A day after endorsing Mitt Romney, Sen. Rand Paul said it would be an honor to run alongside the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
Considering the negative reaction to Sen. Paul’s endorsement from many of his father’s supporters, I think it’s safe to say that most of them would not want to see Paul as Romney’s running mate. While there may be some advantages in accepting the position if it were offered, it still appears that it would be a losing proposition for Paul. Merely endorsing Romney is one thing. It allows Paul to express his support for Romney on those issues where the two do agree (or at least seem to agree) and to frame his support for Romney as a rejection of the many Obama policies that Paul genuinely opposes. It doesn’t require him to fall in line behind Romney’s entire agenda, and leaves room for intra-party dissent later. If Paul accepted the VP slot (assuming it was offered to him), he would be unable to dissent from any campaign position or later administration policy publicly, and he would be locked into supporting and defending Romney’s views no matter how much they might contradict his own.
Sen. Paul’s comments on Romney’s foreign policy worry me, because they almost give the impression that he is trying to talk himself into believing that Romney isn’t the reckless hawk that he usually seems to be. I understand what Sen. Paul is trying to achieve with the Romney endorsement. However, it seems to me that any “integration strategy” aimed at building support among Republicans for peace and constitutional liberty includes not giving party leaders an unearned free pass on foreign policy and other issues that are particularly important to constitutionalists and antiwar conservatives. Paul’s endorsement would be less troubling if he hadn’t volunteered the idea that Romney’s foreign policy will be something that it almost certainly won’t be.