Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the GOP’s libertarian icon, will lead a valedictory rally for supporters Sunday at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome – according to the New York Times.
The rally will mark Paul’s symbolic passing of the libertarian torch to like-minded politicians and supporters who much rather prefer to see him delivering his campaign’s farewell from this setting than – perhaps – addressing the stuffy coronation of Mitt Romney at the RNC.
And, despite the disappointment that some Paul supporters might feel, they can also celebrate accomplishments that earlier generations of libertarians never could. Paul’s address to more than 10,000 supporters will send the Republican Party a message about libertarian’s commitment to grow in influence -- as the 77-year-old rock star retires.
Paul’s legacy has been long in the making. Over three separate presidential bids, the champion of liberty has stood firm by his commitments to the Constitution – even when some elements from the Republican establishment -- and beyond -- sought to portray him at times as a fringe figure.
However, Paul’s message seems to have sunk in among Republicans, as the ascent of his son – Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) and the inclusion of some of Paul’s ideas in the GOP’s new platform have propelled Ron Paul from an “out-of-the-mainstream” figure to a much broader icon for libertarian principles during the 2012 Election and beyond.
David Boaz, of the Cato Institute, summed it up best: “We used to say most people found libertarianism by reading Ayn Rand … In the last five years, most people have found libertarianism by listening to Ron Paul.”