highwayjournal

Mitt Romney, Tampa and the rEVOLution – Jack Hunter

In News on May 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Let me be blunt: Mitt Romney represents the same, old Republican Party I’ve been fighting against my entire adult life. The question today is, to what degree is the GOP the same, old Republican Party? To what degree will it remain the same, old Republican Party?

When I signed on with the 2012 Ron Paul campaign I viewed it as Part 2 of the Part 1 of our movement that Paul had inspired in 2008. Before 2008, the Republican Party was a depressing wilderness, offering absolutely nothing for constitutional conservatives. I had supported Pat Buchanan’s presidential runs in 1996 and 2000 in my early 20’s because he was the only candidate willing to take on the neoconservatives who were steadily influencing American foreign policy. With the election of George W. Bush, the neoconservatives would dominate on foreign policy. The GOP became so obsessed with championing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the party became little more than apologists for big government so long as it was Republican. Medicare Plan D, No Child Left Behind, doubling our national debt, destroying the 4th amendment with The Patriot Act—nobody cared. That period of the GOP was all about support for war at any cost, literally. At the 2008 RNC convention, neocon liberal Joe Lieberman was even given a prime time speaking spot while strict constitutionalist Ron Paul wasn’t even allowed in the building.

Like I said, during that time there was literally nothing of worth to constitutional conservatives in the Republican Party.

This is no longer true.

In his quest to save America, Ron Paul is also saving the Republican Party. The Democrat-lite, big government hacks and neoconservative maniacs who still think the George W. Bush model represents Republicanism defined—and believe me, they do—are quickly becoming yesterday’s news. Yes, they’re still there, and yes, they still have much influence.

But that influence is shrinking. Their base is shrinking. Want to know why more than half the votes cast by the under 30 crowd in each GOP primary state were for Ron Paul? Because the rising generation of libertarians and conservatives understand something many of their elders don’t—that we can’t afford the status quo anymore. Sure, many Americans share Paul’s young supporters fear that the country is going bankrupt, yet they still jealously guard the entitlements that are bankrupting us, or can’t imagine the U.S. not being militarily engaged all over the world, another massive drain on American taxpayers. The rising generation does not have these attachments. In fact, they can’t wait to detach themselves from them. American youth don’t expect to ever see Social Security or Medicare. Nor do they find it particularly strange that perhaps America shouldn’t police the world anymore.

In short, while the GOP establishment’s base is shrinking, Ron Paul’s is growing. For the first time in a long time—the Republican Party might actually become the limited government party it has always pretended to be. This is due to the ideas and influence of Ron Paul.

This is not wishful thinking on my part. Last month, renowned pollster John Zogby broke down the numbers at Forbes, citing what he calls “First Globals” (18-29 year olds):

Mitt Romney has spent months selling himself to the Republican base. Now, Barack Obama is working overtime trying to re-sell himself to his base of voters age 18-29. Team Obama knows that hard times and the growing libertarian leanings of young voters will make them a more difficult target than four years ago…

However, on some key issues, majorities of First Globals are not doctrinaire liberals. The poll found less than majorities agree with liberals on some of their most cherished beliefs.  For example: 44% agree health insurance is a right government should provide for those who can’t afford it, 43% agree with the same statement about food and shelter, 37% agree government should spend more to reduce poverty, 20% agree government spending is an effective way to economic growth…

Lest Republicans get too giddy at those findings, they should also know less than majorities agree with these conservative and neo-con ideals: 22% agree it’s sometimes necessary to attack potentially hostile countries rather than waiting until we are attacked, 23% are willing to give up some personal freedoms for the sake of national security…

These attitudes betraying both the traditional left and right fall generally within the bounds of libertarianism. Live and let live. Individual responsibility is as important as collective responsibility. Avoid military interventions. Distrust both government and corporations. Protect civil liberties.

Young voters have been the energy behind Ron Paul… 

Ron Paul and his supporters have not yet taken over the Republican Party. But they are taking over the Republican Party. In many states, Paul supporters have become significant parts of the GOP apparatus and even Republican Party leaders. I remember the head of the Iowa GOP saying that Ron Paul shouldn’t be allowed in the next debate after Paul’s spat with Rudy Giuliani about “blowback” in 2007. That same position in Iowa is now held by a Ron Paul supporter.

It is Paul’s ideas of liberty and individual freedom that are winning the day. There has been much written about how Ron Paul’s ideas about the Federal Reserve, sound money, civil liberties and even foreign policy have become standard Republican talking points. But more importantly, only Paul’s ideas address the emerging attitudes and concerns cited by Zogby. Conventional liberalism is bankrupt, and with Obama in office millions of Americans have come to this realization. But also conventional Republicanism, or establishment “conservatism,” is bankrupt, which millions of Americans learned under Bush and still see in too many Republican candidates. Paul’s constitutional conservatism is as old as the Founding Fathers, yet refreshing and new to a whole new generation. We could very well see an electorate emerging that doesn’t even immediately identify with conservatism or the GOP per se, but that is still more conservative in a true limited government sense than the current Republican partisans who brandish that label.

These are Ron Paul’s supporters. They are the future.

When I signed on with the campaign, we were all in it to make Ron Paul President of the United States. But I knew that even if Dr. Paul did not get the nomination, this fight—our fight—would be the most important political course of action in 2012. Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 is the Barry Goldwater campaign in 1960 and 1964. Goldwater failed twice in trying to win electoral victories (VP slot in 1960, President in ’64) but the Arizona Senator’s campaigns changed the Republican Party forever. Ask Ronald Reagan.

Likewise, the Texas Congressman’s two campaigns are changing the Republican Party before our very eyes. Ask Rand Paul. Ask Justin Amash. Ask Thomas Massie, Kurt Bills or any of the other countless liberty candidates running for national office in 2012—who actually have a shot at winning those offices. Ask the liberty candidates who end up running in 2014, 2016 and beyond how much Ron Paul has changed the Republican Party.

Ask me—before Ron Paul I had little to no hope for this country. Today, I’m filled with hope thanks to Paul and his movement. In saving the Republican Party, Ron Paul also, at least politically, saved me.

By most accounts, Mitt Romney will likely be the Republican nominee. Though still confusing, the delegate counts are what they are. This is significant. But from the perspective of any Paul supporter, a nominee Romney should be far less significant than it sounds.

If Romney loses the general election, we will have to endure another 4 painful years of Obama—but the Ron Paul movement remains, and the Republican Party will continue to be cast even more in the mold of Ron Paul.

If Mitt Romney wins the election, there will be a different dynamic in the GOP than what we suffered through under Bush. There was no conservative pushback against Bush’s big government offenses because, as I noted earlier, there was really no conservatism to be found in the Republican Party. Now we have Senator Rand Paul, and regular allies like Senators Mike Lee and Jim DeMint. We have Congressman Justin Amash. We have a number of Ron Paul-inspired candidates running in 2012 that might be joining these leaders on Capitol Hill. There will be even more in 2014. If a President Romney were to insist on protecting and expanding the status quo, like Bush did, there is a genuinely liberty-minded and limited government wing of the Republican Party to resist any such agenda. This is the first time this has occurred in my lifetime.

The current fight over the direction of the Republican Party will continue to be fought whether or not a Republican or Democrat wins the next presidential election. And that fight has been defined, and will continue to be defined, by the philosophy and person of Ron Paul.

The campaign will continue to rack up delegates, and needs to rack up as many delegates as possible, so that we roll into Tampa with as much influence as possible. Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton has stressed that rewriting not only some platform tenets—but also, and perhaps most importantly, standing Republican rules—will be necessary to loosen the establishment’s stranglehold on the process and to give future liberty candidates some leverage.

Running for office has always been about two things: Winning elections and building coalitions. The latter is as important as the former, precisely because you can’t eventually win elections without first building coalitions. Ask coalition-builder Goldwater and election-winner Reagan. The coalition we’ve built—and continue to build—will withstand and triumph over anything that happens in this particular election.What we represent is bigger than Mitt Romney. Seriously.

This is precisely why Ron Paul is not suspending his campaign or dropping out. He can’t. This campaign remains the most important in the entire 2012 race, no matter how little the mainstream media gets it, or even if sometimes Paul supporters don’t get it. Ups and downs, confusion, happiness and sometimes bewilderment are inherent in any genuine grassroots movement. But we can’t lose focus of the big picture.

I signed on with this campaign for Part 2 of the Revolution that Paul began in 2008. After Tampa, we will begin Parts 3, 4, 5 and however many are necessary until this movement triumphs philosophically, ideologically, electorally—totally.

And we will. This is why it’s vitally important not to give up on Part 2 before it is complete. Even if he wins, I predict Mitt Romney will be an asterisk in the history books—while Ron Paul and his movement will help write the history books.

Ron Paul is the most important political figure of our time. In time, the whole world will know it.

via Ron Paul 2012.

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