During Ron Paul’s speech at the 2011 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, he closed his speech with a couple of references to Samuel Adams. One that many know, and one more obscure. Dr. Paul said that Sam Adams was known for saying “no long faces”.
“If we wear long faces, others will do so too; if we despair, let us not expect that others will hope; or that they will persevere in a contest, from which their leaders shrink. But let not such feelings, let not such language, be ours.” - Samuel Adams
With the ever-encroaching leviathan comprised of local, state and federal governments and a political class that doesn’t appear to address, much less acknowledge, the concerns of the average person, it is tempting to build a bunker somewhere, crawl into bed and pull the covers up over your head.
Tempting until you take notice of the positive strides made by liberty advocates in the past four years; things which could not have been accomplished had activists focused on the negative or gone into bunkers.
Does Ron Paul actually have a chance at winning the GOP nomination? In all honesty, yes.
There are a lot more positive differences between this and last Presidential election than you might know. Consider the utterances of a few Republican candidates espousing a less interventionist foreign policy. Much of this is merely anti-Obama windmill-tilting but it wouldn’t be occurring at all if it weren’t for widespread support amongst the general public.
The recent news that Osama bin Laden has been killed has itself caused some conservatives to wonder what we’re still doing in Afghanistan. If the main objective has been accomplished, after some 10 trillion dollars and 10 years, shouldn’t we bring the troops home and leave the people of Afghanistan to deal with their own independence?
Mitt Romney, who has spent the last four years claiming that America is on the verge of being swallowed up by a jihadist Caliphate, posed just this question in a recent GOP presidential debate.
While this alone doesn’t speak to Ron Paul’s chances of securing the GOP nomination, there is plenty of evidence besides clarifying the picture.
If you watched Ron Paul’s participation in 2008’s “Values Voters” debate, you might have noticed that the largest block of Republican voters to object to Ron Paul’s platform were the social conservatives. To Ron Paul’s credit, he has never tried to tailor his message to the audience. Some think this is a fault and point out that by continuing to preach his anti-war message, both foreign and domestic, he is off-putting to social conservatives.
However, in the ensuing four years since that debate, some of the bigger names among this voting blockhave come around to Ron Paul’s way of thinking and they haven’t been bashful about saying so. As Doug Wead reported in June:
“More and more Christians are seeing the critical importance of Ron Paul’s message,” says Brian Jacobs, a former consultant for the Billy Graham organization. “If we compromise the constitution, even to promote something we want, in the long run, we are undercutting ourselves.” Jacobs helped arrange the meeting between Billy Graham and George W. Bush in Jacksonville, Florida, the day before the national election in 2000. Jacobs is now actively supporting Ron Paul’s candidacy.
Bill Spiegel, a former member of the Senior Bush President’s Economic Council and the Southern Baptist Liaison for George H. W. Bush says, “Much of the money that was going to evangelical lobbies in Washington is now going to Ron Paul. And the Christian leaders in Washington have been taken by surprise. It is because the people are seeing what the leaders are missing. They don’t want power they want to be left alone to worship in freedom and Ron Paul is the only candidate who is defending that right consistently.” [ emphasis added ]
Then of course there is the matter of the US economy. There is no candidate more qualified to speak to the issue than Dr. Paul. When the primary race in 2008 was whittled down to 4 and his opponents were to a man speaking of the “fundamental soundness” of the economy, Ron Paul was warning of a looming housing crisis, a bubble caused by a Federal Reserve that was, rather than acting as a responsible monetary outlet, priming an inflationary crash which has yet to reach its climax.
To the chagrin of most GOP candidates running, they can muster no credibility in blaming the entire crisis on current President Obama nor can they claim they even saw it coming. The first TARP bailouts were passed under George W. Bush’s watch and like the latter TARP bailouts under Obama and the Federal Reserve’s injection of some 3 trillion beyond that into the world economy (much of it going to foreign banks) there has been no noticeable improvement in the economic outlook for Americans not employed by Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan.
While the above facts are not in and of themselves reason for good cheer, quite the contrary, the credibility they bestow upon the man who predicted that planned government actions would prolong, rather than remedy a stagnant economy, cannot be (mis)underestimated.
The Federal Reserve specifically is another subject which has also gained a lot of steam since 2008. For the first time, a serious run at getting a Federal Reserve audit was accomplished with the help of Campaign 4 Liberty PAC, the organization that Dr. Paul created with funds left over from his 2008 Presidential run. And it seems to have spread much further than those familiar with Ron Paul’s anti-Fed fans.
Where prior to 2007, any criticism of the Fed was viewed by the mainstream as Quixotic and fringe, the issue has risen to a fever pitch. The media has started to get into the act as well. Bloomberg filed and won a lawsuit which has brought to light facts which have further exposed the Fed’s belligerence toward free markets and liberty. The Federal Reserve has funnelled trillions of dollars to private bankers around the world, fixing the prices of worthless assets and forcing the US taxpayers to pay for them at these inflated prices. The reverberations of the information that Bloomberg has uncovered are just now beginning to come into view. There is no longer any doubt that this issue is not fringe but pivotal in restoring a free society and clearly it is becoming a mainstream issue.
Just a few months ago, Lindsay Lohan, someone most would not expect to have any insight into federal reserve policies, tweeted to her followers on Twitter:
“Have you guys seen food and gas prices lately? U.S. $ will soon be worthless if the Fed keeps printing money!”
While this drove the establishment Slate magazine to try and cover for the Fed, it wasn’t before quite a few followers were exposed to the realities of our current monetary crisis.
Denial before investigation is the ultimate ignorance. - Albert Einstein
There has also been a major shift in the debate over the War on Drugs. This is an issue that the mainstream just has not wanted to seriously discuss, whether that be social conservatives, media or politicians.
The past 4 years, if not the past 4 weeks has seen a major shift in the discussion toward Ron Paul’s view of some 30 years. Five states plus the District of Columbia have passed some form of medical marijuana law since 2007. That is roughly 31% of the total number of states or territories and raises the total to 16, 17 including D.C.
On the issue, Ron Paul has no equal.
Even when the issue is framed with an intent to harm his credibility, audience reaction is a good indication that this is no longer a taboo subject even amongst those who once considered Ronald Reagan’s massive increase in drug interdiction efforts a good thing.
But what of neoconservative influence in GOP politics? In 2010, the neocons suffered an arguably fatal blow when top spokesmen for the movement came out against Rand Paul’s primary bid in Kentucky and he won handily in spite of it. It was a stinging defeat and it has emboldened GOP hopefuls like Romney and Michelle Bachman to stray from the neoconservative talking points without consequence. This would have been unheard of 4 years ago.
But look also at what has been happening amongst the field of challengers, most still clinging to a large portion of the neoconservative or liberal Republican agenda.
- Newt Gingrich’s presidential aspirations have been met with yawns. Shortly after his announcement, his campaign apparatus imploded with most of his staff quiting on very short notice.
- Once labeled front-runners Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum have had very poor showings at straw polls and debates and are now merely window dressing.
- Herman Cain, a former Federal Reserve Chairman in St. Louis and a favorite of some tea-party groups has recently found top members of both his New Hampshire and Iowa staff walking out.
- Mitt Romney announced, less than a week after announcing the creation of an entire Iowa organization, that he wouldn’t be campaigning in Iowa.
- Details of Michelle Bachman’s past keeps popping up and it isn’t flattering at all. A former IRS attorney, Bachman has received personally over $250,000 in federal and state subsidies for her farm. Since those revelations, her poll numbers continue to slide.
- Recent entry John Huntsman, who has been touted as the moderate who could vault into front runner status, barely polls at 1%.
- Rick Perry’s entry has given the rest of the status quo candidates a prime target leaving Ron Paul to speak about the substantive issues.
There is also the GOP party apparatus itself which had been staunchly anti-Paul (and anti-liberty) in 2008, as activists discovered at their precinct meetings and conventions. Every trick in the book was used to keep the party from being over-run by Ron Paul supporters. In some cases it worked, if only temporarily. Things have changed this cycle.
In New Hampshire, Jesse Benton reported that the campiagn expects as many as 30 members of the state legislature to endorse Ron Paul before the primary.
And why did Romney and Huntsman skip Iowa? Because unlike last caucus season. Ron Paul was already there, had a great deal of support and serious funding much earlier than he did last cycle. Romney would rather quit than try only to concede a loss. Hunter and Romney spun that a particular state “doesn’t matter” because they weren’t there trying in an attempt to disavow Ron Paul’s first place tie with Michelle Bachman. But how will the voters in other states interpret this?. Such tactics merely show lack of courage and a lack of serious belief in their own platforms. Relying on defenestration is a fatal mistake.
Finally, watch the polls. Paul has been consistently climbing and has recently surpassed tea-party darling Michelle Bachmann to move into third place behind Perry and Romney.
Of course, it isn’t going to be easy. Just because so many things are in Paul’s favor does not mean that he will waltz right into the Oval office. As before, the most challenging task is to pack the GOP national convention with delegates for Ron Paul.
Most importantly, those who were involved in the past primary caucuses and elections are still with the movement. The naivete found in a number of Paul supporters in 2008 has been replaced with knowledge and experience, and also a few victories. This time around Paul supporters are far more politically savvy and their numbers are exploding.
There will be minor and perhaps even major setbacks along the way but Ron Paul’s campaign team is better funded, better staffed and have managed to achieve front-runner status even though the media has largely ignored these differences.
If Dr. Paul’s supporters keep their heads held high and their outlook focused on the prize, victory is inevitable. If you still have doubts, watch Jesse Ventura’s C4L speech in 2008. He was able to to defeat both Republicans and Democrats who collectively spent 10 million dollars to his 300 thousand in a bid to become Minnesota’s governor and he only employed a single campaign employee.