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Is Ron Paul Really Dropping Out?

Is Ron Paul running for the GOP presidential nomination and conceding it at the same time? There has been a great deal of confusion since the Paul campaign released a strategy document saying that while they are bowing out of the primaries, the fight for delegates goes on all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

“Unfortunately, barring something very unforeseen, our delegate total will not be strong enough to win the nomination,” campaign chairman Jesse Benton acknowledged [1] publicly for the first time. “However, our delegates can still make a major impact at the National Convention and beyond.”

This kind of talk elicits sneers from those who think of politics purely in horse-race terms. The Christian Science Monitor claims [2] Paul’s influence “may be more symbolic than practical.” Even the libertarian blogger Doug Mataconis concludes [3], “it’s unclear what Paul’s supporters think they are going to accomplish here.”

To answer that question, it is useful to ask another: What would have done more to advance the Christian right’s goals in 1988 — Pat Robertson somehow seizing the presidential nomination or his supporters winning party leadership positions all over the country? It is easy to forget now that the Robertson forces were viewed as disruptive at the time. They denied delegate slots to longtime party regulars, including sitting congressmen and Republican elected officials. To the extent that party leaders were willing to tolerate them at all, they wished these religious conservatives would simply vote Republican and then go home.

Sound at all familiar? By the mid-1990s Robertson’s supporters were integrated into the state and national party structure. The Christian Coalition played a key role in setting the Republican agenda. Ron Paul’s supporters are using similar tactics, though they hope that unlike the Christian right they will change the party more than they are changed by it.

To be sure, some of the influence Paulites hope to have on the party platform is symbolic. Yet in politics, symbolism and substance can sometimes be mutually reinforcing. The GOP adopted a strong pro-life platform plank partly because of an influx of antiabortion activists into the party. But the platform language itself played a meaningful role in defining Republicans as the pro-life party.

It is easy to imagine Paul having a similar influence over the party through its platform, perhaps by identifying the GOP with auditing the Federal Reserve or demanding more specific spending cuts than likely nominee Mitt Romney has dared to offer. But there is a lot of practical politics going on in the Paul movement too. Paul supporters are now state party chairs in Iowa, Alaska, and Nevada. They have made inroads from Maine to Louisiana. These gains do not evaporate the minute the presidential campaign ends.

Neither do Paul-inspired liberty candidates who win their elections in down-ballot races. The careers of Rand Paul and Justin Amash, the most successful of dozens of Ron Paul Republicans to have sought office since 2008, are ultimately more important to the party’s future — and perhaps the country’s — than any credentials fight in Tampa. Critics who insist that the movement is simply a cult of personality around one man focus on colorful eccentrics at rallies (admittedly not few in number) while ignoring the Paulites’ increasingly effective practical political involvement. Ron Paul supporters are starting to do the very things that are required to have a more lasting impact.


That’s not to say that Paul and his backers don’t face dilemmas at the convention. Relations between Ron Paul Republicans and the mainline variety have always been contentious. Just recently, Paul supporters booed Romney’s son [4] at the Arizona state GOP convention. If the Ron Paul forces make the Tampa convention look like the Democrats’ Chicago 1968 — or even CPAC 2010, when Paulites heckled Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld — it will set back their cause.

But there is also the risk of being co-opted, bought off with rhetoric and reduced to a few talking points about nation-building or the Fed. Even George W. Bush was willing to pretend he was for a “humble foreign policy” for one election. The Christian right’s price of admission was unquestioning support for some of the party’s more worldly goals.

The Paul campaign realizes both problems. In a conference call with reporters, chairman Jesse Benton said, “We are doing everything in our power to work with our supporters to make sure decorum and respect are the name of the game.” And while they appear to be ruling out an endorsement for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, they haven’t rallied behind Romney yet.

As long as Romney remains open to preventive war with Iran, Paul shouldn’t endorse him. But he can urge his supporters to work within the Republican Party and he can also state his honest opinion that Romney is a nice man. That might come close enough to an endorsement for Paul to be able to speak about real limited government and a noninterventionist foreign policy in a meaningful convention timeslot. He may even be permitted to pass the torch to his son on national television.

The name of the game is changing the Republican Party. Anything that takes Paul’s supporters out of the party or leads them to surrender to the GOP status quo is a defeat. Even if Romney is the nominee rather than Paul, anything that keeps the momentum going in favor of the GOP’s constitutional transformation is a victory for the Texas congressman.

W. James Antle is associate editor of The American Spectator and a contributing editor to The American Conservative. Follow him on Twitter [5].

32 Comments (Open | Close)

32 Comments To "Is Ron Paul Really Dropping Out?"

#1 Comment By Judge_Bartley On May 16, 2012 @ 9:16 am

The curtain falls on the Ron Paul campaign and other depressing thoughts

It was inevitable that Ron Paul, the greatest Republican of our time,
would not get the nomination of the stupid party; and that it would go
instead to the man of his most recent word, Mitt Romney.

I had hoped
that Dr. Paul could break through the iron curtain that keeps honest men
out of the Republican Party. In the alternative, I hoped that he would
give up on it and run on a third-party ticket, but it seems that that is
probably too late, as Gary Johnson has captured the Libertarian
nomination. I shall not be voting for him, as it is reported that,
unlike Dr. Paul, he is pro-abortion.

Though I will not vote for Obama, I would rather have Obama win again
instead of Romney who would give us milquetoast supreme court judges and
otherwise wimp out and compromise with the evil party stalwarts like
Reid, Pelosi, and the other Pecksniffians who inhabit the fever swamps
of the Potomac. It would be far better to bring back Torquemada to begin
an Inquisition or a purge of the Republican Party, to root out the
pseudos, complete with litmis tests, and to bring it back to its first
principles at ground zero.

In the meantime, there are weapons states can use in civil
resistance–interposition, nullification, even secession to slow down, or
perhaps even stop the madness. And individuals need not walk in
lockstep with the unconstitutional edicts issued from Washington. That
will take courage, but that’s all we have left. Infiltrating the
“system” usually doesn’t work for long, for the infiltrators soon become
co-opted by the fetching glamours of Washington–as they “grow in
office” and receive the accolades of The Washington Post, The New York Times, and all the other enemies of freedom.

#2 Comment By TheMonado On May 16, 2012 @ 11:28 am

I agree, good manners should be the order of the day. Let the beltway be the ones who act without restraint. It doesn’t mean Ron Paul supporters have to clap and support what they don’t agree with. That would hurt their cause.

Mataconis seems to hate Ron Paul and his supporters.

#3 Comment By mitchie124 On May 16, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

 It’s not over yet, Judge_Bartley.

#4 Comment By 1seanscallon2 On May 16, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

It’s amazing within the context of history people would think anything that happened in Arizona or Oklahoma last weekend was somehow unbelievable. Taft and Roosevelt supporters used to beat each other with baseball bats at state GOP conventions in 1912 (not to mention the infamous fiasco at the Young Republican Convention of 1963 which I’m sure old timers will still recall). So booing a politican (which happens all the time at baseball games) is quite normal in our discourse.  

Unfortunately “civility” is being used as a club against Paul supporters. And it wouldn’t be surprising Romney et. al must have read the riot act to the Paul campaign this week to induce Jesse Benton to produce not one but several memos, emails, press conferences you name it to try and explain what the campaign’s long-term strategy of getting out of the race (while others in the campaign were online in chat calls and videos saying the exact opposite. Nice media stratgey!) . To most reporters, it sure sounded like a withdrawl and I guess most voters would say the same thing.

But what Benton and those in the Paul campaign looking to cut their deals with Romney so they can be with Rand in 2016 may not realize is that the grassroots supporters who virtually created a Presidential campaign on their own from nothing back in 2007 have pretty much decided that they’re back on their own now after deferring to the cmapaign for much of the cycle. They will get the delegates the Paul campaign says they want but really don’t want lest it further embarrass the hollow Romney campaign. These “conflicts” at state convention are nothing personal, it simply a fight for power and there are no compromises in fights for power. You either get it or you don’t. This isn’t about “deals” If Paul’s forces lose in the convention fights they’ll lose but at least this time they’ll be inside the hall instead of across town. And this time there will actually be a political convention instead of North Korea-style leader-worship ceremony. It may not precisioned timed for the networks but anyone measuring democracy with a stopwatch should probably throw it away.

#5 Comment By Karen Huffman On May 16, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

who is running on the Independent ticket, or the Constitutional Party? Perhaps as an Independent, he will turn on more voters because the GOP is just like the Dems at the top. I mean, Mitt Romney? Cmon!

#6 Comment By LeonBerton On May 16, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

I agree with 1seanscallon2.   Civility is proper when reciprocated.   But when the ‘civitas’ itself is being undermined, actively and with malice by some and passively by the cowardly inaction of others, relatively minor infractions of civility ought to be comprehended and tolerated.  

Fastidious prudes who judge such distasteful and condescendingly condemn those who passionately love their country as something greater than themselves ought to be reminded of the true gravity of our situation.

#7 Comment By Sean Gillhoolley On May 16, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

I find it amazing that so many people seem to miss the point.  Paul knows that he has zero chance of being the nominee in the current political climate.  He is using a long-term strategy.  He is focused on getting his message out.  He knows that time will prove him correct.  The difference between Ron Paul and all the other Republican nominees is that Paul stands for something, the same thing he has supported for decades, and which he can convincingly argue with even the most racalcitrant foe.  He does not shift his position with each new poll, but waits for people to come around to his way of thinking…and they just might.

#8 Comment By verynew On May 16, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

I think that Ron Paul took side-step to allow Barak and Mitt to collide before conventions. If Barak would be provocative and polarizing enough Mitt might go super nova (explode and collapse). If Mitt would collapse one his own before convention – Ron Paul would look like a saint with a heaven mandate.

#9 Comment By Beverly Abbasgirl On May 16, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

If you read the memo: it did state “barring anything unforeseen happening” …. We ARE That unforeseen force. We CAN potentially STILL Make it happen. If we Stick to the Strategy of getting as many delegates as possible, while Obummer uses American Citizens and his Corporate sponsors money, to Bash his perceived opponent, Robomney. It could still happen. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings!

#10 Comment By sailing On May 16, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

Torches have to pass themselves.

He’s not dying.

#11 Comment By Ralphizm On May 16, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

No true Ron Paul supporter would ever back Romney for any reason under any circumstance. 

Romney = Obama and both hate Liberty and Freedom 

GOP 2.0 – upgrade is coming soon 

#12 Comment By CD File On May 16, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

 Republicans have campaigned against Ron Paul more than they have against Barry.

#13 Comment By CD File On May 16, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

 The so called right has campaigned more against Paul than they have Barry.

#14 Comment By WeDidit On May 16, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

Shhh,, keep this to yourself okay? I don’t want to discourage Mitt supporters. This is a tracking site of hard delegates, updates regularly. Yes, Mitt is ahead, but a long way from 1144 hard ones.


There will be more added soon,, On all of them.
The rest of the numbers you see are estimates based on popular votes and such.

#15 Comment By verynew On May 17, 2012 @ 1:42 am

And now they must face Barak, since Ron Paul gives them a chance to go forward.

#16 Comment By Maria Mitchell On May 17, 2012 @ 2:29 am

It wasn’t only Paul supporters that booed Romney’s son, and that’s not worst thing that has happened in Presidential campaigns.  Also, the reason he was booed is he broke the rules when he came up on stage the SECOND time to try and get people to vote for Romney delegates – which IS against the rules.  That’s why he was booed, but he wasn’t booed off or attacked or anything, unlike Paul supporters that were bonked in the head and pushed around.

#17 Comment By CD File On May 17, 2012 @ 7:25 am

I doubt there will be any debates, they can only argue semantics, Paul was the only one different in the lot.

#18 Comment By SomebodySmart On May 17, 2012 @ 8:31 am

The enemies of liberty can infiltrate the Tea Party and try to water
down the Ron Paul R3volution, but they cannot infiltrate Ron Paul. The R3volution
needs a permanent guiding light, and Doctor Paul will not always be
with us. His son Rand is a supporter, certainly an adherent to many of
Ron Paul’s principles, but the true guiding light must be Ron Paul,
whose words and wisdom will always be with us, directly from the
Congressional Record. To that end I have set up RonPaulQuotes.com
organizing the doctor’s Congressional speeches from 1998 to 2010.

#19 Comment By Beto_Ochoa On May 17, 2012 @ 9:09 am

Budget according to resources. Paul’s campaign provides evidence that Paul’s administration would wisely allocate and not spend more than revenue permits.  He’s the rare politician that lives by his own consistent word, LIMITED government according to constitutional integrity, strengthened by a strong Dollar value, eschewing debt.

#20 Comment By Jimbro Camp On May 17, 2012 @ 10:35 am

The media will never report on those individuals. The reason Paul ran in the GOP was to be heard although after debates the media gives nothing but negative input. Americans have been conditioned to pick teams that win to the point everything is a sport. Hang around the guys Monday morning and listen to the way they describe their teams winning or losing–“your guys did good yesterday but we’ll see I may have to go with….. to win this year”. Same thing with voting for representation. My friends its over, forget parties or the split vote or religion. The long term character and values that one holds to heart and expresses without concern of winning or losing will be the future. I will never again support the lesser of two evils theory ever again. 

#21 Comment By brians On May 17, 2012 @ 10:50 am

I admire RP a great deal, though his commitment to the Republican party exasperates me.  The 2 party stranglehold is such a big part of the problem, and RP, with his appeal for both right and left, would be just the guy to break the parties to pieces.  After the way his delegates were treated last convention, you’d think he’d realize how far gone, and how commited to corporate centralization, the GOP is.  Whatever the strategy is, I hope they’re right, I’m wrong, and something comes of his candidacy.

#22 Comment By docdave1 On May 17, 2012 @ 11:14 am

 Great points. I’m tired of making nice with the Tory-NeoCon-Fake-Conservative-Constitution destroying establishment republicans. I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think we have another four years to save our country. And make no mistake, this has not just been about a man, an election, or getting along to go along, this is about truly RESTORING AMERICA.

Mitt Romney vs
Barack Obama First Debate Preview

“If you know the enemy and know
yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you
know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will
also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you
will succumb in every battle” Sun
Tzu, The Art of War

“The argument that the two parties
should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the
Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to
the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties
should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw
the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound
or extreme shifts in policy.”-
Carrol Quigley, Tragedy and Hope (We the People’s Tragedy and the
elite’s hope)

six largest campaign contribution sources in 2011 were executives,
family members and affiliated political action committees of Goldman
Sachs, JPMorgan
Chase, Morgan
Stanley, Credit
Suisse, Citigroup
and Bank
of America, according to the Center
for Responsive Politics, a Washington,
D.C.-based group that monitors campaign finances.


By contrast, Ron Paul’s three largest donors are
The US Army, The U.S. Navy, and The U.S. Air Force.


Most everyone now
knows who Obama is. He is the enemy of your freedom and prosperity,
and your children’s future. But do you know who Mitt Romney is? I
doubt it. Most people who get their news in sound bites from from the
press-titute on the cycloptic idiot box will ignore for now or, even
worse, not realize who Romney is: He is the son of Rockefeller
Republican George Romney. Look at who called him “..our favorite

Mitt Romney is the
enemy of your your freedom and prosperity, and your children’s future
just as much as Obama. He is a “Rockefeller Republican” and true
to the legacy of J.D Rockefeller, he is as slick as the snake oil
selling family of banksters who pushed his father, and now push him.
Just watch this….

if that is not enough, look at who Romney is showcasing as his
probable Vice President:

the guy promoted by Rush, Mark Levin, Lieberman and the Bilderbergers
for VP.  Even if he were Constitutionally Eligible… Here’s more of who he really is. He is Manchurian Candidate
Barack Obama 2.0.


Praises U.N., World Bank, IMF for Not Asserting ‘Narrow American

purpose of the institutions we established, from the United Nations
to the World Bank and the IMF was to spread peace and prosperity, not
to assert narrow American interests,” Marco

to Rubio’s remarks, Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott
the deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration,said
of the Florida senator, “He
has already established himself as a vigorous advocate of intense and
widespread U.S. engagement in the world.
He is an internationalist.”


Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who caucuses with the Democrats, introduced
Rubio as “a rising star in the next generation of America’s
foreign policy leaders.” Rubio praised Lieberman’s statesmanship,
comparing it to that of FDR snd Truman.


Moves Closer to VP Slot After Bilderberg Speculation


Rubio and most other establishment Rockefeller aka globalist
republicans have no ideological difference with Obama, they may have
some cosmetic differences, but they are equally opposed to limited
Federal government and the original Constitutional principles. Wasn’t
it John McCain, the 2008 Republican Presidential Candidate that was
one of the two main sponsors of the NDAA which Obama signed in
December 2011? Isn’t Romney the Father of Obamacare establishing
it’s model in his state? Was not Newt Gingrich the man behind the
so-called “Contract with America” back in ’94 and wasn’t he
the Speaker of the House whose machinations prevented the full
impeachment of Clinton in order to protect himself so the whole
sordid truth of his adultery didn’t come out? We elected a Republican
majority, but don’t you remember how it was like pulling teeth to get
the Impeachment process through? It failed in the Senate – it was
Gingrich that was behind that, he couldn’t prevent it in the House
but he is the man that provided the stalwart blockade undermining the
momentum insuring it stayed in the House. These are the type of men
and their past actions and track record you say I should vote for to
be against Obama?

In case you are too young too remember, Barry Goldwater was the man
that Ronald Reagan played, and not so well at times, in spite of his
best intentions.

#23 Comment By WillLeach On May 17, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

I really like your theory. If Romney is already pretending to focus on Obama then why not encourage him to do so and watch him flounder? I have another theory though, and I think that the Paul campaigns announcment regarding future primaries was designed to further lessen enthusiasm for Romney. Mitt has long had an enthusiasm problem, and if your someone whos reluctantly voting for him and you think he has the nomination locked up, why go to the trouble of voting? While this might not work, and thats Ok because big primary states have never been a Paul priority, making Romney supporters comftorable enough to stay home has some chance of giving Paul an eleveth hour primary victory.

Imagine how the media would look if Paul won a primary after they said he quit? Even if he doesnt, giving the media one chance to “misinterprit” the truth will allow him to prove that the media lies. I dont think Paul cares about changing just Republican politics, but I believe its changing American politics that hes after, and esposing so called journalist for the hacks they are would be integral to accomploshing that goal. Even if Paul fails to gain the nomination, if he makes a big splash in Tampa with his delegates he could disprove the media narrative, and without that narrative to fall back on Pauls loudest opponents will look like fools and we might finally have some real discussion in this country.

#24 Comment By genetut On May 17, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

Some wishful thinking
here: Romney uses the “need” for Paul’s support at the convention as cover to flip
flop again and pull back from the ridiculous interventionist foreign policy rhetoric
of the primary race.  (Now that Obama has
established his own credentials as flip-flopper-in-chief, the charge should not
be so devastating anyway.)  

#25 Comment By Joseph Slabaugh On May 17, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

OK you lied in your article, it was not “Paul supporters” that booed, it was everyone, including Romney’s own supporters that booed him due to the breaking of the rules.

#26 Comment By Dee Ann Guzman On May 17, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

We are not here simply to effect the party! I have been a republican since before I first voted for Reagan in 1984. Yes I want the party to return to it’s roots of liberty! I think the quickest and easiest way for that to happen is to elect Ron Paul for President, and stop this debt ridden, liberty stealing, out of control locomotive of a government before it runs us all of the cliff of tyranny we’re so close to! We need someone in office that can VETO the spending of fools!

#27 Comment By ConnecticutFarmer On May 17, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

“real limited government and a noninterventionist foreign policy”

The best, most complete distillation of Dr. Paul’s message that I have seen to date. Will Mittsey pay heed? Not likely!

#28 Comment By w_m On May 17, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

IF we had the people to do in Tampa what the SDS did in 1968 in Chicago, I’d be there in a heartbeat.  But without a draft, there will never be enough bodies to take the street and hold it – never mind actually impact what happens on the convention floor.  The irony of our all-volunteer force is that their willingness to fight (which even this anti-imperialist finds noble, in a way) is precisely what keeps them in the field forever – 4 and 5 tours.  Were they not willing to do that, if a draft were required to keep the empire in business, then the fireworks would really start up again.

#29 Comment By Andrew On May 17, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

In Massachusetts Paul got a small minority of the popular vote, and while the delegates are bound to vote for Romney, 16/19  that were selected 2 weeks ago are Paul supporters who will push his platforms come convention time, they even managed to oust Romney’s former Lt. Governor from her seat as part of the state convention.

#30 Comment By Nalejbank On May 18, 2012 @ 6:51 am

No matter what happens in Tampa, Ron Paul will be quite helpful in getting good constitutionalists elected to Congress. With that, they will be able to stop either Obama or Romney. 
But we do need major responsible change and soon. 
Ron Paul or none at all.

#31 Comment By Fernando Cava On May 18, 2012 @ 8:46 am

No Jack… .you don´t understand; you have to WIN this thing, and by winning the election  influence the entire country and the entire world (and save the US). Ron Paul has the right to participate and win, same as Mitt and the stablishment . BUT if he fails, then the influence, the party and the message remain and play an important role. But accepting that Ron is unelectable and already defeated because of the lack of money, the mass media, etc etc is conceding the  mafia that they are right, after all.

It is VERY strange, all this situation… all very fishy… let´s hope we can have a clue as soon as possible… GO RON PAUL! (Ron, we trust on you, God bless you).

A paulite from Spain (I believe in the US and love your country thanks to a politician!!! Ron Paul).

Fernando (Madrid – Spain)

#32 Comment By Lawson Kline On May 18, 2012 @ 9:55 am

I am not going to donate another dollar to the campaign until Ron Paul abandons the GOP party..