Ron Paul’s Clone Army

The Revolution spawns a new generation of GOP candidates in the mold of Dr. No.

(Page 3 of 3)

An NBC reporter once asked Ron Paul at an Iowa speech if his son’s political success had taught him anything. Paul answered that he will just keep doing what he has always done: tell people the truth. They will respond. Ron Paul does not think he has anything to learn about politics.

Once in office, Rand Paul delighted right-wingers and constitutionalists who were dreaming of a fresh face to make their case for them, balls to the wall, in the media. In his very first speech as senator, he argued that compromise is not always the highest value. He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on August 1, 2011, that it’s more dangerous to the country’s faith and credit to keep adding more debt than it is to face up to our troubles with the “temporary inconvenience” of hitting the debt ceiling.

Rand Paul holds Senate hearings to highlight the “jackbooted thug” side of regulatory enforcement, how people’s lives are ruined because dampness on their property made it a “wetland,” because they sold rabbits without permission, or because they used a certain type of wood in their guitar factory. Last year he tried to get the Senate to vote on candidate Obama’s declaration that the president does not have the power to unilaterally declare war, which would taken away President Obama’s power to keep illegally fighting a unilateral war in Libya. He was the only senator to hold up renewal of the PATRIOT Act, forcing a vote on an amendment to protect the privacy of gun records. 

So far Rand Paul has found that the power of one senator to effect change is small. But with the help of comrades like Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, he got a vote on his proposal to balance the budget within five years (it was crushed, 90 to 7) and is working to make sure there are public debates on controversial legislation such as the PATRIOT Act and No Child Left Behind. 

Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano, who keeps his eye on positive developments in Congress, says he knows of nearly 15 congressmen whose voting records mark them as faithful libertarians on issues such as the PATRIOT Act, the debt ceiling, and the war on Libya. And nearly double that number seem to lean libertarian. “I don’t know if any of them would be there,” Napolitano says, “if not for [Ron Paul’s] personal, persistent, and continual education of the public and other members of Congress.”

But placing a few friends of liberty here and there—in local, state, and federal office—is not enough by itself to effect real change. As Paul wrote in the March 2010 issue of Young American Revolution, a publication of Young Americans for Liberty, “No matter how many pro-freedom politicians we elect to office, the only way to guarantee constitutional government is through an educated and activist public devoted to the ideals of liberty.” 

Brian Doherty is a senior editor at reason. This essay was adapted from his new book Ron Paul's Revolution. Copyright © 2012 by Brian Doherty. Reprinted by arrangement with Broadside Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • juris imprudent||

    Imagining a future Republican party where Kristol and Coulter are left sitting on the outside looking in just brings a smile to my face.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Broseph of Invention||

    Here in Minnesota the Republican Party-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate is a guy named Kurt Bills, a high school economics teacher. He endorsed Ron Paul in the GOP primary, and Ron Paul endorsed him back. He keeps to a really simple economics message that the Tea Party folks can get behind, and he's a likable guy. It'll be hard to knock off Klobuchar, but he's probably the best shot.

    Anyway, if you're talking about high profile Ron Paul candidates, you've gotta talk about him.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    Also, Mike Lee is from Utah, not Colorado.

  • DantoRang||

    Dude knows he is totally down with that. Wow.

  • tee shirt pas cher||

    “In 2008,” observes Florida Republican activist and Paul fan Phil Blumel, “when the Ron Paul folks first showed up, they didn’t know how to deal with people professionally, and in the last few years that’s gotten better. Some of that is just them growing up. In 2008 the Ron Paul people were all really young. Now in Florida the Paul contingent is respected in a way it was not in 2008, and they dominate in some counties.”

  • joy||

    such as cops called in to break up meetings overwhelmed by Paulites in Missouri, parliamentary rule abuses aimed at limiting Paulite chances in Louisiana, and a generally unwelcoming vibe everywhere from Texas to Oregon.

  • ||

    n 2008 and 2010, dozens of self-styled “Ron Paul Republicans” sought office under the Republican banner. The biggest win was in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, around Grand Rapids, where a young lawyer named Justin Amash snagged a seat. Amash is hardcore, a guy who sometimes votes no even when Dr. No votes yes and explains his every action to constituents on Facebook. A true child of the revolution, Amash became a fan of F.A. Hayek and Frédéric Bastiat while studying economics at the University of Michigan. Disgusted with the sameness of the Republicans and the Democrats, he sought and won a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives in 2008 and immediately decided to try for federal office.

  • Old Dave||

    "B.J. Lawson, a medical software entrepreneur who was endorsed by Paul, was the GOP candidate for a South Carolina House seat in 2008 and 2010, losing both times."

    B.J. is from North Carolina. He ran against longtime incumbent David E. Price. B.J. got basically NO support from NCGOP, certainly in part because Price was pretty much unbeatable. However, B.J.'s libertarian ideas didn't sit well with the party bigwigs, either.

  • Brandon Magoon||

    LOL. Ron Paul is sure to finish no lower than fourth in the delegate count? Well since he's already in second, yes, I would say it's sure.

  • Robert Wagner||

    Thank you kindly for the mention. My name is Robert Wagner, one of the Liberty Candidates, and I'm running for the Vermont Senate as an Independent, not a Republican or any other party, acting in the interests of the People directly, not controlled by lobbyists and parties in Washington, DC, as are the career politicians in the Legislature.

    These career politicians are giving away our assets to major corporations and not even requiring them to pay taxes, and jacking up the taxes of productive Vermonters. They are locking us down with oppressive and expensive regulation. Businesses and farms are failing and leaving the State, young people are not staying in Vermont, and the incumbents remain oblivious. They assume that the flow of (borrowed) federal money gushing into Vermont will last forever.

    There's a growing alliance of folks of all stripes that want Vermont OUT of the illegal, brutal wars and occupations, relocalize our economy and find local solutions instead of the top-down, centrally planned bureaucratic directives forced on us from above.

    Economically I am close to the Austrian School, but no follower. I'm actually closer to Henry George, who preceded them all.

    You can read more about us, and what's happening in Vermont, at

  • jdgalt||

    The question is whether Ron Paul's clone army will outlast NBC's Orbital Mind Control Lasers. :)

  • tipuasher||

    Glad to see User Experience given priority over programming convenience. This is clearly the right direction


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties