I have been at war with the Republican Party my entire adult life — not as a liberal, but as a conservative. The conservative things that I have always wanted the GOP to do — cut spending, shrink government, follow the Constitution — were never done. The things the GOP did instead, which seemed to satisfy many conservatives — start unnecessary wars, empower the Executive Branch, spy on citizens — were not only reckless and damaging, but a tragic diversion for the American Right. I hope that conservatives have finally learned some lessons. Rand Paul is what I want the Republican Party to be. He is what I believe the Republican Party is becoming. And I say that not simply as someone who has co-authored a book with Rand and is currently on the payroll of his father, but as a diehard supporter.
During the 2012 Republican primary season, Ron Paul's forces made substantial inroads into the Republican Party, but while many support Dr. Paul's ideas — from auditing the Federal Reserve to making $1 trillion in spending cuts — they don't support him. However, when it comes to his son Rand, things are different. Even though Ron and Rand take the same positions on foreign policy and civil liberties, the GOP more readily accepts the son over the father, in part because of their differing styles. Rand in particular is a more pragmatic person.
Sen. Paul's endorsement of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney did not shock me. I believe it was a necessary step forward for his father's movement. However, I must admit I wanted Rand to endorse his father as the nominee. Unfortunately, this didn't happen.
The reaction by Ron Paul's supporters didn't surprise me either. They were confused, shocked, and, in some cases, disgusted. The fact of the matter is, many Ron Paul supporters don't consider themselves to be conservatives, much less Republicans, and they simply didn't see the point in endorsing a nominee and trying to change the GOP from within. Some never liked Rand and his pragmatism to begin with. Others did, but still saw it as a betrayal. Given the purist character of the Paul movement, this was an entirely reasonable reaction. But some of the criticisms of the endorsement were not reasonable: "Now we know [Libertarian presidential candidate] Gary Johnson will be our next president," an angry commenter said. Another said, "Rand's betrayal just cost him his Senate seat in Kentucky."
In this year's GOP primary in Kentucky, a Ron Paul-backed Republican Thomas Massie nabbed the GOP nomination for his congressional district. This is another success for Paul's movement, among countless more. But suggesting that Rand Paul's Senate future rests on the Paul movement in Kentucky is a naïve understanding of political reality. When it comes to the Bluegrass State, Rand is supported by the GOP as a whole.
If the Paul movement remains in a place where everyone expects political miracles to happen but without real strategies in place, any hope of advancing our goals will be dashed. Before this year, there were no opportunities for Ron Paul and his supporters to build coalitions because no Republicans wanted to promote anything even remotely conservative. The Republican Party was so bad until the rise of Ron Paul's movement that I voted third party in almost every election. I stayed angry at George W. Bush for eight years, and I was powerless to do anything about it.
But now, thanks to Ron Paul, we have the power to change the Republican Party. We have the opportunity to bring back the Republican Party that looked to the Founding Fathers and was defined by Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. We have the opportunity to put the neoconservatives out to pasture.
I've been against the Republican Party my entire adult life not because I'm a jerk, but because the party has been against me. It's been against shrinking government, protecting the Constitution, and preserving individual liberty. In essence, it has been against conservatism itself.
Ron Paul is a hero for even making this possible. His son, Sen. Rand Paul, continues to make it probable. Endorsing Mitt Romney was a necessary step. Years from now, Rand's unpopular endorsement will be remembered as a blip on the radar of an ultimately victorious revolution.
Jack Hunter assisted Sen. Jim DeMint with his latest book, Now or Never: Saving America From Economic Collapse. He is also the official campaign blogger for GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, and he co-wrote Rand Paul's The Tea Party Goes to Washington. You can hear Southern Avenger commentaries on The Morning Buzz on 1250 WTMA.