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The Ron Paul Effect: RNC 2012

Matt Pressberg |
August 29, 2012 | 3:56 p.m. PDT

Staff Columnist

Ron Paul and his delegates have been left out in the cold. (Dawn Megli/Creative Commons)
Ron Paul and his delegates have been left out in the cold. (Dawn Megli/Creative Commons)
Civil libertarian folk hero and ardent foe of fiat currency Rep. Ron Paul will be honored Wednesday with a video tribute at the start of the evening's Republican National Convention proceedings. Paul and his loyal supporters wanted a speaking role befitting such an influential figure in the party, but Paul couldn't square his principled (if sometimes extreme) unorthodoxy with the carefully controlled corporate messaging of the Romney-Ryan ticket.

Speaking with the New York Times, Paul elaborated on why he will not be at the Tampa Bay Times Forum:

"Mr. Paul, in an interview, said convention planners had offered him an opportunity to speak under two conditions: that he deliver remarks vetted by the Romney campaign, and that he give a full-fledged endorsement of Mr. Romney. He declined.

'It wouldn’t be my speech,' Mr. Paul said. 'That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president.'"

Paul followed this up with a Fox News interview Tuesday, in which he failed to commit to voting for Romney in November. As Politico reports, Paul didn't seem too likely to cast his ballot for President Obama, but indicated that he might consider Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Johnson shares Paul's opinion that the War on Drugs is a quagmire and a scandal, a policy position that establishment Republicans and Democrats are not remotely courageous enough to advocate.

The Texas congressman's solid early showing in the Republican primary and caucus season and the strategic behind-the-scenes efforts by his supporters gave him a decent amount of delegates at the convention. However, when Romneycorp attempted and succeeded in changing the rules for future conventions in order to marginalize candidates like Paul, as well as refusing to seat Paul's Maine delegates, his supporters erupted, chanting at the organizers to "seat them now" as well as more profane things, and stormed out of the arena, with many of them claiming they would not vote for Romney after such disrespect. The frontrunner and his team had already packed prime convention real estate with the (staunchly pro-Romney and less white) delegations of such cradles of American democracy as the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico

Ron Paul may be the principled thorn in the Republicans' side, but his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, is a Tea Party icon who is well-situated within the new Republican establishment. As such, while Ron is now clearly on the outside looking in, Rand Paul will be addressing the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.


Reach Staff Columnist Matt Pressberg here.

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