I Endorse Paul

It’s long been the policy of this blog to never, ever endorse candidates.  Partly because it seems arrogant – I mean, who cares what I think?  And partly because even if I do have any influence over what people think about how they vote, I’d much prefer that that influence go to helping, in whatever way I can, to get anyone who’d be influence by my opinion to think more confidently for themselves instead.

But today, I’m going to break with that tradition.

On this, the eve of the Iowa caucuses, I’m going to give an unqualified, fervent endorsement for Paul.

Paul represents one of the  most important things I believe – the need to push libertarian legislation and policy into the mainstream of American political thought.

Oh, yeah – just so we’re clear, I’m talking about Senator Rand Paul.

I know.  He’s not running for President – not this time.  And that’s fine – because I’m not endorsing him for President.

I’m endorsing his approach to pushing the ideas and ideals of liberty into the mainstream of Republican politics.

Oh, his father, Ron Paul?  The guy breaks my heart.  Yeah, he’s a big-L libertarian and all, but even if you leave out the racist rants from thirty years ago (and even if we do, the media won’t allow the electorate to ignore them – and the electorate should be aware!), he’s basically claiming he can balance the budget on the back of defense, while he’s proposed nothing as far as cutting and reforming entitlements, which is basically saying “the dog ate my homework” if your campaign is ostensibly based on, y’know, reforming government.

No, I’m endorsing Rand Paul for the very reason I’d love to be able to endorse his father.  When I left the GOP in 1994, I did it because I wanted to belong to a party that believed in Liberty, the Bill of Rights, Originalism, and the whole idea that this nation is built on inalienable rights, not entitlements deeded to us by the Government.

And I spent four years interacting with people whose entire involvement in politics was to endlessly reiterate pure ideology, secure in the knowledge that they’d never have to actually tackle a budget or try to downsize a bureaucracy, since none of them were ever going to get elected to anything, ever.  Ever.  And I came back to the GOP, reasoning that it’d be easier to get the GOP to adopt enough Libertarian ideals to be palatable, and still be able to get people elected to get some – enough – of those ideals moved into some sort of policy.

Ron Paul has been a GOP Congressman for a long, long time.  And he’s had a positive effect on the GOP – when he’s bothered to exert his influence in the party.  But in 2008, when it became clear the nomination was far out of reach, he endorsed Libertarian party candidate Chuck Baldwin for President.  Which is marginally less useful that lighting up that endorsement and burning it – and set a noxious example for Paul’s followers; if you don’t get what you want, walk away.

An example too many of his followers claim they’ll follow, if Paul doesn’t win the nomination.  It’s especially true of the “Young Republicans” who, we are told, are very solidly behind Paul – and, some say, likely to sit out the election if Paul doesn’t get nominated.  Which is – I’ll be tactful – a lousy idea, this notion that you’ll “teach the GOP a lesson” by rewarding the US with another term of Barack Obama.

Parties don’t “learn lessons”, they reflect commitment.

And if you take your toys and go home, that’s exactly what will happen; the GOP will reflect your (withdrawal from ) commitment; Obama will benefit from it.

Answer this honestly; do you believe the nation will be better off under Obama than under even purported “RINO” MItt Romney?  Why?

And that’s why I’m endorsing Rand Paul – not for President (yet) but because he, unlike his father and way too many of his father’s supporters, knows that politics is a marathon, not a sprint; and that the cause of Liberty is better served by working within, and sometimes fighting like hell within, a party that is sympathetic (if not always actively enough) to Liberty, as opposed to the party that believes it’s just another word for having your wants satisfied.  And he knows that if he and his Liberty-loving followers don’t let up, they can get it all – elected, and  the opportunity to get their ideals actually enacted into law.

UPDATE:  Commenter “Courier J” notes that I got the name of the Libertarian Party’s candidate in 2008 wrong – it was Bob Barr.

I was only partially wrong, of course; Rep. Paul came on the Northern Alliance when he was in town for the “Campaign for Liberty” event, just before the RNC (the same day Sarah Palin was chosen as McCain’s running mate).  He gave a fairly churlish interview in which he urged conservatives disaffected by McCain’s coronation to check out Larry Hagelin (of the Natural Law party), Barr, and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, whom Paul eventually did endorse.

Which was, of course, the point of my post.

17 thoughts on “I Endorse Paul

  1. “Parties don’t ‘learn lessons’, they reflect commitment.”

    That’s the mantra I’ve tried to propagate within the Tea Party. In the larger liberty movement, there are untold numbers of potential activists who refuse to engage, either because they’re apathetic about the process or they feel like Republicans have slighted them in some way. What they don’t seem to understand is that a party is never better than the people participating in it, and the only way to make it better is to bring in better people with better ideas and hopefully convert many who are already there to those ideas.

  2. Somewhere I read the suggestion that by running this cycle, Ron Paul is establishing an infrastructure that will benefit his son, should he decide to run in the future.

  3. I endorse Paul too…if by that you mean Paul Ryan 😉

    On the other hand, Ron Paul doesn’t break my heart. He breaks my head, or at least makes it hurt after seeing that one of his campaign platforms in 2008 was to stop the conspiracy to unite Canada, the US, and Mexico into one country. Yes, it really was a main issue on his 08 campaign site.

  4. The content of the Paul newsletters have been public knowledge since at least 2008:
    In this case the GOP establishment has been proven right. They should have taken action against him long before now, and by “action”, I mean exposing this stuff to state party officials and potential primary voters. Ron Paul is way, way off the reservation.

  5. That’s the mantra I’ve tried to propagate within the Tea Party. In the larger liberty movement, there are untold numbers of potential activists who refuse to engage, either because they’re apathetic about the process or they feel like Republicans have slighted them in some way.

    Every so often on other blogs I frequent I will see a Paul or Johnson supporter claim that the GOP either hates is or hostile to libertarianism because of criticism directed against their respective candidates or because they aren’t doing better in the polls.

  6. The problem with voting for the lesser of two evils is you still vote for evil. As we live in Minnesota where our vote won’t count anyway, we may as well cast it for principle.

    Republicans who would stolidly oppose President Obama’s budget will find it harder to buck President Romney’s budget, even if the numbers were identical, for reasons of party unity. Thus Clinton was forced to cut welfare but Bush gave bank bailouts.

    The rule of thumb for Republican Presidential candidates is run to the Right to get the nomination, then to the Center to win the election. As pathetic as it is, we’re seeing Romney at his extreme right-ward edge right now, courting primary voters. Can you imagine where he’ll be when he turns Left after securing the nomination?


  7. I’m not going to try to erase all your skepticism of Ron Paul and his actions in 2008, but I would ask you to be a little more careful to avoid spreading the following misinformation. “In 2008, when it became clear the nomination was far out of reach, [Ron Paul] endorsed Libertarian Party candidate Larry Hagelin for President.” This error shows up in books that have been published by academics, but it is still an error. In 2008, the Libertarian nominee for President was ex-Congressman Bob Barr, and Paul never endorsed his candidacy that year. John Hagelin is an eccentric, brilliant scientist who made a number of quixotic runs for President under the banner of the Natural Law Party; Ron Paul never endorsed him, either. Paul did not endorse someone in 2008 as soon as the nomination was far out of reach, which would have been sometime during the spring. He waited until long after the Republican nomination was a formality, and long after he and his supporters had been denied any recognition at the RPM state convention and a number of other state Republican Party conventions. He waited until after the GOP national convention refused to give him any recognition, with Gov. Pawlenty and others stooping to the pettiness of omitting his name in official delegate counts, and after he saw thousands of people come to hear his message at a Campaign for Liberty rally held at the Target Center. In late September 2008 Ron Paul endorsed a candidate who shared his views on foreign-policy restraint and on the sanctity of life, Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin. Baldwin has returned the respect by endorsing Paul’s current run for President.

  8. Courer,

    All true – as far as it goes. I’ll make the appropriate corrections.

    However, I did get a chance to interview Rep. Paul, on day he was in town for the Campaign For Liberty rally; Ed and I were live at the State Fair. He did, in fact, suggest that people check out Barr, Hagelin and Baldwin in preference to McCain. Which, on one level, I understood, but on the other hand, is exactly my point in this post.

    So while you are correct on the actual names involved, it doesn’t alter my point.

  9. Hate to nitpick, Mr. Berg, but the correction is also in error. Baldwin was the Constitution Party nominee, not a Libertarian. Also, Paul endorsed not when his candidacy was doomed, but when he was denied the chance to spread his message at official GOP events. It’s fair to say he wasn’t a team player, but the way you write makes it seem like he did it just because they didn’t endorse him, when with him it’s always about his philosophy rather than a calculated pursuit of maximum power.

  10. I like Ricky Rubio. Wait I mean Marco Rubio, who should be the ticket balancer for Romney, especially for those evangelical voters. I’m still not sold that they will ignore the fact that he’s Mormon.

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