Despite what the mainstream news media choose to report, Senator John McCain of Arizona is not the last remaining Republican candidate for president today. Congressman Ron Paul of Texas never abandoned his run for the GOP nomination, and he fully intends to present himself before the Republican National Convention in September as a true conservative alternative to McCain's status-quo candidacy. In fact, according to a recent blog report published by The Los Angeles Times, Paul looks to do more than merely show up at the door.
"Largely under the radar of most people," reported the Times, "the forces of Rep. Ron Paul have been organizing across the country to stage an embarrassing public revolt against Sen. John McCain when Republicans gather for their national convention in Minnesota at the beginning of September. They hope to demonstrate their disagreements with McCain vocally at the convention through platform fights and an attempt to get Paul a prominent speaking slot. Paul, who's running unopposed in his home Texas district for an 11th House term, still has some $5 million in war funds and has instructed his followers that their struggle is not about a single election, but a long-term revolution for control of the Republican Party."
Representative Paul has been an iconoclastic presence within the Republican Party for nearly thirty years, beginning his political career in opposition to President Nixon's decision to take America off the gold standard. He secured the Libertarian Party nomination for president in 1988, running against Vice President George H.W. Bush and Governor Michael Dukakis. Primarily motivated by economic issues and a strongly held interpretation of the Constitution, Paul has become more of a political maverick within his party than John McCain could ever hope to be.
In the time he has spent in the House of Representatives, Paul has authored and sponsored bills to repeal the War Powers Act, impose term limits on elected officials, and abolish income taxes. He submitted legislation banning abortion, not at the behest of the Religious Right; his years of work as an obstetrician were the foundation of his views on life and conception.
Ron Paul even attempted to pass legislation requiring members of Congress to read each bill entirely before voting on it. This was inspired by Congress passing the massive and intrusive Patriot Act in 24 hours, before anyone reviewed its text. He has been a staunch opponent of the Iraq occupation from the beginning, and sponsored legislation in 2003 seeking to repeal the war authorization he had opposed months before.
In sum and substance, Representative Paul is a breed apart within the confines of the Republican Party. One may disagree with some of the positions he takes or some of the votes he has cast, but he is far removed from the calcified evangelical hypocrisy that has come to define the modern GOP. His is a mind at work, and those who follow him may yet prevail in rescuing the Republican Party from the stagnated failures of the last three decades. September's GOP convention could very well mark the beginning of some interesting times for what once was the party of Lincoln and TR. Events in the north country come Fall will warrant close scrutiny if Paul has a say in the matter.