July 14, 2007
Here is the text of a speech I just gave at a Ron Paul for President rally in Mountain View, California. A good 600 people showed up in the middle of a park next to Google headquarters. Ron was there, and he gave a great talk: the crowd was enthusiastic, it was a sunny day, and a good time was had by all. By the way, as I watched the crowd going wild for Ron, I wondered: what if, say, Mitt Romney showed up in Mountain View and held a rally at the same locale: would he get 600 wildly cheering highly-energized people to turn out? Somehow I doubt it….
At any rate, here’s the little talk I gave:
It’s interesting how history is repeating itself, these days, but with a twist: a candidate emerges from the Republican grassroots, straight from the conservative base that has been the bedrock of the party’s support since the dark days of the New Deal. He faces a Republican Establishment that is dedicated to the three overriding principles of Washington politics, no matter which party we”re talking about: big money, big government, and big subsides for the biggest, most powerful interest groups. We have a candidate who offers a choice, not an echo, who calls conservatives “ and independent Americans “ back to the founding principles of this country: the concept of constitutionally limited government and a foreign policy based on peace and the wisdom of minding our own business. We have, in short, an authentic conservative, one who harkens back to such Republican stalwarts as Robert A. Taft and even Dwight David Eisenhower, whose prescient warning against the power of the military-industrial complex went unheeded by his fellow Republicans. And we have a “mainstream” media that is hopelessly biased against anyone who doesn”t fit into their predetermined categories, who is authentic, and lives by the principles he espouses “ indeed, who is motivated by those principles and cares about little else.
The last time such a candidate appeared on the Republican scene, he rose from relative obscurity to become a conservative hero and symbol, and snatched the nomination from Nelson Rockefeller and a gaggle of pale imitation “moderates,” and mounted a campaign that basically set the stage for the modern conservative movement and the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s. His name was Barry Goldwater.
Almost half a century later, the Establishment is once again facing a challenge from a maverick, an upstart who dares to point to the party’s betrayal of its principles, and seeks to revive a movement that has turned into the exact opposite of what it used to be: a crusade for limited government that, somehow, got sidetracked into becoming an all-out assault on the Constitution and what is left of our civil liberties. Like Goldwater, he is a red-state Republican, a staunch conservative “ perhaps the most conservative member of Congress. He has stood like a rock against the temper of the times, and swum against the current of his own party in upholding his deep skepticism of government “solutions,” and has justly earned the sobriquet “Dr. No” because he has no trouble voting against most of the nonsense that passes for legislation at the federal level.
His name is Ron Paul.
He is the rightful heir of Goldwater, of Taft, of a party that once stood for individual rights, and a peaceful, prudent foreign policy based on the pursuit of American interests. A party that has since lost its way.
It’s sad, really, to see the decline of a once great party: a party that has presided over the biggest expansion of government since the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, the biggest explosion of federal spending in modern times, and the most serious assault on our constitutional liberties since the imposition of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. Here is a party that once stood for decentralized government asserting the theory of presidential supremacy, in which the power of the executive is exaggerated and mystified until it becomes a monstrous growth of precisely the same sort feared by the Founders, who warned against the return of royalism to America “ and wrote a Constitution in which the authority of the other two branches of government served as vital checks and balances against the tendency of the executive to usurp power and throw off restraints.
How did this happen? How is it that the conservatives of today advocate precisely the opposite of what they advocated yesterday? How has the dream of a free America turned into the nightmare of the Homeland Security State, where government can search our homes, read our email, spy on our legal and constitutionally protected activities, all without a warrant or even a nod to anything remotely resembling a legal procedure?
Ron Paul clearly sees the key to all this, and that is why he has staked out a position as the foremost opponent of militarism in the US Congress. Our interventionist foreign policy is the motor that drives the engine of Big Government, and its fuel is the sort of war hysteria that has permeated political life since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and led to our present predicament in Iraq. Ron Paul stands alone among the Republican candidates for president in opposing our immoral and horribly counterproductive invasion of Iraq. The idea that we can or should go into a foreign country, and “transform” it according to some grand design, to fit some preconceived made-in-Washington formula “ to impose “democracy”, or what passes for it these days, at gunpoint on the people of the Middle East “ is an idea that one might expect from a liberal Democrat, who, after all, has an abiding faith in the power of government to do … well, practically anything! One would think that Republicans, and especially those who fancy themselves conservative Republicans, would know better.
Unfortunately, these days, one would be very wrong to assume any such thing.
In reminding Republicans of their lost heritage, in reviving the spirit of 1964, in offering a choice not an echo of the big government conservative cant that has dominated the party for the past eight years, Ron Paul is the conscience of the GOP. Will the party listen to its conscience, or will it continue to sin against its own traditions? Only time will tell. But I”ll tell you this:
The pundits are saying that Ron Paul hasn”t got a chance. He’s an outsider, a maverick, a second-tier nobody “ how could he possibly win the party’s nomination for the highest office in the land? Well, I don”t know the precise answer to that question, and I won”t pretend that I do, but I do know this: once before, the know-it-all columnists and the party kingmakers, decided that a representative of true conservatism couldn”t possibly get the nomination. In 1964, Rockefeller “ and, yes, another Romney, by the name of George “ were the frontrunners, deemed so by the mainstream media and the political mavens. Yet Goldwater came from behind, his support welling up from the grassroots: he inspired thousands of activists, who were brought into the freedom movement by his passionate rhetoric and obvious authenticity.
Is history repeating itself? There are many indications that Ron Paul’s campaign has the potential to change the face of American politics “ and this rally is one such indication. We have much work to do to bring Dr. Paul’s message to the American people: so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.