Rand Paul Endorsement of Mitt Romney Was a Tactical Masterstroke for Libertarianism


I'm starting to think I must be the only voice in an avalanche of Paulites who wasn't outraged by Senator Rand Paul's endorsement of Mitt Romney. 

As a libertarian with a perspective of the Scottish independence movement and the nascent liberty movement in my home country, Ireland, I sometimes wonder if many of Ron Paul's supporters are more invested in the short game of winning elections than in the long game of building a free world, an objective which transcends personality politics.

"Sellout!" they cried. "He’s giving in to the man!" It's a rich metaphor considering the general air of folk whimsy about Ron (as well as the purity complex of his more hardcore fans) and the more hard-edged, charismatic persona of his sequel. 

I don’t believe that supporting your party's nominee somehow represents a devaluation of principles. Endorsements are just talk, and talk is cheap. But no need to worry; so far at least, Rand walks the walk. He is against foreign aid. He wants to audit the Federal Reserve. He has proposed a budget which balances in five years. He is one of the few members of the Tea Party insurgency who eats with a knife and fork. 

He may be willing to haggle, but Rand is no moderate.

But by sending the message that he is a team player to the inner bigwigs of the Republican Party, Rand succeeds in doing something that Ron never managed to do: build bridges. Speculation on a VP slot aside (of which I am quite skeptical) it means at the very least he may be given a headline slot in the convention in Tampa. 

A similar convention gig launched Barack Obama into the public consciousness back in the 2004 presidential race when Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) was the Democratic nominee for president. 

I would like to see Obama getting a second term, then Senator Paul in 2016. Better suffer through four more years of big government neoconservatism under Obama (it's true) than a potential eight under Romney and an war with Iran thrown in for good measure.  

Rand Paul will become a sellout if --and only if -- he changes his senate voting habits away from libertarian values. I will be watching him very closely to see if this happens. If he starts “blowing in the wind,” I will certainly eat my words. But if I’m right, that Paul is simply being prudent in the pursuit of libertarian goals, then I hope Paulites everywhere will join me in giving full support to his future endeavors. 

To be 90% right and in office is more use to the cause of liberty than to be 100% right and sit on the sidelines.