By Teresa Welsh |
Ron Paul deserves a prominent speaking role at the GOP convention: hands down! His brand of libertarianism is building momentum, especially among younger Republicans. They'll eventually become party leaders; the philosophy may supplant social conservatism and establishmentarianism in the coming decade. Not to mention, some 60 Ron Paul-inspired libertarians have won spots on state, local, and congressional general election ballots this year.
However, Paul's recent uphill struggle for recognition indicates no speaking spot is in the works. Party leaders want 100 percent pure Mitt Romney delegations. Just last week, Paul lost a battle with the RNC's Committee on Contests over getting his supporters included in Louisiana's delegation. If Paul can't jump these hurdles, I doubt he'll be getting a nice, red, elephant-stamped invitation in his mailbox anytime soon.
The GOP's indifference toward Paul is short-sighted on many levels. It doesn't recognize the nascent qualities of the movement, nor does it reward him for his career accomplishments. The American Political Science Association lists Paul as the most consistent conservative in the House Republican delegation, he pushed several key pieces of the Republican agenda, and he performed well during the primaries. Plus, he's got probably the most loyal base of any of the 2012 Republican candidates.
Without Paul, the convention is in danger of being as exciting as counting sheep backwards. Libertarianism still has much road to travel before it hits the mainstream, but the RNC must show the foresight now to accelerate its fruition.
About Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College in New York City
Brian Doherty Senior Editor of Reason magazine and Reason.com
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst
Stephanie Slade Project Director at The Winston Group
Judson Phillips Founder of Tea Party Nation