My new book, Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired, published by Broadside Books (a HarperCollins imprint) will be officially released next week.
The book is the culmination of 24 years of following Ron Paul's career. I first met him in January 1988, when he spoke at an event organized by a group I was part of, the University of Florida College Libertarians. Paul was then running for president as the candidate of the Libertarian Party.
He drew 100 or so people, mostly there to witness a political curiosity, not yet dedicated fans. We got him a good write-up in the school paper, the Independent Florida Alligator. It was exciting that, through the vehicle of someone running for president, we got our then-utterly-ignored libertarian ideas widely read about in the paper.
It seemed nearly like a dream to me, 24 years later, at another big state school, UCLA, to see a Paul speaking appearance drawing an overflow crowd of 7,000, filling a stadium, taking to the trees, cheering liberty and booing the National Defense Authorization Act. These thousands were not just there to learn about strange ideas, but to cheer on a champion of what they already knew and believed–and to hang out afterward plotting and planning their multileveled attempts, from campus activism to online agitation to running for office, to further the cause of liberty that Ron Paul represents.
Paul was when I met him in 1988 a former Republican congressman, and in 1996 he once again ran for, and won, a federal congressional seat from Texas. This launched a long career for him as a outlying congressional gadfly. I first wrote about him as such in a national magazine in a 1999 profile for the American Spectator.
Ever since I've kept my eye on him as a journalist covering the libertarian movement, and a sympathetic admirer of his libertarian stances and goals. I interviewed him for and wrote about him in my 2007 book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.
I was among the first national journalists to cover his burgeoning presidential campaign in January 2007, and have written about him extensively here at Reason magazine and Reason Online ever since, including cover stories on his 2008 ("Scenes from the Ron Paul Revolution") and 2012 ("The Ron Paul Moment") campaigns.
From January 2007 on, I have been amazed, as a longtime watcher of the libertarian movement, to see how Paul was creating and energizing a mass movement of active, intelligent, dedicated, giving, organized devotees for liberty, young and old, most of whom had never thought of themselves as libertarians before. I watched as his career-long call to audit and curb the Federal Reserve became a mass movement.
I thought back in 2008 that it was time for a book telling the full story of the man, his ideas, and the movement he inspired. By 2011, it had become obvious that Paul and his people were no flash in the pan. His son Rand Paul had been elected U.S. Senator from Kentucky in 2010 as a Tea Party standardbearer. Despite his electoral failure in 2008, the Paul Revolution rose again, more energetic than before, to push Paul's campaign to the point where now he is the last opposition standing to current frontrunner Mitt Romney. He's now actually racking up control of state delegations and parties. The time to write a book introducing and explaining this phenomenon to the non-libertarian world was clearly here.
The book comes out at a propitious time, as the importance of Paul, his ideas, and the movement around him to the future of country is more apparent than ever. The book is based on my decades of minding the Paul phenomenon and my time on the campaign trail with him in both 2007-08 and 2011-12, and interviews with dozens of Paul activists, campaign workers, supporters, and movement revolutionaries.
To quote the jacket copy: "In this indispensable guide, [I] detail Paul's career, trace the evolution of his ideas, and explore his significance in American politics. Ron Paul's Revolution introduces us to Paul's revolutionary ideological armies, many of them Americans previously divorced from the political process because they believe no one speaks for them. The Paul Revolution is a rising generation of cross-partisan activists concerned with government overreach. These supporters see this freethinking, plain-talking iconoclast as the lone leader prepared to grapple radically with the realities of a government crippled by debt that has dramatically expanded domestically and overseas."
At this blog you can follow both my ongoing reporting, writing, and talking on the still-very-alive story of Ron Paul, as well as follow news about events and media relating specifically to the book itself.
Welcome to Ron Paul's Revolution.