Every step of this tortured road to the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney has been put in a corner. Michele Bachmann emerged, the Rick Perry, then Herman Cain, then Newt Gingrich (twice), then Rick Santorum. In each skirmish, Mitt had to use all of his money to take each of them down and he made few friends doing it.
Yet along the way, Ron Paul stuck to a strategy of delegate counting that ensured he would not be the nominee but that he would have an outsized influence on the nomination itself. State after state Paul underperformed (except for New Hampshire) on the surface but over-performed underground. It is as if he knew going in couldn't win, so he needed to figure out a strategy to ensure that his movement and voice does not die with him. It also was a strategy that put a gun to the head of the Republican Party. Close to 500 Ron Paul supporters will be delegates on the floor in Tampa, and we all know what shows these conventions are suppose to be. With Romney suddenly showing strength in race against Obama, a convention overrun with Paulbots booing to their hearts content is a serious problem. These conventions are suppose to come off like clockwork, showing how unified everyone is around the nominee. With the Paul 2012 strategy, it is a guarantee that will not happen.
Unlike any of the previous candidates from 2011/2012, Ron Paul actually has some leverage over Mitt Romney. Romney needs nothing from the Newts, Santorums, and Perrys of the world; they need him now. But Paul needs nothing from Romney at this moment and Romney desperately needs a smooth convention to build momentum into the fall. Paul could wreck that.
Simply getting Rand Paul's endorsement isn't enough. Check out Daily Paul or Rand's FB page . . . he's Judas to the hardcore Paulbots. Hell, it was hard for me to watch. I suspect they know their movement well enough to know this would happen. This simply cannot be all there is. Rand Paul wouldn't be doing this without his father's knowledge or blessing. A simple endorsement for a speaking slot can't be worth the beating Rand is taking now.
I'm beginning to wonder if the threat of chaos in Tampa is enough right now for Romney to essentially have his hand forced on who his running-mate will be. Most say its Rand, but I disagree. A less-than-two-year senator without any previous experience in leadership will be tougher to swallow than Sarah Palin because she at least had been a mayor and governor. Besides, Rand Paul needs to stay in the Senate where he is most useful to Liberty. I can't imagine Rand would not only sell out his movement but also his own Senate seat.
My own 1 am logic is telling me that the more obvious choice in this scenario is Ron Paul himself. He is a 76 year old man who has built a movement from Austrian economics seminars in the 1970s that is poised to take over the GOP. He will not be President of the United States, even he knows that. But his career is essentially over. He has something to offer Mitt Romney, the hopes that much of his movement will come out to vote in November. There is still the problem of those newsletters that have to be gotten over. Paul is at the end of his run in politics and might want the vice-presidency to preserve his legacy and legitimize his life's work.
Mind you, I'm not saying this is something Romney and his team would do out of want, but rather need. Paul's supporters could essentially hold that convention hostage and embarrass the entire party on national television. The only balm to that rash would be Ron Paul himself. This would be a candidate forced on the party. Paul's delegate counting campaign ensured he would have an out-sized presence at the Convention, could it be enough to make him Vice President?