Opinion: Dr. No, we hardly knew ye


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Ron Paul is scaling back his presidential campaign, conceding the impossibility of having an impact at the GOP convention. His announcement is several shades less absurd, and orders of magnitude more candid, than Mitt Romney’s war-is-too-important-to-be-left-to-the-shape-shifting-ex-governors announcement earlier this week.

But it’s still disheartening: A month or so of straight-up campaigning between Paul and John McCain would have been hopeless from Paul’s perspective, but it would have clarified in stark terms how far the Republicans have drifted from the libertarian core that Ronald Reagan once called ‘the very heart and soul of conservatism.’ But as I noted before, one of the particular features of the Paul campaign was that it wasn’t conceived, and certainly wasn’t executed, as a message-sending effort. For better or worse, the campaign ended up turning on Paul himself, not the broader range of libertarian appeals that overlapped with his platform. Here’s what the ten-term congressman from the Lone Star State’s 14th district had to say:


With Romney gone, the chances of a brokered convention are nearly zero. But that does not affect my determination to fight on, in every caucus and primary remaining, and at the convention for our ideas, with just as many delegates as I can get. But with so many primaries and caucuses now over, we do not now need so big a national campaign staff, and so I am making it leaner and tighter. Of course, I am committed to fighting for our ideas within the Republican party, so there will be no third party run. I do not denigrate third parties -- just the opposite, and I have long worked to remove the ballot-access restrictions on them. But I am a Republican, and I will remain a Republican. I also have another priority. I have constituents in my home district that I must serve. I cannot and will not let them down. And I have another battle I must face here as well. If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat, all our opponents would react with glee, and pretend it was a rejection of our ideas. I cannot and will not let that happen.

Best of luck to Rep. Paul in retaining his congressional seat. The House would be an even poorer place without him.

Another Pauloid tidbit at Top of the Ticket. And for more of what it all meant, check out frequent L.A. Times contributor Brian Doherty’s ‘Scenes from the Ron Paul Revolution.’