|Rand Paul: Establishment sellout? C/O Gage Skidmore|
I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Senator Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney last night on Republican establishment cheerleader Sean Vannity's show.
Because I burned my blogging time on the Rush Clockwork Angels post below, I don't have an hour (or more) to burn on commenting on this item; for now, as I digest the news, I'm going to post and excerpt some blogosphere reaction to the Rand Paul/Romney endorsement...
Ed Krayewski at Reason.com captures the moment:
Paul said he met with Romney for about half an hour in DC and that they “talked about a lot of issues.” He listed three issues on which there was kinship: he said Romney was supportive on the campaign trail, and privately to Rand, about auditing the Federal Reserve and bringing more transparency to the central bank. He said Romney opposed SOPA and was “right there with us” on issues of “internet freedom.” Rand also pointed out Romney supports the Senator’s REINS Act, which tries to bring some regulatory rulemaking authority back to Congress.
Asked by Hannity if America can “afford” four more years of President Obama, Rand tried to draw out some more differences between Romney and Obama: “[Romney] would bring a more balanced approach to regulation,” Rand said. “We’re going to have some regulation, some regulation actually protects the environment, but President Obama ‘s allowed it to tilt and the balance to go so far he’s crushing the economy.” Rand continued on the energy front: “[H]e will encourage the oil and gas industry and won’t say, oh this is terrible that corporations make money. That’s the kind of attitude that’s making companies want to go overseas.”
Chris W. from Libertarian Patriot:
While I can understand that the junior Senator from Kentucky needs to tow the party line if he has any ambition to advance within the GOP, to me this constitutes a sell-out to his more libertarian minded backers, like myself, as well as supporters of his father who promoted him early in his campaign.
One has to wonder if there was some back room horse-trading involved but I highly doubt that Rand gets the VP nod as part of the deal. I would be willing to bet though that a sweet speaking spot is coming his way in Tampa.
Now, if and when Ron Paul comes out and endorses Mittens, we can mark that as the end of the r3VOLution.
At least we can still be libertarian with Gary Johnson.
Excellent commentary from our friend Clay Bowler at Bungalow Bill's Conservative Wisdom:
Mitt Romney stands for nothing that Rand Paul is trying to accomplish. As you hear Sean Hannity whine like a baby because Ron Paul realizes Sean Hannity is a cheerleader for big government Republican politics, it hurts to hear Rand Paul say he has similarities with Romney.
Really Senator Paul? Judging from the list there just doesn't seem like you have all that much in common other than five kids and a long marriage. Family values though?
Like when Mitt tried to out liberal Ted Kennedy on abortion, or how about when he forced Catholic Hospitals of Massachusetts to administer abortion pills?
How how about Mitt's push for gun control?
His push for mandated healthcare insurance that led to Obamacare?
What about Romney taking tax payer dollars and investing in green energy initiatives as well?
Opportunist neo-conservative establishment Republican spokeshole Allahpundit:
...his endorsement is important in (hopefully) keeping Paul’s legions inside the tent in November. And it’s important to Rand too, of course, insofar as it means he’s a lock to speak at the convention now and can introduce himself to the country in anticipation of a future run.
Liberty activists across Twitter are none-too pleased, for example,
Rand Paul is a SELL OUT I'd been hoping that the apple didn't fall far from the tree, but it looks like it is growing in a different orchard
— Angie Ritchey (@Angie4RonPaul) June 8, 2012
I'd be happier if Rand Paul were in a position to report to us all that Romney had agreed to reverse civil liberties violations under Obama.
— Liz Mair (@LizMair) June 8, 2012
I thought Rand Paul's endorsement of Romney was very sincere. He spelled out their agreements & got in his shot re:preemptive strikes.
— George Gamard (@GeorgeGamard) June 8, 2012
Lots of visceral reaction at Daily Paul (Hack Wilson has excerpts in a post) but this comment at the Daily Paul Rand Paul/Romney endorsement thread really caught my eye:
I think a whole lot of ya are jumping to premature conclusions. Ask yourselves, given the big picture situation, what is best for the liberty movement in the long run, from your point of view?" I am not sure I have the answer, but that is the point, it is premature to make far-ranging conclusions from this announcement. My opinion, with sympathy, is stop crying in your beer and ask yourself what you can still do for the liberty movement? Take your anger, disappointment and frustration and channel it toward working for the liberty movement. Get your liberty-minded butts to work on supporting your local, congressional and senatorial constitutional conservatives.
If Romney wins the presidency he will still have to work with Congress, and if Congress is filled with constitutional conservatives they can potentially have a huge effect in curtailing his neocon agenda. Just because we might have a Republican President and a republican congress doesn't mean that the Congress has to back the president, and maybe all congressmen/women can stiffen their backbones a bit if we help them by electing as many liberty candidates as possible. If you are truly committed to the liberty movement, don't give up and vote for Obummer, work for the races where you can make a difference.
Brian Lehman at United Liberty:
(Rand Paul) is certainly a libertarian-leaning Republican, and while he can often be a good ally to libertarians in the Senate, he is still first and foremost a Republican. And as a Senator he has much less latitude to diverge from the party line and needs other Senators to cooperate with him.
Because of this, the chances of him endorsing Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson were somewhere around one in one billion. While such an endorsement would make many libertarians happy, it would end his life as a Republican. It would mean that he would have no party support whatsoever come re-election time. It would alienate him from the party and mean he would get nothing accomplished in the Senate.
Similarly, all but the most quixotic supporters know that the Ron Paul campaign is over. Ron Paul himself has acknowledged he can’t win and Mitt Romney has secured the necessary delegates. The various party elements have begun coalescing around Romney and if Rand Paul wants a future in the party he needed to as well.
So while it may seem offensive that a liberty-minded person would endorse a candidate who supports such awful things as the PATRIOT Act and NDAA, it actually makes a lot of sense. I’d even go so far as to say it may be a price worth paying. If the endorsement solidifies Republican support and earns him points with the party establishment, it means he could have more freedom to chart his own course in the Senate.
The question on many minds is when the Paul campaign will “officially” end (it has certainly ended in any practical sense) and if the elder Paul will endorse Romney. While this would surely enrage many hardcore Paul devotees, it could be Dr. Paul’s intention to simply pass the torch to his son. Most certainly, he won’t be saying anything against Romney.
Will all of this sit well with some segments of the liberty movement? Of course not. But for anyone who thinks there is a chance of working within the GOP, this is all part of the price. Personally, I have very little faith in ever making a dent, and I am supporting Gary Johnson this election cycle. But if the GOP will be reformed, it will be by people like Rand Paul who play the game.
Expect more updates later today...