Why was Paul allowed back into the Republican Party?Submitted by rhino on Mon, 04/30/2012 - 18:53
Once upon a time there was a liberal Democrat that switched parties to become a Republican and had very extreme libertarian views. He ran for president. 4 years earlier his goal was to "take over" CPAC and use that as his spring board to the nomination. Republican's attacked him and accused him of hijacking the party. They claimed that he was a Republican in name only. This candidate ignored his critics and continued to run on an extremely progressive/libertarian platform. He had a very strong ground game. He had his people appointed and elected all across the country in local Republican leadership positions. Ultimately he was successful. He won the nomination and the presidency and is still, to this day, the most popular past president that was ever elected. He successfully "took over" the party from the status quos. But this story does not have a happy ending. The establishment did not quit. They forced this great leader to fight battles from both flanks. The establishment was relentless and they made this president fight against his partisan opponents and against his establishment colleagues within the Republican Party. Ultimately he surrendered to the establishment and in return the establishment agreed to back his re-election to a second term. His second term is marred in scandal and he was very unpopular as a lame duck.
That is a very brief description of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
Ron Paul was a Republican congressman at the time and supported this man during his 1980 successful campaign and this man returned the favor by endorsing Paul in his re-election effort. When the establishment forced this man to compromise on some very key planks in his successful campaign (for example; abolishing the department of education) Ron Paul was fed up and decided to leave his party and politics in general. He left office after his term expired. After a period of reflection Paul decided that he could accomplish more within the system as opposed to throwing stones from the gallery but he was told that he would not be invited back into the Republican Party. So Paul found a party that would accept him and his ideals and continued to try and drain the swamp using a spoon. When the Republican party found themselves out of power and desperately flailing for traction they finally relinquished and allowed Paul back in the party upon his request, but they refused to endorse him and continued to put establishment candidates against him in the primaries.
In 1996, the Republican revolution was over. The House Republicans lost massive seats in this election cycle, the cycle just after the '94 Revolution. The Senate was basically 50/50 and Clinton was on his way to re-election. They were scared stiff that Clinton would have the House and the Senate. They were begging for good candidates to stop the bleeding. They see a train wreck a'comin.
There has been some redistricting, but the heart of the Galveston district has been Democratic since the 1930's with the sole exception of Paul in the 70's and 80's. The district was currently held by Greg Laughlin who was a Democrat in 1995 then he switched parties to be a Republican after he achieved incumbent status. (There is irony in that. I hope you don't miss it.)
This seat was a Democrat seat (except for Paul) and Laughlin's switch made him vulnerable. His seat was in danger. Newt, GWB, K.B. Hutchison, and Barbour made a strategic decision. They would allow Paul back in the party and run against Laughlin in the primary, but at the same time back Laughlin. They were covering all their bases to maximize the potential for victory. They needed to keep that seat.
Paul got the vetting of his life during that campaign. Karl Rove was Governor GWB’s right hand man down in Texas. Rove, like the late great Lee Atwater (a personal friend of Rove), had perfected the “whisper campaign” strategy. Ironically, Rove also perfected the delegate strategy (the one Paul is currently pursuing) during his campaign for the national chair of the college Republicans (I am sure you remember that one. If it wasn't for Watergate, Rove may have been setting up shop from behind bars). Karl Rove was THE political operative in Texas and really for that entire region of the country. Barbour had him entrenched in Alabama as well. The decision to allow Paul to run in the Primary turned out to be a mistake. Laughlin was not only susceptible to “pay back” from his former Democratic colleagues, but he was losing to Paul in early private polling during the primary so Laughlin reached out to GWB and requested that Bush sic his dogs on Paul. Privately, the Rove led “whisper campaign” strategy was to link Paul to white supremist groups, nut job militias, and underground separatist groups that wanted to secede from the union. Publicly, Laughlin’s strategy was to label Paul a RINO because of his Libertarian campaign for president in 1988. (Newt actually came down to Texas and campaigned for Laughlin in the primary against Paul.) Both strategies failed. The constituents knew Paul personally and ignored the “whispers”. Additionally, Laughlin’s “pot calling the kettle black” backfired tremendously given the fact that in the last election cycle Laughlin had won his seat as a Democrat. In the end, the Party got what it wanted. They were able to hold onto the seat, but it didn’t turn out the way they had intended. Paul had beaten Laughlin in the primary and went on to win the general. Paul re-earned his Republican stripes the hard way.
And now you know the rest of the story.