Robin Koerner on Blue Republicans and Why Ron Paul Remains the Hope
for the US's Future
by Anthony Wile
The Daily Bell
by Anthony Wile: Thomas
H. Naylor on Leviathan, Secession and Vermont's Small Nation Dream
Robin Koerner is an influential political journalist who coined
the term "Blue Republican." He also runs WatchingAmerica.com,
a volunteer force some 400 strong that finds and translates news
and views about the USA from all over the world. This interview
was conducted prior to the announcement that Congressman and Presidential
Candidate Ron Paul (whom Koerner backs) would not further contest
various states in the Republican primary. However, Ron Paul has
not given any indication he is actually dropping out of the race
and Koerner's statements below thus stand as stated (unless Ron
Paul issues further clarifications) without need of further clarification.
Give us some background on yourself.
I am in my mid-30s and born in south of England. I studied physics
and philosophy at Peterhouse, Cambridge University and have traveled
quite extensively. Im now a permanent resident of the USA
(living in Seattle), with the intention of becoming a citizen. I
am also the founder and publisher of Watching America.com and probably
best known in the USA today for coining the expression "Blue
Republican" to refer to those former non-Republicans of more
liberal sensibility who are switching to the Republican party specifically
to support Ron Paul.
When did you decide to get involved as an alternative media political
I have been writing on and off for a few years, after I founded
www.WatchingAmerica.com, but was not very motivated because I didn't
feel that my writing was making much of a difference... Then about
a year ago I was invited to write on the Huffington Post and I thought
that I should give writing a serious go to see if I could do any
good. In particular, I thought HuffPo offered a great opportunity
to provide an alternative account of US politics to liberals. I
soon found that many thousands of people were following and sharing
my articles. Feeling I was indeed making a useful contribution to
the American political scene, I committed myself more firmly to
writing, and I've been fortunate enough to have enjoyed significant
Why did you develop the Blue Republican nomenclature specifically?
The reasons are in the article that set it off, called "If
You Love Peace, Become a Blue Republican (Just for a Year)."
Is it a feasible idea?
Yes. The free market of ideas decided within a few days that "Blue
Republican" had legs. (The article was shared over 11,000 times
within a couple of days on Facebook alone.) It seems that thousands
of Americans have gotten the sense that Left and Right are equally
responsible for the mess we're in and that the Democrats are not
standing up for true liberal values (civil rights, peace over war,
They also feel
that Obama has been Bush-plus in most of these areas, so there is
great disappointment among some Democrats and Independents. I articulated
that perception and gave it a name. And I provided a suggestion
as to how to be true to liberal principles in the USA today
by supporting Ron Paul.
Republican" label gives a political identity to those who have
never identified Republican but will put principle over party to
support Paul. "Blue Republican" is almost at the status
of a meme now, as a term used by various political media. That is
the ultimate indicator of its feasibility. Special thanks to Zak
Carter for helping us get media attention and to Israel Anderson
for being the first to person to contact me (on the day my Blue
Republican article came out) to identify that I probably had a political
movement on my hands and for helping to make that so on Day 1!
More about what you think of Ron Paul
So much to say. So many of my articles on HuffPo and elsewhere cover
this. Specifically, please see these articles (all of which can
be found in my blog entries at Huffingtonpost.com/robin-koerner):
- Ron Paul
Republicans": An Idea Whose Time Has Come
- If You Love
Peace, Become a "Blue Republican" (Just for a Year)
- Ron Paul,
Conservative Champion of Liberalism
- Ron Paul
and the Love Revolution of 2012
- A Legal
Immigrant's Take on Illegal Immigration
Do No Harm": Constitutional and Conservative
Is Paul a consistent civil libertarian?
There are some purist libertarians who might disagree on fine points
but I would say that Paul is as consistent a civil libertarian as
any active politician in either the USA or the UK, the country of
my birth. So to all intents and purposes, yes he is.
What do you think of Rand Paul, his son?
I like him a lot. He is perhaps more of a polished politician than
his dad. More importantly, he has all the right views and principles
of his father, as far as I can tell. I think many people have been
delighted by his sometimes stand-alone vocal and active opposition
to some of the most anti-civil-rights and anti-constitutional laws
that Congress has tried to foist on us since his election as Kentucky
senator. I hope Rand's star rises high and fast.
Will Paul win the election?
Who knows? If he does, it will be because of the paradigm shift
that is underway in the USA. (See "Ron
Paul Can Win" and Paradigm
Lost: Why the rEVOLution Has Not Been Televised.) The more the
GOP reacts with panic to Ron Paul's success, the more likely it
looks. We're not at an even chance yet but his chances are increasing
daily because of the zeitgeist of the country and the accumulated
impact of the work of his supporters.
who support Ron Paul are beyond a political movement now. They are
more like a cultural phenomenon. If Paul wins the Republican nomination,
he will almost certainly win the presidential election. If he gets
that nomination, it will be because some non-linear change or unpredicted
event that changes the political calculus that shows Romney for
what he is, on the one hand, and Paul for what he is, on the other
in other words, it will be because of some creative chaos
and that is always very possible.
Is there a Democratic Republican dialectic? Are the Dems generally
better than the Republicans?
The most important thing to know is that the Dems and Repubs are
the same where it matters (civil rights, war and peace, crony-corporatism,
selling out to special interests).
of the two mainstream parties and their politicians mostly intersect,
so I often refer often to the "Republicrats." It so happens
that the momentum to get the country's political thinking out of
the Republicrat box is inspired by a Republican, so for that reason
alone, I say the Republicans are better right now than the Democrats.
More generally, the pro-liberty movements is definitely reshaping
the Republican party now from the inside. That movement has not
begun in the Democratic party BUT I have recently been contacted
by the campaign for a gentleman who is running for Congress as a
Democrat, who also believes that we need a new, post-partisan paradigm
that emphasizes many of the issues that we're emphasizing as Blue
Republicans, and that Ron Paul emphasizes.
I may well
endorse him "officially." There is every possibility that
Dems who wish to stay inside the Democratic Party will wake up to
the message of Ron Paul especially when they see that so
many people who espouse liberal values are being lost to the liberty
movement which is currently associated with the Republican
Why was Bush elected to second term?
Short question with long and complicated answer. Suffice to say
that Senator Kerry did not sufficiently inspire the country to transcend
the fear that was driving (and absolutely continues to drive) American
politics. We are living in a decade of the politics of fear. Bush
had a strong hold of the old-style neocon, religious right base.
Americans hadn't sufficiently tired of the wars and didn't understand
the negative (i.e., dangerous) consequences of the Bush neocon foreign
policy. (Many still don't but a large number have now started to
How would you characterize his reign?
"Reign"?! My gut tells me he was well meaning. But I think
he was misguided. He contributed massively to turning a confident
and admired nation into a scared and disliked one. We shall be paying
for it for a long time unless we do something dramatic (like vote
for Ron Paul in huge numbers).
Has Obama brought any hope and change? If not, why not?
He has brought us the extension of the Patriot Act. He has brought
us the National Defense Authorization Act. Obamacare was a huge
opportunity missed, in my opinion, exposing the continued fettering
of the government by large corporate interests... and I have huge
issues with the constitutionality of it. (Of course, the Patriot
Act and the NDAA are completely at odds with the Bill of Rights.)
So while we can point to some things he deserves credit for, there's
been no change in the areas in which I most hoped we would see change.
Was he steered the wrong way?
Steered by whom? His advisors? He is responsible for picking them.
Is he a genuinely good man?
I cannot say he is a bad man. And I can't say he is a better man
than any other. But I've no reason to believe he is deliberately
trying to do harm. I am always very wary of trying to pass moral
judgment on those who say or do things one disagrees with.
I suspect he
is doing the best he can given his view of the world, and I think
his view is deeply flawed especially in the fact that he
doesn't understand the Blue Republican message that traditionally
progressive means have been shown in many cases to be hopeless at
delivering on their stated goals and liberal intentions.
Is he American born and raised?
I'm not much interested in the birther debate. I'll extend him the
same courtesy I extend to anyone else I don't know and take him
at his word in the absence of conclusive evidence.
Why has he blocked access to all or almost all of his personal records?
I don't know enough about that to comment.
Whom does Obama really work for?
What do you mean by "who" and "work for"? The
US government writes his paycheck. Are you asking about his motivations?
If so, see my earlier answer.
Does he work for the military-industrial complex?
Again, what do you mean by "work for"? I don't think Military
Industrial Inc. is paying him in brown envelopes but I think that
our system is now such that it would take a huge and very concerted
change from the top to alter things so that large-scale government
action and policy no longer favored that complex. Govt and MIC interests
are so intertwined, and in many respects, overwhelming.
Is there a power elite that wants to take over the world?
Depending on how you define it, there is a power elite that to a
large extent already runs the world... But they don't run it so
effectively that we couldn't stop them. If they run it, it is because
we let them. Most of us let them because we are too busy "getting
on with our lives" actually to understand how things really
Why is America in so many wars?
To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. America's
hammer is its military. There is also a dangerous self-righteousness
in American foreign policy that operates between arrogance and naivete,
i.e., American decisions to go to war are based on an assumption
that the policy-makers know more of what they need to know than
they in fact do ... and on the idea that because their intentions
are good, the methods they use cannot be bad. Moreover, as per your
earlier questions, it appears that special interests associated
with the MIC have an incentive (and the political and economic means)
to nudge policy in a certain direction.
Is there ever a good war?
Are politics salvageable in the US?
Yes. I'm working on it. If I believed all was lost, I wouldn't do
what I am doing. There seems to me to be more hope for salvage in
the USA than in Europe.
What is necessary to save US politics?
My articles all address this question in one way or another. Fundamentally,
though, we need to start seeing what Dems and Repubs have both done
what they tacitly agree on. We must no longer be distracted
by what they traditionally disagree about, i.e., we must have the
paradigm shift to understand that "Left and Right" do
not cover all political space, and that they are not fundamentally
"oppositional." (In other words, the terms "left"
and "right" are themselves misleading.)
I would like
to see the American nation give more of the "How dare you?"
attitude to their political masters. We have begun to see some of
that sentiment with the tea party and OWS. Now Americans need to
do their own research to find out what is being done to them in
terms of reduced civil liberties and a system that redistributes
destructively (at least as much upward as downward).
is a liberty-oriented spirit in the USA that does not exist in Europe.
We need it to continue to strengthen. Then we need America (both
people who identify "liberal" and those who identify "conservative")
to recognize that the Constitution is sublime and then demand
that it is followed. That may mean taking to the streets, etc. The
currently burgeoning liberty movement will, of course, be critical.
It needs to stay energetic, focused and passionate, and must take
care to remember that it is impossible simultaneously to antagonize
and persuade: It needs to focus on winning supporters not
Is government necessary? Are laws necessary? What kind?
I am not a purist in politics. Politics is a rather pragmatic undertaking
for me. All I know is that constitutional government would be infinitely
better than what we have now. I want us to go back to that conception
of government provided by the Founders.
in that practical change. These two questions are more philosophical
to me and I don't have a position on them. (For one thing, I've
not done all the reading I would need to do even to be confident
in an answer). But I don't feel I need to answer them. I'm not trying
to be the poster child for anarchists! I'm pointing out that we
need the country to change direction drastically and immediately.
Should government pay for poor people?
My answer is here: "America's
Not Faring Well on Welfare."
All the data
show that the delivery of welfare by the central government has
failed by its own stated goals, and is having massively damaging
unintended consequences that ultimately harm those it is meant to
help. Please see the article. This is not the same thing as saying
there is no place for structured means of helping the poor in our
society. It is to say that a) we should treat the disease (crony-corporatism,
the capture of politics by special interests, a government monopolistic
fiat monetary system) and not just the symptoms (poverty etc.) and
b) there are a myriad other ways of manifesting compassion for the
poor in our society other than federal government-driven, and it
is time to bring the innovativeness and genius that resides in our
nation to start working on them. A good place to start is with the
Tenth Amendment and the laboratories of the 50 states.
Do we need to change the US money system?
Should the US get rid of the Federal Reserve?
Ultimately, the Fed-based system has to be uprooted. It ensures
a systematic transfer of wealth/value and power to a tiny segment
of our society, and ensures that no economic limitations are imposed
on our government and its spending. It also provides an avenue for
the making of huge political decisions that the citizens
and even in some cases their representatives cannot see.
Moreover, I believe in the rule of Law, and that Law includes the
Constitution, and I just don't see how our monetary system altogether
(Fed monopoly over fiat, etc.) is constitutional. I realize that
it's not a simple matter to eliminate the Fed overnight in a world
in which other nations have central banks and monopoly control of
fiat money. Other things (other than simple abolition) would have
to be done to reap the benefits of a non-central-bank-planned monetary
system. Ron Paul seems to recognize this.
Is it necessary to have a standing army in the US?
I've not given much thought to that, so I'll say "I don't know"
Are the powers that be in some sense getting ready for a kind of
martial law if they cannot sustain the present system?
It is looking more like that every day. The idea that the government
is the servant of the people has clearly gone from government. Government
is scared. Like every other institution, it will do what it needs
to do to protect its own existence. It has the monopoly of force
and it would almost be surprising if it did not gear up to use that
force when threatened.
Why did Homeland Security order 400 million hollow-point bullets?
I don't know, but it doesn't look good, does it? In the absence
of any other information, it seems like they're expecting something
and they're preparing for it. Perhaps there is to be an event in
the near future that will cause significant societal unrest/chaos.
If so, one's first guess has to be that it will be an economic event
... or perhaps the revelation of something that will reflect badly
on our masters that is currently unknown but can't be kept secret
indefinitely. Perhaps they're signing up to something internationally
that the American people are going to resist. These are all speculations,
of course. Perhaps someone in Homeland Security just owns a ton
of shares in a company that makes the bullets!
Can Ron Paul become the GOP candidate for president?
This is really the same question as "Can Ron Paul become president?",
because if he gets the GOP nomination, he is almost certain to win.
The reason it could happen is that unprecedented things are happening
in the GOP because of the passion, clarity and (most importantly)
directedness of action that is in the liberty movement.
consequences of the creative chaos that is happening in the Republican
party cannot be predicted. In particular, if the party establishment
behaves in a way that is clearly dishonest and seeks to disenfranchise
Ron Paul's supporters (and we are seeing multiple indications of
this), we will attract sympathy and credibility and then all bets
are off in our favor. Basically, is a Ron Paul win likely
today? No. Is it possible? Yes very possible ... because
the changes that are occurring in, and coming to, the GOP (and the
country) are highly "non-linear".
Will Mitt Romney be the candidate?
Not if Ron Paul is! I am so convinced about the danger of extrapolating
events linearly and simplistically that I absolutely do not believe
that Romney has it in the bag.
What is necessary to make Ron Paul the candidate?
Continued relentless work by his supporters, and (most likely) an
unpredictable turn of events that will probably involve the GOP's
doing something stupid to try to retard the rise of Paul and then
getting found out. Since Romney is completely (and rightly) identified
with the mainstream of the GOP and the party hacks, any such error
by the party could do Romney enough damage that Paul becomes clearly
the most credible candidate. This is absolutely possible (and getting
more so by the day).
all these things, even now the delegate math is changing. Ron's
delegate count is building and it may reach a point that
suffices to make it so clear that the required depth and breadth
of support for Romney in the GOP (let alone the country) are not
there that the party, out of sheer self-interest, changes its mind
about him, opening the way for anyone else. In that case, Ron Paul
will, of course, be the overwhelming favorite.
supporters are simply not going to just fall in line behind Romney.
It is clear to me that the GOP stands more of a chance of victory
with Paul than with Romney, and with a little gestalt switch, that
could become clear to the party as well. It is possible that the
brute fact that a Romney candidacy would result in the loss of the
most energetic and passionate chunk of his party (the liberty movement
around Ron Paul), and that he can't pull in the Independent vote
like Ron Paul, who wins that segment against Obama overwhelmingly,
causes the party actually to do the math and so support Ron Paul
out of sheer pragmatism. (See my article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-koerner/how-ron-paul-can-win-on-a_b_1098770.html).
see this now, but when they see the faces of all those hundreds
of delegates in the convention hall in Tampa whom they know will
be gone if they insist on their anointed candidate, who would bet
their life that they wouldn't have a tinge of doubt?
Ron Paul can win the nomination precisely because no one knows,
in the face of all the unusual variables in the process this time,
what is possible. Our lack of ability to predict the future is in
our favor. Again, I don't expect Ron Paul's victory, but it wouldn't
surprise me at all.
Is the Internet important?
Hugely. Without it, we would not be talking about Ron Paul in the
way that we are here.
Is the Internet the hope for the future of independent people or
is it another facility that will soon be controlled?
Probably both. On the one hand, it empowers independent citizens,
but on the other, huge, current economic interests are threatened
by it, making attempts to control it all the more likely severe.
We are already seeing that with bills like CISPA, etc.
Where do you go from here?
Blue Republican will be pushing the post-partisan, pro-liberty,
pro-Constitution philosophy that I am currently articulatingwell
beyond 2012, regardless of what happens in the election. I have
found that the USA is hungry for a new non-Left, non-Right account
of American politics.
I will continue
to provide it in a way that makes clear to those in the middle and
on the left why liberty and the Constitution are their best friends
in the achievement of their principles of "economic and social
justice." I will be pointing out that liberal ends have not
been well served by traditionally Liberal means and certainly
not by statist means and I will be offering suggestions about
what we should do about that. I guess, generally, this all comes
under the rubric of opening the American political mind.
You may also
see the "Blue Republican" brand attached to products and
even candidates. I would be very happy to find candidates of any
political stripe that we can get behind.
Any other comments you want to make?
We've covered a good amount here already.
Any books or websites you want to recommend?
My sites are BlueRepublican.org,
All my articles
are at huffingtonpost.com/robin-koerner.
As for books
and websites, my current list of each would run to the many dozens,
so I necessarily feel I'm misdirecting if I only mention a few.
The first thing
everyone needs to read is the Constitution!
also read Bastiat's The
Law and Hayek's Road
to Serfdom. Then go and read Daniel Hannan's The
New Road to Serfdom, which is about the current state and
direction of the USA.
I think political progress in the USA depends on people's opening
their own minds ... and realizing how little they and everyone
else really know. To that end, go have some fun with the
likes of Nassim Taleb's Fooled by Randomness and similar. Most of
all, make sure that you don't only read stuff by people you already
know you agree with!
Thanks and good luck.
with permission from The
Wile is an author, columnist, media commentator and entrepreneur
focused on developing projects that promote the general advancement
of free-market thinking concepts. He is the chief editor of the
popular free-market oriented news site, TheDailyBell.com.
Mr. Wile is the Executive Director of The Foundation for the Advancement
of Free-Market Thinking – a non-profit Liechtenstein-based foundation.
His most popular book, High
Alert, is now in its third edition and available in several
languages. Other notable books written by Mr. Wile include The
Liberation of Flockhead (2002) and The Value of Gold (2002).
© 2012 The
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