With the Republican Primaries winding down and Mitt Romney now the overwhelming odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination, the attention of the GOP will now focus on two things. One will be the selection of the Governor’s running mate on which much ink has been spilled already. The other will be the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Governor Romney will have the majority of the delegates and by then all of them will want to show a united Party. However, to get Santorum, Paul and Gingrich delegates enthusiastic about him, Governor Romney might have to give them something. The easiest place for this to happen is in the party platform and it is here that we might see some diplomacy from the Romney campaign to help unite the Party.
The most particularly vexing group at the convention will no doubt be the Ron Paul supporters. With Congressman Paul having such different views than his fellow Republicans on a variety of issues, coming to an agreement him and his forces will require some delicate maneuvering. Even though Congressman Paul will probably end up at least giving verbal support to Governor Romney, his supporters will want something in return. A good speaking slot will be a must for Congressman Paul, but another thing that could give the Paul supporters something to cheer about will be in the platform. Paul’s foreign policy is clearly unacceptable to the majority of Republicans, but his economic views are closer to the GOP mainstream and it is here in the platform that the Paulites can show their influence. A plank calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve would make Paulites happy, as would a plank setting up a commission to look at the nation’s monetary policy. Congressman Paul has made both of these things major talking points in his campaign. These two planks should help satisfy the Paul supporters and to be blunt, a man who only has 71 delegates at this point doesn’t deserve any bigger concessions.
The Gingrich and Santorum camps shouldn’t require too much negotiation; after all the differences between the top three contenders aren’t that great. Suffice to say, Romney will have to have to include a strong pro-life and socially conservative plank in the platform to make Senator Santorum happy. A specific plank on restoring America’s manufacturing competitiveness would also show Santorum’s message has been acknowledged by the GOP. As for Gingrich, he’s been talking a lot recently about energy issues, so letting him have some say on the energy plank would help soothe the Speaker’s ego. The Speaker is an idea’s man, so if Romney discusses the platform with Gingrich, would fit with Gingrich’s desire to be a policy voice inside the Party.
To be sure, there will be other things as well that will be done to help unite the GOP around Governor Romney: endorsements by both his competitors, a good running mate choice, and the thought of beating President Obama will all heal whatever interparty wounds have developed from this primary season. But if Romney wants to give his rivals some policy influence, the GOP platform could be the way to do it.