Politico and other outlets have been talking up the prospect of Ron Paul becoming chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, which, yes, would put the author of End the Fed in charge of central bank oversight. Time to pop the champagne corks? Not exactly, since the GOP leadership has deprived Rep. Paul of chairmanships before through such tricks as abolishing Paul’s committees and transferring congressmen with greater seniority onto them.

But this time the leadership may have good reason not to rob Paul of the gavel. He’s contemplating a 2012 presidential campaign, after all, which could cause a good deal of friction in Republican primaries. And were Paul to bolt the GOP and run as an independent or Libertarian — something I don’t expect to happen, but which Republican kingpins need to think about — the GOP would almost certainly forfeit the White House. Paul takes his work as a congressman seriously; he didn’t skip votes in order to campaign for president in 2008, and being chairman of the subcommittee might well dissuade him from running again. Speaker-to-be Boehner has a decision to make…