GOP cannot overlook need for Ron Paul

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BY JASON HENNESSEY AND STUART HUGHES

Many people say that you can judge a person’s character by the way they treat those beneath them in the power chain. If we apply that adage to how the Romney campaign and Republican National Committee treated Ron Paul at last week’s convention, then we would have to conclude that they’re less than stand-up guys.

In an attempt to portray a unified party, the Republican leadership dismissed elected delegates who were loyal to Ron Paul and changed party rules, mid-course, to stymie an attempt to nominate him from the floor and thus give him the opportunity to address the American people. Leadership (in conjunction with the Romney campaign) also worked hard to remove elected delegates who were Paul supporters, an action so unjust that it caused the sitting republican governor of Maine to skip the convention out of protest. These actions clearly denied Paul his due political process. After denying him a speaking slot, the RNC offered to make amends by allowing him to speak provided he endorse Romney and allow Romney staffers to vet his remarks. Paul, being a man of principles, couldn’t comply.

In case you are unfamiliar with him, Dr. Ron Paul is a 12-term congressman from Texas who ran for the Republican presidential nomination this year. In many ways, he was the only presidential candidate from either party who was different in a significant way: he wanted to bring our troops home and had a plan for balancing the budget within his term. He wanted a sound currency not controlled by bankers and was a strong supporter of the Constitution with all that entails (gun rights, civil liberties, state’s rights, etc). To top it all off, his congressional record confirmed his viewpoints instead of contradicting them.

To thank him for standing up against such powerful special interests, the Republican establishment and media sought to ignore and marginalize him whenever possible. Jon Stewart fantastically documented this on The Daily Show in Aug. 2011, after Paul came within 200 votes of winning the Iowa straw poll and was completely dismissed. When polls directly ahead of the Iowa caucuses showed that Paul might actually win, Republican pundits began discussing how such a win could discredit the caucuses.

Is the political leadership succeeding in telling voters they really want Romney? Polls show it was a less than rousing week of campaigning in Tampa. Gallup showed that Romney gained no ground and may have actually lost a few votes in the process. He is the first Republican candidate to show no significant increase in popularity after the Republican Convention since Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who only carried six states that year and earned just 52 electoral votes.

The Republican Party is at a crossroads right now: they can either continue to alienate and marginalize Ron Paul’s supporters, with their calls for fiscal discipline, less war and a return to the Constitution, or they can court them. Given that many (in some cases, 50% or more) voters under 45 were Dr. Paul supporters, it may decide the future life or death of the party

Jason Hennessey is a graduate student in the Math & Statistics Department. Stuart Hughes is an all-around great guy and Photo Editor for the Collegian. He can be emailed  at [email protected], [email protected]