Whose libertarianism? ‘Gov. Gary’s’ or ‘Dr. No’s?’

Ron Paul presidential campaign spokesperson Jesse Benton said there is “no chance” that Paul will endorse the third party Libertarian run of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.  This is hardly surprising, as Paul and his followers have concentrated on systematically taking over the Republican Party from the ground up and pushing for changes to the GOP platform.  The political future of his son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also serves a kind of hostage for Ron Paul, ensuring that he can’t go too far off the reservation.

This does represent a real change.  After all, last time around in 2008, Ron Paul held an absurd press conference to encourage his voters to vote for any of four third party candidates, including such champions of liberty as Ralph Nader and famously Leftist former Georgia U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.  Later, Paul would move on and endorse only one candidate – Constitution Party presidential nominee (and vocal fundamentalist Christian minister) Chuck Baldwin.  Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr was not amused.

It’s the nature of political movements to compromise and temper their ideological extremes as they advance.  With his son a sitting U.S. Senator and his efforts to “Audit the Fed” gaining acceptance inside the Republican Party, the same forces that are allowing Ron Paul to make an impact within the party are also assimilating him.  The Paul campaign is now in the unenviable position of trying to control its own uncontrollable supporters.  Paul’s plan to take over the party cannot afford a repeat of the Arizona GOP convention, where the son of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Josh Romney was booed off the stage while he pleaded for party unity.  Like all revolutionaries who make their peace with the system, Paul now has to accomplish the difficult task of simultaneously reassuring the GOP that he can keep his followers under control, while still maintaining his credibility with the grassroots activists.  

His job is complicated by Gary Johnson securing the Libertarian nomination.  Johnson was one of the great “what-if’s” of the Republican primary, a successful and popular governor from a swing state that failed to catch on among the Republican base.  Johnson advocates can point to a deliberate effort to keep him out of the Republican debates, but there was something more elemental in his failure to catch on.  As indicated by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s spirited effort, Republican primary voters were looking for a fighter, someone who could appeal to their own sense of identity politics as victims of liberal elites and a hostile media.  Meanwhile, Gary Johnson was talking about legalizing pot, and such libertarian activists that did exist were already committed to Paul.

In contrast to Johnson’s libertarianism, Paul, aka “Dr. No,” comes out of a particular tradition of the American Right that is anti-UN, socially conservative, anti-immigration and linked to the kind of Buchananite populism that marshals the “peasants with pitchforks” against internationalist and anti-American elites.  While Paul has reinvented himself to appeal to his youthful base, there is still the occasional grumbling in some libertarian circles about his pro-life and mildly restrictionist immigration positions.  Johnson appeals more to cosmopolitan libertarians, emphasizing social tolerance, gay rights and open borders.

The Ron Paul generation is transforming the Republican Party, and the party needs to keep these dedicated activists within the fold if they want to remain competitive.  Ultimately, it may come down to Ron Paul himself.  Paul can no longer afford frivolous publicity stunts like those of 2008, but his cult following demands that he retain his independent reputation.  The most dangerous time for any revolution is the time of transition, and Paul will have to determine whether the liberty movement is part of the Republican coalition or an adversary, on the outside like Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.

The real question is once Ron Paul makes his choice, will his followers listen?

Comments

Comments

  1. Leinhard Sheydrick says:

    Ron Paul is too Right Wing. I think Mitt is much to far right for my voting tastes, but he appeals to me on a spiritual level.

Polititainment

Celebs gin up youth votes for midterms
THE HILL – With young voters more apathetic about voting and government than ever, several organizations are trying to woo the “selfie generation” to the polls this fall. “About half of those who vote in presidential elections do not vote in midterms,” explained Andy Bernstein, executive director of HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that partners with musicians […]
Maher to Cheney: light yourself on fire

As Hunter S. Thompson despised Richard Nixon with every drug-influenced fiber of his being, so Bill Maher carries on the torch for media provocateurs.

Colbert announces plan to defeat ISIS
President Barack Obama might not have a strategy for defeating ISIS in Syria, but never fear,  comedian Stephen Colbert has him covered. Colbert announced a unique plan Thursday night that involves raising Ronald Reagan from the grave, a captive radio audience and Monty Python-esque horse sound effects. “Remember in 1938 the radio broadcast of ‘War […]
Brand: ISIS better than conservatives
Actor Russell Brand took to Youtube Wednesday to compare terrorist group ISIS to conservatives, eventually coming to the conclusion that conservatives in power were worse than ISIS. Brand was recording yet another video aimed at attacking Fox News when he made the statements about ISIS. He was responding to Fox host Greg Gutfeld’s comments about Brand’s […]
Biden congratulates 'Veep' on Emmy win
From one Vice President to another… Vice President Joe Biden took to Twitter Tuesday to congratulate actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her Emmy win. Louis-Dreyfus snagged her third consecutive Outstanding Actress in a Comedy series win Monday for her portrayal of a fictional vice president on HBO’s “Veep.” Last year, the VP picked up the phone […]

White House

Obama: The world seems really messy because of ‘social media’

President Barack Obama, speaking at yet another fundraiser with a script that's been recycled more than a Hollywood romantic comedy, had an unlikely culprit for the world's problems.

White House scrambles to control the fallout from Obama’s ‘We don’t have a strategy yet’ comment
It’s hard to imagine that there was any other reaction than full panic from White House staffers after President Obama uttered a fateful gaffe Thursday afternoon, “We don’t have a strategy yet.” The line quickly exploded on Twitter and on television — though not quite as much as the president’s tan suit — as it […]
GOP: ‘He’s not a king’
THE HILL – Whether lamenting the so-called vacationer-in-chief’s swing of a golf club or criticizing his handling of the healthcare rollout, Republicans are getting in the habit of comparing President Obama to a monarch. “It’s one thing after another. You know he says he has no choice but to act. He says he has a pen […]
Obama’s Democratic fundraising just might ruin Labor Day weekend for the rest of us

Barely having returned from a 15-day vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama will spend is Labor Day weekend traveling to support his Democratic friends. The problem is, this means that Americans planning to take seaplanes to East Hampton, Montauk, Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket won't be able to travel themselves.

White House flirt Joe Biden turns on the charm for 108-year-old veteran Lucy Coffey

Joe Biden continues to brand himself the White House flirt. In a recently released video of Biden's July 25 meeting with Lucy Coffee, the vice president kisses the 108-year-old war veteran on the cheek and hand and tells her, "I'm the guy that loves you."

Congress

Cruz highlights issues for 2014, 2016 elections
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) elicited huge cheers from the audience at the Americans For Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream Summit” Saturday when he vowed Republicans would take back control of the U.S. Senate and “retire” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I’m convinced we’re going to win in 2014 and 2016 is going to be even better,” […]
IRS says Lerner's Blackberry 'destroyed'

A senior IRS lawyer has said in a sworn declaration that Lois Lerner's BlackBerry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun to investigate her involvement in IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Youth impact reason enough to pass jobs bills
The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means is in the midst of releasing 40 reasons over the course of 40 days that the Senate should take up the 40 jobs bills the House has already passed. While most of their reasons have focused on general unemployment and economic growth statistics, they turned their attention […]
UNEARTHED: Archival footage of Harry Reid smiling

From appearances, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid derives little pleasure from his job, perhaps a deputy to the paragon of joylessness. But Red Alert Politics has dug into the archives to demonstrate that it wasn't always like this.

Rubio: Obama action would kill immigration reform
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is urging President Barack Obama to forego taking executive action on immigration, warning that would kill any chance for comprehensive immigration reform. “If indeed you move forward on such a decision, I believe it will close the door to any chance of making progress on immigration reform for the foreseeable future,” […]