As the last regular mainstream media following Ron Paul gives up, a new piece up at Time gets the closest with what appears to be real meat to the oft-said, little-proved notion of a Ron Paul/Mitt Romney secret alliance (though it too repeats the outright lie that Paul never attacks Romney, which he did in both debates and ads).
Anyway, the parts that are closest to meat from Time:
Paul's campaign has sent discreet signals to Camp Romney that the keys to Paul's shop can be had for the right price….
Even as they tamp down rumors of a pact, Paul's advisers concede that the friendship between Paul and Romney is the initial step toward a deal. And behind the scenes, discussions between the two campaigns — as well as initial discussions with the Santorum and Gingrich camps, according to one Paul adviser — are slowly taking shape.
An alliance could benefit both camps. Paul's support would go a long way toward helping Romney with a bloc of young Republicans who have been turning out in huge numbers for Paul and who otherwise might stay home in November. It might also help Romney grab all of Paul's delegates. Such an arrangement would help Paul get what a Romney ally called "an important speaking role at the convention."….
Paul's acolytes insist their man cannot be bought. "Romney wants the ring of power. He wants it so bad," says Doug Wead, a Paul senior adviser. "Negotiating with Ron Paul is very difficult because he doesn't want anything. If he got the ring, he would throw it into Mount Doom."
Maybe so, but…Aides say if Paul can't win the nomination, four legislative priorities would top the Texas Representative's wish
list: deep spending cuts that lead to a balanced budget; the restoration of civil liberties; a commitment to reclaim the legislative branch's right to declare war, which it abdicated to the executive branch in recent decades; and reforms that shore up the U.S. monetary system, such an audit of the Federal Reserve or competing-currency legislation. The Texas Representative might also be enticed, says campaign chairman Jesse Benton, by the prospect of serving as a presidential adviser, a Cabinet position for someone in his orbit or "perhaps a vice presidency." Not for himself, but rather his son. Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky and a Tea Party icon, is expected to launch his own White House bid in 2016. Being on the ticket now – or even being mentioned for it – would be a helpful step. Says one Paul adviser: "If you're talking about putting Rand on the ticket, of course that would be worth delivering our people to Romney."….
At the same time, Paul's backers recognize that selling supporters on an alliance with Romney carries special risks, since Paul's bond with his backers is predicted on his record of principled stands. A pact would have to be done "very cautiously," says Benton. "We wouldn't ask our people to do that if we worried they were just being coopted or that we were in some way selling out."
The sourcing and strength of the assertions seem a little weird to me in this, with the "discreet signals" perhaps meaning the actual quotes from Benton later or perhaps hinting at knowledge too terrible to share or reveal.
And I would think that unnamed "Paul advisor" should know enough about the world of his candidate and his supporters to realize there ain't no easy way to "deliver our people" even if he merely means "release delegates" and even then I'm not sure most Paul delegates would have any interest in voting for anyone else.
As for his potential voters in November, that's an even harder sell. Pundits need to realize votes are not something like matter that can neither be created nor destroyed; that Paul created a fresh electorate largely from the near-majority who usually don't vote, and they could disappear from whence they came if he or someone like him is not around.
Jesse Benton had this to say about the Time story tonight to me: "As the article reports, we have talked with all three campaigns, usually at their request, at a variety of levels and generally about state convention activity. A brokered convention is now our stated goal, and winning the nomination for Dr. Paul will require extensive politicking. Anything past that is just innuendo."
What does he reasonably think might actually entice Paul devotees to vote for a GOP candidate not Paul? I asked Benton. "We are fighting full throttle for Dr. Paul to be the nominee, but if we fall short of the nomination and can force Ron into the VP slot, I think most of our supporters will consider voting Republican in the fall."
I did some
rough surveying of Paulite feelings on this tonight (including via Facebook, a site sufficiently vast to prove or disprove any trend). Specifically on Benton's guess about a VP slot, the Facebook page of the Paulite RevolutionPac did a survey, with nearly 700 responses, which found only 100 who said they would vote for Romney with Paul as VP, and 583 saying either "no" or "would write in Paul."
Some other Paul fans responses I got to the question, what would it take from a non-Paul presidential candidate to make you think of voting for him?
Bretigne Shaffer says that "Speaking for myself, there is no promise or concession a non-Paul candidate could make that would win my support, for the simple reason that I don't trust any non-Paul candidate to keep any promises. Paul has integrity, which makes him the anti-politician. It's why I support him." Michael Malice (read his cartoon biography by late comics legend Harvey Pekar) said "A promise that next year's budget will be smaller than this year's." Kyle Walker said "Ron Paul gets to pick the next Fed chair."
Some people said they could not imagine Paul would actually ever endorse any of the others, and that nothing could make them vote for a non-Paul Republican. And Joshua Clement Broyles said that "No deal. The records of those other GOP douchebags are all bad enough that I would't trust them if Ron Paul had them all installed with Harkonnen heart plugs, just in case. If voting for a shameless douchebag is the only choice, I'll just keep voting for Democrats, thanks" then added that "Actually, if you put Gingrich, Romney and Santorum in a 3-way caged death match, I would consider voting for whoever survives, provided, of course that all Presidential Veto powers are to be ceded to Ron Paul, regardless of the survivor."
There you go. More on this developing story/supposition as it develops.
In other Paul news tonight, he draws what his campaign reports as 4,600 people to the University of Illinois in Champaign for an event.
And you can buy now and read later my out-in-May book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.