News Release

Is Ron Paul Being Co-opted?

The Washington Post reports that Ron Paul has told media outlets that “he was denied a chance to speak [at the Republican convention] because he refused to let the Romney campaign vet his remarks and give an unconditional endorsement.” Ron Paul spoke at a rally near the convention site on Sunday. See video.

IVAN ELAND, ind.inst.ieland at gmail.com,
Senior fellow at the Independent Institute Eland said today: “Ron Paul has chosen to build influence within the Republican party rather than be a rabble rouser or in any way independent of it. He is trying to follow in the footsteps of other insurgent movements that eventually took over the party and the country — for example, the Goldwater insurgency turned into the Reagan presidency after a number of years. This is a plausible strategy, especially with the more establishment-friendly Rand Paul as the heir apparent. But it does worry many libertarians who fear that the Republican Party has never done much for liberty and that the movement will be co-opted by the party rather than vice versa. Also, they fear that the compromises made to make headway in the Republican Party would corrupt the movement.

“Over the long run, libertarians especially fear that Ron Paul’s advocacy of military restraint overseas would be diluted by a hawkish Republican Party. ‘Going establishment’ within the Republican Party could harm or at least retard the movement’s ability to recruit young people who are Democrats or Independents and want a more independent liberty movement.”

Eland’s books include Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed and Putting ‘Defense’ Back into U.S. Defense Policy.