If so, some libertarians wonder, how faithful will Rand Paul remain to the movement that nurtured him?
He predicted that his brother would cede ground where he must, but stay true to the grand cause. Paul, 51, stands out in the somber Beltway forest of dark suits. An ophthalmologist, he has the rumpled mien of a graduate student, with his unkempt graying curls, wrinkled khakis and floral ties.
He sometimes pads onstage in sneakers, and aides cringed at images of him on a visit to Silicon Valley last spring wearing the black mock turtleneck he refuses to bury in a drawer. But tucked into Mr. New York, a Supreme Court decision that struck down Progressive-era workplace regulations; and the theories of Lysander Spooner , a Massachusetts abolitionist who turned against the North in the Civil War, which he deplored as unjust aggression against the Confederacy. These arcana drew little notice — except among dedicated libertarians, who took them as evidence of Mr.
Ron Paul, an obstetrician who disliked Medicare and Medicaid and other government programs that he viewed as encroaching on personal freedom, was infuriated when Richard M. Nixon instituted wage and price controls and took the nation off the gold standard. Paul ran for Congress in and lost to the Democratic incumbent. Smith said. There was plenty to absorb. Libertarianism had reached a critical stage. Adherents often trace its roots back to the small-government ideals of Thomas Jefferson.
The term libertarian — adopted by 19th-century European anarchists — would eventually become the movement associated today with the novels of Ayn Rand, the economics of Milton Friedman and the antitax campaigns of Grover Norquist, as well as quixotic causes like full legalization of drugs. But during the tumult of the late s, when many people rebelled against Washington and the two parties, a small band of intellectuals sketched the first outlines of the alliances Rand Paul has embraced. Goldwater, the Arizona conservative. Who needed politics and its two calcified parties, Mr.
This principle would reach fruition in the digital age, with its informal networks, entrepreneurial problem solving — and community of underground hackers. Hess, who died in , was ahead of many others in envisioning this brave new world. If Mr. Rothbard, an economic historian at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. Together, they urged campus conservatives, many of whom opposed the Vietnam draft, to work with the left-wing Students for a Democratic Society.
Out of this strange-bedfellows coupling came the Libertarian Party, which fielded its first candidates in , though they drew little notice and few votes. But when the left-right alliance came unglued over drug use and sexual freedom, Mr. Rothbard and others reoriented the movement back to the right. It was then that Ron Paul emerged, offering a refreshing new face and voice. He was grounded in libertarian doctrine, but presented it as homespun common sense. Clean-cut many libertarians had beards and long hair and plain-spoken, he personified heartland values, with his small-town medical practice and his large family of honor students and sturdy athletes.
Rand Paul and his two brothers starred on their high school swim team. In , Ron Paul made it to Congress. When Mr. Rothbard visited from New York, Rand chauffeured him to the airport. He also made the drive to work with his father and his chief of staff, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
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This blend of economic and religious themes shaped Mr. Paul, who declined interview requests, occasionally found common cause with liberals, especially in opposing Cold War military spending. Rand was engrossed in his own course of libertarian study: He received a set of Ayn Rand novels for his 17th birthday. And he followed the rock band Rush, some of whose lyrics had libertarian themes. Gary L. Gardner Jr. Austria and the Old South. A leader of the Charleston, S. Hunter had praised John Wilkes Booth. For two weeks, Mr. Paul stood by him amid news media attention, but finally let him go.
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Why, some conservatives were asking, did the senator not act more swiftly? And why was Mr. Hunter — whose commentary Mr.
One explanation might be that Mr. Another might be that his hostility to Lincoln and the North was not so different from the views of close associates of the elder Mr. The campaign was indeed likely down to only about a million dollars cash on hand, and seems ill-inclined right now to do more big calls for cash. But as a further announcement from Paul's campaign website stated , "Asked if this is a dropout, Paul's campaign manager Jesse Benton said, 'Absolutely not!
We are focusing our efforts squarely on winning delegates and party leadership positions at state conventions. This announcement happened just a couple of days after state Republican Party conventions in Oklahoma and Arizona were marked by dissention, boos, accusations of illegal adjournment, at least one physical attack, and, in Oklahoma, a rump convention exiled in a parking lot. All that arose from the continued fervor of Paul's supporters, and not even Paul will be able to stop it.
Such tumult is just the latest manifestations of the slow march of Paul people through the institutions of the Republican Party this year, a movement that is about more than whether Ron Paul is personally on the campaign trail.
Indeed, campaign advisor Doug Wead seemed to indicate that ending that sort of loud fighting—which makes the Paul movement seem unbearably wild and feisty for the Republican establishment—might have been part of the goal of the announcement:. Yes, he is taking on the establishment. Yes, he wants the monetary policy reformed so that the poor and the middle class and even the excluded rich can know the thrill and opportunity of free markets that aren't rigged for insider trading.
But Dr. Paul is a happy warrior on these issues. He is a person who has always believed in a respectful dialogue and debate. Shouting people down is not Ron Paul's way. Winning a battle of ideals based on principles, in a respectful way, is how he approaches the contest and it is how he wants others to approach the contest, as well. Other chatter around the Paul campaign I heard indicated that an attempt to imbue a more realistic sense of what Paul's actual electoral prospects are moving forward might have been part of the motive for the misunderstood announcement.
Regardless, it's unlikely that a mere word from the top will slow down the desire to make as big a splash in the remaining state conventions, and eventually Tampa, as possible. Of course, many in the Republican Party will continue to be merely aggravated by the Paulites' loud persistence and refusal to get in line behind frontrunner Mitt Romney. But the rise of the movement around Paul, and the past history of such loud minorities within the GOP, indicates the Republican Party should figure out a way to keep the Paul people in the tent—not out in the parking lot.
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A year ago, Paul was the presumed least-likely-to-succeed candidate in the GOP field. His radical libertarian bent and his fervent opposition to the GOP's standard foreign policy positions made him seem anathema to the party's primary base. Anyway, hadn't he tried this same trick in , with no real electoral result?
His running again was treated by both the party and the media as an easy-to-ignore distraction. Now, Paul is still the last man standing in opposition to Romney—and far from fading, his fortunes both within the party and within the culture are rising. Politically, Paul has been pulling off wins thought impossible through the winter and spring, when every other candidate had his or her moment as the presumptive leader of the opposition to Romney. Paul now controls the delegation from Maine , and seems on target to do the same in Minnesota , Iowa , and Louisiana. He has also made substantial in-roads in filling delegate slots in Massachusetts and Nevada though even delegates who are Paul supporters are bound to vote for Romney.
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No matter how many delegates he goes into Tampa with, Paul and his fans can no longer be written off as politically unimportant. But political importance, as measured in votes or delegates, isn't the only measure of Paul's effect. Sure, he may take time off, but for the most part he was already appearing at college campuses and other places where he might have gone in any case to push his libertarian agenda.
Just look at his most recent money figures, as crunched by the Center for Responsive Politics. Yes, that was a month and a half ago.
Ron Paul Is Not Ending His Campaign for Liberty
Ron Paul TV ads. Instead, he can now husband his resources to continue to build his base of committed supporters. So the official Ron Paul presidential campaign may be over.