Saying Goodbye to a Candidate of Character

Yesterday, Ron Paul announced that he will no longer actively campaign for the Republican Presidential Nomination.  The one true ideologue in the race has retired and has left the Presidency to the political pragmatists.    Mitt Romney is the “etch-a-sketch” guy.  Barack Obama is “evolving.”  Meanwhile, Ron Paul makes the Statue of Liberty seem indecisive and fickle.

Ron Paul has been a part of the American Political Carnival for the last 40 years.  For a good many of those years he was hawking his wares of “constitutional strict constructionism”, “limited federal government”, “respect for other nations’ sovereignty”, “a balanced budget”, “a return to the gold standard”, “the legalization of drugs”, “the privacy of the bedroom”, “a stark reduction in taxes”, “a sharp decrease in military spending”, and “a deconstruction of the federal safety net” from the little tent near where they keep the livestock at the county fair.  But it seems with each passing election, Paul’s libertarian side show moves closer to the Big Top.  What used to be laughingly dismissed as libertarian idealism, has through the years, become more and more mainstream.   Ron Paul stickers and t-shirts are seen on a fascinating mix of middle-aged tea-partiers, dressed in white socks and fanny packs and driving recreational vehicles, as well as, mac-toting college students dressed in tevas and cargo shorts and driving Priuses.   The young and old, the hip and unhip, the angry and idealistic, have all flocked to his unwavering message of personal responsibility.  Dare I say it?  Ron Paul has made liberty relevant again.

As he stated today, the campaign to him was always more than a long shot attempt to become President.  It was, rather, a culmination of his life’s work – to return liberty to a central place in the national political debate.  “This campaign is about more than just the 2012 election.  It has been part of a quest I began 40 years ago and that so many have joined.  It is about the campaign for Liberty, which has taken a tremendous leap forward in this election and will continue to grow stronger in the future until we finally win.”

I have no idea if the liberty that Ron Paul espouses could ever “win” in America.  I don’t know if there is any possibility that we could even become the nation that Ron Paul wants us to become.  We may simply be too far down the road of state involvement and deficit spending to get back to this land of milk and personal responsibility that Paul speaks of.  And, frankly, I don’t know if I want to live in that nation, anyway.[1]  But what I can say is: I truly and sincerely appreciate Paul’s commitment to his ideals.  He never lets the end justifies the means.   He never needlessly attacks an opponent or engages in political grandstanding to win a vote or raise a dollar.  He believes in freedom to act, even if he doesn’t personally believe in the act itself.  He is civil.  He is decent.  He is a man of character.  I think the American Political Landscape would be much more beautiful if more candidates from both parties adopted his ideals if not his ideas.

Even in the last weeks of his campaign, his civility and decency were on display for all to see.  Recently, some of his supporters had been behaving in a less-than-gracious manner towards Romney representatives at state caucuses where delegates for the Republican Convention were being elected.  In Arizona, one of Romney’s sons was booed off the stage.  In Oklahoma, two of Romney’s supporters were drowned out as they gave speeches on behalf of their candidate.  The lack of decorum that his supporters were showing clearly upset Paul.  He made it known to all of his supporters that they will “lose more than [they] gain if they are disrespectful.”  And then he told them that they “need to give respect to get respect.”   I hope Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were listening.  Paul was willing to chastise his own supporters who didn’t conform to his ideals of respect and decorum because his ideals are more important than anyone’s support.

His reason for suspending his campaign was elegant in its simplicity and was completely consistent with his principles:  he just didn’t feel like it was worth going into debt to contest the popular votes in the eleven remaining state primaries.   He explained his reasoning by stating, “Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted.  Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.”   Ron Paul believes passionately in fiscal responsibility and living within your means – and so he stopped campaigning for the Presidency when his “means” no longer supported an active campaign. As much as he cared about the cause — about his message for America — he understood  something that no other national politician of either party seems to get:  that if you truly want people to respect your message then you have to live by it, campaign by it, and never sacrifice it for personal gain or political expediency. How refreshing.  How simple.  How consistent.  How Ron Paul.

And so Ron Paul has suspended his active campaign for President.  He is 76 years old and retiring from Congress this year.  He knows that he will never be President.  But he and his supporters will continue on  — to the Convention and beyond – because he is fighting for something that he holds more precious than the Presidency — a nation that values liberty more than expediency and a political culture that values ideas more than victory.  For these convictions, and his resolute consistency in sharing them, I thank him.  And I will miss his voice as it recedes into the cacophony of self-serving rhetoric and personal attacks that will no doubt mark the rest of the 2012 Presidential Campaign.

[1] I joke with my friends who are staunch Ron Paul supporters that I tend to agree with about 75% of what he says, but, man, that other 25% is intense!

About David Davies, Editor-in-Chief

David Davies is the Editor-in-Chief of Media Rostra. He is also a lawyer and a licensed minister, so he is basically distrusted by everyone on some level. He received his Political Science degree from the University of Tulsa and his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas. He is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arkansas, a former "good athlete for his size," and current owner of The Law Offices of David Davies, PLLC -- an Estate Planning and Elder Law firm that has offices in Arkansas and Tennessee. He co-authored, with fellow editor, Aaron Brooks, the article entitled: “Exploring Student-Athlete Compensation: Why the NCAA Cannot Afford to Leave Athletes Uncompensated," in the University of Notre Dame’s Journal of College and University Law.


  1. grandokieNo Gravatar says:

    Very good article.  The debate of Freedom is an important one.  We still sing it at every sporting event, “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”  Let’s believe our country will remember that and not succumb to government telling us that our kids can’t work on farms or our local banks can’t support a local entrepreneur.  

  2.  So true, I wonder if those words we sing so often are ever really heard….I hope and pray that it starts to sink in with people