Monday, May 17, 2010

Rand Paul: Future of the GOP?

In an earlier blog article, I predicted that Texas Congressman Ron Paul represented the future of the Republican Party - staunchly libertarian, intellectually sound, and capable of revitalizing the fundamental ideals of conservatism while ridding the GOP of the unsavory detritus it has accumulated since the advent of the Reagan era (an over-dependency on Wall Street and the American plutocracy, a hypocritical championing of big government via the military-industrial complex and the drug wars, a ridiculously overblown dependence on the Christian Right for grassroots support, etc.) Indeed, so powerful is the Ron Paul movement that I even went so far as to predict that - should the economy turnaround by 2012 - the Republican Party, unable to nominate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (whose business career would make him the ideal candidate during a period of economic distress), would quite likely veer toward the underdog candidacy of Ron Paul.

Of course, there was one variable that I overlooked - by 2012, Ron Paul will be a 77-year-old man.

That doesn't mean that his brand of Republicanism doesn't represent the future of his party, however. Of the other potential Republican nominees, only Mitt Romney offers anything remotely as appealing as Paul on the national level (once again, his business expertise). Mike Huckabee's gubernatorial record is too controversial (see Wayne Dumond, Maurice Clemmons) and some of his past remarks too hateful (see "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?") to make him a viable choice; Newt Gingrich's personal history (divorcing his cancer-ridden first wife and then withholding child support, forcing his wife and children to receive financial help from their local church) makes even Huckabee seem appealing by comparison; and Sarah Palin's horrendous personal image, governmental inexperience, and lack of intellectual heft has caused her potential candidacy to be received with great skepticism even among those who would otherwise be her supporters.

In short, assuming the Republicans don't opt for the politically pragmatic choice (Mitt Romney), the chances are that the only candidate who is conservative enough to appeal to their hearts, ideologically revolutionary enough to remake the party (a la what Wendell Willkie did in 1940, by pushing them to the left, or what Barry Goldwater did in 1964, by pushing them back to the right), and possessing of enough intellectual and political clout to make a real dent in the primaries is none other than Ron Paul.

But Ron Paul is too old.

That's why I think more attention should be paid to the outcome of tomorrow's Kentucky Senate primary, wherein Ron Paul's son, Rand, is a surprisingly strong contender. Should he emerge as his party's nominee, and should he go on to win the general election in November, I have a sneaking suspicion that he will supplant his father as the champion of the libertarian purist movement. Indeed, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if - come 2012 or 2016 - Rand Paul's name appears on the Republican national ticket. And not necessarily on the vice presidential end, either.

PS: Personally, I miss the Republican Party of Wendell Willkie. But that's just me.

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