Reaction to the Rand Paul Endorsement of Romney

I wanted to pass on some reaction to Rand Paul’s endorsement of Romney, but instead of making each one a separate post, I’ll just post several links below.

Here is Dylan Hales’ take on the Rand Paul endorsemnet of Romney from The American Conservative blog.

Speaking personally, my biggest issue with the endorsement was the ”how.” I had expected Senator Paul to endorse Mitt Romney and in some sense believed it was wise politically (as I believed it was wise for then New Jersey senatorial candidate Murray Sabrin to endorse John McCain in 2008.) I did not expect him to nod in agreement as Sean Hannity alleged a massive difference between Romney and President Obama on Obamacare, nor did I expect to hear him give a lengthy endorsement of Romney’s policy positions that included a generous appraisal of the former Massachusetts governor’s position on the Federal Reserve and a lengthy (by television standards) discussion of the Romney’s “mature” foreign policy. It is one thing to say “I am a Republican Senator from he great state of Kentucky and like the majority of my state I will gladly vote for our parties nominee in November.” It is quite another to tout Mitt Romney as a man with a sensible foreign-policy vision…

Daniel Larison responds to Dylan Hales.

What makes this part (foreign policy) of Sen. Paul’s endorsement so unfortunate is that it was entirely unnecessary. There were several ways that he could have handled his differences with Romney on foreign policy that would have been more satisfactory. The easiest would have been to fall back on the overused line that someone in agreement with you 80% of the time is your ally. That would not have created the impression that Paul believes Romney’s foreign policy to be sound. One has to hope that Paul doesn’t actually think this, but that is what he said. At the same time, it would have avoided emphasizing those differences when the point of the endorsement is to do the opposite. Another way would have been to find some foreign policy issue where he and Romney are more or less in agreement, if there is such a thing. Perhaps he could have found some common ground on foreign aid spending. Failing that, it would have been better to avoid saying anything on the subject…

Daniel Larison dedicates an entire column to the issue at The Week.

While Rand is not as strictly non-interventionist as his father, no one could confuse him for a hawk in the mold of Florida’s Marco Rubio. When the Kentucky senator praised Romney for his “mature” foreign policy and asserted that the Republican nominee believed war should be a last resort, he hurt his reputation with his strongest supporters and undermined the critique of Republican foreign policy that has been central to his father’s message. No less important, Rand provided Romney with valuable political cover for a foreign policy that appears to be every bit as reckless as that of George W. Bush.

The Atlantic Wire has a story on how Ron Paul supporters are “Fuming Mad.”

With Ron Paul’s diehard supporters being one of his most formidable assets, especially when it comes to winning straw polls or online money bomb fundraisers, you’ve got to wonder if Rand Paul risks jeopardizing the family brand.

And last but not least, IPR commenter Sean Scallon had this to say.

Sen. Rand Paul had to know his endorsement of Mitt Romney would carry little weight with supporters of his father’s Presidential campaign, especially those of a more libertarian mindset or those with no long-standing loyalties to the GOP . Then again maybe that’s the idea.

Not that Rand wouldn’t eventually endorse the GOP nominee whoever it was as a party member and sitting U.S. Senator. What surprised many Paulities was how soon and how enthusiastic he was about it and he how plans actively campaign for Romney in the fall. In so doing he will be on the record supporting the foreign policy platform of the Romney campaign which is diametrically opposed to the things his father beliefs in and ran his campaign’s on. Indeed, some may wonder if Ron Paul so far can’t bring himself to make such an endorsement, then why is Rand so eager?

Obviously a lot of this has to do with Rand’s ambitions for 2016. He wants to be seen as a party man, of mainstreaming the Paul movement inside the party…

26 thoughts on “Reaction to the Rand Paul Endorsement of Romney

  1. Pingback: Reaction to the Rand Paul Endorsement of Romney | Conservative Heritage Times

  2. langa

    If Rand really wanted to sidestep the foreign policy question, while still telling the truth, he could have just pointed out how terrible Obama’s foreign policy has been, with the obvious (but unspoken) implication being that Romney’s foreign policy couldn’t be any worse.

    Of course, telling the truth seems to be pretty low on Rand’s list of priorities, especially lately.

  3. Galileo

    Rand’s critics, like most of the sheeple, focus on what Rand says instead of what he does. What Rand does is the best voting record in the US Senate since before the civil war.

  4. Andy

    “Galileo // Jun 18, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Rand’s critics, like most of the sheeple, focus on what Rand says instead of what he does. What Rand does is the best voting record in the US Senate since before the civil war.”

    This is a very good point. Like everyone else in the liberty movement, I was not happy when I heard about Rand Paul endorsing Mitt Romney. I was wondering, “Did Rand Paul sell out?” or, “Is Rand Paul showing his true colors?” or what? I think that it is quite possible that Rand Paul is just playing politics. He probably intends to run for the Republican nomination for President in 2016 and he is trying to appeal to the mainstream Republicans by appearing to suck up to Mitt Romney.

    The bottom line that everyone should look at is Rand Paul’s voting record in the Senate. When I have more time I will do a more thorough analysis of his voting record, but I think that it’s been pretty darn good thus far.

    Rand Paul has certainly made a few remarks which make libertarians and/or constitutionalists cringe, but his actual voting record is good, and this is what matters the most.

    Although I don’t like that Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney, I actually think that Bob Barr endorsing Newt Gingrich in the Republican Presidential primaries, and Mitt Romney in the general election was worse. Why? Because Bob Barr has a worse record as a government official, and he was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 2008.

    I also think that 1972 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate John Hospers endorsement of George W. Bush for President in the 2004 election was worse, but then again, Hospers was an old man so senility could be an excuse for him having done that.

    The national Libertarian Party issued a press release condemning Ran Paul for endorsing Mitt Romney, and I can certainly see why they did it and I agree with their reasoning, but it certainly makes the party look hypocritical since the LP’s 2008 candidate for President, Bob Barr, did the same thing. One could say that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but hopefully a lot of people who read the LP’s press release about Rand Paul endorsing Mitt Romney don’t know that Bob Barr did the same thing.

  5. NewFederalist

    “One could say that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but hopefully a lot of people who read the LP’s press release about Rand Paul endorsing Mitt Romney don’t know that Bob Barr did the same thing.”

    Great point! Hypocrisy is everywhere.

  6. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    True. The LNC, while condemning Rand Paul, should have simultaneously repudiated both Hospers’s and Barr’s actions.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    This whole notion of Rand Paul’s endorsement of Romney as some kind of “betrayal” is silly.

    Rand Paul is a Republican US Senator with presidential aspirations of his own.

    Romney is the Republican Party’s nominee-apparent.

    Of course a Republican US Senator with presidential aspirations of his own is going to endorse his party’s nominee-apparent.

    On the family front, Paul the Elder and Paul the Younger are pulling off a tricky dynastic succession maneuver.

    Paul the Elder was able to make it into Congress, but left politics for awhile when he couldn’t get up the next rung of the ladder (he lost his US Senate primary in in 1984).

    He then built a new fundraising base outside normal party channels by pandering to libertarians, constitutionalists, klansmen — anyone possessed of a good gullibility-to-checkbook ratio — and managed to claw his way back into the House. where he held his seat by walking a balance beam between eccentric fundraising-base-pandering rhetoric and “bring home the pork” typical politicianism in action.

    Having to pander to that non-mainstream fundraising base hobbled his own presidential ambitions, which is why Rand never went there, declaring early on in his Senate race “I am a conservative, not a libertarian” and angling for a place in the establishment from the very start.

    His endorsement of Romney is kind of like transitioning from Charleston to Jitterbug in mid-tune — there will probably be a couple of odd-looking steps in there, but it was not a “betrayal,” nor was it unplanned. He doesn’t want to carry his father’s political weaknesses with him into the future. Nor, likely, does his father want him to.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    tk, agreed, no betrayal there. A different approach from his Dad, who didn’t endorse Rs for prez, to my knowledge, at least in recent decades.

  9. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    What’s kinda interesting with Rand is how the LRC crowd is dealing with it. Woods, for ex., publicly suggesting Ron not follow suit. And criticizing C4L’s leadership.

    As these paleo-nonarchists have ridden the RP horse for all these years, this could mark another schism, bigger than the one when Evers severed his connection with Rothbard.

  10. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    I’ve long supported Ron Paul. I never supported Rand Paul.

    I’d hoped that Rand would prove worthy of my support at some point in the future. But I was always undecided about him, waiting for confirmation regarding his principles and integrity.

    I don’t see any LRC or paleo schism over Rand’s remark. I assume many will just write him off as a disappointment, and move on.

    Had Ron Paul endorsed Romney, that may have led to some schisms and soul-searching. But Rand never had his father’s passionate following.

  11. Jill Pyeatt

    My feeling from the beginning is that something is going on that we don’t know about. As ugly as the GOP has been at keeping Ron Paul out, resorting to obvious fraud, and even breaking bones, is it a huge leap to think that the families of both doctors were threatened, if they didn’t get in line with Romney? Maybe we’ll never know what’s really going on.

  12. RedPhillips

    “Rand’s critics, like most of the sheeple, focus on what Rand says instead of what he does. What Rand does is the best voting record in the US Senate since before the civil war (sic).”

    But how Rand votes is 1 vote out of 100. Rarely a difference maker. I would argue that his rhetoric is at least as if not more important. The problem is that interventionism is so dominant in Washington and so much taken for granted by both the mainstream right and left that non-intervention desperately needs vocal advocates with some sort of stature to challenge the conventional wisdom. Isn’t a firebrand pounding away against invading Iran worth as much as 1 additional vote against the TSA? So I consider Rand’s rhetorical failures significant.

  13. RedPhillips

    “What’s kinda interesting with Rand is how the LRC crowd is dealing with it. Woods, for ex., publicly suggesting Ron not follow suit. And criticizing C4L’s leadership.

    As these paleo-nonarchists have ridden the RP horse for all these years, this could mark another schism, bigger than the one when Evers severed his connection with Rothbard.”

    Lew Rockwell has always seemed to me very deferential to Paul. I think he cares for Paul personally and probably feels he owes him his whole gig. Were it not for Ron Paul and his apparatus there would be no Lew Rockwell as we know it. My sense is that Rockwell’s reaction to Rand has been very subdued by his standards likely out of deference to Rand’s father. He expressed displeasure at the endorsement but withheld his usual invective.

  14. Austin Battenberg

    I agree with @13 except that Rand’s rhetoric on civil liberties (gay marriage not withstanding) are very good. Hearing someone speak so eloquently and passionately on the abuses of the PATRIOT Act, the NDAA, the TSA, and other non economic issues is a breath of fresh air in the senate.

  15. just saying

    @13 — One senator can be very powerful. On an up-and-down vote with 100 people, where 80+ are on one side — then sure, his one vote isn’t a biog deal (EITHER WAY , I would had — not necessarily a big deal if he votes the wrong way on such a vote either).

    But the way he leverages his power as a lone voice is vry important, and he can do a lot more with that lone voice as a Senator than his father coild in the House.

    Do you remember ,a href=”http://www.policymic.com/articles/6139/rand-paul-stops-war-with-iran-by-offering-a-one-sentence-amendment-to-iran-sanctions-bill”>this story from a few months ago?

    “Rand Paul stops war with Iran by offering a one sentence amendment to Iran sanctions bill “

  16. Mike Jones

    Red Phillips said: “But how Rand votes is 1 vote out of 100. Rarely a difference maker.”

    Rand’s one vote in the US Senate is still important, and so far his voting record has been good.

    “I would argue that his rhetoric is at least as if not more important.”

    Most of Rand Paul’s rhetoric has been good, although I will say that he has made a few cringe worthy statements.

    Rand is still the best person in the US Senate right now from a libertarian and/or constitutionalist perspective.

  17. RedPhillips

    I actually do agree, unlike Daniel Larison, that Romney is probably less likely to plunge us into a war despite his sorry crew of neocon advisors, because he is a temperamentally moderate guy who is less likely to act rashly or allow himself to be dragged around by the nose (compared to Bush II for example). But I agree with Larison that Rand gave Romney cover on foreign policy that was entirely unnecessary and unhelpful. Romney needs to feel the heat from both the forces of moderation and right-wing non-interventionists for having such a collection of hawks advising him.

  18. RedPhillips

    Oh no New Fed. I plan to vote for the most conservative certified write-in candidate available to me. In my state that will probably be Virgil Goode although I’m not crazy about him. I just don’t suffer from anti-Romney Hysteria. I think that Romney is primarily a Chamber of Commerce Republican, but I suspect his Mass. RINO persona was more of an act than is his new conservative “conversion.”

    Some conservatives seemed convinced that Romney is both a pandering flip-flopper and a committed RINO. This has never made sense to me. If we know he’s an opportunist, how do we know the Mass. RINO act wasn’t more of the put on? My hunch is that it was.

    Same goes with all his hawkish advisors. If the guy is a pandering fool, how do we know that all those advisors aren’t just for show to keep the “conservative” critics at bay? Romney is basically a moderate. On foreign policy, I will sleep better with him as President than I would with Newt, Santorum, Perry, etc.

  19. langa

    But how Rand votes is 1 vote out of 100. Rarely a difference maker. I would argue that his rhetoric is at least as if not more important. The problem is that interventionism is so dominant in Washington and so much taken for granted by both the mainstream right and left that non-intervention desperately needs vocal advocates with some sort of stature to challenge the conventional wisdom. Isn’t a firebrand pounding away against invading Iran worth as much as 1 additional vote against the TSA? So I consider Rand’s rhetorical failures significant.

    I completely agree. Ron Paul’s success in revitalizing libertarianism (and, to a lesser extent, paleoconservatism) has been because of his willingness to make controversial statements and his refusal to “play ball” with the GOP establishment. These things are what makes him unique, and gets people’s attention. Rand, on the other hand, by taking the conventional route, runs the risk of being seen as just another typical right-wing politician, if not an outright neocon. While that image may help his political career, it certainly does nothing to help the movement(s) that he ostensibly represents.

  20. Sean Scallon

    Here’s how this whole dilemma could have been solved (and Rand could have worked this out with Romney):

    1). Ron’s name goes into nomination. Romney pulls out a win. The Rand goes to the podium and ask the vote be made unanimous.

    2). As he does so he makes a briefs speech, the same as Goldwater did in 1960 after he endorsed Nixon. It was that speech which put him at the forefront of the newly created conservative movement. Rand could have done the same thing. It would have gotten a lot of attention and good publicity.

    But no, he gives an early endorsement, probably because that’s what Romney wanted, and turns over his fundraising lists (got your email from Mitt yet?). But instead putting himself at the head of the movement after the battle was over with, he just divides it. In reality, it’s not smart politics.

  21. Joe Buchman

    Here’s Jesse Ventura’s reaction:

    ” . . . the problem is Ron apparently is gonna go to the convention and that’s gonna be the end of him. I mean, his son just endorsed Mitt Romney. How outrageous is that? I tell you, if my son did that to me, I’d put him over my knee and give him a spanking. But I don’t have to worry about that because my son would endorse me, so it’s really irrelevant.”

    Full interview available here:

    http://highbrowmagazine.com/1254-jesse-ventura-politics-keith-richards-and-why-hes-atheist

  22. Starchild

    Andy @5 makes an excellent point:

    “The national Libertarian Party issued a press release condemning Rand Paul for endorsing Mitt Romney, and I can certainly see why they did it and I agree with their reasoning, but it certainly makes the party look hypocritical since the LP’s 2008 candidate for President, Bob Barr, did the same thing.”

    This is one reason why simply electing Libertarians is not the answer: Because too many normally sensible people in our own party will give them a pass when they do bad things just because of the “L” next to their names.

    To the extent we focus on electing candidates, the main consideration should be electing people with libertarian views, regardless of their party.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    24 sc: Because too many normally sensible people in our own party will give them a pass when they do bad things just because of the “L” next to their names.

    me: Hmm, strikes me that Ls are not as a group shrinking violets. Personally I’d like to see it happen (Ls getting elected) before pre-judging how the L rank and file (the grassroots!) might react if an elected L goes off rez.

    I certainly agree that small-Ls getting elected is a helpful thing. Of course, sometimes, with policy-matters often being muddled, we might disagree with an individual vote that someone like Ron Paul has cast. So, there does seem to be a need for some tolerance for “deviations,” yes?

  24. Ad Hoc

    Barr was never elected as a Libertarian, I doubt he is a Libertarian now, and every Libertarian I saw was not happy with his endorsement of Romney (or Gingrich, but especially Romney). I don’t think he would have an easy time if he wanted to come back to the LP again, and I don’t think he will.

    I’m not sure what Rand Paul’s endorsement – which is pretty big news as evidenced by the fact that the LP’s press release got picked up in multiple places, see

    http://www.lp.org/blogs/staff/have-you-seen-these-articles-about-the-lp-news-release

    Has to do with Barr’s endorsement, which is only news on IPR and one or two other places.

    Rand’s endorsement is much more of a current topic in the real news, it’s a big issue for millions of Ron Paul supporters who may or may not want to vote for Rand Paul in 2016 and may or may not want to support the LP this year, in 2016, and so on.

    Rand Paul is a current US Senator and likely future major party presidential candidate who may even have a shot to win. Bob Barr is at the moment an ex-Congressman who can’t get his former party’s nomination to try for Congress again, and yes, he was the LP candidate in 2008, which was a mistake.

    It made perfect sense for the LP to comment on Rand Paul’s endorsement of Romney as well as to not mention Bob Barr anywhere in it.

    As for electing small ls. I’m for it. I’m glad there are sites like liberty-candidates.org to help identify who they are, which is not always an exact science.

    But the LP is a political party and its purpose is to elect its own candidates, not those of other parties. Perhaps in some cases it should cross-nominate or cross-endorse, perhaps not. That’s a legitimate debate.

    But saying we should not try to elect Libertarians makes no sense. Why even call it a political party at all then?

    There are other groups ranging from think tanks to militias to web communities to PACs – they don’t have to all be called “parties” – and being a party comes with significant legal disadvantages. Why take this on if not attempting to elect anyone?

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