Fuel for the Pauline Conspiracy Theory

There’s been a lot of talk–dating back at least to the Iowa Caucus stretch-run–that Ron Paul is doing his devious best to help Mitt Romney destroy his other GOP opponents. There is no question Paul spent a fair amount of money in Iowa helping Mitt demolish Newt Gingrich, though the fact that Paul was chasing Gingrich in the polls in that state made the tactic entirely unmysterious. It’s a bit less obvious why the Paul campaign seems to be doing the same number on Rick Santorum right now.

In any event, Judd Legum of Think Progress has documented an even more thorough-going Mittophilia in Paul’s approach to the GOP candidate debates, in which the ratio of attacks on everybody-but-Mitt and Mitt is a nice round 39-0.

Theories as to why Paul would want to help the most conventional of his opponents range from the pedestrian (it’s the shortest and easiest route for Paul to maintain first-tier candidate status, given Romney’s superior money and Establishment support) to the patriarchal (Ron wants to give Rand a shot at second-place on a ticket with Romney, or at least a seat-at-the-table in a Romney administration). But whatever the rationale, it is pretty clear Ron Paul is not interested in launching Rebel Alliance missiles at the Death Star.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.