people worldwide who are being fed by Monsanto's products. Asshole.

  • Fernando||

    Millions of birth defects, you mean.

  • ||

    link?

  • ||

    the science is settled gmo's are bad

  • Brett L||

    What fucking problems?! We eat DNA everyday from other species and don't turn into mutant swamp things. Who cares what DNA has been spliced into their plants? Our body just sees protein.

  • Robert||

    Did it ever occur to you that just because DNA in general is safe, there would be no safety concerns with this particular product?

  • Vaccine||

    Nice use of bold in a sentence that makes no sense. I think you missed a word somewhere.

  • Katherine Mangles Wards||

    DNA is not made of protein.

  • Credibility = kaput||

    "an explosive op-ed in yesterday’s LA Times"

  • Cytotoxic||

    I just watched a Youtube clip of Ron Paul on the CNN debate.

    CNN flacky: Your add claims that Santorum is a fake. Why?

    Ron Paul: Because he's a fake.

    Cumfuckle: I'm real, Paul, real.

    Ron Paul: Congratulations.

    Whatever problems I have with some of your positions good doctor I will always hope for more of you.

  • ||

    Circular arguments aren't my cup of tea.

  • ||

    Although all arguments are circular in the end, it's just the size of the circle.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "The Ron Paul-Mitt Romney Alliance is Strong."

    I don't think that the average voter knows or cares about a Paul/Romney alliance. Very few people pay much attention to political strategy.

  • ||

    Shit, most people aren't even paying attention to this election yet.

    Wake 'em up in September.

  • Robert||

    I disagree. Primary voters tend to focus very strategically. If that were not true, we wouldn't be seeing such rapid swings in outcomes from the state & national polls. They also tend to imagine ties that aren't there.

  • ELO||

    Don't bring me down, Bruce

  • Tulpa||

    Santorum hot on Romney's heels

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

  • ||

    If, as a Mormon, I might also mention another dynamic. Many of the LDS vote (granted only about 5 million out of 320+ million Americans) that Romney loses are to Paul.

    As reason ran a video on not long ago Paul also has an energized and fair sized LDS base of supporters. So this overlap at least of sympathies, if not second choices, also makes it in both men's interests to be careful of alienating their current/future supporters.

  • ||

    If, as a Mormon, I might also mention another dynamic. Many of the LDS vote (granted only about 5 million out of 320+ million Americans) that Romney loses are to Paul.

    As reason ran a video on not long ago Paul also has an energized and fair sized LDS base of supporters. So this overlap at least of sympathies, if not second choices, also makes it in both men's interests to be careful of alienating their current/future supporters.

  • ||

    Apologies for Doublestuffedpost.

    Also If I might add, if Rubio turns down VP, Rand Paul would not be an unreasonable choice for Romney to soothe Tea Party/Base concerns.

    I think Ron Paul sounds more like the ghost of Libertarian past and Rand Paul seems more like the guy that can bring Libertarian into a more mainstream future.... but then I also paid money and ate at Del Taco tonight so my judgement is suspect.

  • ChrisO||

    As is your digestive system.

  • np||

    When Santorum complained that both of them were working together to gang up on him,


    Romney adviser Stuart Stevens called the suggestion "whiny silliness."

    "The notion that Ron Paul would do anything but speak his mind is not an argument he's going to be able to push that far," Stevens said. "If ever there was an iconoclast who got up there and said what he believes it's Ron Paul."
  • ||

    A Spokane police officer fired in 2009 after driving drunk while off duty, hitting a pickup with his truck and leaving the scene of the collision is likely to be rehired and get more than two years of back pay - totaling about $275,000.

    In a settlement mediated by the Washington State Human Rights Commission, Brad Thoma will be rehired March 1 in a demoted position of detective, if the Spokane City Council agrees to the deal on Monday
    Dunn argues that job-related stress led Thoma to alcoholism and should be regarded as a disability.

    He argues that the police department knew Thoma struggled with alcoholism and didn't try to get him help. Thoma filed a complaint about his firing with the Washington State Human Rights Commission soon after he was terminated.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/l.....98703.html

    more at link

  • Ted S.||

    Nothing else happened.

  • MJ||

    "NBC in this oft-cited little piece is making a common mistake in Paul coverage: taking something that's been done and hashed over and treating it like new news or something extraordinary and requiring extraordinary explanation."

    MSM are so married to the idea that Paul is not a serious candidate that they cannot wrap their minds around the notion that he is actually trying to win this outright and is not intenetionally playing spoiler.

  • ||

    Asking the important questions: Didn't Romney "founder" in South Carolina, not "flounder," New York Times? "Founder" is when you start to sink, "flounder" is more like something you do with Yakety Sax playing as the soundtrack. Or I guess, maybe that's what happened, I wasn't really paying attention.

  • Flounder||

    This is going to be great!!!

  • Fluffy||

    "Flounder" can also mean "thrash about helplessly like a fish out of water" which describes Romney's SC performance pretty well.

  • ||

    I dunno man, sounds pretty rock solid to me dude.

    www.Anon-Online.tk

  • ||

    I look at Ron Paul's website all the time and notice he's been going after Santorum far more than Romney.

  • Robert||

    Of course, because he realizes that Santorum's his chief competition for "conservative" primary voters.

  • ||

    For a guy who "is un-electable," he sure is getting the delegates.

  • ||

    Attention faithful Ron Paul Followers:
    Ron Paul says he's on the hunt for convention delegates. It is obvious, now, he will bestow them to DON Corleone Romney.
    "that's the name of the game." !!
    Don Romney made an offer that Paul couldn't refuse, Rand Paul would be “honored”
    to be VP pick. That is a BETRAYAL of major proportions to YOU !. Research for yourself
    http://tinyurl.com/74cdcok
    YOUR VOTE FOR PAUL = Vote for Romney.
    If that is what you wish…FINE ! Otherwise Vote for Santorum.
    Investigate for YOURSELF- I DID
    spread the truth !

  • ||

    IT IS THE TRUTH IN BLACK AND WHITE!
    http://tinyurl.com/74cdcok
    YOUR VOTE FOR PAUL = Vote for Romney.

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