Last night on the Sean Hannity Show, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) endorsed Mitt Romney for President.
Instantly the Vice-presidential buzz filled the air with many asserting that the only thing that could compel the son of one presidential candidate to throw his support behind another one would be the promise of the number two spot on the Republican ticket.
Telling Hannity that his “first choice had always been [his] father,” Senator Paul went on to say that now that the nominating process his over he would be campaigning for former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
It may come as a shock to some readers to hear a member of the Paul family admit on national television that the nominating process is over and that Romney is the Republican candidate. What is even more shocking, perhaps, is that Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) said nearly the same thing in an email to supporters and in an address to the Texas State Republican Convention earlier this week.
“When it is all said and done, we will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the convention floor,” the libertarian-leaning icon said in his email.
“That is just over 20 percent! And while this total is not enough to win the nomination, it puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP,” he continued.
Then, in reference to the hundreds of delegates chosen at the various state party conventions to represent their states at the national convention, Ron Paul said, “[we] will send several hundred additional supporters to Tampa who, while bound to Romney, believe in our ideas of liberty, constitutional government, and a common-sense foreign policy.”
Finally, the elder Paul encouraged his legion of devoted followers to “let the establishment know that we are the future of the Party and of the country.”
Which may cause many Paul supporters to scratch their heads and wonder if the best way to wrest control of the Party from the tight grip of the Establishment is to endorse the Establishment’s candidate.
In fairness, Ron Paul has not endorsed Governor Romney as yet, but he surely understood that his son was about to and that it would be seen by many as an act of betrayal.
In that vein, Twitter, the online social media site that has become a haven for constitutionalists and progressives alike, was awash in messages calling Rand Paul a “traitor” and a “sellout.” Millions of Ron Paul admirers that use the service to keep each other abreast of pro-Paul events, alternative news stories about topics near to their hearts (end the Federal Reserve, gold as currency, the end of the foreign conflicts, and the Tenth Amendment, for example) and a flurry of tweets expressing dismay and confusion as to why the son of their hero would abandon the cause and sign on to serve in the campaign of a man they consider little better than the current occupant of the White House.
As I said earlier, it may be the prospect of a place in the White House that compelled Senator Paul to make his announcement Thursday night.
In a statement released following Senator Paul’s appearance on the Hannity Show, Mitt Romney expressed gratitude for his support:
Senator Paul has been a leading voice in the effort to scale back the size and reach of government and promote liberty. I am grateful for Senator Paul’s support and look forward to working with him to get America back on the right track.
The problem that has plagued Mitt Romney’s campaign since the beginning has been his inability to attract the support of those on the right wing of the Republican Party. Perhaps the former Massachusetts Governor is hopeful that Rand Paul’s seal of approval will convince the more conservative bloc to vote for the party’s “presumptive nominee,” albeit with some trepidation.
Another possible scenario and that is that those libertarian-minded voters who are only nominally Republican will abandon the Pauls altogether and side with a third-party candidate such as Governor Gary Johnson, who is running as the Libertarian Party candidate for President.
It seems unlikely that a politician as savvy as Rand Paul, raised by one of this generation’s most consistently constitutional statesmen, would ever take the loyalty of voters for granted. Surely Senator Paul realizes that the millions of Americans who considered his father the last great hope for the restoration of our Republic to its constitutional foundation are, at the end of the day, not soldiers in the Ron Paul Battalion, but are in fact an army in the cause of liberty and the Constitution. They have learned through decades of sad experience, that most politicians will disappoint them, but the principles of freedom are timeless and steadfast.
With Rand Paul’s Romney endorsement settled, the question that lingers is whether his father will follow suit.
Given Ron Paul’s history of withholding endorsements even to those with whom he has much in common with regard to policy and political philosophy, it is unlikely that Ron Paul will explicitly endorse Mitt Romney.
Of course, before Thursday night, there were millions of politically active Americans who would have bet the farm that Rand Paul never would have signed on to help Mitt Romney get elected President.
During his interview with Sean Hannity Thursday night, Rand Paul recounted a 30-minute meeting he had with Governor Romney in Washington, D.C. recently. During this meeting, Paul reports, he and Romney discussed many issues important to himself and his father.
The first issue mentioned by Senator Paul was the audit of the Federal Reserve. Saying that he and his father believe that there should be more transparency and more congressional oversight of the unconstitutional central bank, Paul went on to say that “this [the audit of the Fed] is something Governor Romney was supportive of throughout his campaign.”
Senator Paul is full of surprises. Those loyal to his father and to the cause of auditing or abolishing the Federal Reserve know that not only has Mitt Romney not supported this critical plank of the constitutional platform, but in fact he has explicitly spoken out against it.
“I think Ben Bernanke [the chairman of the Federal Reserve] is a student of monetary policy; he’s doing as good a job as he thinks he can do. I’m not going to spend my time going after Ben Bernanke. I’m not going to spend my time focusing on the Federal Reserve,” Romney has observed.
Finally, Senator Paul told Hannity that he believes that with Mitt Romney there is “a lot of kinship on those issues” that are important to Ron Paul and his “legion of young supporters.”
However, there is no evidence that Romney shares the Paul stance on the Federal Reserve (not surprising, given the money Romney has received from Goldman Sachs) and certainly not when it comes to ending the illegal foreign wars and bringing our troops home.
With regard to kinship, it seems that with his endorsement of Mitt Romney (a man whose public pronouncement places himself far from the Constitutional center) many believe that Rand Paul has sold his birthright for a mess of partisan pottage.
As to whether Senator Paul's endorsement constitutes a philosophical shift on his part, or on Romney's, or is just an exercise in political pragmatism based on his desire to stop Obama at any cost — or to further his vice presidential aspirations this year or presidential aspirations in the future — only time will tell.
Photo: Sen. Paul at a rally in Erlanger, Kentucky, on October 2, 2010, along with his father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, and his son, William Paul