Vice-President Ron Paul ?by Doug Mataconis
Rojas speculates over at The Crossed Pond:
What else is the VP slot for? Setting aside the pro-liberty voters who might otherwise be lost to the Democrats–again, many of them in critical swing states–there’s a huge element of Ron Paul’s supporters who wouldn’t otherwise vote AT ALL. In an election that otherwise promises to be very close, what candidate wouldn’t want a couple hundred thousand new supporters? Especially when many of those supporters are also potential donors.
It’s easy for me to imagine people who wouldn’t otherwise vote for a Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee suddenly deciding to do so because Ron Paul is on the ticket. It is, conversely, very difficult for me to imagine people who would otherwise support a Thompson or Huckabee choosing NOT to support the candidate because Ron Paul’s around. Yes, many Republicans dislike Ron Paul intensely, but I don’t know that any of them dislike him more intensely than they dislike Hillary Clinton. Independents might conceivably be scared by the prospect of a drug legalizing gold-standard advocate a heartbeat away from the Presidency, but it’s hard to see them voting on that with a relatively healthy and vigorous Presidential contender at the top of the ticket.
While I can’t imagine how any voter who is really pro-liberty could fathom voting for Madame Hillary, I think there’s a point to be made about voters like that just staying home on Election Day. Frankly, there’s I strong likelihood I might do that myself just because I’m sick of wasting my voting on the Libertarian Party.
If Ron Paul were the Vice-Presidential nominee, though, and someone other than Rudy Giuliani were at the top of the ticket (there’s no way a Giuliani-Paul ticket would ever come about), then enough of the voters who supported Paul in the primaries might just decide to vote Republican in November `08. But there are several caveats to this argument.
First of all, it’s been quite awhile since a Vice-Presidential nominee has had a significant impact on the Presidential race. The last time arguably being 1960 when Kennedy added LBJ as his Vice-Presidential nominee, thus ensuring that dead people in Boston, Chicago, and Texas would vote Democratic that year. Since then, the VP slot has been graced by such august leaders as Spirow Agnew, Geraldine Ferraro, and Dan Quayle.
Second, there are really only a few scenarios where Ron Paul as the Vice-Presidential nominee makes sense. One would be a Republican Convention where no candidate had enough delegates to win, but that hasn’t happened since the 1940’s and it’s unlikely to happen in 2008. The other would be where Paul was able to bring in enough support during the primaries to show that he was an electoral force. If that doesn’t happen, then he’s unlikely to be on anyone’s short list.
Finally, I’ve got to wonder what value there would be in having Ron Paul as Vice-President. John Adams spent eight years in the office and described it thusly:
“My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”
Or, as one 20th Century occupant of the office famously put it:
“not worth a bucket of warm piss.”
In the end, if he doesn’t win the nomination, Paul would do more good returning to Congress than taking a meaningless job.