Despite his father’s invitation to the Republican Convention apparently having been lost in the mail, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is encouraging the army of Ron Paul supporters not to give up on the GOP.
Appearing on CNN Thursday, the first-term senator said that his father has stoked the fires of a freedom movement that will have “an enormous effect” on the future of the Republican Party, if they can be convinced not to abandon it.
The younger Paul pointed to like-minded politicians currently running for office around the country as evidence of his father’s irrefutable influence. Some of these candidates, the Senator noted, “are winning.”
Senator Paul also reminded viewers that Ron Paul followers have “taken over some of the apparatus of the Republican Party in Nevada, Iowa, different places, Maine.”
Readers of The New American are aware of the successful efforts of Ron Paul-aligned delegates in these states to elect many from their ranks to represent their states at the national convention in August.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) has run for the White House under the Republican banner in the last two presidential elections. Each campaign has attracted a greater number of Americans from across the political spectrum who identify with Paul’s message of peace, liberty, and limited government.
For his part, Senator Paul believes this crescendo of support will continue to increase and draw growing numbers of young people to participate in the political process.
"So I think there will be a long lasting influence," the senator said. "I think he has encouraged a lot of people to participate, and what I keep telling them is don't give up on the party because the Democratic Party has a lot of different interests and they all stay in the Democratic Party and I think they have influence."
It is unclear whether the good senator — a proven friend of liberty — will be able to persuade the libertarian-leaning legions of Ron Paul supporters to rally round the Republican flag.
In fact, even Ron Paul himself is hesitant to jump onto the bandwagon of the party’s “presumptive nominee” — Mitt Romney. When asked by Fox Business Network’s Liz Claman and David Asman if he will vote for Mitt Romney, assuming he is the Republican nominee, Ron Paul responded, “I have not made a decision.”
Then, when asked his opinion of Romney’s qualifications for president, Paul answered, “Compared to whom? He certainly offers different things than the current president. But the current conditions make it rough for anyone. They are going to have a very tough job.”
Senator Paul doesn’t share his father’s reluctance to back Romney.
As The New American reported at the time, on June 7, the younger Paul told Sean Hannity that while his “first choice had always been [his] father,” now that the nominating process is over he would be campaigning for former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
During the interview, 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.”
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.
In fact, many of those who would have enthusiastically pulled the lever for Ron Paul for President are unlikely to do so for Mitt Romney, regardless of endorsements or party affiliation and judging from his comments regarding third parties, Senator Paul understands this.
"There just isn't much historical evidence that third parties are going to win in our country.... But I just think we can have a big influence in the Republican Party."
He went on to suggest that his father’s staunch constitutionalism might be so popular in some states as to nudge the Establishment candidates out of the top spot.
"I also think there are certain areas of the country where Republicans cannot win or don't seem to be able to win — California, New England. Whereas a little different Republican, a libertarian Republican — a little bit less aggressive [on] foreign policy, maybe a little bit more socially tolerant and still fiscally conservative — I think could win in places like Maine, Massachusetts, places like that," the senator observed.
Earlier Thursday, while speaking to a group of reporters and bloggers, Senator Paul addressed the current budget crisis, announcing that he is “not too excited about any of the discussions.”
That includes the well-publicized budget proposed by Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Senator Paul insists that Ryan’s proposal doesn’t go far enough or fast enough for his liking.
"Codifying the current spending levels — anything close, up or down — is nowhere close to what we need to do to balance the budget," Paul said.
Echoing a call for spending cuts to defense that has been made by his father for years (much to the chagrin of many Establishment Republicans who consider defense spending to be an untouchable sacred cow), Senator Paul said that the Pentagon’s budget could stand to be cut, particularly as pertaining to the top-line expenditures.
Finally, Senator Paul reiterated to reporters his call to withhold aid to Pakistan pending that country’s release of a doctor credited with aiding the U.S. in tracking down Osama bin Laden. Dr. Shakil Afridi is being held in a Pakistani prison on a 33-year sentence. Afridi ran a vaccination program in that city that was allegedly just a front for a CIA operation to obtain a DNA sample that would verify bin Laden’s presence in the city.
A senior CIA official told the New York Times that the effort ultimately was unsuccessful.
According to news sources inside Pakistan, Afridi’s appellate hearing scheduled for Thursday was indefinitely postponed, and local officials fear for his safety based on reports of serious threats from militant inmates in the same facility.
Last month, Senator Paul sent a letter to President Obama urging a delay in the release of American monetary support to Islamabad, and the denial of all aid until Dr. Afridi is released. He also has introduced legislation, S.B. 3269, calling for the same action.
Photo of Sen.Rand Paul: AP Images