Republican Convention 2008

Ron Paul's Rally: The Speeches

|

MINNEAPOLIS—I have never heard political speeches like these. Obviously a feature of the Ron Paul campaign was the interminable, free-form rhetoric of the man himself. No matter what crowd he was in front of—pot-lovin' college kids, fetus-lovin' religious conservatives—Paul would speak for 40 minutes about gold, Iraq, medical privacy, civil liberties, and non-intervention. And the Fed. Chatting with me and reason.tv superstar Dan Hayes, near the stage here, MC Tucker Carlson went on about how surprised he was at passion for the gold standard and anger at the Fed, cropping up at every Paul event.

So that same spirit of randomness is on display here. Speakers have been chosen for their celebrity within the Pauloverse, not their speakifyin' abilities. Lew Rockwell, introduced to cheers of "LEWWWWW!", weighed forth in an angry monotone about George Bush's attempt to "create an authoritarian government," and compared non-resistance to non-resistance during the "Stalin, Hitler, and Mao administrations." Author Bill Kauffman, pure swagger in khakis, joked about how Robert Taft would be pilloried if he showed up to the XCel Center. "They'd choke him with pages from a Mitt Romney speech!" he said. "Or worse! They'd make him LISTEN to a Mitt Romney speech!" One liners tumbled forth: "John McCain is more concerned with the Georgia of Joseph Stalin than the Georgia of Ray Charles." He started to sing a few bars: "Hit the roa-a-ad, jack…"

There was a special guest slotted at the time that we were interviewing Carlson, as he would be the first speaker NOT introduced by Carlson. He was John McManus, a John Birch Society board member who fed the crowd red meat. The Birchers are heavy into this: Rev. Steven Craft, who lectures for JBS on sexual morality, told me that Paul's been good for them. "Ron Paul, the Constitution Party, and the John Birch Society see eye to eye," he said. Both of those groups are sponsors of this event, while the LP just has a booth.

But like I said: Random. The Birch booth wasn't much more crowded than any other booth. McManus was followed by Bruce Fein, who gave the same high-strung lecture on civil liberties he makes at every ideologically compatible forum (with metaphors like "trying to get sunlight from a cucumber"). And as Nick Gillespie noted from reason World HQ, Jesse Ventura tried to draft the crowd into his 2012 presidential non-campaign.

Advertisement

NEXT: Republicans Oppose Judicial Activism, Except When They Don't

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 Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The Birchers were right about the interstate.

    There. I said it.

  2. Reason’s cynicism is really getting tiresome. Even Andrew Sullivan is capable of “knowing hope.”

  3. I have never heard political speeches like these. Obviously a feature of the Ron Paul campaign was the interminable, free-form rhetoric of the man himself

    You’ve never been to my family’s house for thanksgiving have you? And I bet the people giving the speeches are just as relevant …

  4. Years ago I used to run a local libertarian meeting at a big restaurant in a room adjacent to a buddy of mine running the local Bircher meeting. My attendees were far cuter, and somewhat more numerous. His were just a bunch of senile old farts like me now.
    I think my buddy may have served time for tax avoidance. Funny we libertarians had speakers advocating such, but we were too savvy to take such advice.

    joe,
    What did the Birchers say about the interstate?

  5. Why is Ron Paul such a total retard?

    If someone discovers that Australia is sitting on 25 cubic kilometers of gold, or as soon as someone figure out how to make gold cheaply, bye bye gold standard.

    The price of gold goes up and down every day, so the incentive to produce more goes up and down every day, too.

    If you want a stable currency, limit the available cash by limiting the money base. If you don’t trust money, that isn’t physical, you could print a limited amount of bills, mint a limited amount of coins, and that’s it.

    Stock doesn’t magically appear either.

    Jesus tap-dancing Christ!

  6. “Reason’s cynicism is really getting tiresome.”

    They are not trying to be cynical. It’s just a symptom of their cognitive dissonance; like the Republicans, they are faced with someone who honestly believes in the “free markets, free minds” principles of limited government and a return to the Constitution as it was intended. Being earnest doesn’t play well at beltway dinner parties however, so it’s not cool to be associated with a person who practices what they preach – preaching alone is verboten, unless it’s done with a liberal dose of snark, but actually acting on your beliefs? You’ll get laughed right out of the club.

    Just be happy they are mentioning the rally, and keep in mind the mental pain it must cause Reason staffers to have to acknowledge his existence. That they lash out is only natural.

  7. “Reason’s cynicism is really getting tiresome.”

    that’s putting it mildly. why do i even bother reading this trash anymore.

    “Why is Ron Paul such a total retard?”

    the idea is not necessarily that gold should be the sole currency dictated by the government. that’s what many people have run with because that is the commodity that was essentially selected by the market and accepted by the constitution. what is important is that individuals, not governments, are free to choose their form of currency. there will never exist one perfect form of currency. currency itself is an imperfect technology applied to the market to take advantage of specialization, and lubricate the economy. gold may be the most efficient means of accomplishing this, and maybe not. that is for the market to decide.

    one thing is certain, the federal reserve system that we have in place now, is unacceptable and unjust.

  8. they are faced with someone who honestly believes in the “free markets, free minds” principles of limited government and a return to the Constitution as it was intended.

    Yeah, like the “free market” in immigration. Oh, and he really believes in the Constitutionally-based principle of birthright citizenship.

  9. I’d like to point out that it’s actually not this ridiculous notion of “cognitive dissonance”, it’s actually more of a couple undergoing a divorce.

    A whole big fuckin’ mess of us were really excited about Ron Paul.

    And where did the money go? Why did he keep running a campaign he knew he would not win? Isn’t it exceptionally obvious that the Republican party doesn’t give a damn about RP and his followers?

    We’re frustrated because we watched stupid decisions (the newsletters, for one) and dogged insistence on staying in the Republican party squander the opportunity for visibility and discussion.

  10. Angry Optimist,

    If you actually thought Ron Paul had a chance to win, you were not optimistic, you were retarded. No offense. Most voters want a piece of the ever-growing government pie, baked using their own money. The point of his campaign was to show people there is an alternative (when most haven’t a clue), and to grow a base of liberty by informing the next generation of voters, not to magically overturn the leviathan and the ignorant masses overnight.

    And if the newsletter kerfuffle was a deal-breaker for you, it’s sad you can sell your principles for such little drama.

    Oh, as for “free” immigration – open borders or the welfare state: pick one.

    Finally – what little attention he was given by the MSM would not have been given to him at all if he had bailed from the two party system. Acknowledging reality is not squandering opportunity. Don’t tell me you think Barr has a chance to win too…

  11. Oh, as for “free” immigration – open borders or the welfare state: pick one.

    Your money or your life. Freedom is not subject to a shakedown, Lane.

    Which would do more harm: ending the Drug War with the caveat that the welfare-state stays intact or continuing the Drug War?

    to grow a base of liberty by informing the next generation of voters, not to magically overturn the leviathan and the ignorant masses overnight.

    Ahh, the ignorant masses…and you have the audacity to call reason cynical?

    Physician, heal thyself.

  12. “Physician, heal thyself.”

    I know, looks bad. Except, have you talked to voters? Listened to coworkers? I’m not saying anyone who doesn’t vote for Ron Paul is ignorant, I’m saying the knowledge of the Constitution, actual powers of the President, how government programs like Social Security work – it’s really lacking. I can go for the cheap shot and blame the public school system, but it’s deeper than that. And it’s not going to be changed by November.

    Politicians are wonderful salesmen, and like salesman they make their pitch fit their audience. So did you listen to the speeches? You tell me what that says about their audience.

  13. @prattleon

    “…gold may be the most efficient means of accomplishing this, and maybe not. that is for the market to decide.”

    Or, you are simply speculating on the price of gold skyrocketing, because the government suddenly has to buy all that gold to back all those $$$$.

    Everybody who is scared of inflation is in? Then it must be time to sell some gold short.

    The power of the market has a lot to do with leaving less resources in the hand of fools.

  14. Q: What’s the differnce between Ron Paul and The Flat earth Society?

    A: 461 years from now, Ron Paul won’t have a Wikipedia entry.

  15. If you actually listen to Ron Paul, you’ll discover that he isn’t advocating a gold standard anymore. What he really wants is a legalization of private money, but his vocabulary does make it sound like a government mandated and managed gold standard is what he wants. I’ll admit it, he’s pandering to the goldbugs and Birchers.

    A state enforced 100% gold standard would be disastrous… and unlibertarian. What we need instead is a true free market in money: Free Banking. The only role for government is to police theft and fraud. They market may well indeed choose gold, but I seriously doubt it would demand 100% warehousing of the reserves.

    I used to be in the goldbug camp, but eventually realized that a centralized government imposed 100% reserves gold standard is wrong both morally and economically. It’s like prayer in schools: the problem isn’t whose prayers we say or don’t say in a government school, the problem is that it’s a *government* school.

  16. What brandybuck said about Ron Paul and the Gold Standard.

  17. http://www.lewrockwell.com/rozeff/rozeff215.html

    Gee, why would a libertarian think it’s corrosive to liberty to attack privately issued money despite BS like:

    http://www.dgcmagazine.com/blog/?p=273

    sprouting all over? These hard money guys are just nuts! Everything’s fine in fiat money land. Just don’t look at the guy behind the curtains when the wizard speaks…
    JMR

  18. I’m sorry, but the gold standard is stupid. It failed before, it will fail again.

    Oh and lane Honda, the newsletter might not matter to you, but to me, a black libertarian(yes they exist) they mattered and is the reason I can never contemplate supporting Ron Paul again.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.