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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Political Lagniappe

Timothy Birdnow


Noun 1. lagniappe - a small gift (especially one given by a merchant to a customer who makes a purchase)
gift - something acquired without compensation

The staff of Conservative HQ have a piece arguing that Rand Paul should be placed at the bottom of a Romney ticket.

Interesting idea.

I thought they were going to argue for RON Paul, the geriatric Fortress America guy running for Prez, but they are actually suggesting placing his son Rand, who I would agree is less squishy in terms of foreign affairs. Let's face it, folks; Ron Paul would be charicatured as Abe Simpson (the father of television's cartoon Homer) comes to Washington. On the top of the ticket he would be disasterous; even if he somehow found a way to win (and there is no way America would elect him) he would be impotent, with Congress simply ignoring him. Reagan was able to whip up the American People using the bully pulpit, and force Congress's hand, but Paul lacks the dynamism to do that - outside of his devotees. Also, many of those devotees are young and often ex-Democrat voters disenchanted with the two party system, and they believe an outsider candidate is what is needed. Many of them thought Obama was that outsider, and now they are on board with Paul. Where will they be in two years? Where will they be when Paul cannot deliver what he is advocating? I really doubt Paul's ability to hold his base over time. He won't have the Democrats, of course, nor the GOP, really. He would be Andrew Johnson; a perpetual outsider incapable of moving Congress.

But he might do at the bottom of the ticket. Moreso, his son, who is younger, more dynamic, and perhaps a safer bet in terms of foreign policy. Most Americans do not advocate Fortress America. Few believe it is in our best intersts to establish a quasi-isolationist policy; most Americans rightly understand that our enemies aren't going to leave us alone just because we pull back. This isn't competition for resources or prestige, but a war of extermination. Islam is rising, and Islam has always believed it is the rightful ruler of the whole world. The Moslems are perpetually at war. Our retreat will be but an opportunity. Americans understand this. But Paul couldn't do too much trouble at the bottom of the ticket, and perhaps he will drag a lot of votes with him.

Rand Paul would be better.


FDR's Vice President John Nance Garner told Lyndon Johnson (who had just been asked to be Kennedy's veep) that the Vice Presidency "isn't worth a bucket of warm piss" (this is often sanitized when reproduced to be "spit") and he's right; the Veep has only a couple of duties; presiding over the Senate, which is only necessary when votes are razor thin, being ready to take the reins if something should happen to his boss, being the attack dog for the Administration, and taking the fall for the Administration when trouble comes. (Eisenhower perfected that technique, tossing the hapless Richard Nixon to the media lions without preparing him first.) The Veep doesn't even get his own Vice Presidential House, but has to live in the United States Naval Observatory, and before 1974 had to buy his own domicile. (I'm really surprised he isn't in the basement with the janitor.) It's not a very highly regarded position.

And it's not a very influential one. Nobody remembers vice presidents. Very few have been elected to the Presidency or other high office. And very few have had much influence over their Presidents. Dick Cheney was one of the most powerful Veeps ever, and he shows his disgust with being "frozen out" by others in the Bush Administration (read his memoir.) George H.W. Bush clearly was not a Reaganite, and his own Presidency divurged sharply as soon as he was in office. Certainly Joe Biden has little influence in the Obama Administration today. Ron or Rand Paul's tenure of office would be of little consequence in a Romney Administration.

And does anybody really see Ron Paul acting as Administration attack dog? Yapping Peekapoo, maybe...

That is NOT an insult to Dr. Paul's ideas, but he won't be there to put forward his own ideas. He will be there to defend the Administration, and Paul will have to LIE about his feelings to do so. He will have to come out firing, not just lie quietly. Paul is not exactly a fiery speaker; it's his ideas that excite people. He'll have to keep mum on those ideas or get another job.

Now, the only point of bringing either Paul on-board would be to draw Paul supporters. That indeed may work - at least once. But will it work against Hillary in 2016? How long before his supporters sour on him as a sellout?

It's strictly a campaign gimmick, albeit quite possibly a good one.

Maybe it's all we need right now. Maybe. But we're still stuck with the consummate insider, Mitt Romney. And the problem in the GOP, the war for control of the party, will still be there, with the elites better entrenched. Often half a loaf is better than none, but sometimes half a loaf just means you will starve tomorrow rather than today.

Sometimes that can be little consolation.

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