Rand Paul Endorses Mitt And…Told Ya So.
Rand Paul didn’t endorse his father during the primaries, but there was no need for it because it would have been superfluous. It was perfectly clear to everyone that Rand Paul was supporting his father and what else would anyone expect? A son should be supporting his father if he runs for President. Of course, the race is now over. Ron Paul lost and whether you love him or hate him, Mitt Romney won. Rand Paul took note of that fact and did the natural thing for a Republican: he endorsed Mitt Romney. The Paulbot reaction was ah…let’s say less than ecstatic.
As the comments suggest, Sen. Paul’s endorsement appears to have seriously damaged his credibility within the Movement – at least among its most hardcore activists. The virulent backlash indicates that the endorsement could have harmful political ramifications for the Kentucky Senator, raising doubts about his ability to unite his father’s grassroots army with more mainstream elements of the Republican Party base.
“I think Rand Paul believed he could build from his father’s base,” said Brian Doherty, a journalist who has been covering the Ron Paul Revolution since the late 1990s. “But I think he has probably found in the last 24 hours that this might prove more difficult than he expected.”
But Doherty told Business Insider that he was not completely surprised that Sen. Paul opted to endorse Romney. Unlike his father, Paul has frequently shown a willingness to work with the GOP Establishment, and has previously indicated that he planned on getting behind whoever his party picked as the nominee.
“There are a lot of Ron Paul people who like to think of themselves as a ragtag rebel army,” Doherty said. “But Rand Paul is clearly positioning himself to play the part of the loyal opposition in the Republican Party. Emphasis on loyal.”
What was surprising about the endorsement, Doherty said, was its timing.
Although Ron Paul has admitted he is no chance of winning the GOP nomination, he is still technically running for president and announced earlier this week that he expects to have 200 bound delegates at the Republican National Convention this summer. Moreover, his campaign is still encouraging supporters to try to get elected as national delegates at state and local party conventions.
“It seems like a gratuitous kick in the face to his father’s most ardent supporters,” Doherty said, adding that the endorsement seems to indicate that “Rand Paul might have less respect for the grassroots movement than he ought to.”
First of all, told you so.
It is true that the GOP would very much like to harness the money, energy, and dynamism of Ron Paul’s hard core supporters.
The problem with that is that most of Ron Paul’s hardcore supporters are members of a cult-of-personality, not people who can effectively be co-opted by a mainstream political party. The first thing that should clue people in to that fact is that Ron Paul himself didn’t endorse the GOP nominee in 2008 and isn’t likely to do so this time. If Ron Paul himself can’t deliver the Ron Paul vote to the Republican Party without spoiling his own brand by being a sell-out, how is the GOP supposed to bring these people in? Not to say the Republican Party shouldn’t welcome as many Paul voters as possible into the ranks, but people should realize it’s not something that can be done by adopting an agenda.
This isn’t any “gratuitous kick in the face” to anybody.
The. Race. Is. Over.
Ron Paul lost. Mitt Romney won.
Additionally, Rand Paul may be philosophically closer to a Libertarian than a conservative, but he ran as a Republican, not as a member of the Libertarian Party. Moreover, the chance of a Libertarian candidate winning in November is 0.0%. Barring a surprise death/scandal that causes one of the candidates to leave the ticket, the next President of the United States is going to either be Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. You may not like the choices — I certainly don’t. However, those are the choices we have. You can vote for the Libertarian candidate if you like or not vote at all — there’s no significant difference between which form of pouting you engage in — but it’s not going to change reality.
Rand Paul gets that. Good for him. Unfortunately, if Ron Paul can’t deliver the “Ron Paul vote” to the GOP, then Rand Paul probably isn’t going to have all that much luck either.