The former Libertarian candidate for President, and 9-term Republican Congressman from Texas is running for President again, this time as a Republican. From an AP Report:
Ron Paul, the iconoclastic nine-term congressman from southeast Texas, took the first step Thursday toward launching a second presidential bid in 2008, this time as a Republican.
Paul filed incorporation papers in Texas on Thursday to create a presidential exploratory committee that allows him and his supporters to collect money on behalf of his bid. This will be Paul's second try for the White House; he was the Libertarian nominee for president in 1988.
I endlessly get the question, "Wouldn't libertarians be better off trying to change the Republican Party from within?" I am shown how a man like Paul barely got 1% in 1988 running for President with an (L) next to his name, but is elected and re-elected repeatedly with an (R) next to his name. Same man, same principles, same votes.
Well, do consider this other part of the AP article:
Paul, of Lake Jackson, acknowledges that the national GOP has never fully embraced him despite his nine terms in office under its banner. He gets little money from the GOP's large traditional donors, but benefits from individual conservative and Libertarian donors outside Texas.
In fact, the GOP undertook a re-districting for the purpose of gerrymandering, not to eliminate a Democrat, but to eliminate Ron Paul! Funny enough, Paul won the next election anyway. From Paul's Wikipedia entry:
After his presidential bid, Paul returned to Congress in 1996. He was again elected as a Republican, but against the wishes of the party leadership, which had backed Paul's primary opponent, the incumbent Democratic representative who had switched party affiliation.
Given the tax-and-spend nature of Republicans, and the "Never Mind The Principles, Just Win" attitude of Republican supporters, I can't see Paul getting very far.
But, because I get the question so endlessly, let's make Paul's campaign the litmus test for the future. I ask those small-l libertarians who vote R to get behind Ron Paul for President. If he wins the Republican nomination, you will have made your point, that the GOP can be reformed from within. After all, this is a 9-term Libertarian/Republican fusion candidate. He's electable, obviously.
As for myself, I have overwhelming doubts that the culture of the Republican Party is any different than before the Congressional beating it just took in November. I look no further than my state government, and a Governor with a nickname like "The Blade" still putting forth budgets that are larger than before, with no actual cuts, with Republicans rah-rahing the thing as great progress. I still believe the best way to pressure Republicans into change is from the outside, putting the votes of fiscal conservatives at stake. The GOP has buried too many libertarians, from Andy Horning here in Indiana, to Ron Paul in Texas.
But, I'll be watching with interest!