There is some infighting within the Ron Paul movement.
Ron Paul is not going to be the GOP nominee for 2012. He will not be on the ballot in November. So what should his supporters do next, to further the cause of liberty?
The loudest camp is the one calling on people to leave the Republican Party and support Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for President. This is understandable. Ron Paul was the LP candidate for President in 1988. His message and policies are somewhat in line with the LP platform. As a former Libertarian candidate myself, I’m sympathetic with the idea.
But it’s not the best choice – not for me, not for the movement, and not for our country.
Ron Paul started blazing a path through a dark wilderness. He walked a long and lonely trail for many years. The video below shows the movement beginning to catch fire, and tracks some of the progress.
That path is through the Republican Party. Thanks to Ron Paul and other leaders within the movement, we have made progress within the GOP. The most obvious example is the presidential primaries. In 2008 Paul did reasonably well in a few states, but was mostly an afterthought. He did much better in 2012, including second place in New Hampshire and a number of other states.
The presidential campaign was important for the movement, but there are other areas of progress that will carry more weight in history. We have elected a number of Paulist candidates. Most notable is his son, Rand Paul, elected to the Senate from Kentucky in 2010. Others include Utah Senator Mike Lee, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, and there are more.
On the policy front, Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill passed the House of Representatives by a large margin with bipartisan support. Paul has been talking about the Federal Reserve since the 1970s. This battle continues in the Senate, going on right now. Rand Paul spoke about it at the RNC. He went further and talked about auditing the Pentagon.
Another big issue is the national debt. Ron Paul got people talking about it. The Tea Party movement took it up. This created a massive problem for congressional insiders when Tea Party Republicans in Congress resisted increases in the debt ceiling. As a result of that resistance, the federal government now faces the fiscal cliff, another example of winning other elections is so important.
At the local and grassroots level, another key battle is about influence within state and county GOP organizations. We are making great progress here, especially in Iowa, Nevada, Maine, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The most notable figure here may be A. J. Spiker, the Iowa GOP State Chair. Looking forward to 2016, that kind of influence in a key early state could be critical in the next presidential race.
All of this progress is being made through the GOP, not outside of it.
The problem with Johnson’s campaign is that it’s a distraction. Johnson shows little interest in the Fed. Here’s a picture of his list of top issues from his campaign website:
The Federal Reserve is not mentioned at all. Nor does Johnson talk about the Constitution, or States’ rights, which are central to the Tea Party movement as a whole and to Ron Paul’s message over the past 40 years.
Looking at this with a cynical (or perhaps conspiratorial) eye, the purpose of the Johnson campaign is to damage and divide the Ron Paul movement. That would explain why the campaign relies on a long-time GOP insider who brags about his work for Richard Nixon. That’s the same Richard Nixon whose destructive monetary policy motivated Ron Paul to get involved in politics.
And that would also explain why the Johnson campaign has been attacking Paulist leaders like Rand Paul and Jesse Benton. Here’s Gary Johnson calling Rand Paul a “sellout.”
Attacking each other does not help the movement.
GOP insiders are scared of us. They are statists. They believe in big government and crony capitalism. They love to waste our money, especially when they give it to their buddies. The Ron Paul movement within the GOP is the single biggest threat to the gravy train the statists have been living off of for decades.
The Libertarian Party is mostly composed of good people. But the simple truth is that the LP has no influence over policy at any level of government. It is more dysfunctional than the two major parties, and that’s saying a lot. That’s because leading libertarians is like herding cats. Which is an excuse for a funny video:
Gary Johnson is not the right person to lead a movement inspired by Ron Paul. He is not a libertarian – he’s a statist who likes marijuana. He does not care about the Constitution or the Federal Reserve. He believes in an interventionist foreign policy.
The obvious leader for the Ron Paul movement going forward is Ron Paul himself. And next in line is the man who spent more time with him than anyone else, his son. Rand Paul is focused on the issues that matter to the movement, and he’s actually doing something about it in the Senate. Here’s Rand speaking at the Republican National Convention about issues at the core of the movement.
When someone tells you that the way forward for the Ron Paul movement is to leave the GOP, keep in mind that this is exactly what the GOP insiders want. They want us out of the GOP. Tio Rio said this well on the Daily Paul. Or listen to Julie Borowski:
If it makes you feel better to vote for Gary Johnson in November, or to write in Ron Paul, that’s just fine. But don’t leave the GOP. Think Costanza – Do the opposite. Get more involved in your local Republican Party. Join your county committee. Support Paulist candidates in 2012 and 2014. And get ready for 2016. We will have a candidate, and he or she will need your help.