An endorsement from Texas Congressman Ron Paul is rare, but even though his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, endorsed Mitt Romney on Thursday, the elder Paul is unlikely to do the same, according to several Paul campaign staff members.
I sat in an office with a member of the Paul campaign team as he took a note from a caller earlier this week. It was a candidate seeking Paul’s endorsement. Yet another candidate facing a close election was coming to realize the schism that had taken place in the GOP – either openly stand with Ron Paul or lose the close election they were facing against an entrenched Republican Party opponent.
"A plethora of down ballot candidates who marginally support Ron's ideas contact us asking for an endorsement and don't receive it," commented a member of Paul's team.
Throughout the country, candidates have asked the question: Can I secure Ron Paul's endorsement? For many, including the campaign on the phone, the answer seems to be a resounding "No."
Ron Paul's support has been harder than ever to come by. Even supporters of the Republican front-runner, one-term Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, are asking themselves the same question: "Will Mitt Romney get Ron Paul's Endorsement?" No matter how much the Romney tries to cajole an endorsement from the Paul team, the answer to that question also seems to be a resounding "no."
A Paul supporter pointed out the inconsistencies of non-supporters of Paul asking for Paul's endorsement: "Who are these people? Where were they when Paul was polling first in Iowa and given only 89 seconds to speak in the debate? Were they among those publicly shoeing outrage and boycotting the television networks? Were they standing up for Paul and the American people who were receiving biased coverage of important discussions? No. They did not publicly endorse Paul when it mattered and now they expect his endorsement? Get real."
Hundreds of candidates all over the country who sided with Ron Paul are now seeing how hard it is to get the endorsement of the Texas doctor and 11-term congressman.
One candidate recently stated: "I am running entirely on the Ron Paul platform and was even endorsed by him in 2010, but just couldn't get the endorsement this time around."
It's an important endorsement – maybe one of the only political endorsements that matter – partly because they are in such short supply.
Analysis has shown that despite a dramatically higher rate of self-identified "liberty candidates" and "constitutional conservatives" – to use words popularized by Ron Paul's followers over the last several years – Ron Paul's endorsements have been harder than ever to get.
One pundit stated, "Usually when a politician gives an endorsement, it's an issue of how politically tenable a candidacy is – does the guy have enough resources to spread a message and hopefully to win?" Does that, then, describe Mitt Romney?
According to one Paul staffer, the answer is no: "Ron Paul makes his own decisions, but based on past experience, he's not going to endorse Romney for three reasons: Romney's not principled, Romney doesn't share Paul's views on almost any key issue, and Romney has little chance of winning."
Ron Paul has certainly thrown a few curve balls in the past, but based on his current gold standard of putting a high value on his endorsement, Romney is offering little more than fiat currency in return.
Another Ron Paul staffer commented, "Ron might talk about how nice the Romney's are as people, but anything that could be seen as support for Romney's policies just wouldn't make much sense after a forty year career of not compromising for political expediency. It's very, very unlikely that Ron would issue a statement like the one Rand did. "