Rand Paul boldly endorsed Mitt Romney on the popular Sean Hannity show last week. The backlash from Ron Paul supporters was great. But there may come a time when those same Ron Paul supporters regret their actions this week.
Ron Paul's revolution has numerous paths ahead of it and at some point each of those paths will be pursued without Ron Paul leading. I've written before about numerous ways that Ron Paul's supporters are on the cutting edge in a variety of fields – investing, economic thought, travel, and most recently I’ve written about how Ron Paul people even seem to have their own methods of nutrition.
Ron Paul's movement has always been about more than any one campaign, and Ron Paul's campaign pushes the movement forward, circulating new ideas by encouraging leaders from all over the county to work together on the same projects. In such an environment, they can more easily exchange ideas. Politically, it's fun to watch the Ron Paul movement, but intellectually, it's much more fascinating. These are the future thought leaders of American society.
Rand Paul stepped forward and, without saying these words, expressed exactly this – for those in the Ron Paul revolution who want to see real political change occur in our lifetime, follow my lead because that's what I'm doing.
Rand Paul is a junior senator from Kentucky with some, but not much, political clout. In his endorsement of Romney, he didn’t take a last stand or sell out. Instead, he did something that will help him build clout. He went on the Sean Hannity show and praised Mitt Romney for the meager areas of commonality they share.
Many Ron Paul supporters put emphasis on the importance of taking last stands. Some will take last stands to an extreme and do things like reverse mortgage a home to buy gold, half of which they'll try to give to Ron Paul's campaign. That's not the Paul family's style though. Ron Paul is a long game thinker. There are no last stands. Everything builds on something else. Ron Paul's mind is surely concerned with 2012, but my guess is that he spends a lot more time than most people thinking about America circa 1912 and America circa 2112.
My hunch is that Rand Paul is the same – if he's in politics to win, then he'll act to win and to keep winning. He doesn't want to be a flash in the pan leader of 15% of the electorate. He wants to be a long game leader of the 75% of the electorate who want less foreign intervention, want an audit of the fed, and want Washington’s corrupting influence in American life reduced. In 2012, you don't get there by leading a whiskey rebellion, a raid on Fort Knox, or a sit-in at the Kentucky Republican convention. You get there by being civil to your enemies, making more friends, leading those who want to win, and planning for the long game.
Will Rand Paul become an American statesman? I don't know. Will Rand Paul become a president? I don't know. By endorsing Romney, he made it much more likely that the average Republican nationally sees him as a teammate and not as an enemy among their ranks. Rand Paul stood up and offered a path for those who seek to be politically effective to push forward the liberty movement through the political system. When Rand Paul succeeds in doing that, there are many members of Ron Paul's freedom movement who will be singing a different tune.