The big political news this week in the libertarian world, and I suppose maybe the Republican world, is that Senator Rand Paul announced his support for Mitt Romney in his presidential run. Ron Paul (Rand’s father) sent out an email to his supporters saying that he would most likely come up short in the delegate count at the Republican convention in Tampa. While Ron Paul hasn’t officially withdrawn, he is basically acknowledging that Romney will be the nominee.
Not long after Ron Paul’s message to supporters, Rand Paul appeared on Sean Hannity’s television show. He said that while his father is his first choice, he would support Romney as the nominee. You can watch it here:
Many libertarians (particularly Ron Paul supporters) see this as a sellout. They see it as a slap in the face. Rand Paul gained much of his financial support in his senate run from his father’s supporters.
As I have said before, Rand Paul is the best senator in the U.S. Senate. Until Ron Paul retires from the House, Rand Paul is not the best congressional member (from a libertarian perspective). Actually, even when Ron retires, Rand may still not be the best congressional member. While he will remain the best senator, there are probably others in the House (like Justin Amash) who are probably better than Rand (but still not as good as Ron).
I have had my hesitations about Rand Paul from the beginning. He is much more of a politician than his dad. He is not a principled libertarian. He is somewhat acceptable to some of the establishment. People like Sean Hannity like Rand Paul. That makes me more skeptical of him.
I don’t think this is a black or white issue (and I’m not talking about race). It isn’t that Rand Paul is on our side (the pro-liberty side) or the other sided (the statist side). He really is in between. He is decent on economics, but not as good as his dad. He is half-decent on foreign policy. He is much better than Romney or Obama, but he is much worse than his dad. The same can be said for civil liberties.
Overall, I think it is good that many Ron Paul supporters are giving Rand a hard time about his support for Romney. They see it as a political move, which it is. The only thing I would say is that you should try to stay somewhat respectful, as Rand can still be a good ally moving forward on many issues.
People are now trying to speculate on whether Ron will follow in his son’s footsteps and throw his support behind Romney and be a good little Republican. I highly doubt this will happen. Romney, for the most part, stands for almost everything that Ron is against, and vice versa. If Ron Paul endorses Romney, it really will be a sellout. He will have gone against everything he has stood for, for the last 35 plus years.
Hypothetically, if Ron Paul did endorse Romney, it wouldn’t make that much of a difference (at least as far as the election goes). Ron Paul supporters will not fall in line, at least for the most part. They will do their own thing. They are not going to vote for Romney or Obama, unless they were planning to already.
I don’t think we have to worry about that scenario. I am quite confident that Ron Paul will not endorse anyone, particularly Romney or Obama. I also don’t think Ron will have a problem staying out of it. The only problem would be if Rand becomes Romney’s running mate. While I doubt that Rand will get the VP nod, it sure would make it interesting as far as Ron’s support. Even in that scenario, I still think Ron might stay out of it and plead the fifth. He is that principled that he might not endorse his own son if he were paired with Romney.