Still the Endorsement?: Libertarians Shouldn’t Act Like Paul Ryan Fans
Rand Paul endorsing Mitt Romney had everything to do with the liberty movement and little to do with Mitt Romney. I explained why, after it happened, here.
If Sen. Paul had not endorsed Romney, I would be pretty regretful that he didn’t. The necessity of this is as clear to me now as the day he endorsed, when emotions were high.
It’s simple: Should Sen. Paul decide to seek higher office one day–something many in the liberty movement would like to see–the fact that he didn’t endorse the 2012 Republican nominee alone would probably be enough to prevent him from ever receiving the nomination.
I know it seems silly, but politics is silly. And thats just how it works.
This is not written for libertarians who were upset at Sen. Paul the day, week or even month after he endorsed Mitt Romney for President. I think this is completely understandable. I fully expected the reaction that followed.
This is not written for libertarians who were upset about the endorsement even up until the election earlier this month. This too, is somewhat understandable.
No, even though Sen. Paul had said since his Kentucky Republican primary in 2010 that he’d endorse the eventual GOP nominee, and even though he had said throughout the entire 2012 election he’d endorse the eventual Republican nominee–I still think libertarians who were upset with Sen. Paul were not being unreasonable.
But I do think those who measure Rand Paul primarily by his endorsement of Romney now, at this late juncture–after the election is over–are being unreasonable.
When Republicans got excited about Paul Ryan as the VP choice because they considered him a strong conservative, libertarians and others would point out his actual record–and it was bad: Medicare Plan D, No Child Left Behind, auto bailouts, TARP, you name it. All of the things the Tea Party railed against–Ryan had voted for most of it.
But why did conservatives still love Ryan? Simple. Because he was part of their “team.” “Romney/Ryan 2012!” These Republicans didn’t care about Ryan’s actual record. They only cared that their team win–and that he was a part of it.
Some libertarians today, for whom the be-all, end-all measurement of Rand Paul is still the Romney endorsement, exhibit the same, yet inversed, behavior as these Paul Ryan acolytes.
Sen. Paul’s record is the exact opposite of Ryan’s. On spending and size of government, Paul is exactly what the Tea Party represents.
On issues of importance to libertarians that sometimes separate them from mainstream conservatives–foreign policy, civil liberties, drug war, federalism, internet freedom–Paul is arguably the most libertarian senator since the Founding era. He has proved to the Republican establishment he is his father’s son, and many of them, especially the neocons, don’t like it one bit.
Libertarians who still judge Rand Paul because of his endorsement of Mitt Romney are not looking at his record. They are looking at the fact that they believe he joined the other “team.”
How is this different from conservatives who ignore Paul Ryan’s record and welcome him as one of their own?
The liberty movement is supposed to be about ideas and issues, not personalities and partisanship. Libertarians who today continue to ignore Sen. Paul’s record because of his endorsement are more similar to the Republicans who actually voted for Romney than they realize.