At least one of the cats is out of the bag. The story is now public that an obscure, overlooked GOP rule, passed in January, 2008, has opened the way for Ron Paul delegates to place his name in nomination for vice president at the RNC in Tampa.
And maybe for president? Experts say no. More on that.
Rule 40 came at a time in 2008 when there was concern that the GOP presidential field would be split between candidates Huckabee, McCain, Romney, Thompson, Giuliani and Paul, with no one candidate winning a majority in five states.
It was accepted that this possibility was remote, due to the sequential power of successive caucus and primary victories which would winnow the field and give one or two candidates momentum but the deadlock was at least a mathematical possibility.
The rule change declared that only a plurality within a delegation, not a majority, was needed in five states to place a name in nomination. It means that a candidate can be nominated for president or vice president if he or she has the most delegates in at least five states.
It is a threshold that Ron Paul has very possibly passed. And it may explain why the Romney forces have been apoplectic, even self-defeating, in their crushing of the duly elected Ron Paul delegates at the various remaining state conventions.
Romney people insist that it is all a moot point in the presidential contest since Ron Paul delegates in many states are bound to vote for Romney if he was the winner of their primary.
Although curiously, Romney sees no problem in taking delegates in states such as North Dakota where Ron Paul beat him.
In the contest for vice president, there is not much that Romney can do to stop Ron Paul delegates from putting his name in nomination. Unless they find a way to quickly change the rule. And Ron Paul's name in nomination at the national convention could do more for his message than anything he has done in the last eight years, including his participation in the national debates.
The specter that haunts the Romney folks is the convention of 1992, when the sitting GOP president, George H. W. Bush, sought to rally his base by giving Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan a voice.
Robertson and Buchanan represented the evangelical and conservative Catholic base of the GOP and Bush had neglected them, even arguably spurned them.
There is a big difference in 2012. Ron Paul, who only polls a high of 17 percent among the GOP, actually beats president Obama in a face-to-face contest, doing better than Romney, because he pulls strength from general election voters, youth, independents, Hispanics and Democrats.
While Robertson and Buchanan represented the base of the GOP, Ron Paul represents its future and its most important general election prospects.
Thus, 1992 with Robertson-Buchanan and 2012 with Ron Paul are exactly a reverse dynamic. Paul's presence in Tampa may help, rather than hurt.
And the spectacle of nominating Ron Paul may show a GOP open to youth, Hispanics and independents, not bad positioning for the fall election.
Doug Wead is a presidential historian and a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush. Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.
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