For only the second time in 415 votes, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) came out the winner in a floor vote on legislation he sponsored.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul's bill to audit the Federal Reserve Bank easily passed the House of Representatives July 25 by a vote of 327-98. Every House Republican voted for the "Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011" (H.R. 459) except freshman Rep. Bob Turner of New York, while Democrats were about evenly split.
This was the first time that Paul’s call to the audit the Fed received a stand-alone vote on the floor of the House of Representatives since it was first introduced more than a decade ago.
Undoubtedly, this victory has resulted in a deposit of substantial political capital in the coffers of the libertarian-leaning obstetrician. Then there is the fact that he counts on the unwavering loyalty of legions of supporters who fill to the rafters any hall or auditorium where their leader appears. This rock star-like reception added to the fact that Representative Paul is retiring from Congress is seen by some as a formula for upstaging the GOP’s “presumptive nominee” Mitt Romney.
Although the former Governor of Massachusetts has praised Paul for the passage of the Audit the Fed bill, he has yet to receive the endorsement of the man who, despite having suspended active campaigning, is still a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.
All of this uncertainty is apparently causing concern in not only the Romney camp, but in the Republican National Committee, as well, whose leadership is determined to put on a smooth and unanimous “coronation” of Romney in August in Tampa.
The Establishment may have reason to worry. According to published reports, Paul may be represented by as many as 500 delegates out of the 2,286 that will attend the Republican Convention at the end of next month.
Should this throng decide to make themselves heard, there is little that the RNC could do to silence them. As a Reuters writer explains, delegates committed to Ron Paul could “upstage Romney and interrupt the tightly choreographed convention, just as the party needs to close ranks ahead of a tough fight against President Barack Obama and the Democrats at the November 6 elections.”
Reuters goes on to quote Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul as saying, "Gov. Romney has a lot of respect for Dr. Paul and the energy his supporters bring to the process. We look forward to broad participation at the Tampa convention and know the Paul enthusiasts will have their voices heard."
They will be.
"Certainly we're not trying to start a fight or go embarrass folks at the convention," Paul's former Iowa state director Joel Kurtinitis said. "We get a bad rap as rabble-rousers. That's not what we're about. We're trying to take our party back."
Perhaps it is their recognition of the potential power in Paul’s iconic status and his reluctance to throw his support behind Romney that has prompted the RNC and Romney 2012 to reach out to Ron Paul and his followers.
As we reported on July 23, while it continues to thwart Ron Paul supporters’ efforts in order to force them to obey the party rules, the RNC is trying to make a show of playing nice with the legions of those faithful to Ron Paul and his campaign for president and for liberty.
The USA Today reports that GOP officialdom is trying to help the libertarian-leaning icon of the freedom movement “organize his troops.”
As unlikely as that seems to those familiar with the ongoing struggle between Ron Paul supporters and the Republican Establishment, there is evidence that the stories of this uneasy alliance are true.
For example, the rally sponsored by Ron Paul to be held at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome the Sunday before the convention was reportedly facilitated by members of the RNC responsible for organizing the nominating convention.
"We have worked closely with Congressman Paul to secure a location for this event," said Kyle Downey, a spokesman for the GOP convention is quoted as saying in the USA Today.
Those in the Paul campaign are singing the same tune.
"They've just treated us like a friend and like a coalition," said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for the Paul campaign. "They have been honest brokers in working with us and treated us with respect."
Fair enough. Perhaps the leaders of both Republican factions — the Ron Paul 2012 campaign and the RNC — are legitimately working together to ensure a smooth, uneventful convention, but many of those loyal to Ron Paul count on their leader to not go gentle into that good night.
Admittedly, Ron Paul’s mission to gather delegates at the state nominating conventions did not go completely according to plan.
As we reported just after the results of the Nebraska convention were known, Paul’s forces in that state came up short in their effort to gain a plurality of delegates. Had he secured the election of a plurality of the state’s 32 delegates, RNC rules dictate that his name could be entered into consideration for the nomination and he would have been granted a 15-minute speaking slot to address the attendees from the podium — a podium provided (albeit reluctantly) by the RNC. That hope did not pan out, however, and now ironically the RNC will have less official control on the activities of Ron Paul or his supporters.
One of Paul’s wealthiest supporters sees a more long-range effect of the appeal of the message of liberty and peace championed by Ron Paul.
Los Angeles hedge fund investor Mark Spitznagel is believed to have been the driving force behind the Ron Paul campaigns decision to continue on in the fight to win delegates. The libertarian billionaire knows, however, that the race for the salvation of our Republic will not end when the balloons fall in Tampa.
"It isn't about winning," Spitznagel said in an interview with a Southern California radio station. "It's about how important the Austrian view on economics is. Think about what Ron Paul has done. He's framed the debate and made people talk about this notion of Keynesianism, which has been such a prominent part of government for so long. That we can even speak about this is why my support for him is as strong as ever."
For his part, Ron Paul realizes that there is much more at stake than a nomination or even a presidency. As he told Politico:
I like to think of it more as verifying that my approach is a little bit different than just becoming a powerful player and having an influence, versus really changing people’s minds. Events have also brought it about because these last five years have been so important to the economy. If the crisis hadn’t hit, I don’t think I could have gotten as much attention. Government reflects the people, sometimes that happens slowly. When the American people get upset, Congress listens.
The quest continues beyond Tampa and beyond 2012. The citizens of this nation have the right and the responsibility of returning power to the states and only electing to office in the general government those men and women committed to restraining themselves with the fetters of the Constitution and upholding their oaths to “preserve, protect, and defend” that document “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Should that happen, perhaps Ron Paul would have had a greater impact on history than any president ever could.