So it seems I should expand on last weeks lambasting of Senator Rand Paul for his coming out to support Mitt Romney. There was some very valid criticism of my work, and all over the internet over the issue. This ranges from Rand is not his father, Rand has to be a team player to ramp up his 2016 shot, or Rand is playing the game on a whole different level, changing the GOP from the inside. I went so far as to make a comment to my post (mirrored to the reddit comments) over what I was trying to express. In that comment I repeated the idea that if you were not going to go off the reservation and support the candidate that encompasses well more than half of what you believe and stand for and is still running for president, than the principled thing to do was keep your mouth shut, not endorse anyone. I went on to ask exactly what are the establishment Republicans in general, and Mitt Romney specifically willing to budge on to try and encompass and incorporate the liberty movement and the libertarian minded. Rand says he had a nice little chat with Mitt, and he sees some common ground. My point was that if that was the case, then the proper way to come out for Mitt would have been a joint press release or press conference where Mitt specifically said ANYTHING that would show he was going to try and move the Republican party towards some measure of supporting limited, constitutional government that exercised some fiscal responsibility. What is the policy area, what is the crumb ready to fall off the table that liberty people could say: “because Rand has stepped in here I will now hold my nose and vote Mitt because I know that in the next four years we will see movement on……?” Anyone who needs to be dissuaded from this pie-in-the-sky notion of bringing about change from inside only needed to watch the news this weekend.
Rick Santorum, whom I loathe on a cellular level (here, here and here) did his turn on the Sunday shows, telling us how he would be willing to take the VP call. If that was not a scary enough thought, we hear about what he is going to be doing at the convention. For months everyone has been talking about the Ron Paul campaign’s ‘long ball’ strategy, taking over state delegations, and bringing about some real change, or at least a significant brawl, at the convention. Mr. I Hate Libertarians is saying that he is going to the convention and throwing his delegate weight around to make sure that the Paulites can not disrupt the wonderful conservative vision that is the 2012 Republican platform and plank. Wonderful little nuggets about protecting marriage from the gays and buying hundreds of new super ships, none of that should be changed or modified according to this jack-hole theocrat. Libertarians take a great deal of flack, they are considered crazy or naïve because they can’t compromise, ideological rigidity should keep them out of the seats of power. I personally understand the concept of needing to compromise in order to govern, but where is the compromise in Santorum’s world. He is going to the convention with the intent of denying Ron Paul supporters any voice in policy or plank construction. Rand says that he spoke with Mitt and he sees some common ground with him. Now, if this is not a simple naked pander by Rand to gain for himself (which is fine for him, but don’t try and sell me a line about him being a super principled warrior for liberty bringing down the system from the inside) then let us see how well the establishment Republicans understand the concept of compromise. Rand says there is something there, let Mitt prove it to everyone. How about a plank position, something along the line of:
The Republican Party is committed to the concept of limited government enshrined by our founders in the constitution. To that end this party and its presidential nominee are committed to taking no offensive or preemptive military action against any nation without a rigorous, open debate in congress and a formal declaration of war.Compromise. Paulites want no part of interventionist foreign policy, most are strict adherents to non-aggression in general. A plank like this would annoy them to no end, but in an actual, open dialogue you could say this is a limiting principle that has been sorely lacking within our government and its overuse of executive power. Rand said in the Hannity appearance that he and Romney talked about this very issue. Rand could stand up and say “look here what we can accomplish by working together in the big tent!” and try and deliver his father’s most ardent supporters into the fold for 2012. We keep hearing that four more years of Obama would be worse than Mitt, but prove it, show some movement towards accepting the liberty folks into the fold. Can anyone actually imagine Mitt coming out to support the above statement? A simple, conservative reading of the constitution and how it limit’s the ultimate power of state, dragging the populace into war. Could Mitt say those words? Hell, forget Mitt for a moment, can you imagine the apoplexy Santorum would be thrown into if this plank was even forwarded in a committee much less to the convention floor? The Republican establishment would not sign on to this. National Review and the American Spectator would have any Republican’s head on a pike for even mentioning such a silly idea that the President can’t bomb whomever he wants whenever he wants. The ultimate sacrilege! This would be worse than acknowledging gays are American citizens too. And what I am talking about here is the most mundane of compromises, one side saying on occasion this country will kill people when the cause is openly debated, considered and voted upon, and the other says this country cannot kill people indiscriminately unless the cause is openly debated, considered and voted upon. Really not that controversial and what the constitution demands. And the Santorums of the party would make sure even this mild compromise would be a fight to the death, the Goldwater/Paulite/Libertarian factions forever purged from the rolls.
So, if we are having the discussion about changing hearts and minds, correcting the course this country is on, you have to start with the Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann wing of the Republican Party, which is almost the whole party. There are millions of Paul supporters who are energized about changing our country, and the afore mentioned folks are 100% committed to keeping them from doing just that. Those of you who think Rand is making a play to tear it down and reform the Republicans from the inside need to start there. Do we just wait for all of them to grow old and die? Those who think this convention free-for-all will bring about a dynamic change need to explain how Santorum and his ilk are going to be outmaneuvered. Those of you with the long ball strategy need to give a time frame. By the time this convention comes around I will have three sons under age 5, will we see a Republican party that believes in limited constitutional government by the time they can vote? Big tent nice play, slowly moving towards a goal is a reasonable strategy, but we would be truly naïve to believe that that Mitt Romney is the transitional form in that evolution. In a competition between Rand Paul and Rick Santorum for VP pick (which will never happen) either amongst Romney’s handlers or on the convention floor, who wins? You know the answer. Romney would rather alienate the entire liberty movement, wherever it resides, over alienating the Bomb Iran crowd or the Fence of the Homos set and risk losing a Red State. That is what annoyed me so much about the Rand endorsement. The whole “laying the groundwork for 2016” thing only works if Romney gets his clock cleaned, and in such a way that the metrics say Rand draws in more diverse votes than he pushes away established demographics. In terms of holding the liberty movement for that long you have to answer this whole “team player” horseshit. By this logic it means that Rand would have openly and actively supported Santorum if he had won the nomination, and if you are a libertarian we know Ricky would sooner stab you in the eye with a shrimp fork than ask for your vote.
Principled people take a stand even when it is tough, politicians make excuses. I hold out no hope for changing the Republican or Democratic parties. They will be spending ONE BILLION DOLLARS between them just to capture the presidency, and not because they have some highly principled plan to pull this country out of its fiscal tailspin, but because seriously entrenched interests need servicing. Anyone who has read my Gary Johnson piece will be familiar with my line “changing the color of the horses does not mean the merry-go-round is actually going to get anywhere” and I will stick with that philosophy. The liberty movement and the Paulites should not be scrounging for crumbs, shoehorning themselves in the big tent, or obediently waiting for a reward for their loyal support, which will never amount to any more than a pat on the head by the Romney types. For those who say it is crazy to step out of our two-party dynamic, ask them if they are voting Federalist, Democratic-Republican or Whig this time around. Things can and should change on occasion, and a little chaos to shake up the complacency of the Elephant/Donkey divide would not be that bad right about now.