It’s been an interesting world in the GOP presidential nominating process recently. Ron Paul admitted he won’t get the number of delegates to win the nomination, and though he hasn’t ended his campaign, his son, the Senator from Kentucky, has endorsed Mitt Romney.
This has evoked all sorts of emotional responses in the Republican camp. The Republican-no-matter-how-bad-he-is crowd has cheered the admitted defeat of the Paul campaign and is touting the Rand endorsement of Mitt Romney hoping the Paul supporters follow Rand and support Romney because, like it or not, they need the libertarian vote to beat Obama in November.
The Paul camp seems split on Rand’s endorsement of Romney. Some say he has left the liberty movement and betrayed the trust of those who put him in office. Others say he’s just playing the political game to avoid the “you weren’t with us in 2012″ cries when he runs for president in 2016 or 2020.
Jack Hunter takes the former position when he says Rand was right to endorse Romney. He makes the point that the goal is the advancement of the movement and that Rand’s endorsement is preparation for furthering the liberty movement in future years.
Taking the latter position, Tom Woods is concerned that Ron will undo much of what’s been accomplished in the liberty movement if he endorses Romney. He says Ron will ruin his legacy and will abandon his base if he endorses Romney.
So what will Ron do? That’s the question begging for an answer.
If Ron Paul’s delegates are able to influence the convention to the point that Mitt enthusiastically embraces libertarian ideals, maybe Ron could endorse him. The problem I imagine he’d have with that is that I’m not sure Romney can be trusted, but if Romney could convince Ron that he’s serious about some important issues, I could envision an Ron Paul endorsement of Romney.
The other scenario where Ron endorsing Romney seems feasible is when he looks to helping his son. But like Woods says in his video – and I agree completely – Rand will sink or swim on his own, so his dad’s assistance may not be as critical as some may think.
In the end, I would be shocked to see Ron Paul endorse Mitt Romney. Paul hasn’t compromised on anything – ever – and I can’t see him starting to compromise in this final chapter of his political career. Woods’ points on this are valid: the hope he has offered to so many people has been because of his consistency and abandoning that now would be a bad idea. This may mean he endorses no one, but I doubt he’ll put his name next to Romney’s.
So does that mean the Paul family will be split on this election? Yes, but don’t expect it to be bitter. By splitting like this, they accomplish much:
Rand avoids GOP blowback. They can’t say he wasn’t on their side when trying to get rid of Obama. It’s a team player move, and he can stand on his voting record to appeal to libertarians when it’s time to run for president.
Ron stays consistent. What is Ron Paul if he’s not consistent? Even people who don’t agree with him on issues can respect the consistency in his stance over the years. In this final stage of his political career, he can go out standing on principle like he’s done for so long.
The Pauls appeal to a wider audience. Ron keeps his base while Rand gets GOPers to say, “Well, maybe he’s worth listening to after all.” When Rand runs for president, he’ll get some more mainstream GOP appeal while still attracting his dad’s base. (He will still attract his dad’s base because of his voting record. They’ll easily look past the Romney endorsement when his voting record remains solid.)
In the end, the goal is to advance liberty. With Ron standing his ground while Rand plays the political game, they can advance the movement, which has been the goal of the Paul camp all along.