Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Friday he would be honored to join the Republican ticket as the vice presidential nominee, just one day after he endorsed Mitt Romney’s campaign.
“A year, year and a half ago, I was a physician in a small town, and it would be a great honor to be considered as a vice president for the Republican Party,” Paul told CNN. “I think that would be something that anybody who said otherwise would not be being truthful.”
But the first term senator said he had not discussed joining the ticket with Romney, whose vice presidential search is already underway.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney last night is igniting a fury of rage from his father’s hardcore fan base. In a sort of libertarian version of Bob Dylan going electric (ask your parents), the Kentucky senator’s enthusiastic endorsement of Romney has Ron Paul forums fuming with cries of “Judas” and “Benedict Arnold.”
“Rand is dead to me,” wrote, Ruffusthedog at the Daily Paul, a heavily-visited pro-Paul website. “He should have never done this.” “Rand Paul is a sell out,” user Alxnz exclaimed. “He just lost my vote in 2016.” “All he had to do was not open his mouth,” wrote user Conalmc. Others even took their anger out on Ron Paul himself. “What will it be Old Man Ron? Will you be forever remembered as the leader in the greatest liberty movement since 1776, or will you go down as Benedict Arnold incarnate,” threatened lionsuar7788. “We will never vote for Romney or your flimsy son.”…
On both forums, the tide of incredulous—and highly personal—comments continued ad nauseam. With Ron Paul’s diehard supporters being one of his most formidable assets, especially when it comes to winning straw polls or online money bomb fundraisers, you’ve got to wonder if Rand Paul risks jeopardizing the family brand.
[W]hile Paul is a helpful validator for Romney, endorsing Romney also gives Paul a level of mainstream credibility he lacked during his 2010 Senate campaign. It shows he’s willing to be a team player when it counts, and puts him on the safe side of any speculation over a third-party libertarian push.
And that could be crucially important or Paul if he decides to seek the White House himself in 2016 or beyond – as any number of operatives believe he hopes to do.
“Rand’s endorsement of GOP nominee Mitt Romney clearly shows that in spite of those who try to marginalize him, he has keen set of political instincts and is very much aware that a successful national run will require more than just his father’s loyal following,” said one Republican strategist close to Paul-world.
[N]o true libertarian, no true friend of liberty, and no true blue Tea Partier could possibly even consider, much less actually endorse or approve of, the Father of Obamacare, Big Government tax and spender, Republican Mitt Romney.
Especially the son of Ron Paul, who has no excuse.
Especially a medical doctor, who has even fewer excuses…
Vote Libertarian – the only political party that embraces the same core value as Dr. Ron Paul: Liberty!
Rand has never been the devout libertarian that his father is. He is certainly a libertarian-leaning Republican, and while he can often be a good ally to libertarians in the Senate, he is still first and foremost a Republican. And as a Senator he has much less latitude to diverge from the party line and needs other Senators to cooperate with him.
Because of this, the chances of him endorsing Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson were somewhere around one in one billion. While such an endorsement would make many libertarians happy, it would end his life as a Republican. It would mean that he would have no party support whatsoever come re-election time. It would alienate him from the party and mean he would get nothing accomplished in the Senate…
So while it may seem offensive that a liberty-minded person would endorse a candidate who supports such awful things as the PATRIOT Act and NDAA, it actually makes a lot of sense. I’d even go so far as to say it may be a price worth paying. If the endorsement solidifies Republican support and earns him points with the party establishment, it means he could have more freedom to chart his own course in the Senate.
As we have seen over the last few months, the Paul forces have the very real ability to not only disrupt the choosing of delegates to the Republican National Convention but also influence (and change) the leadership at various state parties around the country.
Does Rand Paul endorsing Romney mean that the Paul acolytes will immediately cease and desist in their efforts to have their views heard? No. But more so than most people who support a politician, the Paul folks listen to Ron/Rand and follow their wishes.
Rand’s endorsement then — when coupled with Ron’s email to supporters earlier this week urging politeness at the national convention — are a net win for Romney because they virtually ensure that there won’t be a genuine insurrection led by supporters of Paul at the convention. (Expect Romney to give Rand/Ron speaking slots at the convention too in hopes of throwing a sop to the Paul acolytes and push the theme of inclusion and big-tented-ness.)
At the Texas GOP Convention, Ron Paul addressed the issue that frustrates many people (including me) who like and respect him personally: the vocal, unbending supporters who were/are unwilling to accept any outcome other than Dr. Paul in the White House…
On the first day of the largest state convention in calendar year 2012, he told his supporters that upon arriving in Tampa for the Republican National Convention, they were to “be respectful.”…
The bottom line is that Dr. Paul and his son do not appear to be trying to blow up the Republican Party. They seem to realize that they have a better chance of advancing their goals in the long run by working within the system. For all the talk about being revolutionaries, Dr. Paul wants to see his movement become mainstream.
This has always been where Dr. Paul diverges from his most hard-core supporters. They often want an all-or-nothing approach, leaving them marginalized. Dr. Paul is willing to take what he can get now and come back for the rest later. This is not “selling out.” This is “pragmatism,” which does not have to be a dirty word.
I realize it’s frustrating to hear Sen. Rand Paul endorse someone besides his father — especially a corporatist empty suit who flirts with Keynesianism and who shepherded key aspects of Obamacare into existence as governor of Massachusetts. But before you pounce, renounce and otherwise burn all the bridges, consider that the revolution can be evolutionary…
If that involves making nice with Mitt Romney, so be it. Let’s not let our zeal blind us to the “adjacent possible.” In other words, don’t bulldoze the inroads you’ve made out of impatience or cynicism. You have moved the trenches forward. And having a strong liberty contingent close to any president means that president has a conscience speaking directly into his ear every single day…
There is a very strong argument to be made for letting the body politic bleed longer. That is, one could distance oneself from Romney, hoping he loses to the abysmal Obama in 2012. Then Rand Paul could run in 2016 with the support of both mainstream Republicans and Ron Paul revolutionaries. This is a fine idea except for the bleeding. That is: How much more can the Republic take of a Barack Obama administration? I know, I know. Obama and Romney are little different from your perspective. But consider that a Romney administration that includes Paul’s people — plus a well-composed Congress — could result in something really different from the rapid decline Obama is presiding over. Wishful thinking? No more so than counting on the stars aligning for a Rand Paul revolution four years from now.
If the movement is about Ron Paul, then it never had a future. It was born terminally defective. If it’s about ideas and ideals, it will never die. The only Party in which it has a chance to thrive, though, is the GOP, and the GOP must nurture at least some of Paul’s ideals if it is to have any useful existence of its own…
Whether or not Paul’s supporters can vote for Romney, they have to find a way to remain within the GOP even if Romney is the candidate. If they leave, they’ll find it hard to impossible to get back in, and if they don’t get back in, they’ll have to find a third-party home. That’s the path to complete irrelevance. They don’t have to like or vote for Romney, but they need to get more of their people in statehouses and Congress, and the easiest way to do that will be as Republicans.
If they don’t find a way to square that circle, they’ll be a historical footnote, and America will be the worse for it. They might start by not spitting on Rand.