There are some scenes in your life that are so significant you can never forget them. And there is no common vocabulary to describe them. Words like “epiphany” and “allegorical” fall short even after the dictionary has been dragged out.
I went to a meeting early in 2008 to discuss “the future of the Ron Paul Movement” in an upscale South King County subdivision. Only four people showed up, but “as it happened” we (supernaturally?) represented four of five tributaries of the phenomenon, the R3VOLUTION that had unexpectedly exploded across America that year, re-igniting the grassroots nationwide and spawning “money bombs.”
On immaculate hardwood floors, beneath architecturally vaulted ceilings, we theorized what would happen, what could happen, after the Presidential election in the event that Ron Paul was not the Republican nominee and what we could do to continue that r3volution. We represented four key elements that some act of God had brought together to make the Ron Paul campaign the one the Establishment hated and feared…
… and now appears to be coming apart again in the direction of the elements it unified (for the first time).
1. The Believers
Cindy, in whose home we met, was the wife of a pastor. She had been wonderful to work with during the campaign; hard-working, dependable, intelligent, and honest to a fault. Cindy did not think the movement could survive Ron Paul’s retirement. It had taken his long career and unique character to convince Cindy he was, in contrast to her assessment of other politicians, genuine. She had never been involved in politics before, came into the Ron Paul campaign just for Paul at the direction of the Holy Spirit, and had no intention of continuing when it was over. She didn’t think another politician could replace him. I have met many “Cindys” in the movement. The Republican Party Establishment is anxious for their departure.
2. The Classical Libertarians
Chip was the anarcho-capitalist Libertarian. In fact, his family had participated in the founding of the Libertarian Party in Washington State. Despite his antipathy for all government, he liked political organization as a process and spoke of how to continue the campaign as a movement by replacing the person of Ron Paul with the principles he had stood for in the same way Indiana Jones had replaced a golden Idol with a bag of sand in Raiders of The Lost Ark.
3. The Reaganite Paleoconservatives
My presence at the meeting represented what we have for the last eight years called the Reagan wing of the GOP, those who have been laboring since 1988 to return the Party to its founding principles, those who, like me, know from long firsthand experience the Republican landscape, its opportunities, pitfalls, and the treachery of its leaders. Our faction in the Paul movement was perhaps smallest in numbers, but most influential because we knew, quite clearly, what we’re doing.
4. The Ron Paul Left
Jay was the quintessential Ron Paul leftist.
He was (and is) essentially a San Francisco liberal on everything but fiscal matters, drawn to Paul by the same factors that repelled many Republicans: Ron Paul’s advocacy for peace and an end to the federal drug war. He bragged about being a member of the ACLU and having this bumper sticker on the back of his car:
He either did not care or was unaware that the bumper sticker was a direct attack on Cindy. Jay attempted, moreover, at the outset of the meeting, to get everyone present to “admit” that Paul could not win. He did not think the campaign would stay together after Ron Paul and didn’t seem to care much about that either. But Jay was very influential among a certain crowd, including Chip.
This, Jay’s faction, is the Paul faction that the GOP/pragmatic Left highlighted to stereotype and demonize Ron Paul Supporters fomenting hatred in the Republican base. What is ironic and fascinating is that this is the faction most compatible with the GOP/pragmatic Left establishment, itself. They actually have few political disagreements and there is evidence they are now finding common cause.
5. The Jones Brigade
The missing element at the meeting was what we might call the “Alex Jones influence,” those for whom every visible event in politics is easily explained by the dark collusion of known evil organizations. Political wisdom begins, they feel, when someone drops his “naivete” and accepts that there is only one political party and “They” control everything.
By the end of the year a small group of men and women who would become national leaders of the “Campaign for Liberty” had coalesced around Dr. Paul and established two founding principles for the fledgling organization:
- There would be NO OTHER “Ron Paul” organization. Perhaps the only thing they would fight for was their exclusive stewardship of the legacy surrounding his name, and…
- Campaign for Liberty would have NOTHING TO DO with any attempt to make Ron Paul the next President of the United States.
But by June, 2008, I had already identified two obvious contrasting principles:
- The only thing holding the disparate elements of the movement together was Ron Paul’s Presidential candidacy, and…
- The grassroots infrastructure groomed by the 2008 Washington State Ron Paul campaign had everything it needed to take every single national delegate from Washington to Tampa to nominate Ron Paul in 2012… if someone would use it.
By October it became clear to me that the Ron Paul movement was firmly in the hands of men and women who were willing to sacrifice Ron Paul’s chances to win the Republican Nomination in favor of their own incomes and careers. And while the single motivation of all his followers was the belief that a Ron Paul Presidency could begin to return America to Constitutional government, that little group of national “Professionals” in control embarked on a path almost certain to prevent such an outcome.
With no campaign on the horizon to elect Ron Paul, with no political “agenda” and true to her word, Cindy left the movement and has not been heard of since. I do not know if she campaigned in 2012.
By 2009 Chip had succumbed to his more radical self and was out of politics, recommending “withdrawing consent” by not voting. “Government itself” was to blame. Voting “only encourages them.”
By September 2008 Jay was actively working to deconstruct the old campaign team with slanders signed by pseudonym and found common cause with the RP “Professionals.” By 2010 he was in San Francisco managing the campaign of a San Francisco liberal for public office.
I was the fool. Unwilling to give up on a historic candidacy (as it turned out, the only Constitutional Candidate among the top four in 2012) I did not publish my findings about C4L leadership, hoping the grassroots could regroup. On that theory I wasted my time for four years fighting the “Ron Paul Professionals” and their Washington State proxies, who wanted no part of a winning agenda. I will tell that story.