The rise of the Liberty Movement has had a strong impact on American politics. The 2010 mid-terms and primary races in the current cycle have showed that the grassroots base is not going to stand silently by while the Republican establishment chooses politics over principle.
Some have explained that the Liberty Movement is in the midst of a “hostile takeover” of the GOP. And while we have seen overwhelming success — far more than pundits predicted, there are constant reminders that the establishment is trying to leave its mark on our movement.
Perhaps the best example came yesterday with news of Jesse Benton, who served as chairman of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, signing on to run Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election in 2014.
“Jesse is literally the best in the business at building and organizing conservative grassroots movements, and I’m thrilled he’s chosen to return to Kentucky to lead my campaign,” Senator Mitch McConnell told the Washington Post.
Conventions aren’t just about the present, conventions are also about the future. As the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa draws to a close, one of the most important questions for the party going forward is what role – if any – will libertarians play in the direction of the GOP in the years ahead.
Congressman Ron Paul’s 2008 campaign for the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination helped to launch the modern day liberty movement and gave voice to libertarians within the Republican Party.
The rise of the Tea Party and a second Paul Republican Presidential run gave the libertarian wing of the party hope for the future and increased visibility.
As Paul’s popularity grew in the party, so did the tension between the libertarian wing of the GOP and the party’s establishment. Many in the establishment would have you believe that the tension was more about the behavior of Ron Paul’s supporters than about policy. While there is no doubt that Ron Paul has an intensely loyal and fervent following, the truth is the tension wasn’t about behavior – it was about policy.
Libertarians want an end to foreign adventurism, they want deep cuts in spending across the board (including the military), they want government out of the boardrooms and the bedrooms, they want dramatic tax reform (starting with throwing out the current tax code), they want to privatize social security and Medicare, and they want a return to sound money.
The policy differences between libertarians and the current GOP are real and they are significant. The question going forward is whether this marriage can be saved?
One of Mitt Romney’s top advisors said recently that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke needs to “get every consideration” for another term when his current term expires in 2014. When I saw that headline, I had to go read (and re-read) it for myself. Did he really say that?
Yes. Yes, he did.
I take a little comfort in the fact that Romney has previously said that Bernanke wouldn’t likely be returning as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve if he’s elected president. But Glenn Hubbard (no, not this guy) is a top advisor to Romney, and in that YouTube video I just linked to, one of the possible nominees for Bernanke’s job was Hubbard.
While I’m not very concerned about Romney keeping Bernanke around (he’s been a failure under Bush and Obama…it’s time for him to go), the thought that his replacement could be somebody who thinks Bernanke should be considered for another term scares me.
It’s worth mentioning that Hubbard and Bernanke are friends and have been for a long time, so there’s a chance that he’s just trying to be nice and not call his friend a complete miserable failure in the news. But there’s also the chance that he’d continue in Bernanke’s dollar-destroying ways.
After the GOP convention in Tampa in August, Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and political career will officially come to an end. Despite the protestations of some hardcore supporters, Ron Paul will not be the Republican nominee and in fact, he will likely not even be nominated at the convention in Tampa.
Many supporters are gravitating towards campaign of Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, however to be perfectly blunt, my three month old puppy has a better shot at being elected President than he does. In addition, there will be same number of Libertarian Party members of the House and Senate, none. This is not what I hope will happen, this is simply stating reality. If the liberty movement is to continue after the end of Ron Paul’s career, we need to lay a solid foundation for political success. I believe the best way to lay a foundation for the liberty movement is take a page from professional baseball and build a “farm team” of future leaders to run for political office and activists to work the races.
In professional baseball all Major League Baseball teams have a developmental system of minor league teams. The minor league teams are rated from AAA all the way down to A. In addition, there are special developmental leagues for rookie players drafted right out of college. Other sports leagues are trying to replicate the system to develop the next generation of professional athletes. We in the liberty movement, regardless of what we call ourselves, need to take the same approach to politics and political office.
Early last month, Ron Paul conceded that his delegate total wouldn’t be enough to contest Mitt Romney for the Republican Party’s nomination in Tampa. Paul did, however, note that his supporters would be at the GOP convention in August, looking to make some changes to the party’s platform.
Paul had also hoped to earn a speaking slot at the convention, which would have been possible with wins in five states. Unfortunately, that hope seemed to die this weekend when Paul’s supporters were unable to score a majority of delegates in Nebraska:
Paul’s forces had hoped to pull out a victory at the Nebraska majority of delegates here would have guaranteed their candidate a speaking slot at the GOP convention in Tampa late next month.
Under party rules, a candidate cannot have his name entered into nomination at the convention unless he has won a majority of delegates in at least five states. Paul had won four.
In the end, Paul won only two delegates, to Romney’s 32.
Some will no doubt say that the Ron Paul Revolution hit with a thud since the campaign failed to gain a significant number of delegates with which to shake up the convention. They will say that this shows that Paul’s message was limited. However, Jack Hunter puts it all into a perspective:
A lot of people have asked me about Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney. Does it mean I now support Mitt Romney? Does it mean that Rand has abandoned the libertarians? Are the Pauls fighting? Is it part of some two-pronged Paul-Paul strategy to get some respect from the mainstream GOP for Rand’s presidential run in 2016 or 2020?
While I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see Rand endorse Mitt Romney, there are some reasons that this endorsement makes sense. Plus, in four (or eight) years when Rand runs for president, those who criticize him for the endorsement now won’t care about it then. On the other side of that coin, those delighted by the Romney endorsement won’t have the “not a team player” card to play at that time.
It’s also important to remember that endorsements these days mean almost nothing. Like a free toothbrush at the dentist’s office, anybody who really wants an endorsement can get one. If Rand Paul wants to endorse Romney as a candidate, that’s fine with me. Plus, Paul is an elected Republican with real presidential possibility. In what universe would endorsing someone other than the GOP nominee make any sense for him?
Rand’s endorsement of Romney the candidate means nothing to me. But if Rand endorses Romney’s philosophy, we’ve got issues. Playing nice within the Party is one thing; jumping on the big government bandwagon is something else entirely.
You can imagine my delight when I saw this article from Rand Paul. He is very direct in his criticism of the Obama administration, especially since Obama campaigned on a platform of ending wars and since his election, he has done the exact opposite. Obama deserves this criticism.
Brian Doherty, whose written a history of the libertarian movement and, most recently, a history of Ron Paul’s two most recent campaigns for the Presidency, writes today about what might come next for the movement that has sprung up around the retiring Texas Congressman now that his campaign, and his political career, have come to an end:
While Ron Paul has no future in politics, the Ron Paul machine and his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, will. That’s why the political pros in the Paul movement don’t appreciate acting-out like Richard Gilbert’s lawsuit. That’s also why Rand Paul risked the wrath of his father’s hardcore fans by endorsing Mitt Romney, just as soon as Ron Paul admitted he would not win.
Senator Paul knows he needs to reach beyond his father’s 10-15 percent base in the primaries to more mainstream, red-state, talk-radio Republicans. He can’t do that by marking himself as a traitor to the party. So he stands behind nominee Romney and plans to actively campaign for him.
But he also can’t mark himself a traitor to the Ron Paul cause. So Rand Paul followed up his endorsement by calling out Romney in the pages of National Review for Romney’s declaration that he would have the authority as president to start a war with Iran. That sort of foreign policy adventurism — especially when done without respect for Congress’s traditional constitutional power over declaring war — is anathema to the core Ron Paul crowd, and Rand Paul condemned it.
Yesterday, Rep. Ron Paul gave a speech on the House floor in regards to situation in Syria. Syria has descended into bloody civil war with rebel groups trying to oust Syrian dictator Bashir Assad. There have been reports of massacres and atrocities being committed by forces to loyal to the Assad government. In response, there have been increasing calls for intervention by United States and NATO forces, in the mold of the recent Libyan adventure, to remove the Assad government from power.
Rep. Paul spoke out against the proposed intervention and will file legislation to stop President Obama from launching a war against the Assad regime without Congressional authorization. This is legislation I would strongly support because only Congress has the constitutional duty to declare and authorize war. Plus, I believe intervention in Syria would be a huge mistake because it would likely ignite a larger Middle Eastern war involving Israel and Iran. However, the Paul speech unfortunately I believe did harm to supporters of non-interventionism and confirmed many negative stereotypes about them.
The speech included a few troubling passages, such as:
We are already too much involved in supporting the forces within Syria anxious to overthrow the current government. Without outside interference, the strife—now characterized as a civil war—would likely be non-existent.
I saw this post over the weekend, and I’ve wrestled over whether or not to do this, but I can’t be silent. There are a lot of readers here who also read Daily Paul, and a lot of you aren’t going to like this, but something needs to be said. Here goes:
Ron Paul won’t be the GOP nominee this year.
I know the convention isn’t until later this summer. I know there are unbound delegates. I know there’s a law suit trying to unbind delegates. I know you believe he’s going to win, but he’s not.
Don’t misunderstand me, either. I don’t enjoy admitting this. I really wanted him to win. I’ve shared before how he’s singlehandedly responsible for making me care about politics. I’m a big fan, but it’s time that all of us grasp the reality that he’s not going to be our nominee.
Now we’re in this critical point in the campaign season. We can admit defeat and press forward for liberty, or we can be the crazy people in the corner with ridiculous law suits and fuzzy math. Let’s not be the crazy people. Pressing forward for liberty is the right choice to make.
Working for freedom for some might mean biting a lip and following Rand Paul in his endorsement of Mitt Romney. For others, it’ll mean supporting Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate on the ballot. But no matter which path you need to take, take it. Don’t be the crazy guy in the corner counting “what if” delegates and trying to convince people that your math is right.
Ron Paul has reached us with his message. This liberty movement sparked by the message of freedom will go on. Paul’s presidential campaign, unfortunately, will not. It’s time we all grasp that reality.
We’ve recently noted that House Republicans have largely been a disappointment when it comes to cutting spending. Since taking control of the chamber in January 2011, the national debt has increased by over $1.59 trillion and reasonable amendments to bills that would cut spending have been shot down with many Republicans opting not to keep the promise they made to voters in the fall campaign. There is also talk of bringing back earmarks, an untransparent process that is often corrupt.
So why are the spending cutters in the House? The Club for Growth has tracked the 25 votes on amendments that would cut spending and found the consistent budget hawks in the lower chamber (I’m only posting those that score 100%, for sake of space):