Senator Rand Paul sat at the table next to mine at an event a year ago. Since we had not met, I went over and introduced myself. My wife had her picture taken with him.
While we hadn't met in person, I had spoken with Rand Paul on the phone once, in 2010 when I rolled up my shirt sleeves to help raise money for his Senate race in Kentucky.
I have always agreed to help the Ron Paul campaign in any way I can. Some of the activists tell me that I am the first person to promote Ron Paul's presidency on national television. That was back in 2007, in the opening days of the first campaign. I remember wondering as I was driving to the studio for the interview that day how I was going to be able to work in a mention of Ron Paul, since it was completely off the topic of the show. But in the last minute I was able to work in my plug. And I have sung his praises on national TV many times since.
I championed Ron Paul for years on my on radio show, dating back even before the campaigns. I have lost count of the number of times over the years I have hosted, co-hosted, or been a guest on Ron Paul Moneybombs, those powerful online campaign fundraising telethons.
Although few, there have been others I have helped in the same way. Peter Schiff, when he ran for U.S. Senate in Connecticut, is one.
Twice I was asked to host a Rand Paul Moneybomb, one time on his father's birthday. Out of respect for Ron Paul, I agreed. Once.
But by the time the next opportunity came around a few weeks later, I declined. Senate candidate Rand Paul was already making strange, new bedfellows. A headline at Salon.com put it this way: "Rand Paul cozies up to the neocons." In a piece called "Rand's secret rendezvous," a writer for The American Conservative was just as astonished at the news that Rand Paul was currying favor with discredited champions of the Iraq war like Bill Kristol:
… I am curious as to why Rand would bother to meet such people. They currently hold no office in government. Kristol's Weekly Standard magazine was worth peanuts on the open media market and all of their views and knowledge of foreign policy should have been utterly discredited after the debacle in Iraq. Why would a man presumably on a victory lap in his election feel the need to meet with people who have no discernible power, have been made to look like fools and who tried to keep him from getting nominated during the primary last spring?
But as Lew Rockwell said in a recent interview, Rand is not a copy of his dad. He has his own views. So the second time I was asked to help, I couldn't bring myself to pitch in.
It seems to a lot of Ron Paul supporters that Senator Paul has been just a little too eager to see his father leave the Republican presidential field, especially since Ron Paul's popularity was growing exponentially. In May came the announcement that shocked the faithful: The Ron Paul campaign was being suspended in the remaining primary states. It was a wholly unnecessary announcement since the campaign, the devoted workers, its social media activists, and even the fundraising were all largely a bottom-up effort. At the grassroots level, the Ron Paul Revolution was just getting started.
The news deflated the movement. Immediately there was speculation that the ham-handed announcement was engineered by Rand Paul who didn't want to be tainted by the expected defeat of his father by Mitt Romney in the Kentucky Republican presidential primary just days away.
Whether or not that was so, it was followed by the unhappy conjunction of events last week. On Wednesday, Ron Paul alerted his followers that he didn't have enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination. Since that was not news it shouldn't have merited an announcement, but, once it was made, it was followed lickety-split by Rand Paul appearing Thursday on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, a venue notoriously disrespectful of Ron Paul and his supporters. It was there Rand Paul announced his endorsement of Mitt Romney.
What exactly was the hurry? Could we wait for hundreds of hard-working and devoted Ron Paul delegates to have a vote at the convention first? Could we wait for the body to get cold?
Apparently not. Bill Kristol has been bragging recently about purging anti-war elements from the Republican Party. "I'd be happy if Ron Paul left," he said. Now it's Mitt Romney's party and the bankrupting global military empire that has done so much to shatter the American dream will go unchecked.
Rand Paul apologists argue earnestly that his endorsement of Mitt Romney is a clever strategic move. It is politically expedient, they say. Clever it may have been, but clever can't compete with wise. And expediency can't compare with sound principles.
Ron Paul didn't achieve his following by doing what was politically expedient. He didn't ignite the enthusiasm of people across the land because he was ambitious. He didn't inspire a movement by seeking strategies to advance his career.
Ron Paul set new armies of freedom champions marching, not because he is clever, but because he is wise.
He did it by standing on principal.