Rand Paul Proves He is Serious About Liberty by Endorsing Romney

Rand Paul

Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

No, I am not being sarcastic. And no, I do not like Mitt Romney or anyone else who supported TARP. But there is a bigger picture here that many Ron/Rand Paul supporters miss.

We all know that if Obama beats Romney, 2016 will be Rand Paul’s year. We have to think about this in terms of what can be gained for the Liberty Movement. Sure, it would make us feel better to have Rand Paul refuse to endorse Romney, but what would that accomplish? That would only make it a lot harder for Rand Paul to convince republicans to vote for him when he runs for president. Is that really worth it?

Romney is going to be the nominee with or without Rand Paul’s endorsement. We can use this opportunity to further infiltrate the republican party or we can use it to make sure we remain the “outsiders.” Rand Paul gets it and so does Ron Paul, as I would be very surprised if Ron Paul did not endorse Rand’s decision.

The republican party is changing, and this is exactly what it takes to change it. Libertarian-minded republicans need to learn how to blend in a little better and how to be smarter about picking their battles.

Some members of the Liberty Movement are not really interested in changing anything. They are in the movement to feel better about themselves. They love being rebels. They would rather have everything stay the same than to have our ideas adopted by the majority. Well, that’s not me. I am in this because I have respect for the truth, and I want to make sure that as many people as possible understand that truth. And the truth is that liberty, federalism, free markets, and the protection only of our natural rights, are the only way to truly improve the lives of everyone in society. This is what I am focused on.

We have already heard many reports of libertarian-leaning republicans becoming leaders within their local parties. We are winning. The republican party will be drastically different in four years. Rand Paul will be president. I am sure of it. This is a step in the right direction.

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  • ___j___

    Rand made lots of purists angry when he endorsed Mitt (though not me… I consider myself a reasonable purist… but I can also do math). Primarily methinks the trouble was that the official campaign was not keeping folks enlightened as to the hard delegate-counts and such, and as to the predictions of what future states would look like. So when the endorsement of the romineey came, they were shocked & bitter.

    Are you still of the same mind about Rand in 2016, now that Obama has been re-elected? Hillary will be 69 that year, and Biden 74, so we might be facing a relative unknown (we can hope for Warren-O’Malley). Rand is perhaps one cycle too young for a typical repub nominee… but given his stances, there is no way he could be seen as a *typical* nominee no matter what his age. But with only two years in the senate at present, and with his seat up for re-election in 2016, is it wisest for Rand to run in 2016 rather than 2020? He might have a shot at KY governor in 2015, alternatively. We could look at trying to bring Gary Johnson back into the repub party (he will be in his early sixties then) by winning him a NM senate seat in 2014… which is prolly a good idea in any case, even if not as part of a presidential strategy.

    Regardless of who our liberty-candidate for the 2016 presidential race ends up being, what is your opinion on the party factions we ought to try and build a winning coalition with? There are the Romney-Rudy repubs, the Romney-Ryan repubs, the Huckabee-Santorum repubs, the Palin-Beck repubs, the Rockwell-Woods liberty-repubs, and the Rand-DeMint liberty-repubs. My goal would be to unite the Rand and Beck and harder-edged-Ryan flavors, which is mostly a tea-party strategy.

    I think that most of the Rockwell-Woods liberty-repubs would also come on board, despite the romineey-endorsement, although it will help if the Libertarian nominee in 2016 is *not* somebody with a strong record like Gary Johnson. The big wildcard is the Huck-Sant faction, which might have either (or both) of their namesakes in the race. Establishment-candidates like Jeb or Christie will dominate in the Rudy-repub voting bloc, of course, and will be our main worry. Rubio strikes me as a young candidate who will *not* make the leap into the presidential battles during 2016… but he is exceedingly well liked, and (by my second-hand voting-record score-analysis) seems to be in the top ten senators in terms of liberty & fiscal sanity.

    My big worry at the moment is that, if Hillary officially retires (and looks to stay that way after the 2014 elections), is that we will face an exceedingly strong field of candidates in the 2016 race. Mike Pence (gov-was-rep) has beautiful oratory, but he’s not a fiscal conservative any more than Paul Ryan. He would be a serious contender, though, only lacking somewhat in foreign policy. Likely others will also come forth, if they sense a repub cakewalk in 2016.

    • I wrote an article recently, entitled “The 3 Phases of the Ron Paul Revolution” (http://www.truthinexile.com/2012/11/11/3-phases-ron-paul-revolution/). There I talk about the Rand Paul strategy being phase 3 of the movement. I believe in what Rand Paul is doing because the only way to really win, whether we like it or not, is to convince existing Republicans. Without them we will never have enough people to enact our changes. The truth is there is no way to convert all Republicans into Libertarians and Austrian Economists, but there is a way to gradually get them to follow. And Rand Paul has been able to do this brilliantly, essentially using our opponents’ own strategies of co-option against them. This is what Ron Paul had in mind when he encouraged us to work within the party, even if most purists refuse to see it. I’m sure Ron Paul approves of the Rand strategy because it works!

      Our opponents always use a little bit of truth to sell their lies. We have to be willing to play a little politics to bring about the changes we believe in.

      I hope Gary Johnson runs for senate in 2014. I wish he would have done so in 2012. I think Rand Paul is our best chance to really turn the republican party into the party of freedom and small government.

      • ___j___

        I disagree that we should use a little bit of truth, and paint that kernel of truth over with a facade. (Running as a member of the uppercase Republican ticket when most of the stances of the candidate are lowercase libertarian does not involve lying — it involves reverting the platform of the party to where it once correctly was!) Obama does *that*. http://www.silentbull.com/2012/10/06/why-honest-democrats-should-be-against-obama/

        Romney, of course, was the master of the little-bit-of-truth approach. “I will repeal Obamacare because it is wrong” which is a slogan that Ron Paul could have written… except he would never replace it with Romneycare2, but rather ‘replace’ it with nothing whatsoever at the federal level, because that is not the role of the federal government. It is *morally* wrong to extract taxdollars from one group to pay for the healthcare of another group, and it is *morally* wrong to force citizens to buy from government-approved corporations or else… corporatism aka fascism. Romney wasn’t outright lying with his vague slogan, but he was using a kernel of truth to sell his lies, just like Obama. His statement that Obamacare was ‘wrong’ merely meant wrongly-implemented, or to be less kind, passed by the wrong party! We must not stoop to their level, partly on principle (honesty is the best policy), and partly for hard-nosed strategic reasons: one of the big reasons people are attracted to the Ron Paul message is because he tells the truth, and nothing but the truth.

        Rand tells the truth: he endorsed Mitt, because he feared another four years of Obama might collapse the dollar (interview with Wolf Blitzer at the natcon). I voted for more sanctions against Iran this december, because I fear the alternative is on-the-ground warfare in 2013 (email re-posted over at dougwead.wordpress). He’s polite, allowing people to hold incorrect views without calling them out on it constantly… yet without fail making his own views clear. He is willing to ‘compromise’, in the good sense of forming coalitions that take small but crucial baby-steps in the direction of liberty: flat tax on the way to end the IRS, balance the budget on the way to inverting the deficit, ending TSA patdown on the way to ending the TSA, audit the fed on the way to ending the Fed, stopping foreign aid to the worst baddies on the way to stopping foreign aid en toto… and so on. This builds his political capital, and improves his acceptability to avg Repub voters. Some purists call such things playing politics… but that is abusing the language. To play politics means to lie, to screw people over, and such. Rand is *not* playing politics; he is building coalitions, and building trust.

        “…to really win … convince existing Republicans… enough people to enact our changes … no way to convert all … get them to follow.” Agree with the letter here, but not the spirit. The way you are putting it sounds like we need to trick ‘them’ into following us, more or less. (More on exactly the individuals composing ‘them’ later.) I agree that some uppercase Libertarian purists see Rand’s endorsement of Mitt as exactly a trick of that type — but see stuff above, on why it is not a trick, nor a lie. There is more than one way to get followers: you can trick them into it, for their own good (cf paved w/ good intentions), or you can lead by example. The last Ron Paul speech on the House floor talked about the second way. Take the high moral ground, whether you are an activist or a senator, and live your life virtuously. People will see this, and like it. That will get you votes, and coalition allies, and such. But more crucially it will change society itself, one individual at a time.

        Our key advantage here is that this is historically proven to work. Look at the timeline from the 1760s through the 1830s. It was quite literally the case that in the 1760s, most colonists were monarchists, the vast majority were not against slavery, and liberty was a dream. Fast-forward to the Madison presidency and Marshall court. All of the sudden, more or less everybody in the country loves freedom! Most can see that slavery is morally wrong, even if they cannot see a way to fix the problem (even the folks defending slavery agreed it was morally wrong if you defined slaves as human… which was why they tried to make the case slaves were subhuman… cf the abortion debate nowadays which is analogically identical).

        We need to get to the point where the vast majority of *our* fellow citizens can see the welfare-warfare state is morally wrong, even if it might be tough to find and implement practical ways to *fix* it. To my mind, that is what Ron Paul had in mind for working within the repub party: win over the people, and the politicians will follow.

        • ___j___

          “last Ron Paul speech on the House floor”

          Forgot to post the link. [4 minutes]

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOgg0LdgTD0#t=44m39s

          • It is so awesome that after 30 years (on and off) in congress, Ron Paul was able to be get this movement started to continue the fight.

        • I don’t think we are “tricking” people into following us. It’s a matter of making libertarianism popular. That causes many to follow, that otherwise wouldn’t have. The truth is most people don’t like to be different. The fact is that most people who say they believe in small government, really don’t, or they wouldn’t have supported candidates that stood for the opposite. Those people will always be followers. If we try to convert them into full blown libertarians, we will waste our time. But we can get them to follow once the libertarian ideas are the standard.

  • ___j___

    That said, we *must* be careful to separate out (in our own minds) the different groups we are trying to win over, by faction and by level. Santorum himself will never be a libertarian-leaning repub, for instance… but many of “his” repub-primary-voting-bloc-faction, the everyday folks that saw something in his candidacy, are possible Rand converts. Purist-libertarians dislike Rand more than Ron, but again, we can almost certainly win them over, Gary Johnson & Lew Rockwell being prime examples. (DavidBahnsen/MattWelch sorts are more tricky.) Our biggest bloc, of course, is returning the tea-party to their roots: winning over the Bachmann / Cain / Palin voters to the Rand’10 cause. Clearly, there are certain modern-tea-party-sub-factions that would rather vote for big-spending-social-conservatives Santorum & Ryan, but methinks most modern-tea-party-folks are small-govt at heart… they just need to be reminded.

    Truth be told, though, I see our biggest challenge not as winning the hearts & minds of the bulk of the tea-party folks, but as winning the dollars & minds of a big chunk of rockefeller repubs and reagan dems and independent-swing-voters over to our cause. We have a lot of anger at Team Romney right now, but truth be told, he is far more likely to be a convert to Team Rand than is somebody like Guiliani for instance (cf 2008 debates). As for Mitt himself, his notorious footwear of flip-flops are actually somewhat of an advantage to us: should we get the bulk of the tea-party and independents to back our policies, suddenly we will find politicians like Mitt “on” our side and promoting our talking-points. Everybody loves a winner. Sigh.

    So, there are two distinct groups within which we need us liberty-folk to become leaders. First, the everyday repub primary voters. We need to convert tea party folks of the Palin / Cain / Bachmann / Beck sort, herd the libertarian cats, and appeal to independents with liberty & honesty (overcoming the squishy estab repubs at the county level by influx of vast amounts of liberty-loving new blood). We need liberty minded county chairs, liberty minded state delegates, and liberty minded precinct captains to organize massive 2016 primary-voter-turnout numbers. Second, though, we need allies at the highest levels, existing politicians that go where the winning wind blows, and existing major donors that only back The Winners. Basically, if we can accomplish goal#1, then goal#2 ought to fall into place… but only if we’re truthful with the tea-party and liberty-movement activists… that by mid-2016 or so, we expect that one of the major donors to Rand / Johnson / et al is gonna be Goldman Sachs!

    Talk about alienating the purists…. but if we do not have the major donors helping propel our candidate into the whitehouse, then even should we win the repub nomination, it will be just like Goldwater in 1964 — total wipeout in favor of the dems, with vast escalation in warfare & welfare because of the electoral mandate. If we want to win in 2016, we need to have Mitt stumping for Rand, and most of the major donors that backed Mitt & McCain now behind Rand. Clearly, I think we have no chance of getting those donors until 2016 Q2, and only then if…

    • I think a lot of Republicans are just never given the option of small government, so they see their options as either backing their party or helping the Democrats, which they would never do. If we can give them a real fiscal conservative, one that tells the truth about what a real cut is versus a decrease in the increase of spending, we have a winner.

  • ___j___

    …If we outright win the popvote in (most of) IA + NH + SC + NV and (most of) the SuperTuesday states.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_primaries,_1980#Statewide

    Reagan did it, with a tie in IA and wins in SC FL, plus strong wins in GA AL. (Rand prolly cannot win FL but otherwise this is doable.) However, more crucial to our chances is what happened in MA and VT, squishy liberal-leaning establishment strongholds. Reagan got 30% in both places… but this was a *tie* with GWB in Massachusetts, and an outright *win* in Vermont… because of the establishment guys Bush1st and Anderson splitting the estab-vote! GWB easily won PR, because there was no estab-competition. Romney tried to play the reversed version of that exact same game in Iowa this year, using Perry and Santorum to split the evangelical-vote away from Bachmann & Newt… it almost worked for Mitt, too.

    If we want Rand to have a shot, we need to encourage *multiple* squishy estab guys to run. Cruz won in TX during 2012, because estab Dallas mayor Leppert ran against estab LtGov Dewhurst, splitting the vote (Cruz got into the run-off election by less than one percent). Rand versus Jeb is bad, Rand versus Christie is bad, but Rand versus both… if they both stay in the primaries for two or three or four months… is good.

    I also think we want to have *multiple* liberty-candidates in the 2015 repub primary debates, as long as all but one of them drop out by December, so the liberty-folk can rally around our primary-voting-phase champion. Ideally, a stage with Jeb/Ryan/Christie + Huck/Santo + Rand/Gary/Ventura/Amash/Napolitano + Rubio/Bachmann/West. I’d also like Ron Paul to be in the June-Nov debates if he’s still feeling frisky, and Condi Rice or Meg Whitman are semi-libertarians that may help.

    But, by about a month before the Iowa caucus, we want just one single liberty-candidate to remain, and *multiple* establishment folks and evangelical-branch-of-the-tea-party folks to still be in. Making this happen takes money, but not that much money, if the candidate believes they are destined to be prez — Santorum spent way less than $1M in Iowa, compared to more than twice that much for Ron Paul and twice again that much for Mitt, yet came first!

    Using this sort of vote-splitting-attack *is* a nasty playing-politics trick, no question about it. Thus, following the policy of honesty I mentioned above, and taking the high moral ground, we may end up deciding *not* to use such tricks, even if they might benefit us in the short run. However, whether or not we use stalking horse candidates against Jeb-or-Christie (and maybe Huck-or-Santorum), we very much need to be prepared for the establishment folks like Ginsberg to use such tricks against us.

    • I definitely do not expect Ron Paul to run again. I believe he is done. He has done enough and now it is up to his son and the movement that he started, to keep things going. Ron Paul’s campaign did a great job considering what they had to deal with. 3rd place in Iowa, 2nd in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine…I expect Rand Paul to do way better than this.

  • ___j___

    “I hope Gary Johnson runs for senate in 2014. I wish he would have done so in 2012.”

    Well, he might have done alright in 2012… but the establishment already *had* their presumptuous senate-nominee in NM, just like they already had Mitt in the presidential race. Gary was last in office back in 2002, so he might even have lost the 2012 senate race, especially with turnout being drug down by the establishment-pick Mitt at the top of the ticket. (60m votes for Mitt & McCain & Kerry… sigh!)

    Running on the libertarian ticket, and getting 1m votes, was useful for Gary (to bring his name back into the limelight), and also for the ideas of liberty (speeches at colleges and the best libertarian turnout in a long time). If he does run for senate and win in 2014, he will definitely be a contender in the 2016 prez race, and the repubs will *not* be able to rig the rules so as to keep Gary out this time. Perhaps he’ll take on a Walter Block stance on abortion, to make himself more palatable to repub primary voters, too.

    Of course, if the establishment *does* try to keep Gary out yet again, he can always run on the 2016 Libertarian ticket, assuming Rand is not the republican nominee. In the long run, my hope is that the Repub party platform and candidates will gradually become so liberty-friendly that we absorb the vast bulk of the activists and donors that keep the Libertarian party going. Much the way that the Dem party gradually became so communist-friendly after 1928 or so that they absorbed all the socialists… sigh!

    In the short run, I’m worried that uppercase Libertarian candidates are going to cost us some elections. Mourdock lost Indiana in 2012 partly because of abortion, but mainly because of a strong showing by the Libertarian senate ticket… 48% dem beat 44% repub without the key 5% libertarian block. The tea-party guy beat the estab repub Lugar, who is WAY more squishy than Romney methinks, but then lost in the general election to a mainstream dem. Arrgh.

    If the Libertarians would just stay out of close races (which in a presidential context means swing-states), this would never be a problem. Look at the repubs in CA, where Obama was guaranteed to win all the ecVotes… if even 20% of those 5m CA repubs had grokked the election math of the presidency correctly, they could have cast their votes for Gary, doubling the Libertarian total, without hurting Mitt in the slightest (except for his feelings). Similarly, look at the dems in TX… where Mitt was guaranteed to win the ecVotes… *they* could have voted for Gary as well, with no harm to Obama except possibly his pride. Where you get into trouble is when you have Nader taking 100k votes away in a swing state, like FL was back in 2000.

    p.s. If this level of verbosity is too much for your blog-comments, email me and we can continue that way. Or, I’m happy to keep talking in public like this, and if you want less verbiage, just say so.

  • ___j___

    Most of your conclusions stem from this premise: “It is a matter of making libertarianism popular.” Sure, if the ideas of libertarianism become popular… in the pragmatic sense that repub-primary-voters nominate the person that hews closest to the libertarian-leaning position on the issues… then I absolutely agree that Rand will come 2nd in IA and 1st in NH. But that begs the question, how do we make the ideas popular?

    If we give the voters (first in the repub primaries and then in the general election) a candidate who is #1 honest [crucial because it is so rare], #2 balance the budget in three years [by cutting spending not hiking taxes], #3 invert the deficit in six years [cuts not taxes], there are two ways that such a person would win.

    Methinks the more likely way is that a combination of Obamacare, adventurism near Iran, currency turmoil, and capital flight convince voters (for the moment) that they NEED an honest spending-cutter. Under those hypothetical circumstances, Rand might be able to win both the primaries and the general, even without any estab backing. But then after a term or two, folks will vote back in the estab types, because Rand will have fixed the trouble temporarily, satisfying the need that put him into office. By that time, demographic pressures will have make the USA ripe for socialism proper, and Rand will end up like Cal Coolidge — the prosperity before the fall.

    The better way is that true-small-govt ideas have swept the land, and people will vote for it because they WANT to get the debt back to 20% GDP, and they WANT to get the federal budget back to 10% of GDP. Your suggestion that we make libertarianism popular is akin to making voters *want* such a budgetary cap & debt cap. So: how?

    Different strategies apply to convincing the repub-primary-voter, as opposed to convincing the general-election-voter, but we have to accomplish both. Goldwater accomplished the first half in 1964, but failed miserably at the second half, mostly due to lack of backing from the Repub establishment, from what I understand. Reagan got the backing of the same folks… by making Bush1st his veep, and by hiking spending through the roof. What tactics will help Rand? Among repub-primary-voters, Ron got ~10% support. We can grow that by converts, or by swelling the primary-turnout with folks that usually never vote in the primaries, or with lots of cash.

    Among general-election-voters, there might be ~20% base support, including many youth and independents. But unless we have lots of cash, from some major establishment-donors, the dems will defeat us handily, cf Goldwater. So, in order to win the general, either we need to convince some decent portion of major-estab-donors to give liberty a whirl, or we need to convince half the populace *without* the massive cash and media-exposure from such donors. Even if the latter approach is theoretically possible, can we do it by Dec 2015, in time to double or triple our Iowa votecount?

    I have my own thoughts on the answers here, some of which I’ve put forward above, others not yet. But I’d like to hear what you think is our best approach. We agree on the need to work within the repub party (as opposed to forming some new party from scratch). We have already accomplished a couple of live-ammo practice-runs, to alert some portion of the populace to the ideas we are after — Ron Paul 2008 and Ron Paul 2012 were pretty successful there, because 70% of youngsters want to audit the fed nowadays (as many as support medical marijuana and *far* more than support recreational marijuana). The combo means we have growing power within the party hiearchy, and with appeal to the tea-party folks that liked Cain this year, plus either the evangelicals who liked Santorum or the fiscally conservative half of the moderates for Mitt, we have a shot in 2016.

    Those things might even be enough that we can take it *easy* until 2015, and then win the potus nominee slot for Rand, via brokered convention… only to lose the general to Gillibrand/Schweitzer, whose identity-politics and moderate stances relative to Obama will drive massive dem turnout. We can avoid that sad outcome, perhaps, if we plan ahead. What plans appeal to you?