Perspectives: One explanation the GOP isn’t discussing, the Ron Paul factor

OPINION – Hubris is commonly defined as “excessive pride or arrogance.” The ancient Greeks also portrayed it as overconfidence in one’s capabilities with a corresponding loss of contact with reality. Hubris may well have played a key role in the GOP’s stunning loss in last week’s presidential race.

GOP leadership and analysts have offered many different excuses for Mitt Romney’s loss to Barack Obama. Among the more popular explanations are Hurricane Sandy, the Hispanic vote, the women’s vote, the dependent class, and ongoing media bias. While it’s true that these reasons may each have played a role, there is another possibility that most party leaders, pundits and talking heads don’t dare to mention.

It’s the Ron Paul factor. More specifically, it was the systematic disenfranchisement of Congressman Paul and his supporters throughout the primaries and at the GOP convention in Tampa. But it may be the most substantial reason why the GOP failed to carry the day against Barack Obama.

Republican apologists have long sought to explain the GOP’s hostility toward Congressman Paul due to his being “unelectable” or “lacking enough public support.” But these were simply lies told by the GOP establishment whose grasp on power was threatened by Paul’s message of limited government, sound money, a sane foreign policy, and personal freedom.

When their whisper campaign failed to contain the growing momentum of Paul’s liberty movement, the party got nasty. He was labeled a “kook” a “moonbat” and a “crazy old man.” But the ad hominem attacks against the man still couldn’t blunt the power of the ideas he was promoting.

As The Daily Bell explains: “Crowds were growing, delegates were falling into line. Ron Paul was attracting bigger and bigger audiences. The powers-that-be had tried everything – ignoring him, ridiculing him … even controlling the “movement” by placing “handlers” around him surreptitiously.

Finally, as none of it truly worked, the top GOP began to use violence and outright fraud. Ron Paul delegates were intimidated, beaten up and banned. Rules were changed, votes were ignored and the election, which was trending toward Paul, went to Romney.”

Had GOP leadership so much as given a fair hearing to Ron Paul’s ideals, it’s likely that many of his supporters would have still rallied around the GOP nominee. But instead, they saw a concerted effort by party bosses to censor so much as the mention of Paul’s name. Many of these voters chose to stay home. Others wrote in Ron Paul as a symbolic vote. Some voted for Gary Johnson. But the common thread that connected their refusal to support the GOP nominee was a resolve not to validate the anti-liberty hubris of Republican Party bosses.

For those disenfranchised by the GOP, the sadness of watching Barack Obama elected to his second term was balanced by a sense of relief that the Republican establishment’s lust for power went unrewarded. Better to deal with a wolf in wolf’s clothing than a wolf that keeps trying to convince you that he’s really a sheep dog.

By throwing the Ron Paul supporters under the bus, the GOP arrogantly dismissed a young, well-informed, organized, and highly active voting bloc that will be around for many years to come. The liberty movement wasn’t stopped by this dismissal; it was simply forced to remove its support from an increasingly schizophrenic party that is currently tearing itself apart.

Republican leadership is currently debating how to appeal to the various voting blocs by moving even further to the left and championing more government-dispensed goodies. They still don’t get it and likely never will. This campaign was never about a single candidate named Ron Paul. It was about the ideas he upheld.

The message that effectively unites across party lines and speaks to the heart of every voter bloc is the message of freedom. This can only be realized by adhering to proven principles like limited government, sound money, non-interventionist foreign policy, and personal freedom. The proof of this can be seen in how Paul’s Campaign for Liberty drew enthusiastic support from the every part of the political spectrum.

To claim that the government goodies crowd is simply too strong to counter is to wave a pitiful flag of surrender. Sadly, it appears that the Republican Party will seek to appease this crowd rather than return to correct principles.

Meanwhile, the liberty movement will go on and continue to expand, even as Ron Paul steps out of the spotlight. The future of the GOP is far less certain.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • Curtis November 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

    The Republican leadership and the Romney campaign certainly did exhibit hubris. Power brokers wherever found often exhibit hubris – that’s what power does.

    The Ron Paul supporters in Tampa should have been given great leeway in trying to nominate him and to insert some of his ideas into the platform. His nomination would most probably have failed by a large margin which would have further demonstrated the party’s strong support of Romney.

    Bryan – you say that the treatment of the Congressman and his supporters may be the most substantial reason Obama won. Do you have any data on how many Paul supporters either stayed home or voted for someone other than Romney? The data of the effect of Hispanic voting is quite persuasive.

    You also say that statements by the GOP establishment that Paul was unelectable are lies. Do you then believe that given more respect by the establishment Paul could have been nominated and elected ? Really ?

    In addition to calls for the Republicans to move to the left there are also calls for the party to move further to the right – especially on social issues. I’m not sure either move is a likely path for future Republican success. It may be that the Republicans have outlived their time and will go the way of the dinosaurs.

    It is a big mistake for the Republican movers and shakers to dismiss any substantial voting bloc whether Hispanics, lower economic class white women or the liberty movement. It is also a mistake to ignore where the majority of the voters seem to be on social and economic issues. They are sure ways for the Republicans to go the way of the Whigs. Not to ignore the views of the majority of voters doesn’t mean the party has to accept them – but the party does then have to persuade voters that their current views are not in their long term best interests.

    The Republicans succeeded the Whigs – what will succeed the Republicans I wonder?

  • woodpile November 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    As a lifelong republican I see no way forward for this party. The GOP missed a golden opportunity to expand the party with the vigor of a charged up youth movement reminicent of the energy displayed by 60’s and 70’s youth who joined the dems. Ron Paul’s ideas will not die, in fact they have to advance for any type of civil society to survive into the increasingly near future. The GOP is now a dead party. Ron Paul’s ideas will find a new home just like many of us former republicans will do. What a daunting task for the GOP…replace and add more voters to their dying ranks. Can’t be done!

  • Ron November 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Maybe the losing side should get beyond the simplistic notion that the Dems won because they are offering a lot of “free stuff.” I don’t recall Obama or any other Dem promising “freebies.” Medical care? Hardly a freebie when you’re required to buy it. Food stamps? Can you give me a quotation where Obama said he would hand out more food stamps? (Yes, the welfare and food stamp rolls have increased since 2008, but hey, we’re in a recession.) The GOP might want to consider the possibility that a majority of Americans–admittedly a small majority–still believe we should help those in need and function as a society, not as a collection of individual egos out to get and keep what is within our reach. We tried all that “survival of the fittest” stuff long ago, and it didn’t work. Freedom, yes. But compassion and collective responsibility, too..

  • William November 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Patrick Henry was a radical revolutionary who was unafraid to speak up against Great Britain at an early date. He is most famous for his speech which includes the line, “Give me liberty or give me death.” He was a governor of Virginia during the Revolution. He also helped fight for the addition of the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution, a document with which he disagreed because of its strong federal powers

    He did not vote for HIMSELF, he was a MUCH bigger person and voted for the COUNTRY best option. What if he thought “Better to deal with a wolf in wolf’s clothing than a wolf that keeps trying to convince you that he’s really a sheep dog” We may still be saying “GOD SAVE THE KING” I’m glad you were not part of the group for the founding of the country, as it would never have passed your high ideals.

  • ken November 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

    A good number of Ron Paul supporters voted for Gary Johnson who was able to garner 1 percent of the popular vote. The two party system is out of date and extremely corrupt, yet year after year the voters act like zombies and puppets. Change is needly badly in this country but I wouldn’t trust either major party to do anything for the benefit of the country and not their party!

  • Jen November 13, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I tried to convince myself to vote for Romney, but standing at the booth, I could not. I wrote in Ron Paul. Had they not pulled that BS in Tampa, I think I could have stood by Romney and the GOP. Regardless of whether it was us Ron Paul supporters or not, the GOP is to blame for the re-election of President Obama in many, many ways.

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