With the Republican National Committee finally conceding the fact that Congressman Ron Paul's name will indeed be on the ballot at the GOP convention in Tampa this August, the RNC is beginning to warm up to the Paul campaign.
There is no word yet on whether they will offer Paul a speaking slot at the convention, but if the last few days are any sign, chances may be high that Paul will be invited to the convention.
According to a recent USA Today story, the RNC and the Paul campaign "have been working closely over the past few months to work out logistics in order to include the Texas congressman and his supporters in the August convention in Tampa. '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.'"
This fair treatment of the Paul campaign — and by extension, his supporters — is a welcome change from the treatment that the RNC as well as state and local GOP parties have treated them since the 2012 Iowa Caucus (and even back to 2008). It is by now well known that Paul supporters, obeying the GOP's own rules at the delegate selection process, have been shunned, ignored, and even strongarmed for their refusal to rubber-stamp Mitt Romney.
Are the RNC and the GOP finally waking up to the significant sized dissent that is their own party? Inviting Paul to speak at the convention will likely answer that question. Only time will tell.
Here are 10 reasons why the Republicans would be foolish not to let Paul speak.
1) Delegates, Delegates, Delegates
From the media's lack of good reporting to the sometimes confusing rules governing the delegation process, it is nearly impossible to tell exactly how many delegates Ron Paul has that will be headed to Tampa. The campaign admits that they have at least 500, though with alternates and delegates that are technically unbound, Paul could have significantly more than is reported. Even with the most conservative estimates, Paul's delegates will play a major role at the convention.
Additionally, the Paul delegates could actually select the vice presidential pick if Romney indeed gets selected as the nominee. Much political coverage has been dedicated to the yawning "Veepstakes," but if the RNC were to actually follow their own rules, Paul could easily be nominated VP.
With this much power, enthusiasm, and grassroots organization, a Paul-less GOP convention might cause some interesting chaos at the convention thanks to the amount of delegates Paul has. The Republicans can't win without the support and votes of the growing libertarian wing of the party. Without proper respect shown to Paul, they will likely stay home or vote for Libertarian Governor Gary Johnson.
2) Ron Paul Will Not Endorse Mitt Romney
At nearly every debate and mainstream media interview, Paul was asked if he would endorse the eventual Republican nominee. Paul, principled and patiently, always answered in the negative. As of yesterday, he again reiterated that he would not endorse Romney, just like he didn't endorse or vote for Senator John McCain in 2008. After all, Paul reasons, Romney agrees with little to any that Paul believes in, and an endorsement would be properly seen as a sellout to the GOP that scorns him and to the delegates and organizers that have worked so hard to push Paul this far.
Given that Paul won't endorse Romney, a speaking nod helps mend that bridge with him and his supporters.
3) A Platform to Ignite the Party
Paul is the intellectual heart of the Tea Party and the libertarian/conservative movement that has ascended in this country in the last few years. Although the Tea Party has unfortunately been co-opted by mainstream Republicans, talking heads, and right-wing radio, Paul's 2008 presidential run laid the groundwork for a real grassroots movement and puts actual teeth behind the rhetoric many Republicans give only lip service to.
If Paul's eventual speech at the convention is anything like the hundreds of speeches he gave across the country in the last year, then the GOP won't know what hit them. In the debates, Paul tended to be interrupted, asked "gotcha" questions, and at one foreign policy debate, was given 89 seconds to speak.
Without rude interruptions and all eyes on him, Paul will finally be able to address a (likely hostile) GOP crowd. And whenever he is given more than 2 minutes to speak, heads start nodding. Fellow PolicyMic columnist Allan Stevo reported that "After Ron Paul spoke in Sparks, Nevada ... observers took note of Mitt Romney supporters crumpling up their Romney signs and vowing to vote for Paul. It was the first time many Republican activists had ever heard Paul speak outside of the several minutes of sound bites allotted to him during televised debates."
Paul is the heart and soul of the grassroots and frustrated GOP, addressing the issue the party refuses to discuss, like ....
4) Actual Cuts in Spending
While the mantra of conservatives and the Republican Party has been "cutting spending" and balancing the budget, their actions haven't exactly matched their words. Every other GOP candidates' spendial proposals besides Paul promises to significantly increase spending, deficits, and the national debt. Romney, while uncomfortably posing as some type of fiscal conservative, promises to increase federal spending by trillions.
Paul has been warning about excessive government spending for decades, warning about billion dollar deficits in the 1980s. Now that the deficits are in the trillions, Paul's message — and budget proposal that would cut $1 trillion and eliminate five cabinet departments — is something that needs to rub off on the Republican Party soon.
5) War and Peace
This is a crucial issue not just for the Republicans to pounce on, but for a broader appeal to the rest of the country as well. A majority of Americans want the U.S. out of Afghanistan and a reduction in foreign military intervention in general. With the Persian Gulf heating up, war in Syria a serious possibility, and President Obama waging war on an unprecedented scale, Paul's message of peace and non-intervention helps make the GOP an actual alternative to Obama. Unfortunately, Romney doesn't think Obama is being aggressive enough overseas, and with the possibility Obama and Romney arguing over who is the bigger warmonger, the Republicans miss a key opportunity to appeal to the growing anti-war sentiment in the country as well as cut spending and save American lives.
6) Civil Liberties
Romney has talked so little about civil liberties, I doubt he could even define what they are if asked, let alone why they are important. A Paul speech at the convention would no doubt include a firm defense of the Bill of Rights, opposition to NDAA, Bradley Manning, the PATRIOT Act, opposition to the drug war, and articulate why Republicans should value civil liberties just as much as economic liberties. This would also again be an effective strategy for the GOP to circumvent President Obama's draconian record on civil liberties.
7) The Fed
With Paul's "Audit the Fed" bill moving forward, now would be the most opportune time to make this a huge part of the convention. Paul's speeches and rallies are infamous for their "End the Fed!" chants, and an understanding of the follies of central banking go hand in hand with a grasp of real, free market economics. With Paul's help, the GOP could adopt a strong position on auditing the Federal Reserve and reversing course on decades of terrible monetary policy.
8) The Party Platform
Many libertarians and Paul supporters will scoff with cynicism at the influence that the party platform will have. Perhaps there is an element of truth to that, but in a time where it is becoming easier and easier to hound and hassle elected officials, maybe this method isn't as hopeless as some might believe. Paul has said he wants to see the GOP adopt as part of the platform moves to audit the Federal Reserve, abolishing the Sixteenth Amendment, protection of civil liberties, etc. If the GOP does let Paul speak and addresses his very valid concerns, this forces the GOP to maybe be a little bit better on these issues than they have been in the past. Or maybe it doesn't, and more and more people get fed up with party politics as a means for change. Either way, it's a win-win.
9) Re-thinking Romney
While President Obama and Governor Romney bicker back and forth over tax returns and desperately trying to differentiate themselves from each other, Paul represents a synthesis of what many people already understand: that Romney and Obama are identical on any and every key issue facing America (literally 100 of them). In a similar way to what Allan Stevo reported in the article above, a chance to hear Paul speak may change the minds of people and make them actually vote for him at the convention. Seeing an authentic conservative — interested in conserving classical liberalism — and Paul's bipartisan appeal could offer Republican voters the real thing and the GOP a political realignment for years to come.
10) Paul Deserves It
And lastly, Ron Paul deserves it. Since 1976, he has been an advocate of limited government, peace, free markets, a sound currency, and civil liberties in every step of his career as congressman, author, and even in his private practice as a doctor. He has given countless speeches on the House floor warning about the economic bubbles caused the Federal Reserve's inflationary monetary policy and predicting the chaos and bloodshed that would result from whatever country is the fashionable target of the Administration at the time. The least the GOP — who have ignored him for decades — could do is give him 15-20 minutes to help light the last brushfires of the liberty revolution he has been instrumental in starting with a speech that would tear the roof off of the convention.
Here's hoping the GOP lets him speak! For the sake of the party, and more importantly, the future of the country, Paul needs to be heard loud and clear.