Who Will Be the Next Ron Paul?

I’ve admittedly stayed away from covering or even really thinking about the GOP convention.  If I’m being totally honest, I was sort of hoping that about half of more of the GOP would be swept away by Hurricane Isaac, but alas, that didn’t happen.  Oh well.  I’m not really sure why I avoided it, except that I think I finally succeeded in burning myself out on politics.  After all of the GOP shenanigans and the treachery and the drama, I think perhaps I just needed a break from it.  I guess I should have tried to endure a bit longer, for now that the proper election season is upon us, I care even less, probably because I see no important differences between the two front runners.

I would, however, like to talk a bit about what happened to Ron Paul and his supporters at the convention.  Much like I suspected, the GOP got up to its usual trickery, and the Romney campaign successfully whined and moaned and complained and generally carried on like a spoiled brat until the GOP gave in and didn’t allow many of the Paul delegates to be seated.  Maine, in particular, got the short end of the stick, and reports have it that Governor LePage, himself a delegate and GOP member, was not best pleased by this turn of events.  In a nutshell, the Romney campaign and apparently the GOP were so scared that Ron Paul might actually make it onto the ballot that they changed the rules of the game at the eleventh hour to disbar him from being in the running.  Are people seriously considering these goons to run the country?  Is that really who want in charge – a guy who can’t take it on the chin when he loses a mere five states to people that are supposed to be nothing more than insane rabble rousers?  Really?  If they really believed that, you’d think they’d be better sports about it, wouldn’t you?  (Note that I don’t think Obama is any better than Romney, so don’t go thinking I’m at all sympathetic towards him.)

In any event, Ron Paul was shut out from a speaking engagement, although Senator Rand Paul was given a keynote slot on Thursday.  I have neither listened to the speech nor read a transcript from it, but I understand he did a passable job of walking the line between bowing to Romney and giving the old school Paul supporters some of what they wanted to hear.  I’m fairly skeptical of Paul, Jr. at this point and wonder who he’s really pandering to – us or them?  And I think I’m within my rights to have an “us vs. them” mentality right now.

From some reports I’ve heard, Romney’s lot would have given Dr. Paul the Elder a speaking spot, providing that he would allow the Romney campaign to vet his remarks and also give Romney a full endorsement.  Dr. Paul declined, and at the end of the convention, essentially denounced (renounced?) the Republican Party.  I was not surprised that he wouldn’t bow to Romney’s desires, but I have to admit that, given the goings-on with Rand’s endorsement a few months back, I was a bit more surprised that he completely washed his hands of the GOP.  It seemed so much that Ron Paul’s strategy had been to infiltrate the GOP.  Perhaps he finally decided that he’d had enough of having it all thrown back in his face?  Perhaps, like so many with strong beliefs, he will continue on as a free agent, someone who believes what he believes without paying any lip service to any other group or individual, save those he has already vetted as worthwhile.  Perhaps that is for the best.

I think a serious question on everyone’s mind now is, “Who is the next Ron Paul?”  The short answer for now is that there is no next Ron Paul.  Truly, he is one of a kind.  He has done more for the liberty movement than anyone since Goldwater, and I think it could be argued that Paul has done more.  Paul has awakened so many to a different mode of thinking, but I do think that perhaps some of those seeds he has sown will takes years if not in some cases decades to bear fruit.  A good number of his supporters are young, and it may be some time before they find themselves in positions to take over as the new authority.  I could be wrong, but I suspect that’s how some of it may play out.

In a nutshell, I don’t see anyone on the horizon, at the moment, who will be the new “it guy” or “it gal.”   Gary Johnson is a great candidate, but he’s not Ron Paul.  Rand, in my mind, certainly hasn’t satisfied the requirements as yet.  He has a long way to go to prove himself, and I have this feeling that he won’t.  Prove me wrong, Rand.  I’m unaware of any especially prominent figures in the more extreme sections of the libertarian movement that are in the notion to put their necks out for political office.  Forgive me if those sounds snooty, but it seems like most of them are more intellectually oriented, rather than politically oriented or motivated.  That isn’t to say that they don’t care about politics, but they seem more focused on education and publishing work of their own, rather than becoming entangled in the cesspool that is Washington skullduggery.

With those factors in mind, the truth is that we don’t know who the next Ron Paul will be.  He or she may be a long time coming.  They may show up as soon as a year or two from now.  But one thing is for certain: I don’t think that person is on the radar yet.  And isn’t that an exciting prospect, really?  Who is the next Ron Paul?  That person could be reading this article right now.  It could be you.  It could be me.  It could be your neighbor.  It could be a guy immigrating from Mexico.  It could be a single mother working a low-paying job and putting herself through school.  It could be absolutely any of us.  I think that Dr. Paul has inspired enough people that there will be fresh air breathing life into what was once considered an outmoded and stagnant movement.

I don’t know what direction the movement is going to take.  I don’t know if it will reform under the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, or an entirely new party.  I do not think that it will come from the GOP.  I think real innovation will come from without, and I think that’s where the movement is headed – outward bound.  I do know that the fight is not over, and that we need to continue working towards greater goals.  I do hope that some of us are able to take significant roles in local and state politics.  Initiating change at a local level is our best bet right now.  And you never know where that could lead a hard-working person.  He or she might just become the next Gary Johnson, Murray Rothbard, or Ron Paul.

But we need people to get involved.  The movement shouldn’t die just because Ron Paul is retiring from the public eye.  Remember, he was once a normal guy like the rest of us – just a doctor with a big family who believed in a cause.  He fought a long time to get where he is now, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only person who could do it or will do it.  It behooves me as much as anyone else to heed the words that we have to become the change that we wish to see in the world.  

And with that thought, I’ll leave you all with a last question: Where is your vote going, fellow libertarians?  Are you going Johnson, writing in Paul, or are some of you voting Romney out of hatred for Obama?  I know people who are doing any of the three.  I’m certainly not casting a vote to Romney.  I don’t care if it is “throwing my vote away.”  A vote for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil, and I refuse to condone it.  I’m leaning towards Johnson, but it is damn hard for me not to vote Paul.

 

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Ron and Rand Finally Speak Out

After over a week of near-silence from the Paul campaign since Rand’s endorsement of Mitt Romney.  Rand appeared on Peter Schiff’s radio show to explain his endorsement of Romney.  Ron made a video to talk to the supporters about the convention and the platform.  Frankly, it was nice to hear from Ron, since it feels like he’s been MIA, although people in the campaign have said that he’s exhausted and needed a break.  That’s understandable, since campaigning gets incredibly grueling, even for a younger man, but it would have been nice to see a video before now.

Let’s start with Schiff’s interview with Senator Paul.  He essentially explained what I, at least, have already known: the Pauls’ long-standing plan has been to infiltrate and change the Republican party from within.  I’m not sure how I feel about the senator’s reasoning, since he seems to be saying, alternately, that the endorsement of Romney means very little, but also that it signals that he’s willing to work with Romney on certain things.  He does explain that sometimes you can work with folks on certain things, even if you don’t agree with them on everything.  I understand that point quite well, but I still fail to see, if the endorsement is essentially toothless, how it can carry any real meaning, in terms of willingness to work with someone, president or otherwise.

But again, I should express that I understand the rationale behind what has been said and done here.  That’s not to say that I agree with it, because I’m not entirely sure that I do.  Part of me still believes that true change is only going to come from without.  But I could be wrong about that.  Goodness knows I’ve been wrong before.  I’m not, however, going to spew vitriol at Senator Paul for his decision.  I get why he did what he did, and for the record, I do think that he has a better record than most any other senator in Washington, although I still don’t get why he supported the NDAA.  Oh well.  He is absolutely right about one thing: you’ll never agree with anyone 100% of the time.  And wouldn’t it be dreadfully boring if we did?

As always, Dr Paul’s video sat better with me.  In spite of his “aw, shucks” demeanor, Paul the Elder has always held more appeal for me than his son.  It’s good to see him back.  He mostly talks about the convention.  He points out some things that Santorum has said about those “Paul people” and how we want to influence the platform.  Honestly, what in the world does one undertake a campaign for, if not to attempt to get elected and wield some influence?  I suppose there’s money… And power.  Anyway, I can’t stand Santorum or his questionable fashion sense.  In any case, Dr. Paul also talks about standing firm about policies he wants to see given attention, but also maintains that we don’t need to start any fistfights.

I agree with that 110%.  I don’t think anyone needs to start any fistfights, but I do think that anyone going to the convention better be ready to hold his/her ground.  I don’t think Paul supporters will have a hard time doing that, but we certainly don’t want to turn into wilting flowers now.  The people who are going to the convention have fought hard for their seats, and they deserve their voice.  Very rarely do I think violence solves anything, but I think a good, spirited debate is a healthy thing.

I’m still wrestling inside with the Pauls’ ideas about change from within the party, though.  Part of me believes that real change and new ideas will only come from outside the party, and then I think that must be where we belong.  But then again, another part of me concedes the idea that there doesn’t seem to be room for more than two parties in our current system.  With that being the sad truth of the matter, how does one realistically expect to make change happen from the outside?  Do we not end up just sounding like shrill outsiders with no chance for support from within?  It’s a confounding issue, and I know it’s not only a problem for me.  Do I stick with Paul and write him in come November, or do I go Libertarian and vote Johnson?  I respect Johnson very much as a man of character, and I respect his record and ideas, as well.  What to do, what to do…

I would certainly welcome others’ ideas about this particular predicament and what their plans are for the election season.  I’m still weighing my options, but I will say that I support Dr. Paul and his platform, and I most certainly support each and every Paul delegate who worked his/her butt off to get that spot on the convention floor.  And if Rick Santorum doesn’t like what you have to say, well, I’d consider that a compliment!

Wanna watch Ron and Rand back in action?  Check out the videos below, courtesy of Ron Paul Flix!

Ron Paul Announces Rally June 15th

Rand Paul Explains Himself on Peter Schiff

Tom Woods on the Pauls and Romney

I respect Tom Woods’ opinion.  The guy has been close in the liberty movement for a long time.  He’s a good writer, and the man knows whereof he speaks.  I posted the video earlier featuring Woods making hints about there being problems in the Paul campaign.  Well, he doesn’t make too many bones about it here.

This video was just released in the last 24 hours or so, and it’s a pretty blunt but fair open letter plea and critique.  It is addressed to Dr. Paul, but I think there are a lot of us in the movement that agree 200% with everything Woods is saying here.  The more I read about the management of the campaign, the more convinced I am that something is not right here.  I think Woods is calling it spot-on on all counts.  Please take four minutes of your time and watch this video, and then if you can, repost it somewhere or send it to other folks in the movement.

Tom Woods on Rand Paul’s Romney Endorsement

Update:  

It would appear that Tom Woods has taken this video down from his collection on YouTube the day after its original posting.  He popped up soon thereafter to explain this action.  He says in the video that he doesn’t believe Ron Paul will ever endorse Mitt Romney, which is my feeling at this point, too.  Anyway, if you’re still interested, have a gander.  I know it’s old news, but it’s still pertinent to the convention.

Tom Woods Doesn’t Think Ron Paul Will Endorse Romney

Former Paul Staffer on the Campaign + Tom Woods’ Take on Jesse Benton

Whew.  I know that I promised an economics-oriented article, but there is so much talk and analysis swirling about the Paul campaign and Rand’s endorsement of Romney that I feel like I owe it at least one more post.  There is a lot of information floating around and coming out about the Paul campaign – not Paul himself – and how things have potentially not been right with the campaign, perhaps from the get-go.  I really hope that that scenario does not turn out to be the case, but man…!

Adam Kokesh has had a really interesting interview with former Paul staffer Penny Freeman, and it is somewhat revealing – and emotional.  She has not participated directly in this campaign, as she felt Ron Paul was not really in it to win it, so to speak.  She also gives some additional credence to the notion that there has been an “iron curtain” around Paul, imposed by Jesse Benton.  It’s not a secret to anyone in the know that Adam Kokesh and Jesse Benton don’t have any love lost for each other, but Freeman does bring up some interesting points, and they are points that I have heard mentioned before.  This is a long interview, but it’s really informative and interesting, and anyone really interested in what or who has been involved in the campaign ought to see it.  This lady seems very articulate and genuine.

Adam Kokesh Interviews Former Paul Staffer Penny Freeman

In a nutshell, the word on the street is that Jesse Benton has been heavily influenced by a guy named Trygve Olson.  (That name just gets me every time I type it.)  Olson has been known for his career as, essentially, a guy who comes in and co-opts political movements.  And he was sent by Mitch McConnell to the Rand Paul campaign back in 2010.  I can’t believe this escaped my conspiracy radar, but here it is.  Benton ran Rand’s Senate campaign, and apparently has been taking cues from Olson all throughout this election season.  Not brilliant.  Tom Woods, a notable chap in the liberty movement, to be certain, has also come out and said that people in the Paul campaign rebuked his advice early on, at which point Woods threw up his hands and said to heck with it, then.

It is truly unfortunate if the campaign really wasn’t in it to win it.  That would be incredibly disheartening for long-time Paul fans, myself included, but perhaps more importantly, if Ron Paul himself actually knew what was going on and has made himself richer for all of this… It would be seriously disillusioning for a lot of people.  I really hope and pray that this is not the case.  Nonetheless, if it proves to be true in any way, it will be a hard-learned lesson to the liberty movement, but a good one: No one is infallible, even the best of men and the greatest leaders.  We must be our own leaders.

While I must admit that I have my worries about the movement fracturing, I do think that the true followers of liberty will find their feet – probably quicker than most believe.  This has always been a grassroots movement, and it will remain one.  Perhaps the outcome of this will be to create change on a local level.  Get involved.  Do your own education.  National campaigns are hard to control.  It’s far easier to influence things on a smaller level, but the change that comes from them is no less important.

I will say that I really hope that Ron has been as insulated from all of this as some would claim.  I really do.  I hope that Kokesh is right about Jesse Benton & Co. basically preventing anyone from the “old school” from influencing him.  That said, after all of this, I’m feeling slightly less charitable, shall we say, and I’m more willing to believe the worst.  So with that in mind, I’m going to maintain a healthy sense of skepticism on all fronts.

I’m going to reiterate though, that I really hope that none of you will lose faith in the message and the movement.  We are strong, and the message is the right one at the right time.  As I said, we are all only human.  We are flawed.  The message isn’t.  It would do all of us good to remember that, even when it seems the chips are down.  And I probably shouldn’t do this, but if any of you are convention delegates, well… Give’em hell.  Behave yourselves, my hindquarters!  Some gal whose name escapes me once said that well-behaved women seldom make history.  I think the same could generally be claimed for most folks.  So forget the official line.  Stand up for what you believe in.

Here’s some additional info I’ve been scrounging up about Trygve Olson.  

“BBC News Reports on IRI Program in Belarus” 

Stanford Report on Trygve Olson (circa 2006)

“Belarus Dissidents Get Foreign Help” – BBC

“Can Ron Paul Be Tamed?” – Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com

Official End of the Paul Campaign and Disappointment in the Liberty Movement

Whew, there’s a lot going on in the blogosphere.  For those of you who haven’t been keeping up on the recent Republican campaign developments, Ron Paul has conceded that he cannot win the nomination.  It seems that perhaps more shocking than this announcement is the fact that Rand Paul, Ron Paul’s son and one of the Kentucky senators, has come out and endorsed Mitt Romney.  I think that, more than anything else at the moment, has really thrown the liberty movement for a serious loop.

Lew Rockwell gave an interview on Russia Today (RT) that gave his take on things.  Of course, anyone who knows anything about Rockwell knows that he has long been involved with the liberty movement and with Ron Paul personally.  He used to be Paul’s campaign manager, way back in the day. He has, shall we say, a far more cynical voice and outlook than Ron has.  Lew explained what he thinks is going on with the campaign, and he stated that he didn’t think that Ron would be endorsing Romney.

While I have to concede that my post about it being some sort of strategy was me perhaps living in, as my husband would put it, “sweet cuckoo land,” it’s hard to admit that something you’ve fought incredibly hard to see through is over.  It’s always hard to know what to do when a chapter in your crusade reaches an inevitable conclusion.  Of course I’m disappointed by the way things turned out.  We were all hoping for a bigger slice of the pie, of course.  I must admit though, that I am incredibly disappointed by Rand’s endorsement of Romney.

In my mind, I had thought that perhaps Rand might act as a suitable replacement for Ron in 2016.  As Rockwell mentioned though and as I am now beginning to see, Rand is not Ron, and we cannot expect the same things of him, particularly in regards to foreign policy.  Of course, it is irrational and silly to think that the pup will be a copy of his father, but it’s disappointing to find out that someone you’d hoped would be a major voice for libertarianism is just a conservative, after all.  That’s not to downplay the fact that Paul the younger has been successful so far in Congress.  He is continuing the fight to audit the Fed and to pass other measures of which I wholeheartedly approve.  That said, he’s not a libertarian, nor does he pretend to be one.  For that reason, I guess I’m as disappointed as some of the other libertarians splattered across the Internet.

I haven’t decided who will be getting my vote in November, but I’ve been leaning towards Johnson for some time now.  I hate to say that, because I’ve been a hardcore Paul supporter for years and years now.  I still am.  I’m a Ron Paul supporter.  I think Johnson is good news, though I don’t necessarily agree with everything the Libertarian Party puts out there.  I sort of hate to admit that the Rand endorsement has left such a bad taste in my mouth, but it has.  It makes me feel like I need to get back to my old libertarian (with a lowercase l) roots.

I think one thing that we all need to take away from it, however, is that a big part of this revolution was accomplished through educating people.  I certainly think that there will be a lull in enthusiasm, but I think (I hope) that it will be temporary.  Ideas are powerful, and once you understand the guiding principles behind libertarianism and Austrian economics, it’s hard to go back.  People aren’t just going to forget what they’ve learned.  The recession is far from over, and the need to fight tyranny doesn’t end with Ron Paul’s campaign and political career.  Perhaps one of the most important results of this campaign, which I think Paul understood very well, was that the messages of liberty resonated the most with young people – young people who are angry, motivated, and who will continue to work towards freedom and limited government in important ways.

So rather than going away with a sour taste in my mouth and a feeling of being defeated, I’m determined to come away from this feeling that we have just closed a chapter in a long book detailing the struggle for liberty.  The battle is over, but the war?  Far from it.  We have come out of this with greater strength in numbers and more people who are dedicated to the fight.  That is Ron Paul’s legacy, and what a legacy it is.  I don’t think a politician has accomplished something like this since Goldwater, and I think the Paul liberty movement is arguably much stronger and comes at a moment in history when we need it most.

With those thoughts in mind, I encourage my readers not to feel angry or discouraged by the outcome of this campaign cycle.  Although we have not gained the presidency, we have not lost the war of ideals.  We will continue to educate and fight for our principles.  I would also like to add that I have learned another valuable lesson about politics: Don’t always buy into your own, optimistic spin.  Keep it real, and make sure that you’re always assessing the situation as objectively as possible.  Hard to do, when you’re so emotionally involved in something, but for next time, I’m going to do my best to keep my thinking hat on, so to speak.

Fight on, fellow libertarians!  I’ll be back soon with some stuff from Mises about the continuing bailouts and the next phase of the recession.  I’m thinking it’s due about 2015… Stay tuned!

Paul Is NOT Dropping Out: A Quick Analysis

Good morning from the Land of the Morning Calm!

I’ve been feeling better and doing a better job about keeping up with the campaign bru-ha-ha the last couple of weeks, and what an eventful few days it has been!  Of course, there hasn’t been much in the MSM about it, but that’s nothing new, so moving on.  Ron Paul has been winning caucuses left and right, and Romney seems to be losing ground daily.  The strategy – which has been made public for months and which we have been using from day one – is working a treat.

Therefore I was a bit surprised this morning when I woke up to check the morning news (Ron Paul updates, in LL speak) that Ron Paul had announced that he was suspending all further campaign spending, as far as advertisements and such goes for the remaining states.  Of course, the MSM, including Drudge, picked this up and immediately proclaimed with no uncertain amount of glee that Paul is out.  The campaign came out almost immediately and denied those allegations, but it seems that the damage has already been done.

Or has it?

I had two initial reactions to this announcement.  The first was to wonder why, when we are steamrolling like crazy, would Ron Paul announce that he is suspending any further spending on state campaigns.  The second was to wonder what the strategy is.  Call me a hopeless optimist, but I’m fairly convinced that there is, in all likelihood, some sort of strategy behind this otherwise mildly perplexing announcement.  Maybe I’m being intellectually arrogant in assuming that Ron Paul has this thing figured out and is, in some meaningful way that will be revealed in time, outsmarting the other foxes in this political game.

Regardless of the end result of the strategy, I think this is partly motivated by cash – or lack thereof.  In the forums I’ve read, there is no shortage of RP supporters who are maxed out on their campaign donations.  This is not the case for me, as I don’t have enough free capital to spend the maximum amount on campaign donations.  Baby on the way and all that.  Still, I think there are probably quite a few supporters who are finding it harder to dig down and empty what little is left in their pockets.  I’ve heard there will be a money bomb on May 17th, and I intend to donate to it, but  to bring this all back around, I do think money is a very real issue here.

Part of me also thinks that the Paul campaign knew what would happen when it announced a suspension of spending: the MSM would declare him out, in spite of the fact that they never really declared him “in.”  For a guy who has been deemed hopeless from the beginning, they sure have been quick to show him the door!  And maybe that’s what the campaign wants.  Romney supporters are hardly known for being supremely well-informed or for flooding state conventions and sticking around for hours to jockey for one of those coveted delegate positions.  The simple truth is that, while Paul supporters seem to know exactly how to come in and turn the tide their way, the average Romney supporter is largely ignorant of how the caucuses and state conventions really run.  This is important, because if the average Romney supporter thinks Romney is now running uncontested, what are the chances that they’re going to get out and vote?  Seriously.  How dedicated is the average Romney supporter?  Not very, in comparison with the average Paulistinian.

I’m not saying these things to be arrogant.  The honest truth is that most Paul supporters I’ve met are far more well-versed in politics, economics, and real issues than the average Republican.  The other thing to remember about Paul supporters is that we have never relied on the MSM for our Paul news.  How could we?  If we did that, the movement would not exist because we would all have given up on him years ago.  The simple truth of the matter is that Paul supporters depend on each other for news, encouragement, and support because we know that mainstream support is not going to come.  This campaign has always depended on individual effort, not loads of cash or politicos backing the movement.  In my opinion, spending millions on advertising will ultimately make very little difference to the outcome, at this point.  Paul has already held rallies all over the country, and the heart of his campaign is already solidified.  If there are real conversions that are going to happen now, they have to happen at the convention in Tampa.

This is what I believe is going on within the Paul campaign.  I think they’re going to let the Romneyites get complacent and lazy (lazier?), and the Paul grassroots will continue to make quiet victories.  Isn’t it better, at this point, if the MSM doesn’t pay us any mind?  Won’t that make the convention all the more interesting?

I will say, as an addendum, that part of me also thinks that it’s possible that Paul has been threatened in some way because of the success of the last week or so.  I hate to think that, and it sounds paranoid, but I don’t consider it outside the realm of possibility.  That said, I really don’t think it’s the case.  I really do believe that there is a strategy, and it is based on the reality of the money situation and the notion that we don’t need the mainstream to win.

So with those things in mind, I encourage all Paul supporters to shake off the feeling that we’re being derailed somehow.  I had that feeling myself for a few minutes, but I’ve felt disheartening moments before in this election cycle.  You have to shake it off and keep on keeping on.  For those of us who support the message of liberty, we know that the fight is not over.  It is never over.  Yes, Ron Paul started the movement, but we’re the ones who have kept it alive.  Don’t give up, and don’t think that we can rest after Tampa, regardless of the outcome.  The rEVOLution is on, and it isn’t going anywhere – as long as we remain committed to the cause: liberty for all.

 

Ron Paul Was Right

I ran across the video while I was trolling through Twitter.  It’s a Ron Paul speech from 2002, the year I graduated high school.  I had no idea who he was back then, but his words sort of hit me like a knuckle sandwich to the nose.  It’s not that I don’t already know about these things, but hearing it condensed into a five-minute speech that was made ten years ago really puts the hook in you, to use a phrase from a favorite film of mine.    Ron Paul may not be the only person in Washington who understands what has been going on, but he’s the only person brave enough to stand up and repeatedly tell us the truth.  Unfortunately, all of his predictions made in this video have come true.  All the more reason we need him to be the last man standing.

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