So where was I?
Oh yeah, back from the future in my Time Machine, I was telling you about the Ron Paul convention, or if you prefer the Campaign for Liberty, in Minneapolis, September, 2008. You need to read the previous blog to understand.
Something must have happened during the night because the next afternoon they tried having a business meeting again and this time the Chairman and the Ron Paul organizers seemed to have had a change of heart.
“The Chair recognizes the lady at microphone three.”
“Thank you Mr. Chairman. My name is Carol Sparks, graduate of Fall Creek, hailing from the basketball capital of the world, the fine, Hoosier State of Indiana.” There were cheers for Indiana. Her shaking hands were holding a paper from which she was nervously reading, “And I would like to point out to the gentleman who spoke from stage last night that Charles de Gaulle was president of France at the age of seventy- nine….”
This was interrupted by loud cheers and laughter.
“And Konrad Adenhauer served as president of the German Republic until the age of Eighty-seven.”
More cheers. More laughter.
“And Moses finally brought his people to the promised land at the age of 120.”
At this the whole place broke into wild applause and laughter.
“And so, I would like to second the motion – that is still on the floor.” She said, “still on the floor,” with special spite in her voice at the convention organizers, making the point that the activities had been cut short the night before. “The motion that this, the constitutional wing of the Republican Party, go on record, by unanimous consent, nominating Representative Ron Paul as our candidate for president of the United States in the year 2012.”
Well, it was a repeat of the night before. There was wild applause and the clacking chairs. Pandemonium. Everyone on their feet. This went on for another twenty minutes. There was the deafening chant, “Run, ron, run!”
The people on stage were now laughing. They had apparently decided during the night to give up and let the convention have its way. How could Ron Paul stop them from thinking on their own? How could they “fix” their own convention after seeing so many of their people heartbroken by “fixed” state GOP conventions in Nevada and all over? It was their own fault. The organizers should never have allowed an open forum with an open microphone.
The Chairman yelled out over the crowd. “It has now been moved and seconded that this, the constitutional wing of the Republican Party, shall draft Representative Ron Paul of Texas as our candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012. All those in favor say, ‘Aye,’
The audience, some stunned that the stage was now so compliant, nevertheless managed a rousing “Aye.”
They cheered and yelled and this time, feeling their power and not wanting to relinquish it, even if it meant missing some hot musical group waiting in the wings, they kept going.
After thirty minutes of this, their show shot to pieces, the organizers finally brought Ron Paul out onto stage.
This was what the audience had been waiting for. This was not a You Tube or a poster. This was the moment that had been denied them for two years. They would have their own nominee. They cheered on and on until some among them started policing themselves, quieting down those seated nearby. “Let him speak, let him speak.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Congressman Paul said, trying to use the microphone to speak over the noise. “Ladies and gentlemen.” And then to everyone’s surprise, he went onto say, “I accept your nomination for president of the United States.” There were tears in his eyes.
Well, this was stunning. But what could he do? The media would pull it out of context and play it over and over, leading to all kinds of misinterpretations. Some said he was splitting the party. But if you were there in the auditorium you know that he immediately added….
“But I accept under certain conditions. I will run again in 2012, if you will run now. If you will run for precinct delegate. If you will run for country chairman. If you will run for state party chairman. If you will run for congress. If you will get in and take back our party and take back our country. If you will do your part. I will do mine, as God and circumstances allow. I will run if you run.
“And I thank you for your confidence in me and I am humbled by it.”
Well, he went on to give his rousing “constitutional” speech and the crowd loved it. And afterwards the singers boomed out their entertainment and the lasers shot colors all over auditorium and the balloons fell from the ceiling. There was a sense that history had been made. Something strange had happened although no one could quite figure out just what. One thing for sure, no presidential campaign had every begun so early. This one had begun even before the previous one had ended.
I can tell you that in the aftermath the pressure for Ron Paul to endorse John McCain was enormous. Some Republicans were outraged by events in Minneapolis. They were saying that if Obama won in November it would be Ron Paul’s fault. The Republican Party let it be known that it would not fall over and play dead for the Paulistas. They had been put on notice that the Paulistas were coming and they would be ready to give them a fight, as if the Paulistas didn’t know.
Anyway, the energy was great and the foundation was laid for a new beginning for the Republican Party. Seldom in the history of the presidency has a losing candidate had a greater impact.
Some say that 2008 was the perfect storm for Ron Paul. That it won’t be the same in 2012. That Iraq will be in the past. Others say that the Ron Paul army will be a powerful force in the small universe of Iowa and that if he chooses to run again and circumstances allow it, he will be starting with a clear possibility, at the head of an army of true believers, who put their money where their mouths are. But then that would take another journey in my Time Machine and there is work to do in the here and now.