As Brian Doherty mentioned here on Hit & Run yesterday, Mitt Romney and Rand Paul had a half-hour meeting recently, fueling rumors that the GOP frontrunner might pick the Kentucky senator as his vice presidential candidate. Like Brian, I don't think this marriage is likely to happen. But if it is a possibility, why would any libertarian want it to happen?
My problem here isn't with Sen. Paul himself—I've certainly got my disagreements with the man, but I like him much better than anyone else whose name is being kicked around as a potential Romney running mate. The problem is the idea that it would be good to take the guy out of his Senate seat, where he's well-positioned to battle actual bad legislation, and stick him in a job where he'll be expected to suppress his disagreements with his boss and serve as a public face of the Romney administration.
We're in our fourth year of a president who the left is reluctant to rebel against even when he abuses their alleged principles. Before that we had eight years of a president who the right was reluctant to rebel against even when he abused their alleged principles. With Romney we finally have the possibility of a president both the left and the right can hate: a man who may be inclined to continue the worst Bush/Obama policies, but who at least will be easier to organize against. I'd rather have Rand Paul leading the right flank of the anti-Romney revolt than being used to keep the remnants of the Tea Party movement in line.
So please don't pick Paul, Gov. Romney. Pick a party hack, a Joe Biden of the right: a living reminder to the angry grassroots that they do not and should not trust you.