After Ron Paul’s Last Hurrah, Where Will His Supporters Go, and What Will They Do?

Bookmark and Share    As Ron Paul embarks upon his last political campaign for either the presidency or Congress, and as the curtain comes down on his over two decade long political career, he promises to go out with a bang.  Instead of exiting the stage on a high note and trying to better articulate and advance his deserving message of liberty, personal responsibility, and a limited, constitutional government, Ron Paul has decided to embark upon a scorched earth campaign that aims its fire at anyone who passes him in the polls.

As he leaves elected politics, he does so in a very ungraceful way that follows the stereotypical negative political path that voters claim they are sick and tired of.

So far, in this his third run for President, instead of being a true leader who demonstrates that their can be a new way forward, and a more positive political path to take us there, Ron Paul has chosen to be a follower who takes his mighty message down the same low road that most politicians have taken.  Instead of building himself up with his message and articulating actual coherent policies that can translate ideological purity into realistic accomplishments, Ron Paul has decided that he must tear others down in order for his message to succeed.  So he was the first to launch highly exaggerated, brutally negative, webads first against Mitt Romney, then Rick Perry, and now Newt Gingrich.

Now Rick, and Mitt, and Newt, are big boys who should be able to defend themselves and with the exception of Newt Gingrich so far , they are not immune from their own negative ads that they have produced against each other.  But Ron Paul is suppose to be a different kind of leader.  He was suppose to be the non-politician, champion of the people, defender of liberty, and defender-in-chief of the U. S. Constitution.  Yet his ads convey more of a very uncharacteristic first blood-like theme that is the total antithesis of his anti-war message and the noble cause he claims to represent.

Some might justify Paul’s highly negative campaign by claiming that he means business, is in this to win it, and will play by the same rules that his opponents will.  That may be so.  But I have yet to see Newt Gingrich produce an attack on the character of any of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.  In fact with Newt, at least so far, it is quite the opposite.  In Newt we see a man who is brave enough to stand behind his own record, his own ideas, and his own message, without resorting to cheap shots and investing his campaign’s money and time in to ads designed to allow him to become some sort of defacto winner because he is the last man, or woman, standing.  Unlike Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich is showing himself to be a leader in this area and blazing the path for a new campaign model that is relying less on polling and polarizing language, and more on solutions, ideas, and vision.

Seeing Ron Paul exit the political stage in such a way is in many ways sad.  Ron Paul deserves much credit for making sure that words and phrases like constitutional and limited government have never been left out of the political debate.  He has done much to make people think twice about what role government is suppose to play in our lives.  While Ron Paul has never quite been able to move his message very far within the legislative process, for the last two decades he has at least been an integral part of insuring that the question of government’s rightful role in our lives is at least an issue given consideration during the legislative process.   For that I give Dr. Paul much credit.  Which is why I would have prefered to see the curtain come down on his years in elected office in a much more dignified way than he has chosen.  But that is Ron Paul’s decision and as he would be the first to tell you, that is his right.

But as Ron Paul does leave elected office, and yes I say leave, because while I may not be sure who the ultimately Republican nominee will be, I am positive that it won’t be him and I see little chance of him being on anyone’s short list for Vice President. So as he “leaves” elected office without seeking reelection to a thirteenth term in Congress, I can’t help but wonder who will take his place.

Who will pick up the Libertarian Party torch and lead the way?

As a political party, Libertarians are a mess.  By their very nature, they are not an agreeable bunch.  In many ways, they are admirably not prone to any kind of groupthink mentality, but also irritatingly unable to consider a differing opinion.  As such, their independence and strong individualism makes them an inherently unruly, impossible to organize bunch.  As one observer put it;

” If you get 10 libertarians into a discussion, you’ll have 10 different opinions on many things, maybe even 11″.

Legendary Libertarian stalwart, Dr. Mary Ruwart  was even quoted as saying;

 “I was at the 1983 convention and it was so spiteful and destructive that I was almost done with the party.”

Responsible for such reactions is the very real Libertarian quality to be disagreeable and independent.  And the fact that Ron Paul was one of the few people that the vast majority of Libertarians could get behind,  simply makes Ron Paul an even more valuable figure and adds to a long list of legitimate credit due him.  Ron Paul is one of the few, if not the only figure that most Libertarians could ever truly unite behind.   Yet at the same time, Ron Paul has not sought out their presidential nomination since 1988, when he first ran for President, and probably for good reason.   While Ron Paul may be a bit, how can I say this…………unconventional.  Yeah.  That’s it,…… unconventional.  While he may be unconventional, he is not stupid.  Even he knows that he can not get elected President with only the Libertarian nomination.  So he runs as a Republican.

So again, with him leaving the spotlight, who else can carry the Libertarian banner with a unified Libertarian following?

Possible popular figures include Wayne Allyn Root, the 2008 Libertarian VP nominee, and Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who has joined Ron Paul in a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, as well as beloved Libertarian candidate, Mary Ruwart.  Yet while these may by leading names within the Party for various reasons, they can hardly be considered figures who can unify the Party and get their message out any more than Ron Paul has been able to.

The way I see it, aside from Ron Paul’s son, freshman Kentucky Senator  Rand Paul, no one has even the slightest chance of doing that.  And even Rand may fall short of being able to fill his father’s shoes among LP members.  While Rand Paul is an apple that has not fallen from the tree, his Libertarian roots are not quite as solid as his fathers.  Many Libertarians might even consider him to be too much of an interventionist for their tastes.

The sad fact is that as a Party, Libertarians are simply dysfunctional and they can barely be considered their own national Party.

As Dr. Walter Block,  a professor of economics at Loyola University, once noted, the Libertarian Party seems to be on the verge of being taken over by conservatives.  Which is part of the reason why the bombastic former conservative Republican Congressman from Georgia, Bob Barr was the Party’s presidential nominee in 2008.

Block writes that in 2008 he was struck by the fact that the Libertarian National Convention  had conservative  Richard Viguerie give what he called a “high profile” and “very well received speech”.  Then he was struck by the designation of conservative Jim Pinkerton as the moderator of the convention’s presidential debate.

All of this has already raised some big questions regarding what is really more of Libertarian movement than a Party.  Will it be taken over by conservatives and their often spoken of “neo-con” nemeses?  Will we see the Libertarian movement dismembered by a division between  conservative-Libertarians or libertarian-Conservatives and old guard Libertarians?  Will we see the rise of Conservatarians?  Or maybe we will see the Libertarian Party consumed by the TEA Party movement?  These questions become even more pertinent now that Ron Paul heads off in to retirement.   Having become the only widely recognized national leader of libertarianism, where do his supporters go after him?    And how will his supporters vote when he fails to win the Republican presidential nomination?  These questions and the lack of an answer to them are probably Ron Paul’s greatest failing as as the perceived father of contemporary, American libertarianism.  His inability to look beyond his own presidential aspirations and to  prepare for the future of his movement, leaves its future in great doubt.   Maybe Ron Paul believes that his son will inherit the libertarian limelight.  If so, the Libertarian Party will soon fade away as a political organization because as a member of the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul’s Party loyalties to the Republican Party are far greater than many may be willing to accept.

Rand Paul could however be a bridge.

He could become a bridge that finally helps lead to what really needs to be done here….the creation of coalition of Libertarians, and Republicans, and Conservatives, together in one great cause to save the principles that founded this great nation.  At least until we have steered ourselves safely away from the shoals of socialism that could run our ship of state aground.

While I have these questions, I do not have the answers.  But what I do know is that our nation is at a very critical juncture in its history.  Our current President has taken a hard left turn that has advanced the cause of socialism in America at a pace faster than I could have ever imagined.  And while Republicans, even prior to President Obama, have not always effectively stood their ground for the principles of limited government, after losing all control of government in 2008 and regaining some of it back in 2010, the hope is that they have learned their lesson.  But even if they have, the non-liberal, anti-socialist voters of America are still leery of the G.O.P.  So much so that in a close election in 2012, a conservative or libertarian oriented third party candidate could easily insure the reelection of President Obama.  This we must avoid.

Quite unfortunately, Ron Paul’s scorched earth campaign strategy is not willing to accept that.  Instead, the way he sees it, if he can’t be the Republican presidential nominee, then no one other Barack Obama can be President in 2012.

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A Two Horse Race

Bookmark and ShareWith the 3rd major Republican primary debate in the books there are 2 candidates whom have begun to distance themselves from the pack. Mitt Romney looked and sounded presidential as he took shots from and at the man who has unseated him as the early polling frontrunner, Texas governor Rick Perry. Perry was the self described ‘pinata’ as he wore the target as the newest candidate and he did not disappoint, handling well the shots coming at him as well as throwing some shots towards his main opponent.

There were other candidates on the stage but the debate quickly became the Romney/Perry show.

Rick Santorum didn’t do anything to hurt himself but certainly didn’t help himself either. He looked as if he were either miffed that the debate was becoming about the 2 top candidates or that he had just sucked on a lemon. Newt, always the smartest guy in the room, had some good answers but again went after the record of the media instead of the records of his opponents. Michelle Bachmann didn’t have the opportunity that she did in the first two debates to showcase her TEA party credentials and didn’t do anything to stand out. She has simply been overshadowed by the entrance of Perry. Herman Cain stuck to his buisness leader guns but is quickly fading away as he fails to have the power or ability to shine above the other candidates. Jon Huntsman was doing a good job until he got led into his global warming stance which is a quick turn off for most GOP primary voters. Ron Paul did something he normally shy’s away from and took some shots at fellow Texan Perry but again fell prey to his lack of communication skills and undoubtedly hurt the small amount of momentum he gained in Iowa.

In my opinion Romney looked more presidential, whatever that means, and remained calm and well spoken. Romney deserves the win in the 1st head to head showdown between himself and Rick Perry. Perry handled the expected barrage of shots across his bow from his opponents and came out strong in the beginning. As the debate went on Perry seemed to fade and Romney still stood out. Perry also made some bulletin board comments that his opponents, and especially liberals, will pin up and go after every time he speaks. For that he gets the 2nd place finish. The polls in the next week will be interesting. Will Perry hold onto his entering momentum….or will Romney have gained back the spot he has held since the beginning?

It would be hard pressed for any conservative who is voting Republican to deny that after this debate there are 2 candidates that distanced themselves from the rest. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

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The Disadvantage of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

Bookmark and ShareThe debt. The deficit. The debt ceiling. Default. Social security checks. Medicare payments. Balanced Budgets. Tax increases. Gang of six. Cut, Cap and Balance. Headlines all in the past week. Headlines that, for the most part, the Republican candidates for President have been able to take a stand on without actually having to take a solid position. That is unless you are Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann, the 2 candidates who are sitting members of the House Of Representatives.

2012 GOP Presidential leader and former MA Governor Mitt Romney has stated that “The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending and to put in place a balanced budget amendment.” “If the president were to do those things, this whole debt issue would disappear.” He has declined to say whether he would support a compromise.

Former MN Governor Tim Pawlenty said in Iowa this week, “Eventually you run out of money, but what you do is you buy yourself a bunch of time to have the debate about real reform.” A vague statement but one that allows him to offer an opinion without having to land solidly behind a plan.

Paul and Bachmann however are forced, through their House seats, to vote for or against the actual plans. They are not afforded the luxury to simply make broad statements without taking a position that the other candidates are. Both Paul and Bachmann were also among the nine House Republicans who voted Tuesday night against the ‘cut, cap and balance’ bill that would reduce 2012 spending by more than $100 billion, cap it over the next decade and prohibit more government borrowing until Congress passes a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Harry Reid has vowed it will not pass the Senate and the President has vowed to veto it if it does.

Ron Paul said it wouldn’t live up to it’s promises, passing the cuts off for years and Bachmann said it didn’t go far enough to cut spending.

So are candidates that hold seats in Congress at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to use the rhetoric on an issue? Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was a top economic policy adviser to Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 but not aligned with any of the contenders this time around stated, “What they would like to have is the issue and that’s the difference between them and the congressional leaders. They need an issue. The congressional leaders need a result.”

We will see in the coming days and months leading up to the Iowa caucus if the other candidates try to pull the votes of Paul and Bachmann into the fray. While the other candidates can rely on rhetoric and easily take the stance that the polls dictate are popular, sitting members of Congress have to take a solid stand on the bills before them. A disadvantage for sure in a large candidate field with a mere 2 current legislators in it’s ranks.

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No Guts….No Glory (A Tribute To Dennis Miller)

Bookmark and ShareWith all due respect to Congresswoman Bachmann – Does anyone in the current GOP Presidential field have a pair?

For a second it appeared as if former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty did. That was until the debate in New Hampshire where T-Paw turned into T-Aww as he failed to follow up on the opening he himself created with his coining of the term “Obamaney Care” just the day prior to the debate. He looked as if he were the guy that was talking about how bad he would beat up the schoolyard bully and then realized the bully was standing behind him the entire time as he was asked if he would like to follow up on his term while the former MA Governor was standing there. Was the question intended to bait Pawlenty into a battle with Romney? Sure it was but if you don’t want a door open don’t put your foot in it. As I watched the remainder of the debate the question I wanted asked was “Do any of you actually WANT to win?”.

Before you are allowed to run against President Obama you have to defeat each other.

The field stood in unison against President Obama and the Democrats. They all gave safe answers and didn’t have much to say about each other as they attacked the President’s policies. In my eyes..they all said the same thing on almost every issue except for Ron Paul who seemed to ignore some of the questioning all together in an attempt to show his Libertarian views. Even as he tried to differentiate himself, Paul failed to make a move to point out the short falls of his opponents. It was like watching a family reunion where everyone was waiting for the drunk uncle to start a fight over who gets the last Pabst Blue Ribbon but never does.

This is a primary fight people. Grow a pair!

If I wanted to see my candidates make love not war and sing kumbaya I would go sit outside the Democrat National Convention in a drum circle with the peace, love and hippie crowd. Mitt Romney’s campaign team must have had Joker perma-grin for 2 days afterwards. He went in as the polling favorite with very little effort on his part to that point and came out unscathed even on the eve of ‘T-Paw’ tying him up to Obama like Sean Connery to Harrison Ford in the fire scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Obama is a former constitutional law professor. Although he obviously doesn’t know much about that he does know how to run a campaign. Maybe he can help the Republican’s by telling them that they are running against each other and not him……yet.

So far Michelle Bachmann is the only woman running. But she is not the only candidate without a pair of cajones. On that issue she has much company.

If you are afraid to campaign against each other, how do you plan on beating one of the most well oiled campaign machines in modern history? Driving in the Partridge Family bus isn’t going to cut it. Unless Danny Bonaduce starts running your campaigns.

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Tim Pawlenty Could Stand To Gain While The Big Names Sit On The Sidelines

Bookmark and ShareThe 1st GOP Presidential debate is in the books. There are those who feel it lacked the “Wow” factor that it would have had if the top polling candidates had taken part. With Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin all declining to attend, the field was filled with candidates whose names are not well known on a national scale. Texas congressman Ron Paul is probably the exception to that statement but his public persona and Libertarian views have never played well to most in the GOP.

Of the remainder of the field that included former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and conservative talk show host Herman Cain, Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, it may have been Pawlenty that came out with the most to gain from the absence of the big name candidates.

Most of those polled said that they came away with a better opinion of Herman Cain than any other candidate. I agree. Cain came away as the non-politician’s politician but he is an unknown to most voters and will need much more than this debate to get the recognition he will need to mount a serious run. Santorum is known to a certain degree through his work on Fox News but has established himself as the social issues candidate so far in a time where the economy will likely reign supreme. Gary Johnson is the poor man’s Ron Paul and did little to move up the ladder in the debate and at points looked uncomfortable on the stage. Ron Paul is simply Ron Paul. Most Republican’s tend to agree with his economic stances and most independents with his social stances but he has difficulty communicating them in a manner that helps him in a conservative GOP primary.

That leaves Pawlenty, who did little to “Wow” the audience but came across as a solid candidate when put next to the CEO with little experience, the Libertarian’s with little communication skills and the evangelical social issue guy, as a possible challenger to the big name candidates who themselves have issues that will be exploited if and when they decide to enter the race. Romney has to answer for his health care program he implemented while Governor of MA. Gingrich has had marriage issues that have haunted him for years. Huckabee has issues regarding his stances on crime while Governor of Arkansas and Palin, well she has always incurred the wrath of the media and I expect if she decides to run in 2012 it will be no different.

So although he may have not brought the “wow” factor with him to South Carolina last Thursday night, it could be Tim Pawlenty who very well takes away the most from the debate. Although Herman Cain may have hit the “wow” factor it was Pawlenty who by reason of recognition stands to gain the most from the decision of the big names to sit this one out. If he stays on message and the more recognizable names continue to sit dormant, Tim Pawlenty has one up on the other candidates.

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The Revolution WILL Be Televised. Ron Paul Is In.

Bookmark and ShareTexas Rep. and former Presidential candidate Ron Paul will announce tomorrow that he is launching a third bid for the White House.

The outspoken Congressman ran for the Presidency as a Libertarian in 1988 and as Republican in 2008 where he gained an almost cult-like following as the only Republican candidate to advocate the ending of the war in Iraq and ending the Federal Reserve. His book The Revolution: A Manifesto also reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list in 2008. His next literary work End The Fed entered the NYT Best Sellers List at #6 in 2009.

Rep. Paul has also held many on-line “moneybombs” that have raised very large amounts of money in one day fundraising events. Paul’s Libertarian leaning views have made him a favorite Republican amongst younger voters, a voting block that the GOP has traditionally struggled to capture. Considered a long shot by many the Texas Congressman has seen his views on the debt from years past become the battle cry for the GOP and TEA Party members in the last year which should help his chances of mounting a serious campaign in 2012.

Despite his views that most see as outside the mainstream views of the GOP voter, his fellow candidates cannot deny the power of his word in the tough economic times that have grabbed a hold of the country. As his supporters like to say, “Ron Paul was right!”

Will the majority of American’s see it that way in 2012? Ron Paul seems to think so and his supporters cannot be happier.

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Rand Paul Visits South Carolina

Bookmark and ShareKentucky Senator and TEA Party favorite Rand Paul could be testing the 2012 presidential waters with a trip to South Carolina.

The son of Texas Rep., 2008 GOP presidential candidate and possible 2012 candidate Ron Paul, Rand is appeared this afternoon before the College of Charelston’s “Bully Pulpit” series to talk about Libya, his possible 2012 interest and the national debt. He is scheduled to appear this evening before the Charelston Meeting, a center right, invitation only organization that invites politicians to address it’s membership strictly off the record.

Paul, like his father a Tea Party favorite, who won his Senate seat last fall, is visiting several early presidential voting states independently of his father. The only answer he will give regarding his own Presidential aspirations is, “The only decision I’ve made is I won’t run against my dad,” he said, adding that he wants to see the Tea Party influence the 2012 GOP nominee.

So how many Paul’s will there be on the ballot come 2012? Just one according to Rand. Which one however remains a mystery.

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