Ron Paul Tells Supporters They Are the Future of the Republican Party

After Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) endorsement of Mitt Romney’s presidential run, is Ron Paul laying the ground for a potential – if not endorsement – acknowledgement of Mitt Romney as the party’s 2012 ultimate standard-bearer?

That’s what it seems it's happening at the Texas GOP Convention, in which Ron Paul finally addressed the…well…elephant in the Republican Party’s room.

The libertarian icon, who has been accumulating support towards the Republican National Convention through his well targeted delegate strategy, told his supporters they had to be “respectful” upon arriving in Tampa, Fla., for the big event in August.

The suggestion mirrors a letter that Paul supposedly sent to supporters on Wednesday, in which he had admitted he won’t count with enough delegates to win the nomination and encouraged his estimated 500+ supporters and delegates on the Convention floor (as much as 20% of the total representation) to “advocate for their policy priorities” and support like-minded candidates down the ballot.

While far from a concession, Paul’s conciliatory tone as well as Rand’s endorsement of Romney have sparked speculation as to what (if anything) would Ron Paul do with the undeniable political clout accumulated during the 2012 race. Will he demand a cabinet position in a hypothetical Romney Administration? Does he want to be Mitt’s running mate?

So far, the likeliest scenario seems to be the passing of the libertarian torch from patriarch Ron to son Rand who’s been raising his profile by firing up conservative crowds across the country and throughout the year. The question is, will Rand bridge the libertarian and establishment wings of the Republican Party as Romney’s VP in 2012 or as a presidential candidate on his own in 2016 or beyond?

Either way, Ron Paul seems to be fully aware of the generational shift that his libertarian movement has brought to the Republican Party, since in his call for respect (and unity?) he told supporters to let the establishment know in Tampa that “you are the future of the country and the future of the Republican Party!”