Ron Paul was an unbending, uncompromising man of principle in that cesspool of corruption that is the US Congress. Uncompromising though he was, he had no problem working across party lines when it was morally consistent to do so, such as when he teamed up with several principled Democrats to sue President Obama for the unauthorized use of force in Libya, or his tireless crusade to audit the FED. However, Ron Paul has achieved more thought and debate than actual policy. There was only a limited audit of the FED, the court case against Obama was quickly dismissed, the military budget remains bloated, SS and Medicare remain on a fiscally insolvent path, our civil liberties are no safer than they were under Bush – post-9/11, and the endless wars never end. Ron Paul made several attempts at the White House, and despite his national popularity, he never made it out of the primaries. I was once a proud conservative-Democrat who went “red for Ron” (AKA “Blue Republican”). When I mentioned Ron Paul to the young, their naïve little faces lit up. When I mentioned him to older progressive Democrats, there was a certain respect. When I mentioned him to the FOX news zombies, there was this dead silence as though I had just committed blasphemy. Those spiteful old coots who dominate the GOP primaries were never going to allow a principled man of peace like Ron Paul to win the GOP primary, even if it meant losing to Obama – twice!
Despite all of Ron Paul’s principles, he knew he was likely to lose, as did his followers. My 2012 support of Ron Paul was a desperate act of protest. I knew he was unlikely to win, but at least I tried. For many of his supporters, however, they don’t actually want him to win. It’s so easy to support an ideological puritan who can’t win, and then blame everything on Obama or Romney. Anytime anything goes wrong, the Paul-ites can say, “Don’t blame me, I voted Ron Paul”. It’s easy to have principles when you have already lost.
Rand Paul, however, must have even stronger principles than his father. Some of you are thinking – What?! Are you nuts?! He’s pandering the Hannity, Levin, and all the other neocon scum! He’s not the man his father is! Oh no? Consider this. It’s difficult enough to have principles and rigidly stick with them, knowing they are costing you political opportunities, as Ron Paul knows. But isn’t it even more difficult to maintain principles, even while seeming to compromise them? I doubt a day goes by when Rand isn’t tempted to just neocon it up! He’s surrounded by the most corrupt and powerful establishment Republicans we’ve seen since the Gilded Age. They want endless wars, oil subsides, certain regulations that favor their campaign contributors, more taxes on the poor and less on the rich, torture, enhanced “security”, and all the while they pretend to love Jesus. Every day, the establishment whispers in his ear “come on, let’s go blow up Iran. The basers will love you…and there’s a nice defense contractor considering a generous contribution to Randpac.” Then he speaks to his constituents and some grey-haired baby boomer approaches him from the local “Tea Party”, and says “I know yer cautious about war, but we gotta do something about Iran. Dontcha remember 9/11?!” He could go the route of his father, and righteously declare “Get thee behind me Satan!”, but this would be political suicide for a Republican Senator. He could also try to reason with him, explaining that Shi’a Iran has nothing to do with Sunni Al Qaeda, but this old man can’t tell a Sikh from a Mexican, much less a Sunni Muslim from a Shi’a Muslim. So instead, Rand must say something like “We do need to maintain a strong defense to curb potential aggression from Iran.” What does it profit the world if Rand keeps his soul, but loses his political career? Rand could also go the other way and sell his soul to gain the whole world – or at least be the “leader of the free world”. But Rand does neither. Rand spends every day in the devil’s company, politely turning down his temptations all while remaining respectful on the surface so that he has a chance at the White House.
This takes greater moral fiber than even his liberty-puritan father possesses, and in addition to all of that, he must bear the slanders of some of his true base – young libertarians. But as I explain to them and will continue to explain, Rand Paul must play ball with the establishment if he ever expects to win. Those bitter old base voters in the GOP must think that Rand is different from his father. Rand must pretend disdain for the brown, preach capitalism to the poor, all while praising big business and barely mentioning corporate welfare. He must smile at Hannity, shakes hands with Levin and endorse his books. He must proclaim that he is a lifelong Republican and a “real conservative”. He must dance with the devil, while avoiding the burn. All he has to do is win that primary, and he won’t need them anymore. A Rand’s gotta do what a Rand’s gotta do.
Disclaimer – please note that, “We do need to maintain a strong defense to curb potential aggression from Iran”, is merely hypothetical and not a quote from Rand Paul. I am simply explaining what Rand will need to do to win.