The writing is on the wall.
Republicans had a chance to offer up real political change by nominating Ron Paul 2012 as a response to Barack Obama 2008. Disinterested in whatever flaccid alternative is now available, America is destined for another four years of the Obama administration.
Quite aware of how all of this is likely to play out, Senator Rand Paul is waiting patiently. Observers close to Paul see his speaking schedule filling up as the national elections near, his pro-liberty voice is in demand.
Sunday, September 9, a New York City-based group known as Liberty HQ will be having Paul speak and sign books. The same organizers had Ron Paul sign books on April 26, 2011, in New York City in a similar event. Three weeks later, Ron Paul was officially running for president.
Bringing Liberty to New Audiences
I don't expect Rand Paul to officially announce a 2016 run anytime soon, but I do expect he will spend much of the time between now and November in pro-Mitt Romney environments speaking about pro-liberty values – something Mitt Romney himself isn’t too good at doing. Rand Paul endorsing Mitt Romney provides an opportunity to introduce the message of liberty to new audiences.
For example, a week ago, Rand Paul was doing what Ron Paul wouldn't do. He endorsed Mitt Romney from the tribune of the RNC. In what was an otherwise well-presented, pro-liberty speech, Rand Paul got to the name Mitt Romney and spoke sheepishly for the first time in the speech. Of course, that's because on the inside Rand Paul knows how incongruent an endorsement of Mitt Romney is with the message of liberty.
Rand Paul did something similar on June 7, 2012 when he appeared on "Hannity" to endorse Mitt Romney on the eve of the Kentucky Republican Convention. He spoke the name "Mitt Romney" sheepishly then too.
It can feel liberating and boost the ego to really belt out something you truly believe, even if no one is listening. At the same time, it can be a real blow to the ego to do something you don't entirely agree with. For example, it can be a blow to the ego to publicly endorse a man who you don't really believe in. There are times when one is given an opportunity to forsake ego for opportunity. Rand Paul recognizes that and is playing a game of political chess; in exchange for endorsing Mitt Romney, doors are being open for him that are open to no other pro-liberty politician.
Maybe Politics is Incongruent with Liberty
Interests in both politics AND liberty may not be congruent with each other as our society moves forward is a powerful argument elucidated in the book The Sovereign Individual. Does that mean I will shun anyone who shares my pro-liberty values yet decides to be active politically? I certainly hope not. I admire people trying to advance the message of liberty, even if I might not always agree with their techniques. If I badmouthed Rand Paul for playing this political game of chess, to be consistent I would have to badmouth a plethora of other Ron Paul supporters for their differing views on political tactics. Such a fight is foolish when it’s tactics that divide people. The underlying message of liberty we agree on.
Will Ron Paul continue to try to use politics as a forum for advancing the message of liberty? My guess is yes. Heck, he might even run for president in 2016 as a way to advance that message – after all he's been quite successful to date using that strategy. Using a different political strategy, his son Rand Paul is also seeking to use politics as a way to advance the message of liberty. Same concept, different tactics.
On Sunday in NYC I'll have the opportunity to be there as Rand Paul shakes hands, signs a few books, and gives the speech that will, for me, mark his entry into the 2016 race. That entry this Sunday benefits me, because that entry means four more years of hearing at least one politician talk about liberty on a national stage.
A Paul may not be the president in 2012 or the Republican nominee, but it looks like a Paul may be the president's most vocal pro-liberty opponent in DC for another four years.