Et tu, Brute? That Shakespeare line from “Julius Caesar” comes to mind when speaking of treachery and betrayal, just as it may have come to the minds of Ron Paul supporters when they heard the news that Rand Paul had stuck a knife into the back of his father’s campaign. To see Rand announce his endorsement of Mitt Romney on Sean Hannity’s show was like having salt thrown on the knife wound. The talk show host and GOP cheerleader has been one of Ron Paul’s fiercest critics. Hannity even claimed during the interview that the elder Paul had “officially dropped out of the race” which was false, and he claimed not to understand why Ron “is still mad at me.” Anyone who has observed his mistreatment of Paul for years certainly understands.
But, is it possible the endorsement was not a knife in the back at all? Did Rand have his father’s blessing when he publicly endorsed Mitt Romney? Hard to tell for certain, because Ron has not taken time to address this with his supporters, who have given so much money and so much time and so much effort to help further his message of liberty. Still, we are beginning to get glimpses of what transpired behind the curtain of the Paul campaign thanks to interviews like the one Adam Kokesh did with former staffer Penny Freeman.
There has been talk of a Ron Paul-Mitt Romney alliance for several months. Some will believe this is confirmation that a deal was struck prior to Rand’s announcement. However, others suggest Ron attacked Mitt less than other candidates simply because Romney has been known to flip on so many issues.
How could Rand Paul support a man who was successfully portrayed as the polar opposite of his father during the presidential campaign? Rand claimed he and Romney have much in common, and cited “big families and a lot of the same family values.” Deserting your father for his political rival doesn’t sound like “family values,” it sounds like Rand is trying to further his own political career in the Republican Party.
Rand should not be confused with Ron. He has strayed from the message of liberty too often, including his recent attack on civil liberties. Libertarians have never fully embraced Rand. The Libertarian Party had harsh words regarding Rand’s endorsement.
His voting record is much more similar to Romney than it is to his own father. However, it was not similar enough to expect him to join ranks with Romney, or to claim that he can help bring independents into their fold. Rand even told Hannity, with a straight face, that Romney is “reasonable” on foreign policy. Did you hear the collective groan from Ron Paul supporters? You can easily find videos on YouTube in which Mitt and Ron clashed on that issue (here is one, here is another).
Ron Paul recently asked his supporters to “be respectful” at the GOP national convention. If they listen to Ron and become meek and timid and respectful in Tampa, they will be very unlikely to get any piece of the party platform. Rick Santorum, who endorsed Romney after ripping him to shreds during the debates, has already promised his supporters will “fight” to block Paul delegates. Will Ron take the next step and declare his own support of Romney, even though he is on record as saying Mitt is only “marginally” better than Obama?
If Ron Paul endorses Romney over Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, what message does it send his supporters? Will they hold out hope that the Republicans will eventually become the party of liberty? Is Sean Hannity snickering? Or, will they perceive it as a demonstration that Ron is putting his son, the Republican Party, and his legacy ahead of his message of liberty?