I saw this posted on a Tea Party Facebook group I frequent:
“Libertarian Ron Paul was unable to construct his own “nest” in the Libertarian Party & has instead invaded the Republican Party to “incubate” and legitimize his candidacy. He is continuing this process by encouraging his supporters to infiltrate the Republican party at the local level so they can skew the delegate count in Paul’s favor at this summer’s convention. Such deceptive “end justifies the means” tactics are very reminiscent of radicals on the left. Conservatives, which Ron Paul claims to be, have no history of engaging in such underhanded tactics. In this regard, “non leftist Leftist” Ron Paul reveals himself as someone much closer to Obama than to Ronald Reagan.”
A couple of things about this.
1.) Rep. Ron Paul was elected to Congress as a Republican in 1976. He was the first Republican ever elected to represent his district. Since then, he has been re-elected to Congress, as a Republican, 11 times. True, he left the party in 1988 for a brief period of time. Nevertheless, he’s been a Republican far longer than he was ever a Libertarian. He no more “invaded” the GOP than did Strom Thurmond or Ronald Reagan, both of whom spent time as Democrats before switching their voter registration to Republican.
2.) Are we seriously suggesting that Paul encouraging his supporters to join the Republican Party and participate in the process as delegates and party officers is a bad thing? Considering that a large percentage of Paul’s supporters are college age or in their early 20s, I would think that Republicans would be DELIGHTED that SOMEONE was reaching out to young people and turning them Republican. Certainly no other Republican running for President can say the same thing. To castigate Paul for bringing in new blood is essentially to say that you don’t want new people coming into the Party, and thus don’t want the Party to have a future beyond the next 8 – 10 years. How’s that rational?
3.) Following the rules as written to become a Republican delegate is not “deceptive.” Suggesting otherwise is silly, irrational, and barely worthy of discussion. If don’t support Paul and your candidate isn’t training HIS supporters on how the delegate-selection process works, that doesn’t mean Paul is dishonest, it simply means your candidate is incompetent. If you don’t like the way the delegate process works, elect someone to high party office who will change it for you.
Also, saying that there’s no history in the GOP of supporters of this or that candidate learning the rules and following them to become delegates shows a stark ignorance of history. Scores of Democrats in Southern states changed their voter registration to Republican and entered the Party en masse during the 1960s and 1970s. They were primarily responsible for the success of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns and the early success of Pat Robertson’s 1988 presidential campaign.
If folks want to debate the merits of Paul’s policy proposals, that’s all well and good. The GOP is a big party and there is and should be room for debate about what the Party should stand for and which policies are in our national interest.
Singling out one candidate for scorn because his supporters have taken the time to join the party, learn its rules, and participate in the nomination process isn’t just petty and ignorant, it’s short-sighted and self-destructive. The last time I checked, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in North Carolina by a pretty hefty margin. Trying to drive out of the Party the one candidate who’s proven effective at recruiting scores of young, new Republicans is a quick ticket to political irrelevance.
Byline – Adam Love is the NC State Coordinator for Campaign for Liberty. The mission of Campaign for Liberty is to promote and defend the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a noninterventionist foreign policy, by means of educational and political activity.