Rand, Ron and the Future of the Liberty MovementSubmitted by Marc Clair on Tue, 06/12/2012 - 13:25
My initial reaction to hearing of Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney was a punch-t0-the gut feeling like I’ve felt only twice before in my life. The last time was finding out an ex-girlfriend had been cheating on me while we were together. The time before that was far more traumatic however. It was a warm summer night in 1996 when a 16 year old future libertarian blogger watched in horror as childhood hero Hulk Hogan dropped the leg heard ’round the world, joined the evil New World Order, and changed the world of professional wrestling forever.
That Stomach Punch reared its’ ugly head one more time last Thursday evening, when I’d heard the news that Senator Rand Paul, son of Congressman Ron Paul and staunch defender of liberty in the Senate, was endorsing Mitt Romney. It’s the kind of feeling that’s hard to shake. It lingers around as you ask yourself , “How did I not see it coming” or better yet “How was I not more prepared for this since I should have seen it coming?” Most of the time shocking revelations aren’t as much shocking in fact as they are in one’s ability to accept those facts.
In reality, Rand’s endorsement of Mitt Romney shouldn’t have and didn’t come as a surprise to anybody that’s been paying attention. There is no doubt that, for better or worse, the Ron Paul campaign seemed to abruptly change directions about a month ago. Between a successful string of state convention victories and numerous record-breaking rallies for Ron Paul in various states, it seemed as if things were on the upswing. The long-touted “delegate strategy” seemed to be bearing fruit, and it was truly inspiring seeing youth around the country gather to hear Dr. Paul spread the messages of liberty. And then, seemingly out of nowhere and right before major primaries in Texas and California, the Paul campaign released a statement saying it was suspending campaigning in upcoming primaries and focusing solely on the delegate strategy. To Ron Paul activists, this move made sense as it had become clear that he was going to be unable to realistically compete in these primaries, and with somewhat limited resources it made sense to focus them where they were most likely to achieve success. But in terms of public relations the move seemed odd. This gave the media, who had already tacitly written Paul out of the race, the chance to finally jump in and say “Look! We told you! He has no chance and now he’s really out so just shut yer silly mouths about all this ‘liberty’ stuff!”. As much as the move made sense, the timing of the announcement seemed odd and certainly didn’t do the Ron Paul activists battling for every vote and every delegate any favors.
Somewhat predictably, Paul did not make much of a dent in the remaining primaries, and shortly thereafter released an email that essentially ceded that Romney would be the nominee. The email also pointed out that Paul delegates would end up making up about 20% of the delegation at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August, no small feat considering the media blackout throughout the campaign and the constant reports of underhanded tactics by the establishment GOP in many caucuses. Rand Paul endorsed his father at the very beginning of the primary race, and has consistently qualified that as a Republican Senator, he would endorse the nominee of the Republican party, whomever that may be. So it certainly made perfect sense in every logical way that, now that Ron Paul had seemingly acknowledged that he will not be the nominee, Rand Paul would go on to endorse Romney.
Despite all of this, it was still difficult to hear. Senator Paul has earned my respect with his record in defending liberty during his time in the Senate. He has spoken out against the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA, single-handedly stood up to stop war with Iran, attempted to block the extension of the Patriot Act, called for an audit of the Federal Reserve and an end to the TSA. While Paul has qualified in the past that he’s not a libertarian, he by far has been the most vocal and active opponent on the side of liberty in the United States Senate in the past two years. Meanwhile, the man who he has just endorsed said he would sign the NDAA, is enthusiastic about military action against Iran, is a big fan of the Patriot Act, loves the Federal Reserve , and thinks the TSA is doing a fine and dandy job. It’s almost unfathomable how opposing their stated viewpoints are. And yet there was Rand Paul, on the Sean Hannity Show of all places, stating that he was “happy to announce” his support for Governor Romney.
I held back from posting an immediate rant on this subject, as I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. Instead I decided to sit back, take a few deep breathes and soak everything in. I listened to Alex Jones rant and rave about it and Ron Paul campaign blogger Jack Hunter defend it. I read all the forums, all the opinions, all the confusion and anger. But once the emotion washed away and the Stomach Punch feeling had subsided, I had to really ask myself: What does it mean? What does it change?