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2016 Watch

Bush-Paul 2016?

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It was bound to happen. Sooner or later, premature speculation about the GOP presidential nominee would grow stale, giving way to wildly premature speculation about a hypothetical nominee's possible running mate.

That moment has finally arrived.

Over at Bloomberg, Ramesh Ponnuru lays out the case for why Sen. Rand Paul might make a good addition to the Republican ticket:

Let's say the Kentucky legislator makes a strong run — winning some states and coming close in others — but doesn't win the nomination, a scenario that seems more likely than not. He has something going for him in the veepstakes that other Republican also-rans would not: a constituency that might well defect in large numbers from the party in November.

If an establishment candidate like Jeb Bush wins the nomination, it stands to reason that he might want to balance the ticket with someone more acceptable to the grassroots conservative base and simultaneously prevent the kind of third-party run that might doom his candidacy. Paul checks off these boxes.

Still, I'm not buying it. The first rule of selecting a running mate is do no harm. In a sense, the vetting the veep is more rigorous (certainly, more formal) than vetting the nominee. A candidate with even a hint of baggage is easily disqualified.

In this regard, one need look no further than today's headlines — Paul was forced to distance himself from Cliven Bundy after his racist remarks — to see why it's likely he would cause headaches for the Republican nominee.

I guess he's just going to have to win the whole damn thing.