Is Ron Paul Running Away From The Libertarian Label ?by Doug Mataconis
KipEsquire asks an interesting question…..why is it that Ron Paul isn’t acknowledging his libertarian roots ?
Can you cite to one occasion in this campaign where Ron Paul has, unsolicited and not in response to an interviewer’s question, used the word “libertarian”? Can you point to one page at his website that contain the word “libertarian”? Even his bio page omits his 1992 1988 big-L Libertarian candidacy.
Paul calling himself “a proud constitutionalist”* is like a gay calling himself “a proud alternative-lifestyler.”
And, well, I guess on one level it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care if someone calls themselves a “libertarian”, or a “classical liberal” (which is what, given my affinity for John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Tom Paine, and Samuel Adams, I consider myself), or whatever they want to call themselves.
Nonetheless, it is interesting that Congressman Paul’s official biography proceeds thusly:
While serving in Congress during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Dr. Paulâ€™s limited-government ideals were not popular in Washington. In 1976, he was one of only four Republican congressmen to endorse Ronald Reagan for president.
During that time, Congressman Paul served on the House Banking committee, where he was a strong advocate for sound monetary policy and an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserveâ€™s inflationary measures. He was an unwavering advocate of pro-life and pro-family values. Dr. Paul consistently voted to lower or abolish federal taxes, spending and regulation, and used his House seat to actively promote the return of government to its proper constitutional levels. In 1984, he voluntarily relinquished his House seat and returned to his medical practice.
Dr. Paul returned to Congress in 1997 to represent the 14th congressional district of Texas. He presently serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He continues to advocate a dramatic reduction in the size of the federal government and a return to constitutional principles.
Omitted, for some reason, in that gap between 1984 and 1997 is the fact that Congressman Paul ran for President of the United States as the nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1988, and received 431, 750 votes.
One of those votes was mine.
It was, in fact, the first Presidential election that I voted in and, even though it was cast for a guy I knew wasn’t going to win, I took it seriously and voted for him anyway, because I’d read about what he stood for, and I’d learned about his record in Congress even back then, and I looked at George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis and I knew there was no way I could respect myself in the morning if I voted for either one of them.
So, on some level, I guess it bothers me that Ron Paul’s official biography completely omits what I seriously considered to be a campaign I supported strictly on principles that were, to me at the time, newly discovered.
I am neither a fan, nor a member. of the Libertarian Party. Mostly, because I don’t think that third-party strategy is a viable mechanism for political change in the United States. Which is why I am not involved with politics at that level.
And it’s one of the reasons I had at least some hope for Congressman Paul’s campaign. I hoped that it would attract the support of Americans interested in protecting individual liberty and turning that suppport into a movement that would do more than just turn up at the most recent meeting of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
And that’s the problem with politics. The more you see of it up close, the more you realize just how corrupt the internal structure is, and just how pointless it is for vanguards like Ron Paul to continue fighting wars when the outcome has, seemingly already been decided.