An Open Letter to Ron Paul
Recently by Justin Raimondo: George
Packer and the Unfathomable
A lot of my
readers are big fans of yours: on those rare but pungent occasions
when I have criticized you, I've gotten lots of "blowback"
in the comments section and in emails sent directly to my inbox.
Whenever I praised you, I've enjoyed a veritable avalanche of favorable
feedback. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with
non-libertarians who praise you to the skies. Many
people beyond the narrow confines of the libertarian movement are
watching your campaign with great interest, and rooting for you
especially those who are concerned about our foreign policy of
war. A lot of these people are not actually registered Republicans
although some have registered just to be able to vote for you
and that appears to be part of the problem.
youth vote in practically every contest, while losing among
the older set and among hardcore Republican voters. In short, the
demographic you do best in winning over is the least likely to be
able to vote in a closed Republican primary. I would estimate that
roughly two thirds to three quarters of your constituency is outside
the ranks of the GOP. In view of these realities, I have a question:
What is the
Yes, yes, I
know, the campaign is educating
people, building a movement, and it's necessary to take the
long view. Yet I also know I am not the only one wondering what
will happen in the short term.
There has been
a lot of speculation, not only among your friends and admirers,
but also in the media, about the prospect of a "deal."
This is not based on anything you have said or done: every public
statement coming directly from you has indicated quite the opposite.
Listening to what you actually
say in interviews, in response to questions about endorsing
Mitt Romney, leads one to conclude it's highly unlikely bordering
on downright impossible.
So what now?
Look, we don't
endorse candidates here at Antiwar.com, for a number of reasons,
but I can't ignore the many emails I've gotten from my readers,
who are wondering about the answer to that question.
It's been exciting,
even for a non-participant like me, to watch as you mobilize
cheering your call to dismantle the Empire and bring the troops
home. You were the voice of the
majority during the debates, calling for getting out of Afghanistan
immediately not in a year or two or three, not
on the generals' diktat, but now, with no conditions or
excuses. That's a major reason why you have inspired many people
to get involved who would never have considered supporting a Republican
candidate for any office, let alone President of the United States.
Yet, as the
primaries wind down, and Romney gets closer to his seemingly inevitable
victory, we are hearing, time
and again, that certain individuals high up in your campaign
are trying to make some sort of dubious deal. Business Insider
close to the campaign told Business Insider that, behind the scenes,
there have been ongoing discussions between the two campaigns that
appear to include, or at least be the precursor to, an eventual
deal. The courtship has been underway for a long time,' a source
who declined to be named, talking about internal campaign affairs
told Business Insider. They are smart enough to know that he [Paul]
can't win the nomination or get a Cabinet position
but Ron Paul
has to go somewhere.'"
I don't believe
this "source," Ron, not even for a minute: if there has
been a "courtship," it's been entirely one-sided, with
the Romneyites suffering from a bad case of unrequited love. Just
seeing the look on your face when asked by
Bob Schieffer about an endorsement is enough to convince me
of that not that I needed all that much convincing.
On the other
hand, the last sentence in the quote above is completely accurate:
after Tampa, you do have to go somewhere. And the movement you inspired
wants to know where you are taking them: is it only as far as Tampa,
or will you go all the way and launch a third party campaign?
have to be a math genius to know that it is going to be very hard
for us to get to Tampa with 1,144 delegates," says your campaign
manager, Jesse Benton. "Short of Dr. Paul being the nominee,
there would be a substantial price for us to throw our support behind
I don't know
what Benton considers "substantial," in this context,
but I can't imagine what the Romney camp could possibly offer you
in exchange for an endorsement, and neither can the Business
Insider: their piece lists a number of scenarios the promise
of a cabinet position for Rand Paul, a speaking slot in Tampa, concessions
on the party platform and then dismisses each and every one.
If I were 76
years old, I know I wouldn't be sprinting around the country making
speeches and tirelessly spreading the message of liberty: I'd be
sitting on my deck, taking it easy, watching somebody else cut my
lawn. But you're in much better shape than I am, and besides that
I can see you're clearly
yourself especially the crowds
of young people who cheer you wherever you go.
The fun doesn't
have to end in Tampa: if you decide to run an independent campaign
for the White House a strategy some of your supporters are already
urging on you your celebration of liberty and peace can continue
right on up until November, and beyond. Because a third party candidacy
will leave a legacy, a lasting monument to your campaign and the
movement it created: a viable third party alternative to the twin
parties of war
you getting as much as 17 percent of the vote in a three-way race
and those are just the starting numbers. It's a long way until
November, and a lot can happen: another
economic crash, another
war, another federal power
grab so egregious it makes the PATRIOT Act seem like a mild
and conservatives argue that a third party campaign on your part
would ensure President Obama's reelection, a scenario I don't think
is all that credible. If Romney loses it will be because most people
don't like him, don't trust him, and don't want him anywhere
near the Oval Office.
Yet even if
it's true your third party run would cost Romney the election, then
isn't it clear the Republicans deserve to lose? In the face of overwhelming
public opposition to their warmongering, the other three GOP presidential
contenders have relentlessly advocated escalating our overseas commitments:
all three have explicitly
to war with Iran. Far from listening to your
warnings about the dangers inherent in such a position, it's
clear they have nothing but contempt for your foreign
policy views. Nor have they made any significant concessions
on the domestic front: they're all big
and if they ever got into office they would continue along the same
In short, Republicans
need to be taught a lesson, one they will never forget. By disdaining
the substantial and growing libertarian wing of the GOP, and ignoring
the desire for peace on the part of the larger public, they have
earned nothing but defeat. You have said you are trying to save
the Republican party, but it's too late for that: what's needed
now is for someone to save the country from the GOP.
Yes, the Democrats
also pose a major
threat to liberty and peace, but the Republicans, I would argue,
pose a much deadlier menace because their leaders and much of their
base are unabashed militarists
and dogged opponents of the Constitution. When it comes to foreign
policy and civil liberties, the Obama administration is just as
bad if not worse, but the difference is rhetorical: the Republicans
openly proclaim their intent to continue and escalate our policy
of permanent warfare, and take great
pride in their willingness to throw the Bill of Rights overboard
in the name of an endless "war on terrorism." Obama, on
the other hand, is careful to sugar-coat his authoritarianism and
belligerent foreign policy in terms of "liberal" bromides
and appeals to "pragmatism."
The best thing
that could happen would be for the GOP to split, with your supporters
hiving off, leaving the GOP remnant to become a primarily southern-based
regional party. This is their future, in any event, in spite of
your energetic efforts to "save" them. Unfortunately
for them and for us they don't want to be saved.
at the Ron Paul web sites, of which there are several, and speaking
with a number of activists, I've encountered the following argument
against taking the third party route: the Paulians, they say, are
in this for the very long term. They mean to take over the GOP at
the local level, and eventually dominate it at the national level.
entry estimated it would take them 20 years or so to accomplish
years? By that time, if we aren't dead we'll be wishing we
were. If this country doesn't change course soon, in 20 years we'll
be bankrupt and well into our senescence as a nation a declining
empire beset on every front, with the last tattered remnants of
our Constitution thrown to the four winds. Indeed, we are almost
at that point right now.
Dr. Paul, I
know I speak for many of my readers when I say you have accomplished
what none of us thought was possible: you opened up the political
debate in this country, not only in the GOP but more generally.
Now you have the chance to take that achievement and build on it:
not by telling your supporters they have to wait 20 years or more
before they can hope to effect real change, but by forging ahead
and taking the next logical step in our long, harrowing, and yet
energizing journey to reclaim our country and our old republic.
radio interview with WMAL, you come pretty close to saying you
will consider going third party "when the votes are counted"
i.e. after the Tampa convention, at the end of August. Unfortunately,
the Libertarian party national convention is being held in
May. While running on the LP ticket is just one possibility,
it seems like the most viable. In spite of there being several declared
candidates, the LP nomination would be yours
for the asking but you have to ask for it. LP rules forbid
nominating a candidate who hasn't declared his intention to actively
seek the nomination.
The other viable
alternative is running for the "Americans
Elect" nomination. Yes, I know the whole "Americans
Elect" operation seems dubious on the face of it, but they
qualified for ballot status in 35 states and counting. The "Ron
Paul Draft" is already the top-vote getter in the Americans
Elect nomination process, which runs through early May, with more
than double the number of votes of the nearest competitor.
In fact, Americans
Elect does not require candidates to accept their nomination until
after they win their Internet primary (held in late June).
Throughout May and June, you can expect your supporters to campaign
for your nomination as the Americans Elect candidate, regardless
of what you do right now.
There is also the independent option, which means getting on the
ballot in all fifty states via petition, like Ross Perot did
but that seems prohibitively expensive.
Ron, I know
youre out there speaking to huge crowds 10,000
at UCLA, even as I write and how thrilled you must be
by this kind of reception. And I know youre remembering the
time when those crowds amounted to a few dozen, at most and
I imagine how gratified you must feel. Finally, the pro-peace pro-liberty
camp is making some progress but it doesnt have to
end in Tampa. Please consider carrying the banner of peace and liberty
all the way to November and beyond because the future of
the country, and the peace of the world, depends on it.
from Antiwar.com with permission.
Raimondo [send him mail]
is editorial director of Antiwar.com
and is the author of An
Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming
the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.
© 2012 Antiwar.com
Best of Justin Raimondo