Green Room

Ron Paul revolution is well beyond the fringe

posted at 2:14 pm on May 27, 2012 by

After a lengthy analysis of the Ron Paul influence evident at the Minnesota GOP Convention May 18-19 in St. Cloud (“Libertarian surge remakes state GOP,” May 20), the burning question for the Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial Board was whether “a caucus-based political system that magnifies populist tides [and enabled Paul supporters to dominate the state convention] serves this state well.”

Couple that with a harsher Washington Post piece published in full online (“The party of Ron Paul?” May 24) — which labeled recently adopted planks in the Iowa Republican Party platform “wacky” and “nutty” and gleefully anticipated “a few highly visible fights” erupting over “Paulite positions in the national platform” — and it’s evident the Strib is a more than a little confused about what the Ron Paul revolution is all about.

Let me do what I can to clarify.

First, let’s understand what a “movement” or a “revolution” is. All movements — the Pat Robertson Republican coup in the 1980s, gay rights, women’s suffrage, civil rights and, yes, the Ron Paul movement — follow a common pattern.

Movements all begin at the margins with people who have little or nothing to lose. Unsuccessful movements never expand beyond the sloganeering fringe. Successful movements — those with an intellectual and moral basis — mature to attract a mainstream following.

The gay-rights movement is a great example. Shirtless hunks in leather tutus and motorcycling “Dykes on Bikes” are no longer the point of the gay-rights spear. It’s the gay lawyer/gay accountant, lesbian legislator/lesbian physician — same-sex couples with kids and fundamental concerns about faith, family and freedom — who are now the face of the movement.

Focusing commentary on the remnants of the gay-rights fringe is something the media would never do. But focusing on the fringe of the Ron Paul movement is exactly what the Strib and WaPo commentaries actually do.

Libertarians today are on that cusp between being all about the T-shirt and all about ideas. I was a libertarian before it was cool and a Republican when it wasn’t cool.

As a political force in the 1970s, libertarians had little to lose. They were the folks who couldn’t be Democrats because they believed their money was theirs to spend; but they couldn’t be Republicans because they wanted to spend it on drugs and prostitutes.

Times have changed.

Libertarians today are less about provocative issues and more about reversing the expanding scope of government. Government expansion is bad in itself, but the future consequences are worse: Without defined limits on government, our liberties, our American republic, are truly at risk.

But, says the Washington Post, Americans aren’t buying that argument. If it were, Ron Paul would get more than 15 percent of the primary vote.

The Strib offers its caucus-questioning advice to an implied majority of “voters who believe government remains a useful tool for improving people’s lives.” Unfortunately, that glass-half-empty perspective on the Ron Paul revolution misses a significant point.

In Ron Paul, you have a charisma-challenged old white guy who, without pandering or pushing prejudice, inspires young people with the always sexy message of monetary policy.

A viable presidential challenge built by sticking to principle, not telling people only what they want to hear, is a political story the Strib and the Washington Post would shout from the rooftops — if only the message were a message they wanted to hear.

The power of an idea, personal freedom, doesn’t lie in manufactured popularity.

What about that Paul-inspired “wacky,” “nutty” “constitutional fundamentalism” found in Republican Party platforms?

Sure, abolishing the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Reserve is not going to happen even under a President Paul. But a political party that seriously considers abolishing cabinet-level departments and unaccountable government entities is a political party that probably won’t advocate for a new cabinet-level “Department of the Internet” and is serious about monetary policy.

It’s a party that stands for something.

That brings us to the WaPo admonition that “Paulites” learn to compromise, lest, says the Strib, the philosophical gulf “that’s already proving difficult to bridge by those seeking to govern this state” grows even wider.

One does not compromise principle. It’s a cliché and a fallacy that, given two diametrically opposed points of view, the “truth” must necessarily lie somewhere in the middle.

The Republican problem is buying into the “compromise is good” argument and declaring victory for every move to the left that “could have been so much worse.”

Paulites won’t make that compromise.

Ron Paul delegates to the RNC will support the nominee. However, integral to that support is holding the candidate and the party to the fundamental principles of limited government and personal and economic freedom. Constancy to principle is the ultimate loyalty.

All that said, I urge our media friends to examine the default position that government is good and invite them to think for themselves. The Ron Paul revolution offers the media, the Republican Party and America that opportunity. Take it.


Craig Westover is a Republican activist and a Ron Paul delegate to the Republican National Convention. Follow him on Twitter: @CraigWestover and Facebook:

This article originally appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune May 26. 2012.


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I urge our media friends to examine the default position that government is good and invite them to think for themselves.

Won’t happen. The indoctrination from childhood on is too strong. And we are talking about a group of people who are over 90% big government liberals. Along the same lines, think anyone can convince many, if any, Chicago Democrats that government is not inherently good?

And as for the “friends” part, I consider the left-wing liberal media insidious enemies, as did Breitbart. For the most part they know exactly what they are doing. For an example, ask George Zimmerman. For them the ends justifies the means. They cannot be persuaded.

farsighted on May 27, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Hey, someone who gets it!

rndmusrnm on May 27, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Sorry, Craig but that’s just plain bull. The Paulbots are anti-Israel, pro-sharia, do you think we’re just plain fools here? We’ve seen and heard the Paulbots in action. What’s more, aside from the nut job Paulbots, there are a lot of leftists who signed up as republicans to vote for Paul and run as delegates, who will cast their delegate votes for Obama, if they make it to the end. Pull your delusional Paulbot head out of your backside and snap out of it. If you’d put your delusions ahead of preserving the US constitution and gamble our nation’s sovereignty on a whim, you’re not fit to cast a vote in the US, because you’re mentally unbalanced.

Ceolas on May 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM

It’s going to take a more “mainstream” messenger/leader to mainstream libertarianism. Sarah Palin and the message of the Tea party would are a better delivery method for the libertarian creed.

Jurisprudence on May 27, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Ceolas on May 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. You’re wasting yours.

Dante on May 27, 2012 at 6:12 PM

i don’t think many people from the GOP side have any problems with Pauls fiscal polcies, limiting govt for example, getting rid of various depts. The main issue, which you so coyly avoided is:

the rank anti-semitism
Israel hatred
moral equivalence in regards to Islamic terrorism i.e it must be Americas/the jews/zionist bankers fault that Islamists are so eager to blow things up and nothing to do with it’s expansionist ideology

Blanket Isolationim
leftist foreign policy indistinguishable from a group like code pink
9/11 thrutherism, pauls base was built upon this movement and he supported it.

Thats not to say many young people that are following Paul all come from this, a lot of them simply gloss over this stuff and listen to his fiscal ideas, but for decades, Pauls ideals were based upon the above principles, and many people are repulsed by it

golembythehudson on May 27, 2012 at 6:28 PM

golembythehudson on May 27, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Still peddling lies and untruths.

Dante on May 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Still peddling lies and untruths.

Dante on May 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM

well at least you’re not questioning my citizenship this time, lol

golembythehudson on May 27, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Very nicely done. There are a lot of Ron Paul folks, and many of his principles that will make outstanding additions to the party. I’d invite one to contrast the tone of the op-ed and a couple of supporters who have commented with the tone of a couple of the Paul-haters on this forum to decide who is really “unhinged”.

Are there loons among the Paulites? Absolutely– but having followed the movement for the past five years, I can tell you that they are far more marginal than they once were– and a great number of Paul supporters were the only ones keeping to many of the principles of limited government conservatism at a time when most of the Republican party had completely forgotten them.

Not only that, but in this election, Paul’s share of the under 45 Republican electorate was a multiple several X of what his overall vote was. He won that demographic is many states and always ranked highly– not just the “college kidz”, but young professionals in their 30s and 40s. Dismissing them means dismissing a large part of the Party’s future. If we want to build a durable Republican majority, we need to bring a lot of these folks in the tent– not all of them of course, but a lot of them. They will be among our most promising party activists and advocates in the future.

constitutionalconservative on May 27, 2012 at 7:15 PM

well at least you’re not questioning my citizenship this time, lol

golembythehudson on May 27, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Oh, but I do. It’s odd that you so often place another nation before this one, and have derision for people who aren’t citizens of that nation, expecting them to feel patriotism and loyalty to a nation that isn’t theirs. So are you an American citizen?

Dante on May 27, 2012 at 7:21 PM

golembythehudson on May 27, 2012 at 6:28 PM

He can’t be avoiding something that is a non-issue. If you have a clip of Paul saying something anti-semetic, not just something you disagree with, please post a link. You can’t so you resort to character attacks.

rndmusrnm on May 27, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Oh, but I do. It’s odd that you so often place another nation before this one, and have derision for people who aren’t citizens of that nation, expecting them to feel patriotism and loyalty to a nation that isn’t theirs. So are you an American citizen?

Dante on May 27, 2012 at 7:21 PM</blockquote

if this site wasn't moderated i'm sure you would be more graphic with your insinuation,as most paulbots are one other sites, as is, because i question your messiah, i must be some Isreali-firster/secret jooo who is playing Americans like a banjo so as to keep them under my thumb, lol, this is basically what i mean when i refer to Pauls base.

golembythehudson on May 27, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Abolishing the Federal Reserve actually shows that you aren’t serious about monetary policy.

And the so called fringe of the Ronulans are the ones in control. So-called normal people are the dupes, not the core.

JohnTant on May 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

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Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on May 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Paultards are just another cult, similar to Lyndon LaRouche nutjobs.

cicerone on May 28, 2012 at 11:28 AM