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Should the son inherit the votes of the father? Ron Paul, the former congressman and presidential candidate who sparked a libertarian "revolution" during his last two bids for the White House, is endorsing his son, Sen. Rand Paul, for president.
In a letter that Paul campaign insiders say is "going out all over, early states, donors," Paul senior writes things such as:
Rand is the ONLY one in the race who is standing up for your Liberty, across the board….he is our best hope to restore liberty, limited government and the Bill of Rights and finally end the big spending status quo in Washington, D.C….
Remember, truth is treason in the empire of lies. And nowhere is that more true than when it comes to Washington, D.C. and their media mouthpieces.
Even where Rand and I do have minor differences of opinion, I would take Rand's position over any of his opponents' in both parties every time….
And there's this:
There is not one candidate who has run for president in my lifetime who can say they fully share my commitment to liberty, Austrian economics, small government, and following the Constitution, [more] than my son, Rand Paul.
That's why I have wholeheartedly endorsed him.
I know the media likes to play this little game where they pit us, or certain views, against each other.
Don't fall for it. They're trying to manufacture storylines at liberty's expense. You've spent years seeing how the media treated me. They aren't my friends and they aren't yours.
The full letter will be published publicly later today; we'll post the full text as soon as we get it.
Will Ron Paul's full-throated endorsement and call for support revive Rand Paul's slumping campaign? Certainly it should shake things up a bit. Ron Paul's fan base is, well, fanatical and there's no question that it's been a bit standoffish to the senator. This was due to a number of reasons, most of which were overblown in my opinion. Rand was too hawkish for some, if not a downright "neocon" (about the worst insult a Ron Paul supporter can hurl). Or he was too compromised by working with Mitch McConnell, or was too ambitious, or too successful, or whatever.
Ron Paul's imprimatur should silence a lot of the chatter. Whether it will really translate into fervor is an open question, but an interesting one in a presidential race that seems more interested in focusing on Donald Trump's tele-obstetrics and Bernie Sanders' protectionism to the exclusion of just about everything and everyone else.
As someone who is very sympathetic to Rand Paul and his candidacy, here's hoping that Ron Paul's public support will push the Kentucky senator to, as I put it a few weeks ago, "Go Libertarian or Go Home." Rand Paul has been at his most electrifying and popular precisely when he has been at his most libertarian: his filibuster against the confirmation of John Brennan at CIA; standing up to Obama's unconstitutional bombing of Libya and his attempts to go to war with Syria; saying that "we will find a place" for anyone who wants to come to America and work, rather than piling on the GOP contempt for immigrants; pushing sentencing reform and an end to the war on drugs; and the like.
As Ron Paul suggests in his endorsement letter, the country needs a candidate who will stand up for free minds and free markets, for libertarian values that include economic and social freedom, "across the board." One of the main reasons the president, Congress, and other members of the political class are held in such low esteem is precisely because they are viewed as unprincipled and opportunistic. We're hungry for a candidate that sticks to his or her guns out of principle, not to mention one who seems to have at least a weak grasp of reality. Rand Paul could be that candidate for the Republican Party.
Update (2.43pm): Dave Weigel of the Washington Post reports on the chatter the endorsement should end:
The headlines neatly tell the story [of Ron Paul's supposed wariness toward his son]. "Ron Paul's Passive-Aggressive Campaign Against Rand Paul." Rand Paul Has a Daddy Issue." "Like Father, Like Son? Not Exactly." Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has endeavored so much to distinguish his "libertarian-ish" views from his father's "voluntarist" politics that any snark from the paterfamilias generates a story. He'll joke that he's still looking at who to endorse; it will be reported like Saturn devouring his offspring.
There will be no snark this weekend. As Rand Paul heads out of the country for a medical mission to Haiti, Ron Paul will make a print and e-mail pitch to donors. It is his first such email on Rand Paul's behalf since the April 7 start of his presidential bid.