An Open Letter To Ron Paul Supportersby Doug Mataconis
In more than one post here, I’ve expressed the opinion, which I continue to believe, that Ron Paul does not have a realistic chance of winning the Republican Presidential nomination. At the same time, I have also said, on equally numerous occasions, that if Congressman Paul manages to make it to the Virginia primary in February 2008, I will vote for him and encourage anyone I can to do the same.
I say that because I believe that he is the only candidate who comes anywhere close to supporting the ideas I believe in. Unfortunately, I know that the vote I would cast for him would be symbolic, but meaningless.
To some people, that might not make sense, and you might even accuse me of being hypocritical, but that’s only because my expectations of what Ron Paul can accomplish for the Republican Party specifically, and the political process in general, have nothing to with whether or not he’s actually elected President.
And the first step in that process involves a reality check.
For a moment, let’s teleport ourselves to Election Night 2008. Forget about the GOP nomination process, and forget about the debates. Let’s just say that Ron Paul has just been elected President of the United States.
Then what ?
Yes, the President has alot of power. But, for the kind of changes that Congressman Paul talks about implementing, and the changes that most people who favor liberty would like to see, mere control of the Executive Branch is meaningless.
Outside of affecting American policy in Iraq, most of what Ron Paul believes in could not be implemented without a solid majority in Congress that favored it. And that, quite honestly, doesn’t exist right now and isn’t going to exist without some work and it certainly won’t happen without electing to Congress people who support the ideas that Congressman Paul talks about on the campaign trail.
Does that mean that supporting Ron Paul’s campaign is pointless ? No, I don’t think so.
I support his campaign because I hope that it will bring back into the Republican Party (which, quite frankly, is the only realistic hope for individual liberty at this point) the kind of libertarian-oriented ideas that influenced Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Neither of them were perfect libertarians, but they were certainly better than what passes for a Republican, or Democrat, today.
So, my suggestion to Ron Paul’s supporters is this. Don’t concentrate just on who’s running for President. Go out and find candidates for the House and Senate who believe in individual liberty. Otherwise, the entire effort will have been pointless.