When Republicans had one of their debates in Florida, moderator Brian Williams asked Congressman Ron Paul whether he would endorse Newt Gingrich in the event that the former Speaker of the House won his party’s nomination. Indicating that, at the very least, he wouldn’t rule out the possibility altogether, Paul was more than a bit gracious. Nowadays, Gingrich speaks somewhat sensibly on economic matters, Paul implied, but his foreign policy vision leaves much to be desired.
I confess, I wished that the good doctor would not have been so accommodating.
I would have loved to have heard Paul say something along the following lines:
“Brian, you yourself just acknowledged that, unlike Governor Romney, Senator Santorum, and Speaker Gingrich, I not only have a solid and ever growing base of grassroots supporters, but a base composed in no small measure of youthful voters whose passion and commitment is unsurpassed. There has been no other candidate in this race from the outset—for that matter, no other politician in all of Washington D.C.—who has succeeded in energizing citizens from across the political spectrum and every walk of life as I have managed to do. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and moderates; college students, Wall Street ‘occupiers,’ and active military personnel; Hollywood actors, like Vince Vaughn, and 22 year CIA veteran and one-time head of the Osama bin Laden unit Michael Scheuer; Christians, Jews, and atheists; blacks, Hispanics, and whites; my supporters hail from all across the land.
“Polls show that in a head-to-head match up with President Obama, I do as well as Mitt Romney and significantly better than Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. In fact, these same polls show that I do better than all of the candidates—including President Obama—among those voters without whom no general election can be won: independents.
“The question that should be asked is this: Would Newt or, for that matter, any other candidate, endorse me should I get the nomination?”
Paul could continue:
“Not too long ago, if I am not mistaken, Newt told Wolf Blitzer that he would not vote for me over Barack Obama. This in and of itself raises a thicket of questions:
“What in the world would possess a self-declared ‘conservative,’ a self-avowed proponent of ‘limited government,’ to, in effect, even if not necessarily by intention, side with a presidential candidate who he himself has described as a ‘socialist’ and ‘Saul Alinsky radical’ over a constitutionalist like myself?!
“If Newt would really prefer Obama over me, doesn’t this suggest that for all of his rhetoric, Newt’s thinking is more akin to that of the President’s than to my own? And if this is so, doesn’t this mean that while it may be possible to distinguish his philosophy of governing from that of Obama’s, the distinction in question is one without a difference?
“How could any champion of liberty and the constitutional government that makes it possible endorse anyone who thinks as Obama thinks?
“If Newt has since revised the thoughts that he expressed to Wolf Blitzer, I would be interested in knowing, Newt, what has changed?”
If no moderator or interviewer will ask Gingrich or any of the other candidates whether they would support Ron Paul in the event that he should receive his party’s nomination, perhaps Paul should ask the question himself during one of these debates. This would be an effective strategy for a couple of reasons.
First, the question of whether Paul will either run on a third party ticket or endorse the Republican nominee presupposes and reinforces the notion that he is not a serious candidate. In turning the question around on his opponents, he beats this anti-Paul prejudice back.
Second, in turning this question back upon his opponents, Paul reminds them, the media, and voters everywhere that this race isn’t even close to being finished.
Third, this provides Paul the opportunity to test his opponents’ sincerity. We have been told that if Paul abandons the GOP for a third party, he will be responsible for insuring a second term for Obama—something that, under no circumstances, can the country afford. Hence, it would be worst than irresponsible—it would be reckless—for Paul not to endorse the Republican nominee—regardless of who he is. In forcing this question upon Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney, Paul forces them to reveal whether or not they plan on living by this same line of reasoning if and when they find themselves having to choose between Paul and Obama.
Paul is a man on a mission. He is obsessed, not with winning his party’s nomination, much less the presidency, but with seeing to it that more and more Americans hear his message of liberty. Paul really does want to save the country. Yet he is under no delusions that either he or any other person can do so within four or even eight years. The salvation of the country, he knows, lies in renewing the spirit of liberty within the breasts of every American.
He is a wise and honest man. I just hope that during his campaign to restore America to her constitutional roots, he manages to find some room for the forgoing questions.
Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.