Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ron Paul Newsletter Controversy

I have pretty much ignored the smear campaign many press outlets have been running against Ron Paul. The Christian Science Monitor, though, has been very supportive of Dr. Paul throughout the campaign, so I decided to read this article. I think it makes some good points.

While I don't agree with every point the article makes, one point I particularly agree with is that Dr. Paul needs to not just disavow the newsletters and their racist content, as he has already done, but "disavow them with emotion, emphasizing that he recognizes how hateful they sound today."  Anyone truly familiar with Ron Paul knows that he absolutely despises any kind of stereotyping or racism.  As I've noted before, the President of a regional branch of the NAACP addressed those newsletters and explained that he knew that Ron Paul is not racist.  The kind of collectivist ideals that are at the root of racism run completely contrary to Dr. Paul's political philosophy and personal moral philosophy.  While I understand that he has adequately explained the newsletters for his supporters, he has to understand that people who aren't as familiar with him might not be as willing to accept the explanation.  The fact is that major news outlets are not going to accept his current explanation, and the negative press will continue. At this point, it hasn't really hurt him, but it could.  If his explanation was enough to stifle the criticism in the press, that would be one thing.  But it is not. I know that language, like the language in the newsletter, likely disgusts Dr. Paul, and he needs to tell people that.

What Dr. Paul has done thus far is to simply repeated what he's said for years (and what the truth is): He didn't write the newsletters, others did. He doesn't approve of the language or ideals.  He is not racist. And he disavows all the racist, bigoted ideas in the newsletters.  And Dr. Paul's record and beliefs reflect that he believes in total equality. He does not believe that the federal government should make homosexual marriage illegal, nor does he support a constitutional amendment that would do that. He believes that drug laws and capital punishment disproportionately targets minorities.  While he does believe in closed borders, he does not have the kind of negative feelings toward illegal immigrants that many in the GOP express.  He has to take another step, though, to show people that, though the letters represent bad management of a business carrying his name, those newsletters do not at all represent his personal views. And let me say here that I don't think that the fact that Ron Paul mismanaged the newsletters is any kind of argument against his fitness to lead as President.  In regards to leadership and management skills, it is no more an issue than Mitt Romney, more than once, hiring landscapers that employed illegal immigrants.

Sorry for the digression.  But, as I said, Ron Paul needs to go a step further in regards to addressing these newsletters.  I have tinkered with the idea that Dr. Paul needs to reveal who actually wrote the offending pieces.  Upon further reflection, though, I don't think that would place Dr. Paul in the best light.  What he needs to do is have a heart to heart conversation with the people who wrote the material, or who were in charge of the people writing the material, and suggest that they need to make a public statement as to Dr. Paul's role (or the lack there of) in the writing of the newsletters. I would assume that these people want Dr. Paul to be President.  They wrote very inflammatory, racist things. There is no doubt about that.  I would hope that they'd be willing to sacrifice a little bit of their reputation for the cause of Ron Paul's campaign, especially given the fact that they did, indeed, write these terrible things.

The easiest thing is for Ron Paul to appear on national TV, or make an otherwise-very-public address, wherein he passionately and emotionally disavows and condemns racism in all forms, including the kind of racism in those articles.  Whether or not the actual author comes for, this type of address is absolutely essential.  And this would actually be a good time for him to make some of his very-valid points about the impact that racism has in our criminal justice system.  He can turn this into a positive if he plays it correctly. The problem is that Ron Paul is not a politician at heart.  And he isn't going to do something for political gain. So if he believes he has done all he needs to do, the fact that doing more might help his campaign may not be an option. He knows this is ultimately irrelevant and he wants to stay on point.  I am hopeful, though, that he will be able to take what the press is throwing at him and use it to make a comment on the damaging effects of racism in our society today.  And I think if he does something similar to what I've suggested, he will be able to take the media's attack of the moment and dispose of its effectiveness.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ron Paul Takes the Lead in Iowa

After threatening to do it for a while, the liberty-minded septuagenarian Congressman/doctor from Texas is now leading in Iowa according to the Real Clear Politics poll averages.  And he's gaining ground at the expense of Newt Gingrich, who has sunk from the high 30s in Iowa to third, and in the low-to-mid-teens (with a persistent Rick Perry breathing down his neck).

I think you now have to consider Dr. Paul the prohibitive favorite in Iowa.  Even when he was running a few points behind, the fact was that his caucus numbers were going to be better than his poll numbers because of the organization and dedication of his supporters.  Now, with an actual lead, I'd be surprised to see anyone else win Iowa. And I think Dr. Paul has a chance to poll in the mid-30s on caucus night.

So, if that happens, what's next?  The negative hit pieces of course! I emphasized that in my last post.  I've actually been a little surprised to see some good, positive articles about Dr. Paul. One interesting one is from Real Clear Politics: Can Ron Paul Win New Hampshire? It is a legitimate question.  Can you imagine Fox News if that happened?  It would be more hilarious than a meltdown on the Bunker (my Auburn sports pay site of choice.  And, as this article points out, it isn't too far out there.

If Ron Paul wins Iowa he'll get a big bump in his New Hampshire support, especially if Gingrich greatly under-performs.  There's a legitimate chance that Perry, who is more organized and has spent more time in Iowa, knocks Gingrich down to 4th.  Let's assume Ron Paul culls together the kind of support he is capable of and Iowa finishes something like this:
1) Paul-30%
2) Romney-24%
3) Perry-13%
4) Gingrich-12%
5) Bachmann-8%

Ron Paul should be polling in the low 20s in New Hampshire at this point, with Romney in the mid-30s.  But if Gingrich bombs Iowa, a state he'd been assuming he would win (and saying so), I think his New Hampshire support, which is currently around the low-20s/high-teens, evaporates.  Gingrich is too arrogant to drop out after Iowa, but if he flops in Iowa as I think he will, I think you'll see him implode in New Hampshire.  Where does his support go? I think some of it goes to Ron Paul, and a smaller portion to Romney (let's remember that the Gingrich voters were always anti-Romney voters anyway).  And something else will happen.  I think Bachmann drops out after Iowa.  Some of her support goes to Ron Paul, but I think most finds a home with Perry.  Huntsman will also be hurt more than he knows by a Ron Paul win in Iowa. That's because I think a lot of moderate, anti-war voters in New Hampshire will decide that if they want to support someone with a shot at winning, they need to hitch their wagon to Dr. Paul.  So I really think Huntsman, in the case of a Paul win in NH, takes a big hit in NH support, which is a shame, because I like the guy a whole lot more than most of the non-Paul candidates.  With a little bit from Gingrich, a little bit from Bachmann, and a little bit from Huntsman, we could be looking at Ron Paul gaining 8-10 points without taking anything from Romney.  And Ron Paul will take support from Romney in New Hampshire as the moderates, independents, libertarians, and anti-war conservatives rally around him.  The big knock on Ron Paul, and the big plus for Romney, has been electability, but a win in Iowa changes that. I think what we end up with in New Hampshire is a toss-up.

While the caucus system is great for Ron Paul's dedicated, organized supporters, the fact is that New Hampshire, the Live Free or Die state, probably presents the best collection of voters who think like Dr. Paul.  New Hampshire would be a significant upset, but if Ron Paul wins Iowa, it won't be as big as some people think.  I think if things go right, Ron Paul can win New Hampshire by pulling about 36-38% of the vote (with Romney just a point or two behind).  Ron Paul won't win South Carolina, and probably won't win Florida (though if Gingrich drops out before Florida, anything is possible).  After five of the eight contests before Super Tuesday are caucus, and Ron Paul will perform well there.

If Ron Paul wins Iowa, he will make a lot of noise and will challenge Romney until the final horn.  I still think the backlash from the establishment GOP and press will ultimately prevent Ron Paul from winning the nomination.

One last (slightly-extended) thought.  There have been some criticism of the new Public Policy Polling poll that placed Ron Paul in first place in Iowa.  This article argues that the PPP poll was an outlier, and that it should be ignored based on the fact that Ron Paul leads on the strength of Democrats (40%) and Independents (34%) and not Republicans (19%).  The argument is that this poll is inaccurate because traditionally self-identified Republicans are majority of caucus-goers. What that article fails to realize, though, is that Dr. Paul is building a coalition of people of all stripes.  This will not be your standard nomination process. Ron Paul is bringing people to the Republican Party.  In all truth, this should be a reason that the GOP wants him to win the nomination. After all, aren't we looking for someone who can bring in a large portion of the moderates and independents who supported Obama in 2008? Wouldn't this diversity of support be a good thing?  I guess common sense shouldn't apply to politics, though.  Oh, and that PPP wasn't an outlier.  Insider Advantage has Dr. Paul polling at about the same spot.  It is pretty funny, because there were more than a few articles declaring the PPP poll unreliable right after it came out, and then the Insider Advantage poll comes out and blows that theory up.

It's going to be very interesting.  January 3rd might be Christmas for Ron Paul supporters this year.

Let me just take this chance to give myself a little pat on the back.  Dr. Paul announced his candidacy in early May of this year.  A couple of weeks later, I posted the following on my Facebook:

Ron Paul polling well in one of the crucial, early-primary states. This is going to be more than a token campaign for the good doctor this time around. I still think predicting a Ron Paul as the GOP candidate wouldn't exactly be the smart bet, but this country is different than 2008 and so are Dr. Paul's chances.
Glad I was right (or at least on the right track).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We've Already Won: Neocons Declare War on Ron Paul

The American Spectator, The Weekly Standard, Fox News and other neoconservative-leaning news sources have been turning up the heat on Ron Paul.  Jeffrey Lord has been particularly open about his disdain for Ron Paul, donating a plurality of his recent blog posts/articles to bashing Dr. Paul, including this hit piece, the third in a series.

The fact that neocons were going to start going after Ron Paul full force became particularly clear in the last debate, where moderator Bret Baier was openly-hostile and unapologetically-insulting toward Ron Paul, especially regarding Dr. Paul's modest, constitutional, non-interventionist foreign policy.  This is a phenomenon that Lew Rockwell has predicted and been following in detail for a little while.

The idea back in May, when Ron Paul declared his candidacy, was that they just had to ignore him and continue to mutter, "but he has no chance to win," every time they were forced to mention him, and things would take care of themselves.  Ron Paul represents a dangerous threat to the establishment. His election could spell the end of the Military-Industrial Complex and the Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex, which would cost a lot of rich, powerful people a lot of their money and a lot of influence. So you have to understand why they'd be scared of Ron Paul. They just didn't understand how scared they needed to be. It has become increasingly clear that Ron Paul could win Iowa and, with that, build enough support to make this thing interesting. So it is no coincidence that the following headline at the top of Drudge Report coincided with the upturn of the neocon attack on Ron Paul.

Ron Paul has steadily gained in the polls, requiring more coverage.  And simply telling people he has no chance of winning wasn't working anymore.  Why? Because Ron Paul's consistent message of a constitutional government was resounding with voters.  The was due in part to the message, but also greatly due to the messenger.  Ron Paul isn't the most eloquent speaker, but he is someone who brings amazing consistency and credibility that is refreshing in today's political world.  Does this mean that Ron Paul is going to win the whole thing? Probably not, but he is in a position right now to have, at the least, a huge amount of influence as to the GOP platform and the direction of this country, as I disussed last week.  (As an addendum to my thoughts in that post, I also think it is possible that a brokered convention results in a Rand Paul VP nomination, and Ron Paul as Secretary of Treasury.)  And that just can't happen, at least according to the Jeffrey Lords, Bret Baiers and Mark Levins of the world.

So now they're resorting to irrelevant, out-dated, and misleading information. Expect to hear a lot more from the neocon front regarding news letters in the 80's and 90's that bore Ron Paul's name, but which he didn't write.  They will attempt to cast Dr. Paul as a racist.  And they will also act like these newsletters are some huge revelation that were newly discovered.  They aren't. Ron Paul has addressed this issue before, and will do so again.  I think it is pretty clear to anyone who has followed Dr. Paul that he is absolutely not racist.  Austin, TX NAACP President Nelson Linder has defended Dr. Paul against these charges, and I strongly suggest you follow these lengths and check our was Mr. Linder has to say about Dr. Paul before you jump to the conclusions that the neocons want you to.

The neocons will also bring up Dr. Paul's position on earmarks.  "Earmarks" is often used as a dirty word in politics.  Ron Paul, though, believes that earmarks are necessary to preserve transparency in spending.  Let me just copy and paste and explanation I recently gave, by means of an example, regarding earmarks to someone else who questioned the policy (I apologize if it seems over-simplified):

Congress decides that $500 million will be spent. Now, without earmarks, all that money is passed onto the Executive Branch (so, right now, President Obama's people) to be spent as they see fit without legislative oversight. What an earmark does is, for instance, take $2 million of that $500 million and say that it has to be spent, e.g., to build a new bridge in Dallas, TX. So the legislature decides where that money goes, everyone knows where it goes, and there's no question. There is transparency. The other $498 million is completely within the control of whatever executive agency (maybe the Dept. of Education or Agriculture) to spend how they see fit. If you take the $2 million earmark out, the whole $500 million still gets spent, but the executive agency has completely control over it.
Without an earmark request, the same amount of money still gets spent. With earmarks, we allow the legislature to at least determine where the money is going, and the bill itself will state where it goes so we have transparency in spending. I don't think we should spend money like we do, but if we do, I'd much rather have Congress decide where the money goes than the executive branch. And I'd much rather KNOW where the money is being spent if it is spent. Until we cut spending, the spending that is done needs to be earmark for the sake of transparency. 

Another point I like to make regarding earmarks is that they aren't some kind of dirty secret that Ron Paul is forced to explain.  While he has always been an opponent of government spending, he has always been an open advocate of earmarks.  He has gone so far as to explain his view on earmarks on the floor of the House in 2009:

And he recently again described his views on earmarks in the Fox News debate from this past week:

The above issues, especially the issue regarding the newsletters, are absolutely irrelevant, and have been explained away again and again.  However Ron Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy will continue to come under fire. I don't necessarily think that his foreign policy is described incorrectly, but I do think many in the press discuss it in a very misleading way. Just today I read an article from the Wall Street Journal titled: Why Ron Paul Can't Win.  After reading it, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth so, as I often do, I sent an email to the author:

A few points on your article on why Ron Paul can't win:
 1) So are you arguing he should abandon one of his most closely held philosophical and moral views? Perhaps you are just stating he can't win with those views, but it seems like you are criticizing him for not engaging in what would be one of the largest flip-flops in politics. That isn't even a practical suggestion.
  2) Remember that Dr. Paul's foreign policy views aren't just a personal belief or political strategy. The fact that our current foreign policy is unconstitutional isn't even the end of the story. Dr. Paul has examined both history and the current state of affairs in the Middle East and come to a conclusion very similar to our own CIA: Our current foreign policy is dangerous because it stokes the fires of terrorism and anti-American sentiment. It doesn't work. He is right about this and to decide to change his views because of political expedience wouldn't just be inconsistent, it would be dangerous for America. The continuation of our current foreign policy is one of the greatest dangers facing our nation. Why should the one most visible, outspoken opponent of our current, hazardous path change his views for votes? Again, maybe you aren't saying he should, but only saying he would have to if he wants to win. If so, I don't disagree quite as vehemently.
 3) This brings me to my final point. In your article, I couldn't help but notice you referred to "noninterventionist" in quotes, but then you casually refer to Ron Paul's foreign policy as "isolationist" without quotes and in a very matter of fact manner. Why is that? This is such a common thing in the press, and I can't help but think it is an intentional, subtle way in which Dr. Paul's policy is negatively branded by the press. "Isolationism" has a very negative connotation. But it also fails to describe Paul's foreign policy accurately. And I think you and other members of the press know this but intentionally disregard that fact. There are two parts to isolationism. The first is military nonintervention, which Dr. Paul advocates. The second part, though, is, essentially, the end of free trade. Laws are put in place to "protect" the domestic economy and shut of trade amongst nations. You and others in the press are well-aware that this is the polar opposite of what Dr. Paul stands for. I refuse to believe that every member of the press is simply ignorant of Ron Paul's views on trade and/or regarding the true definition of "isolationism." Why, then, is this term continually used to describe Dr. Paul's foreign policy when very clearly defines and labels it himself? Please convince me this isn't an intentional way in which you and others in the press try to harm Dr. Paul's campaign and mislead readers as to Paul's actual foreign policy views. I would appreciate an honest and thorough explanation.
Please note that this was an email typed on my iPhone while sitting at Kangarooz in Spanish Fort. Very fun place for kids, but not the best for thinking clearly. So if anything doesn't make sense, or if there are any grammatical errors, please forgive them and let me know.  I think that pretty much sums up my problem with how the press covers Dr. Paul's foreign policy views.

So, I expect the attacks to keep coming.  And it very well may end up killing the admittedly small chance that Dr. Paul had of winning the nomination.  I just wonder if the neocons don't understand that if they sink Ron Paul's campaign by running these malicious hit pieces, they'll just drive Dr. Paul closer to a third party run that will certainly lead to the GOP candidate being defeated?  Couldn't they just respect Dr. Paul instead of smearing him, and hold out hope that he might (in exchange for some changes to the party platform) endorse the GOP nominee.  Paul has hinted that he might be convinced to endorse Mitt Romney, and I think if he is treated respectfully, and if the GOP acknowledges that his views have merit (and begin operating a bit different given that fact), that Ron Paul may decide to forego a third party run.  I guess the issue is this: the only way to guarantee the destruction of the Military/Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex is a Ron Paul presidency.  Barack Obama has shown that he can be just as much of a war monger as any Republican.  So, in a way, for the neocons, Obama is preferable to Ron Paul.  I think many of the neocons pay lip service to the "anybody but Obama" theory, but they secretly understand that they really want "anyone but a non-interventionist." They ultimately don't care a bit about domestic, fiscal policy.  Which is very frightening, because by perpetuating these never ending wars, and by ignoring our monetary problems, the nation sinks deeper into a whole they may never get out of.

Ron Paul is the only man with a Plan to Restore America.  He also happens to be the man who most threatens the hold on power that, despite the rise of the Tea Party, the neocons still firmly hold in America.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ron Paul Gaining Ground in Iowa & New Hampshire

Ron Paul has pulled within 1 point of the lead in Iowa according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling. He has taken a large chunk of Newt Gingrich's support and now trails him 22%-21% only a week after it looked like Gingrich would keep building on his Iowa lead.  Ron Paul has also cut into Gingrich's support in New Hampshire according to a new poll from Rasmussen Report.  Romney still leads comfortably in New Hampshire with 33% support, but Ron Paul is pulling 18% support, good for third place, only 4 points behind Newt Gingrich.

Why the change? Well, Ron Paul's consistent constitutional message is resonating, as is his plan for massive spending cuts.  You also can't discount the fact that, as some of my prior posts discuss, many conservatives are very wary of Gingrich.  Ron Paul has launched two scathing attack ads against Newt Gingrich, and it is reasonable to think that these are playing a big role in the decrease of Newt's support in Iowa and New Hampshire.

"Serial Hypocrisy"

"Selling Access"

It will be interesting to see if, as happened to Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain before him, Newt Gingrich's support will continue to erode as people look more closely at him and learn more about his personality, his views and his record.  If that does happen, and race comes down to Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, it will make for a very interesting primary season.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Glenn Beck Prefers Ron Paul over Newt Gingrich

I don't pretend to be a huge Glenn Beck fan.  In fact, I thought that Jon Stewart's impersonation of Glenn Beck on a segment of the Daily Show a while back was hilarious:

But there is no doubt that Glenn Beck has a large, dedicated following. So I certainly don't mind that he recently stated that he would support Ron Paul as a third party candidate over Newt Gingrich. And Beck isn't the only guy in the conservative media that is vehemently opposed to Newt Gingrich as nominee.  Michael Savage offered Newt $1 million to drop out and goes on to provide a very damning list of Newt's sins against conservatives and the Grand Old Party.

Things might be starting to get bad for old Newt.  Remember, the previous anti-Romney front-runners (Bachmann, Perry and Cain) shared a shelf-life of about 1 month. So Newt's popularity might run out before the Iowa caucus.  If so, Ron Paul might end up running away with it and acting as Mitt's main competition for the nomination. If Ron Paul does start gaining some of the front-runner support that Newt has now, chances are he'll keep it.  Once you support Ron Paul, you generally don't stop supporting him. That's just the nature of the Ron Paul Revolution.

Newt Gingrich: More Serial Hypocrisy

Ron Paul's campaign lays into Newt with another strong right hook in this new ad:

I wonder how long it will take for Newt's terrible record to catch up with him. I hate to say it, but it looks like it won't be as much of a factor as it should be. As I detailed in my last post, though, Newt Gingrich will not win the nomination, because Ron Paul won't let him.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Does a Brokered GOP Convention mean a Romney/Paul 2012 Ticket?

As so many supporters of Ron Paul, I am constantly looking for new articles, new thoughts and new insights on Dr. Paul and his candidacy. This morning I ran across an article that got me thinking: Ron Paul says Romney more “diplomatic” than Gingrich. What if Ron Paul doesn't win the nomination and decides against a third party run? Does he endorse anyone?  If Gary Johnson got the Libertarian nomination, I could see Dr. Paul backing him, but I think Ron Paul is going to keep himself very involved in the race, and I think his involvement will be above and beyond simply endorsing a third party candidate.

Before I get too far into it, let me make two things very clear:
1) I believe more strongly every day that Ron Paul does have a very real (though still unlikely) path to the Republican Nomination.  It starts with winning Iowa and following it up with a strong 2nd in New Hampshire. So please don't take what I'm going to discuss as anything more than speculation on what might happen if Dr. Paul doesn't win. I'm certainly not assuming he won't win.
2) I think that there is a very strong possibility that Ron Paul will launch a third party campaign if he does not get the GOP nomination.  And I think it is likely that he might end up being the American's Elect candidate (very interesting site/movement/organization--check it out if you're not familiar).  So what I'm about to discuss it the third most likely option for Dr. Paul.

Now that that's out of the way, I do think it is possible that Ron Paul could end up as Mitt Romney's VP.  Dr. Paul will never work with Newt Gingrich, as they have a pretty significant history with one another, and not one that bodes well for Newt if he hoped to have Ron Paul's endorsement at any point:

So, what about Mitt Romney.  Well, the article I linked above seems to indicate that Dr. Paul is far more open to Mitt Romney.  And here's the thing about Mitt: He is an inconsistent flip-flopper, but he'll flip to whichever position helps him achieve his goals.  Is he reliable? Yes and no.  You can rely on him to accept influence or advice if that influence or advice will lead to him achieving his goal.  The closer we get to the Iowa caucus, the more this GOP race looks like a three-man battle: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich.  Ron Paul may not put up the consistently high numbers in the primaries like Mitt and Newt, and won't appeal as much to the run-of-the-mill Republican, but he will perform very well in the caucuses, and he has the money and organization to stay in the race for the long haul.  I am confident that Ron Paul, even if he doesn't win the nomination or have the most delegates, will have a solid chunk of the delegates. Solid enough to prevent either Romney or Gingrich from having the necessary numbers to earn the nomination outright.

What happens then? A brokered Republican convention.  Now, my dream scenario is that Ron Paul ends up winning if we get to that point, but likely the two establishment politicians would battle it out. And the article I linked above regarding Mitt Romney, combined with Ron Paul's obvious distrust of and dislike for Newt Gingrich, makes it far more likely that Ron Paul's delegates, in a negotiated deal, go to Mitt Romney. Beyond the bad blood between Gingrich and Paul, why would Paul go with Romney? As I said, Romney is more easily swayed to change his positions.  And any brokered deal between Romney and Paul would have to include Paul having a huge say in the Republican platform decided at the convention.  I also think this kind of deal would result in Ron Paul as the Vice Presidential nominee.

And Ron Paul as Mitt Romney's VP probably benefits Romney a lot more than his supporters, or any of the establishment people in the GOP, would want to admit.  I may dedicate a future post to this topic, but neither Romney or Gingrich will be able to pull enough independents and disenfranchised/ticked off Democrats to beat Barack Obama.  Gingrich is the least capable because he is so inflammatory.  Newt, Ron and Mitt would all get the same GOP votes that McCain got in 2008, but they need the independents and Democrats. Only Ron Paul can bring them in.  By making Ron Paul the VP nominee, Mitt Romney expands his base of potential voters by as much as 10-20% (remember Ron Paul, in recent polls, including this one discussing in this article by pollster John Zogby, Ron Paul has garned in the high teens in a theoretical 3-way race between he, Romney and Obama).  Without Paul, Romney may be able to go moderate enough in the general election race to win, but with Paul, Romney gains the army of loyal Paul supporters who  Romney expressed being so impress with in last night's debate.

I don't think there are any other Republicans that would impact the general election so much if chosen as VP.  A few might solidify the already-solid Republican support. So what?  None of them would bring Paul's dedicated support. Most of Paul's supporters would write Ron Paul in or stay home if his name isn't anywhere on the ballot.

This is not to say that Ron Paul would compromise on his strict constructionist views.  The beauty of this is that Romney is so pliable, Ron Paul could force him to change a great deal.  Ron Paul might not get everything he wants (such as a complete ending of all foreign aid), but domestically, I could foresee Romney giving Paul almost-free-reign, and I do think that Dr. Paul would have a significant impact on foreign affairs, even if we don't bring everyone home.

The other option regarding Ron Paul working a deal with Mitt Romney would be Paul gaining a cabinet position (possibly Secretary of the Treasury--Ben Bernanke's nightmare).  That might be great for Dr. Paul, but it wouldn't help Romney win the election.  That's why I think Ron Paul as VP is a very possible scenario.

Will any of this happen? There's really no way to know, but I think the above represents a very plausible scenario. One this is certain: Ron Paul's impact on today's Grand Old Party is undeniable.  As some of the other candidates proved in last night's debate, Dr. Paul philosophical impact on party policy is quite prevalent.  Even Sarah Palin has acknowledged the real impact that Ron Paul will have on the nominee if it isn't him. And I am confident that the fantastic organization and impressive fundraising prowess of Dr. Paul's 2012 campaign will guarantee that, even if he does not end up with the most delegates, Paul will have a substantial impact on who the nominee is.  If Ron Paul doesn't end up as King, he'll be the King Maker, and I think that is very bad news for Newt Gingrich.

So those are my thoughts. I'd appreciate any questions or suggestions as to how else things could shake out if anyone has any other ideas.  This should be a very interesting presidential election cycle, that's for sure. Feel free to comment, or email me at .