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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ron Paul, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve -- at last in a position to dismantle the hated central bank from within?
Ron Paul, secretary of the Treasury, bringing his libertarian ethos to the highest echelons of executive power?
Or Ron Paul ... somewhere else in the executive branch, perhaps a Cabinet-level post, where he can evolve from annoying crank to full-fledged, power-wielding menace?
I know, at first blush it sounds unlikely, maybe even goofy, to contemplate the libertarian standard-bearer and serial presidential candidate landing in any kind of higher office. But let's face it: The actuarial tables are not on his side. Yes, his father lived to be 97, and I'm sure Paul will be with us for many years to come. But this may be his last run for president. He's turning 77 on Aug. 20, and he'd be 81 four years hence, making another presidential run even less credible than his latest one is.
So the question has to be asked, not just by his Kool-Aid-swilling admirers, but by people dismayed by his hate-government rants: What does the future hold for Ron Paul?
Most likely he'll continue pretty much as he has, railing against the Fed and slowly fading into obscurity. There's a reasonable chance that President Obama will squeak through to another term, thereby sparing the nation the possibility of bringing the GOP's soak-the-poor, reward-the-wealthy philosophy to the White House, with or without Ron Paul as part of the mix. But if that doesn't happen, a case can be made for Paul getting a job in a future Mitt Romney administration.
The rationale runs something like this:
* Paul is a politician, not Mahatma Gandhi. His supporters say his sole aim is to head a "movement," sacrificing his ambition for the "cause." I don't doubt his sincerity. But I wonder: Isn't this man even the slightest bit tired of being an outsider? Does he want to end his life as a kind of far-right Harold Stassen? He's already written pretty much the same book over and over again. Doesn't it get tiresome? Wouldn't he like to exercise some real power for a change? Assuming that the answer to these questions is in the affirmative, then a future Mitt Romney administration could offer the last chance he'll have to come in from the cold. It all depends on Romney, and whether he'll give Paul a position in the administration.